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Writing a research proposal

Writing a research proposal is similar to writing a summary of what you would like to carry out research. In this summary, you give an explanation of why your topic of choice is important and how you plan to carry out the research. Research proposals have different formats depending on what academic discipline you are working on. The purpose of a research proposal is to attain funds for a project or as a requirement to get approval for writing a thesis paper . You, therefore, need to use persuasive language in your research proposal. It is important that you put in mind your aim for writing the research proposal.

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Here are several aims that you should have in mind when writing a research proposal:

1) Perspective

You must show your reader that you understand the perspective of your research. This can be achieved by indicating solid academic roots and giving a strong background of your topic.

2) Significance

Prove to the reader that your topic of choice is relevant enough, interesting to work on and can make a significant difference in academics.

3) Practicability

As you write a research proposal, have in mind that it must be practically doable. In this case consider the cost, information accessibility and ethics involved.

4) Method

The methods that you will use must be of guidance to your research proposal. This will show your reader that you have taken into consideration how you intend to carry out research.

A research proposal does not always have the same paper length. The length differs from field and level of academics. In this article, brings you a summary of what must be included in a research proposal:

A cover Page

Similar to most academic writing papers a research proposal must contain a cover page that includes the title, student’s name, the supervisor’s name and the institution. It is important that you confirm with your supervisor if there are any more specific requirements needed on the cover page.

2) Table of contents

A table of content is necessary only if your research proposal is long. It guides your reader move across your pape

3) An Abstract

An abstract might also be necessary as an insight into what your proposal is about.

4) An Introduction

This is the beginning of your research proposal which gives an explanation of what you have chosen for research and gives reasons behind your choice of topic. Here, you state your research question, give a little background and state the problem statement. It is important that you keep in mind how much research has been done previously on your topic, what has not yet been researched by other scholars and what new solution will your research bring to the field of academics. If your proposal is long, you may consider structuring your introduction in sections. For instance, a section for the background information, the problem statement, your aim for the proposal and objectives as well as the significance of your research.

5) The literature review

This is the most important part of your proposal. It is the section that shows your reader that you are strongly familiar with the knowledge surrounding your research topic. It is a source of proof that you are not doing research on something other scholars have done before. The main for this section is to prove how your research will contribute to other research that has been done by other scholars in the same field. This proof is done by giving a detailed comparison with other theories and critically defending your approach.

6) The research design

In this section, you lay down a detailed plan of how you intend to carry out your research in terms of the methodology of data collection and analysis of data towards answering your research questions. For each method, you choose, give a detailed explanation for your choice in terms of validity and liability towards your research.

6) A reference list

This is the final section where you give a list of all the sources that you have cited in your proposal. A list of references is written in the format in which your instructor has given. For instance MLA & APA. Some instructors might also require you to write an annotated bibliography for your sources

In addition to the reference list, you might as well include a research schedule (Backlink to an article Writing and Planning a research schedule) that you shall use to do your research. This is important because it will keep you on your toes and help you avoid failing to meet a deadline.


Besides making a schedule, do not forget that your research will require a budget. For instance, if you are writing a research proposal that needs funding, it will be necessary if you write down a reasonable budget that is acceptable. In your budget, include the costing, justify your expenditure and the source of how you came up with the amount. Also put in mind the cost of materials you will use, any assistance you might require and travels you might make during your research.


Once you have done the above, proofread and edit your research proposal. Ensure that sentence structuring, grammar and punctuations are correct. Also ensure that you have used the instructed academic formats MLA, APA, Chicago and Harvard

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