Research Proposal - Definition, Structure, Steps & Examples

research proposal

A research proposal is one of the crucial steps in writing a research paper. It is often considered a screening test for offering admissions in colleges and universities. A well-written research proposal will help convince the admission department or your supervisor to grant you a scholarship or admission to a particular program.

Are you looking forward to getting yourself enrolled in a reputed institute to pursue your master’s or Ph.D.? Are you aiming to get a scholarship for a certain degree?

Then this blog is for you!

This blog provides you with the definition, structure, goal, steps, and research proposal examples.

Let’s get started!

Research Proposal Definition

A research proposal is defined as a brief summary of the proposed research. It is used to present the questions or central issues that you will address in your research paper. In addition, it aims to explain your research topic, your intention behind exploring it, and the methodology to conduct that particular research.

A research proposal is written to validate your research. It is one of the major requirements in the process of application. It is your opportunity to prove that you have the caliber for graduate-level research. Not only this, but the research proposal also helps you to connect with an appropriate supervisor who belongs to your field of interest.

Why Would Your Professor Ask You to Write a Research Proposal?

Your instructor might ask you to write a research proposal to help:

  • Develop your writing skills
  • Enhance your research skills
  • Develop skills of performin detailed research
  • Polish your questioning skills and help you bcome a competent researcher.

Below is a research proposal example that could help you write a great research proposal.

Free Research Proposal Examples

Free Research Proposal Examples

Read further to find other great samples and examples of a research proposal.

What are the Goals of a Research Proposal?

You must have the following goals to write a research paper:

  • Justification of the need to study or research an issue.
  • Presentation of a practical approach to performing the study
  • Demonstrate the procedures and design elements having governed standards to perform a study.

Ensure that you address the following question in your research proposal:

  • Why do you plan to perform the proposed research?
  • What are you planning to accomplish?
  • How will you perform the study?

Let’s move forward and learn about the structure of a research proposal.

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Research Proposal Structure

Following are the components that must be included in your research proposal:

  • A detailed background with context to the research issue/topic
  • Reasons explaining the importance of a specific issue or a topic
  • A literature review of the related topics
  • An outline of the research methodology that you intend you use in your research
  • Overview of the ethical issues
  • A research timescale.

The results and their analysis are not included in the research proposal. This is because your research findings will only be available once the entire research has been completed. Only then can you present an analysis of your research and its results.

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How to Write a Research Proposal?

Writing a good research proposal involves 14 basic steps in which you include the following sections:

  • 1. Title Page: the title page of your proposal will include the following details:
    • The proposed title of your research project
    • Your name
    • Supervisor’s name
    • The name of department and institution.
  • 2. Table of Contents: This helps the reader know the proposal’s overall contents.
  • 3. Abstract: It is a concise summary of your research. It is usually written between 200-250 words. It is always better to write an abstract once the entire research proposal is written.
  • 4. Hypothesis: Explain the goal and aim of your research.
  • 5. An Effective Introduction: Introduction is one of the initial sections of your research proposal; therefore, make sure that it is well-written. Now is your opportunity to keep the reader hooked so that he will read the entire research proposal.
  • 6. Problem Statement: This is the research question you will state in a sentence to portray a clear picture of your intended research.
  • 7. Purpose of Hypothesis: State the aims and goal of your research clearly.
  • 8. Outline the Background: Provide brief details about the background information. This will support your proposed research. This also helps validate your intended research.
  • 9. Literature Review: The literature review is one of the crucial steps in writing an effective research proposal. Analyze the relevant literature available related to your proposed research.
  • 10. Methodology: This section consists of the methods you will use to conduct your research. You have to tell the efficacy of each method and how it will help in producing effective results.
  • 11. Defining Terms: Make sure that you do not leave any abbreviations or complicated terms unexplained.
  • 12. Assumptions: Make some assumptions and analyze the expected results.
  • 13. Limitations and Future Prospects: To validate your research proposal, always provide the limitations and future prospects of the proposed research.
  • 14. Referencing: This is one of the crucial sections of your research proposal. Chicago, APA, and MLA are the most commonly used citation formats. The bibliography and in-text references must be added according to the institute’s or instructor’s guidelines.

Before, starting your research proposal, always read the instructions given by your institute or professor carefully.

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Research Proposal Examples

Following are some examples of different types of research proposals:

Research Proposal APA Example

Research Proposal APA Example

Sample of a Research Proposal

Sample of a Research Proposal

Free Research Proposal Template Example

Free Research Proposal Template Example

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Research Proposal Topics

Following are some interesting research proposal topics:

  • Evaluation of investment strategies
  • The margin financing differences from one country to another
  • Analyze tax scheme of a country
  • Managing stressed assets
  • How to manage a team effectively?
  • How to lead a team having different people?
  • How does brand advertising impact political campaigns?
  • How does social media affect consumers’ behavior?
  • Marketing teams and their leadership
  • Search engines’ importance in e-commerce
  • How does social media impact buying choices of customers?
  • The involvement of customers in developing a new product
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Common Mistakes to Avoid While Writing Your Research Proposal

While writing a research paper, avoid making the following mistakes:

  • Adding details that are not relevant to the topic of your research
  • Not properly citing the literature review
  • Not determining the contextual boundaries such as place, time and people, etc of your research
  • Not providing valid arguments for your proposed research
  • Not focusing enough on the research question
  • Grammatical errors along with sloppy writing
  • Adding details of the minor issues and ignoring the details of major issues.

Before writing a research proposal, you must understand the goals and the questions it will address. We hope that this blog will help you write an excellent research proposal to help validate your proposed study.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good research proposal?

Here are the things that make a good research proposal:

  • Explanation of your research question
  • Analysis of your research methodolog

Moreover, a good research proposal must describe the significance of your research proposal and place your research in a wider field of study.