Research Proposal

A research proposal is the preliminary step to writing any research paper. The research proposal has to be submitted before the appointed by the college for the approval of the project. To get the approval, the research proposal must be of a good standard and convince the committee members

of your capabilities in research and writing and also that the project proposed is a significant and worthwhile.

Let us examine the format of a typical proposal: Whichever your subject is or whatever the methodology you plan to use, three main things have to be very clear from the research proposal: your objectives for conducting this research, your reason/s for choosing this particular subject or topic (or, thesis question) and your plans regarding the the carrying out of the research, In short, it is the what-why-how of the research project.

Like all college essays the research proposal too has the introduction, body and conclusion.Research proposals usually consist of the following sections:

  1. Abstract: a very short summary of the main research problem and methodology to be used and what results are expected and the requirements for the research. It is usually less than 200 words long and goes before the introduction to give a preview of your proposal to the committee. Of course, it can be written last and added.
  2. Introduction that has the following subsections:
  • Background: the context of the thesis question and its setting
  • Problem identification: the thesis question and why it was selected
  • Problem definition: explanation of the problem (thesis question)
  • Problem justification: how this research will improve knowledge and understanding of the research subject
  • Goals and objectives: the potential impact that expected to be achieved by the research and defines the who, what, why, whom, when, where of the research
  • Thesis question/s and Hypothesis (theory)
  • Assumptions
  • Limitations of the research and
  • Definition of terms

3.  Literature Review: This is an analysis of the literature (other research papers and books) on the subject, which would lead to a new theoretical perception about the implications of this problem, bring together and integrate the work already done in the area, and the information that could be gained from them. It would also demonstrate your knowledge and the awareness level in the subject and your abilities in analyzing and assessing literature.

4. Methodology: qualitative or quantitative methodology can be selected according to the instructions, course and the tutor’s suggestions. The main subsections in this are:

  • Design -The method of carrying out the research and the requirements in


  • Participants – the subjects or samples used in the study and the method used for selecting them
  • Instruments or tools – the type of measuring instruments used, the reasons for selecting these instruments
  • Procedure – detailing the method of carrying out the research and the type of analysis and interpretation that are to be used for evaluating the results

5.  Work schedule: the time schedules for carrying out the different modules of the research with the dates mentioned clearly.

6. Bibliography: the references used for writing the proposal with all details included and written according to the reference style required by the university.

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