How to write a research proposal
A research proposal is an academic document submitted before conducting the research. The paper is meant to give the reader important details of the research project; like ideas that the researcher intends to investigate, methods to be used among others. In many instances, the paper gives strong support for the project and seeks financial assistance from the reader.
Project proposals vary depending on the university and area of interest. However, there are guidelines that should help you write an effective proposal:
It is the first section of a research proposal. Should contain your personal details; the names, academic title, contact information and university details. The second part should have the title of the planned research project. Choose the words for the title carefully to present a compelling research subject. The title should be brief and descriptive, ideally ten words. It should contain only words describing important details of the proposed research project.
Include on the title page, a time-frame of activities for the project. You should be as realistic as possible with your timelines. Follow it with names of the university and the supervisor you have chosen. Use this section to mention any other collaborators you hope to bring on board to your project.
Make this part concise. All you need is to convince the reader in about 300 words that the project is worthwhile and give them reasons to believe you. Include the research questions, hypotheses and the rationale. You can also discuss briefly the methods that you plan to use.
Meant to discuss the background of the research problem. Begin by stating the research problem. This part might prove tricky, and therefore you need to pay more attention to it. A poorly framed research problem is likely to give you difficult time throughout your proposal writing. It requires creativity, think critically of the area you want to research on.
The introduction section sets the stage for you to present your research question in a manner that convinces the reader of its importance. Give the rationale for your proposed project and give a brief description of what you hope to address with your research. If you have hypotheses, which you should, include them in this section.
Be clear in this section. It is where the readers get to know more than the title of your project and try to understand its relevance. It is another opportunity to hook the readers.
Should enable the reader to get a conceptual framework so that they can understand the research question and methodology better. Demonstrate to your readers that you are knowledgeable in the area and is aware of the literature that covers your research question.
Give details on how your proposed research brings a new dimension to the area. Use the existing literature to give your literature review more weight. If possible, give a summary of the books you are quoting to give credit to those who set the stage for your proposed study.
The section should show how you will respond to your research question. It should give details of how you plan to address the issues raised in the question and the techniques you intend to use. Show the data collection, analysis and interpretation methods you intend to use and a brief description of the instruments. You should be realistic and show how feasible the methods are.
The methodology section should contain enough information that enables the readers to understand the activities you plan to carry out as you conduct your research. The information should be sufficient such that another person can follow them and do the research.
Give your expectations of the proposed research. You might not have the exact outcomes of the research yet, but you should have a rough idea of what you expect to achieve. Your expectations should be realistic and within your research question and methodologies. It is the section you can use to summarize the importance of the proposed study.
In summary, a good research proposal should be written in simple language and should focus on making the reader understand the proposed research. Use the six steps to guide you as write your next proposal:
- Title page.
- Literature review.