Writing a Research Proposal: Structure and Time Schedule
When you go to university, you will ace this assignment – write a research proposal. No matter if you are a full-time student, or you are doing distance learning.
Although the general demands of any research proposal are the same, the article is aimed to give you a basic research proposal pattern. Provide more detailed information about what you need to include in every part and emphasize on most important points.
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What should be Included in My Research Proposal?
Ordinarily, every proposal writing should consist of all the key elements of the research process and should also include relevant information to assess the proposed field of study. You will need to select the topic, define the critical problem, and questions you will be covering, choose methods to reach the result. You should take into account that writing a qualitative research paper will take time.
Below you can find a table of objectives that should be completed and approximate time you should try to follow while writing every section.
What is Your Research Proposal Used for?
The main goals of your research proposal are:
to highlight the importance of your research topic;
to show the readers that you have enough knowledge, experience, and plan to follow while completing it.
Writing a good research proposal will also open your potential as a researcher to your university teachers and colleagues.
How Long Should My Research Proposal Be?
The length of your paper should depend on your research problem and the type of proposal writing. While Ph.D. dissertations and proposals should be comprehensive and detailed, Master’s and bachelor’s thesis proposal can have just a few pages to meet the requirements.
We also should take into account that the proposal’s structure shortly rewords a dissertation thesis.
1) Purpose of a research proposal
As the primary goal of every project is to assure somebody that your proposed research question is worth for more detailed investigation. If you are a student, you have to write a research proposal to get your work plan approved by your teacher or committee. At the same time, academics mostly write research to receive funding for their research projects.
2) What should be included in my research proposal?
All research proposals differ according to the research question and degree level. But some general parts should be included in every research paper.
Not taking into account the area of your research paper, the title should be both informative and concise. Readers have to understand the research question, and they also should be interested enough to read the whole thesis or dissertation. The proposal also should be simple enough to arise during web-search related to your research question.
For instance, instead of phrases “The analysis of” and “An examination of the…” you would better use brief, but the informative title as “The Negative Impact of Smoking on Body Functions.”
2. Summarize the Proposal in Your Abstract
The abstract summarizes the problem of your proposal and includes solutions, objectives, and planned funding requirements. As for the research design requirements, the word “Abstract” should be placed at the top of the page and write the text precisely below the word “Abstract” without making the paragraph. The length of your abstract has to be around 150-250 words, depending on the research topic.
3. Research Questions
An appropriate research question states the purpose and problem of your work and has the following features:
1) Relevant to the topic of your study.
2) Focused on important issues.
3) Researchable in all degrees.
4) Specific enough to answer accurately to the problem.
4. List Keywords that will Come Up in Your Proposal
Picking the right keywords will guarantee that readers can find your proposal in search of systems and benefit from that. That is why your keywords should be closely related to the topic, main points, and terms of your research topic. You can use both single words and phrases of 2-4 words as keywords.
5. Include a Table of Contents
A short master’s or bachelor’s degree proposal usually doesn’t need a table of contents because of its length. But longer research proposals should include it on the third page, stating every section of your plan. Deciding on leaving out content table, you should also check the requirements of the institution you’re applying to. Some very comprehensive proposals should also have figures, tables, and charts.
6. Move into Your Introduction
Writing the introduction, you have to answer the questions: why should we conduct this research, and what new problem does this work raise?
The introduction should have the next sections:
1) Statement of the Problem;
2) The goal of Research;
3) Significance of Research;
4) Importance and Background.
To prove that your work should be continued you have to state the research problem. Give the evidence of your expertise in the area, and define the main ideas that will be used in the proposed research.
8. Write a Literature Review Section to Contextualize Your Research
Demonstrate awareness of past and current researches, which are the groundwork, and emphasize that your study research will make a significant and unique contribution to this research field. The literature review shouldn’t be involved in the list summary, but have to be written in a story-like format.
9. Research Design and Methods
This central section of a research proposal has to give the information about the methods and approaches you use in your study research and also can be called “Methodology”.
Give a full description of your proposed study and refer to the experts in this research field. It’s reasonable to have some specific subsections as
“Research Design”, “Analysis Methods”, “Instrumentation”, “Applicability” and so on. You should also offer alternative methods, underlining on high effectiveness of your approach. The main section also should include a realistic detailed timetable and material you need to complete the research.
10. List References
All the references you provide in stating the research problem and hypothesis should also be included in a separate section under the name “References” or “List of references”.
11. Identify the Personnel
This part is used only in detailed research proposals and contains information about the main contributors to the area of your research. Underline also biographical data and the expertise of each contributor.
12. Include Appendices, if Necessary
Appendices are used, like supporting documents that are important to understand the proposal better. Readers can switch and read them later.
13. Project a Budget
Use justifying information to indicate projected costs to meet funding sources and state the items being covered by other financial references.
14. Describe Relevant Institutional Resources
If your investigation is based on an institutional background, include an additional section about offers of your institution. It can be individual exploring facilities or services, contributions that can affect your research results.
15. Plan of Work & Schedule
Take Several Months to Prepare a Research Proposal
On average, the preparation of the paper can take around several months, don’t wait until a couple of days before the deadline.
Prewrite during Phase 1
This phase takes 14 to 26 weeks until the ending date.
Check the requirements of organizations you want to apply your proposal. Prepare a short version of your project, present it to colleagues, and receive feedback.
You have to research the background of the problem, define the research approach, research questions.
Perform Early Administrative Tasks in Phase 2
During 13-20 weeks before the deadline, you should find sources of information (experts, organization, and literature), begin forming budget, and request transcripts.
Focus Your Writing and Administration in Phase 3
8 and 13 weeks should be dedicated to the writing of framework, research question, and research design, completing the draft, connecting organizations, asking for feedback, and revising your draft.
Revisions and Proofreading Your Proposal during Phase 4
Once your project is completed, you need to carry out revisions and proofreading. 5 weeks to several days before the deadline, revise your plan to meet the requirements of incorporate adviser suggestions, collect materials, review and finalize your proposal. After revision with colleagues, print your final copy and submit it.
If you think that it is better when a professional check your paper, you can turn to online writing services for help. It is possible to check one or several sections, check the relevance of the context to the topic. Or if you need guidance, such service can be beneficial.
16. Implications and Contribution to Knowledge
To finalize your proposal, you should emphasize the contribution of your research study to existing works on the field. You can also give a list of applications.
17. Reference List or Bibliography
All the references and literature you give in your research proposal should also be included in a separate section under the name “References” or “Bibliography”.
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