An undergraduate research proposal is an outline of a project to be done later. The proposal is written before one embarks on doing research itself. Outside of class, research proposals are documents meant to entice investors that may be interested in the research being proposed. They are written in the hope of sponsorship. However, for an undergraduate, a research proposal serves a different purpose. Other than outlining the direction of a project, an undergraduate research proposal is meant to gauge whether the research a student is about to do is viable.
Importance of an undergraduate research proposal
A research proposal is important for several reasons. Below are the main reasons why an undergraduate research proposal is important.
1. An undergraduate research proposal is used by the supervisor to assess the quality and originality of a scholar’s ideas.
2. The research proposal is meant to measure the student’s ability to think critically
3. The proposal is meant to make the relevance of the proposed project clear.
4. The proposal is meant to assess a student’s expertise in the area they want to conduct research.
Structuring an undergraduate research proposal
Research proposals should have a maximum word count of 2500 words; this having been completed is sufficient to put all the information needed for a research proposal. A complete undergraduate research proposal should have the following essentials:
1. The Title
Make sure you have included special keywords in your title that go hand in hand with what your research proposal is all about. The title should be relevant to the theme of your proposal.
2. Undergraduate research proposal summary
In this section, you should clearly outline in summary form the aims, importance, and the expected outcome of your research to the reader. These are meant to be clear for everyone such that even the individuals who know nothing in your field can understand.
3. Research details
Make sure that you establish a solid and convincing framework meant for your research in this specific section. Here are the subsections to use:
a) Research questions
In this section, make sure you have introduced the explanation of the research questions. It should generally include the hypothesis or the problem to be addressed. Also, include the main approach to be used, which can include the theoretical, empirical, and rationale. The section should also point out the importance of the research, whether academically or any other relevant field.
b) Objectives of the project
Ask yourself what you need to know, prove it, demonstrate, and analyze it. Also, make sure that you have listed the aims of the project sequentially and logically. The aims of your project must be brief, clear, and concise. They must be realistic and related to each other. In this section, you must provide indicators to your supervisor on how you plan to approach literature and the theories involved in your project. The supervisor also expects to see how you will collect and analyze your data and, finally, how you will deal with problems. In other words, the practicality of your proposed research.
c) Contribution to the discipline.
You should make sure that you have justified the project from a literature review on the topic by discussing the written information which you think is ranked as top and most important to the research project, demonstrate that you have grasped the research issues being covered and identify areas in the literature that the research is meant to mend. This section acts as a sign-post in which its meant to point out the research questions, and therefore you shouldn’t discuss so much at this point
d) Theoretical Framework & Methods
You need to have a solid way of how you are planning to do things. Not necessarily the full details of the various methods that you are going to use, but you need to show that you have a plan. The most vital and reasonable thing to show is you have various methods in place, and you also need to show that your research proposal is practical and will be completed in a given time-frame.
Make sure that the passion that you have regarding the subject is evident from your proposal structure and the arguments displayed within your proposal. Put in mind that the university might not be having experts in the field of your specific study, and therefore, it’s totally up to you to make the subject matter that you select to work on to be extremely interesting to those who will read your proposal.
4. Research Plan and Timeline
This section is not mandatory within all faculties. In this section, you will need to provide an outline of how you are planning to complete the research within the time scheduled.
These can also be bibliographies. They should prove to your reader that you understand properly the subject/field you are offering research on. Make sure that you have referenced all texts properly that you will use widely for the ultimate success of your research work.
An undergraduate research proposal is meant to work as an outline for the project; however, it needs to be done properly so that you can get the approval to proceed with the research. It is the document that determines whether you are ready to do the research. Therefore, whatever you do, make sure to put your best foot forward.