How to Write a Research Proposal

How to Write a Research Proposal

Let's start with a basic question: what is a research proposal? A research proposal is a document that proposes a research project on a specific topic. A research paper proposal describes the research process from start to finish. A research proposal lists the main problems or questions you are going to solve in your research and outlines the general area of study your research encompasses. The practical methods and methods of conducting the research are also described, and the necessity of the proposed research is substantiated. Include the following elements in your  research paper

  • Start with an introduction, 
  • add literature review, 
  • don't forget to discuss the objectives and general methodology, 
  • add conclusion,
  • and include bibliography

Our article will share all the vital research proposal guidelines for you to do a good job easily.

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Research Proposal Requirements

Talking about the research proposal format, we should discuss the minimal structure requirements:

1. Description and approach of the General Research Theme

In this phase of research proposal formatting, the discussion framework will be presented in which the concerns are expressed in the investigation. The general topic is not the title of the thesis statement.

2. State of the question

This should express the researcher's knowledge of those experiences of research that revolve around the general theme. What is sought is to demonstrate that the researcher knows the subject they want to investigate, knows the state of knowledge to which they wish to contribute, and knows the shortcomings, gaps, and contradictions that they have in the research scope. 

3. Statement of the research problem

The research problem is a "construction process" that must be continuous. The research problem is an aspect of reality from which it is expected to know something. The formulation of the research problem is the most crucial part of the project since the rest of the aspects that make up the research depend on this.

4. Hypothesis

The hypothesis is a previous, creative and temporary answer to the central question of the Research Problem. It is not a mandatory requirement for the completion of the research. Some investigations are guided through objectives, which, depending on the approach, can replace the hypothesis.

5. Variables

They are the elements of the decomposition of the problem that will be studied in the undergraduate research proposal. The important thing is that the variables must be defined both conceptually (which will be expanded in the theoretical framework) and operationally (through the definition of indicators that will be the benchmarks for elaborating the research.

Research Proposal Outline

What does the essay writer need the research proposal outline for? The research proposal structure should form the bulk of your written proposal. After this introduction, consider each goal individually. When writing research proposal, it would be nice to make your goal a subheading. Within each goal, you should have three sections: description, expected results, potential pitfalls, and alternative approaches.

In the description part, you should state the hypothesis for the purpose and the experiments you will carry out, briefly specifying the number of repetitions and the experiments' conditions.

The expected results are also the essential components of research proposal. They should indicate what results you expect to get if the experiments are successful and what those results will mean.

Introduction

The proposal introduction is some necessary background information, or you can call it the basics of your research, including its main problem. The introduction of the research proposal cover page can start with an overview of the research area, focusing on a specific research problem. Include the following items:

  • Indicate the research problem and the purpose of the research;
  • Provide the rationale;
  • Describe the sub-objectives and main issues you will explain in your research;
  • State your hypothesis or theory;
  • Explain how you are going to carry out the proposed research;
  • Outline the boundaries for the proposed research;
  • Provide definitions of key concepts as needed

Literature Review

Relate the basic concepts of the chosen theme with the applications on the research problem formulated. Start your research proposal literature review with the classic books, those that are a reference area of ​​the research project, and funnel the information and results published in the form of articles in scientific journals. When reading these scientific articles, try not only to stick to the results found but also to the research procedures.

A well-written bibliographic review will provide clues about the directions that the proposal paper should follow, the appropriate procedures, and, mainly, provide information that will be used in the discussion of the results when the research is already in the data analysis phase. In other words: carefully reviewing the research project's bibliography can facilitate later writing of the article or monograph.

Research Design and Methods

The methodology in research proposal is the essential part. In the "design and methods" section, all the procedures, materials, equipment, and methods necessary to test your hypotheses and reach your objectives should be listed. In experimental areas, this part of the research project usually follows the following script: the experimental area, experimental design, evaluated treatments, control of experimental conditions, analyzed variables and statistical analysis.

But how do you know if the "material and methods" parts of research proposal project are well written? Simple: hand over your research proposal template to someone outside your area and see if they would be able to do your research precisely the way you would. If he or she has doubts about accomplishing something, this means your project is probably not clear enough.

Budget

Now that we have discussed the research proposal timeline, let's move to another crucial point. The research grant proposal budget is nothing else than a more or less extensive summary in which we will make a list of the resources we need to develop the research proposal idea and include their economic cost.

Regarding the format of a budget, each financing entity usually requires its own. The important thing is the spending chapters, and it is that practically all budgets will coincide in a series of chapters:

  • Personal;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Costs;
  • Dissemination costs (of the research results).

Here are the things you need to consider when you are planning the budget for research proposal:

  • Infrastructure,
  • Team,
  • Resources for operation,
  • Information services and obtaining documents,
  • Buying books,
  • Fieldwork expenses,
  • Reagents, materials, and consumables,
  • Equipment maintenance,
  • Animals for experimentation,
  • External services (parcel, photography, equipment rental, construction work, gas supply),
  • Editing or printing.

Implications

Every research project proposal has some things that can derail it. A section of alternative approaches and your potential pitfalls should identify what might be holding you back from achieving success. For every target, you should have at least one potential trap, if not several. Then, explain what you will do if one of the potential pitfalls occurs, and write about your alternative approaches.

Overall, this framework helps you answer peer reviewers' questions as they arise and allows you to play devil's advocate in your work. As a result, you will get a qualitative research proposal.

Citations

The references are a list of each source's data consulted to prepare a research proposal essay that one cites in the text. This list allows you to identify and locate the references to verify the information contained there or supplement it if necessary. 

What are they for? To give credibility to the work that is presented. To ensure academic and scientific rigor and comply with the legislation on intellectual property, which obliges the authors to identify the sources of data, statements, and graphics of other authors used in the text.

How is a bibliographic reference compiled? During the preparation of the work, you must collect the necessary data to identify the consulted documents. 

How are the bibliographic references ordered?

  • They must be arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the surname.
  • If you have two or more identical surnames, proceed to organize alphabetically by the name's letters.
  • If there are several references by the same author, they are ordered chronologically, that is, by year – from least to most significant.
  • The references must each have a French indentation (hanging indent) of 5 spaces in the second line, the spacing of 1.5. Free space is inserted between reference and reference.
  • The References are listed at the end of the paper proposal, after the annexes.

Common Mistakes

If you want to know how to do a research proposal, you should consider all the possible mistakes that are usually made. One of the first mistakes made when starting to work on research proposals is to think that it is a job that must be done according to a recipe or manual, but without any reflection on why to do something first. It leads to inconsistencies between the various phases of the research and, in turn, minimal possibilities of understanding the object of study.

A second error committed during the construction of the research project is the division of the project sections among the team members, without having clarity and minimal consensus on the dynamics and objectives of the research to be carried out, leaving as a consequence the loss of time, excess effort, resources, etc. Simultaneously, the "loss of the common thread" is evident between essential elements such as the research problem, hypotheses, objectives, methods, techniques, and research proposal topics and information gathering.

Finally, a third error that can emerge when writing a research proposal is the arbitrariness without prior reflection with which the research methods and techniques are selected, not being clear about what, why, how, and with what to investigate. This leads to many researchers adopting dualistic, dogmatic, and even contradictory positions in the design of the research project, thus impoverishing the construction of new knowledge. 

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