A research proposal is a brief and clear summary of your proposed research. The format and requirements may vary depending on the subject of the research being proposed and the demands of the institution where you plan to submit the proposal. A good research proposal takes a lot of time to write; therefore starting the process early is advisable. A good research proposal also identifies the subject matter to be addressed and explains why the research is important to the specific department.
Tips for Writing a Research Proposal
1. Create a Title Page
A title page contains the introduction of the research proposal, your name and the institution you are connected to. A sponsoring agency may specify on the writing format to be used for the title page; if this doesn't apply to your case, however, you should use the APA style. The running head, which can be defined as a shortened version of the title, should be included on the upper left corner and should appear on all pages of the document. The page number should also be included and it should be positioned on the upper right corner in every page of the document. The full title should:
• Cover 1/3 of the page roughly downwards
• Be double-spaced
Your name should be inserted below the title and the name of the institution should be right under your name.
2. Write the Abstract
An abstract gives a concise summary of the problem your proposal will be addressed. It should also contain the objectives and your proposed solutions and the expected funding requirements for your project. It should contain about 100 to 200 words and should be centered at the top of the page.
3. Include a Table of Contents
Research proposals which are long should include a table of contents. This makes it easier to locate the written content since pages will be highlighted. Short and brief proposals do not necessarily need to have a table of contents. All major parts and division of long proposal should be listed.
4. Proceed to the Introduction
Your introduction should contain three sections, that is:
• State the problem
Before writing the introduction, you restate and center the title of your paper. You should include a concise description of the topic and theory from which your proposed research will be based. You should write a subheading “problem statement” and move to a paragraph where you’ll point out the problem. The aim of the question should be to provide a reason as to why the research should be conducted and what new issues the research will cover.
• Purpose of the research
Still part of the introduction, this should also be written as a subheading also “purpose of study” before moving on to a paragraph to state the goal of the study
• Importance of the research
A subheading for “importance of research” should be typed out before stating why the research is significant and identify the proposed analysis.
5. Provide Research background
This should come after the introduction. Here, you will provide the background information and describe why it is important to the research. This is important because it provides the reader with the history of the study since it would not be right to assume that they know much about the research problem. Try and give a more detailed explanation regarding the problem than what you stated in the introduction. Present the reasons for your proposed study and indicate why it is important. Describe the major problems that you will be covering and show how your study contributes to the already existing assumptions. Provide a clear focus for the reader, where necessary, explain what has been excluded in previous studies. You can include definitions of key terms.
6. State Research Methods
This step aims to show the readers the methods utilized in collecting information and trying to convince them that the research designs are reliable and capable of correctly addressing the problem and effectively interpreting the results. In this case, a methodology is not simply a list of ways in which you will conduct your research, and it is far more complex because you have to present an argument detailing why the research methods you have selected are the best for investigating the research problem. The reader should be able to feel like they trust the methodology that is to be implemented.
Outline the methods you will be using in detailed form, for example, if you’re planning to do your research at the library, state the sources you will be using to conduct your research. You should consider methods that have been used by other researchers and also try thinking outside the box by employing other methods which have not been utilized but can yield results.
Since no method is perfect, you should acknowledge the potential barriers and setbacks in carrying out your research and explain how you plan to address them. You should describe areas where you believe challenges may exist when procuring information.
7. The significance of the Research
Here, you aim to argue how your research will contribute to the existing knowledge in regards to the subject at hand. You should describe how your study will impact future research, theories, and practices. This could be through offering new guidelines, offering a new understanding of the subject or providing new ways regarding methodologies.
8. The Conclusion
The conclusion should give a summary of the study and recap the importance of your proposal. It should stress why the research problem should be investigated, show, why your study is unique and show how it will contribute to the already existing knowledge and why the research methods used, were chosen.
9. Include Citations
As with any academic research paper, sources used in writing your proposal should be well cited. This can either be done through bibliography or reference. You should consult with your supervisor to determine which one is required. This serves as evidence to show that you carried out enough research in coming up with an original piece of writing which is plagiarism free.
Citations should be written on a new page. The subheading “references” should be written at the top center of the page.
If you require funding from the institution, you should include the anticipated budget and give a clear justification and reason for each cost.
10. Editing and Proofreading
Once you are done writing the proposal, you should go through it carefully and thoroughly to make sure that it meets the highest standards possible. Ensure that the cited sources are correct and that the punctuation and tenses are in the correct form. You can get someone you trust to go through the proposal and inform you where corrections need to be made. If you are completely satisfied with the final draft, you can confidently submit your research proposal.
Just a recap:
1. Create a title page
2. Write the abstract
3. Include a table of contents
4. Proceed to the introduction
5. Provide research background
6. State research methods
7. State significance of the research
8. Write the conclusion
9. Include citations
10. Edit and proofread
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