Research proposals have a singular aim- convincing the parties concerned about the capabilities of the writer and the ultimate success of the proposed research work. Knowing how to write a resounding research proposal is thus of the utmost importance.
It is not farfetched or odd to assume that the readers of your proposal are busy, impatient or quite skeptical of your abilities. And, it is always safe to think that the evaluator will not make any special consideration about your proposal or give you’re the benefit of the doubt. Proposal evaluators have to deal with several other proposals, each vying for attention and consideration in its own particular way. While you need to adhere to the general research proposal paper template, it is through the structure and the content where you need to grab a reader’s attention and answer the question they have in mind.
This write-up intends to dwell into the practical details of the writing and developmental process of the most common research paper proposal outlines. It also includes a sample proposal layout or overview with tips on abstract writing or an impressive research proposal.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Essentials Of Designing A Research Paper Proposal
Students and professors from across the globe define a dissertation or research proposal to be a prelude or initial version of research work.
Researchers from Harvard University, however, suggest that proposal writing is itself a specific genre, albeit with similarities with the actual research, and has its own particular context.
Whether a writer is following the Harvard outline or the APA research proposal format, one must focus on the following essentials.
- Developing the right structure
The structure of a research proposal is a vital aspect in determining its impression upon the reader. The order in which you deliver the essential points, how closely you followed the proposed template and the overall neatness & formatting – everything plays a significant role.
- It is important to remember that the reader expects to come across the desired and essential information as early and quickly as possible.
- A well-defined structure and strong & succinct paragraphs are thus necessary. Keep the elaboration reserved for the subsequent paras.
- Proper structure is vital for those readers who do not know what is the purpose of a research proposal
- Highlighting the main topic in details
As mentioned already, evaluators need to go through several proposals and can be skeptic about the research capabilities of most students.
- You need to inform them early on about your topic, research question, central argument and the hypothesis if any.
- While delivering background details is necessary, many tend to overdo it making the content vague and unnecessarily long.
- State all vital information about your research questions, approach, aims and objectives right at the onset. Add the necessary background details in the following paragraphs.
- Distinguish between the research questions
In some instances, research will involve answering multiple interconnected questions. Many writers have the odd tendency to present all those different questions neutrally, without identifying the central question or relating the other problems with it.
Relating the central question with the subsidiary one does not just help the readers but the writer too. Connecting all the questions can help the writer refine their primary argument or develop a more accurate research hypothesis.
- Present the topic in one particular way
It is not a wise decision to present a topic in a myriad of different ways or present multiple versions of it. This can confuse the evaluator and may deter him from thinking positively about the proposal.
When elaborating on the topic of the research question in the subsequent sections of the proposal, remember to stick to your original formulation and definition. All elaborations must be coherent and well-organized.
- Convince them about your contribution
Once a writer has accomplished the challenging task of delivering a clear, concise and compelling statement about their research topic & approach, it is then time to convince readers about the contributions of the research.
The research implication section is where many writers try to deliver a concise but strong statement about the benefits and impacts of the research. Show how the study contributes to the field of research, fills a gap in the existing research literature and reveals essential information about the topic.
- Literature reviews are critical
A literature review is an essential component of any research work as it helps a reader understand the research work from a broader context.
- Literature reviews are a critical part of any research paper. Add a paragraph where you add crucial analyses of relevant literature.
- Briefly elaborate on every one of them in a well-organized manner and make sure to relate them with your proposed work.
- Highlight all the areas where your research might contribute and mention them briefly and cohesively.
- Always make the reader aware of the topic before mentioning any background details, analyzing other literature or stating your contributions.
- Relate WHAT you will do with HOW you will do it
If you go through examples of research proposal paper on the Web, you are bound to find many where there exists a distinct disconnect between the WHAT and the HOW. This brings down the overall quality of the content and makes it harder for an evaluator.
- It would be best if you mention your approach towards the research problem, intended methodology, information sources and the theoretical framework of your analyses. But do so with the topic and questions in mind.
- Mention how you want to dissect the outcomes and analyze the information, in light of the research question and hypotheses.
All such information must be matched with the research topic in as transparent a manner as possible. It will help readers understand the researcher’s intent and ideas better.
An excellent research proposal paper must deliver specific details about all the above critical aspects of research.
So, to sum it all up, make sure that while writing a research proposal, your write-up contains sufficient information about the following questions:
- What research is being carried out, what are its specific requirements and what is the proposed timeline to completion?
- How is the proposed research in line with the writer’s academic requirements or the sponsor’s interests?
- What are the implications of the said research: will it contribute to the existing body of research on the subject, help students, scholars & future researchers and the society?
- What work has been done already in this area of study?
- How does the researcher plan to carry out their research, prove or disprove the proposed hypothesis and achieve targeted objectives?
- How will the writer analyze the results and observations?
- What makes the writer suitable for the job?
Irrespective of the research proposal paper layout, every proposal content must answer these questions in the most transparent & concise manner possible.
Now, if you check out samples of dissertation proposals at our website or anywhere else on the Internet, you will see that most proposals vary in the sections they include.
Some proposals combine individual key sections, while others break them down. But the constituents of each section remain mostly the same.
Nevertheless, here’s a look at a general sample research proposal format.
The General Research Paper Proposal Layout
Here’s a sample research paper proposal outline that lays down some handy writing tips.
Present a tentative title for the proposed research work. The working title should convey the research question and your approach towards it.
- Statement of the problem
In this self-explanatory section, you need to identify the problem or the knowledge gap you will address in the research.
Deliver the problem statements in a paragraph format and always begin with the research problem. Reserve the rest of the paragraph for the background details.
- Justification or purpose of the research
Here writers need to explain the purpose of the proposed research work concisely. Write the research objectives in short.
As your dissertation proposal is a prelude to the actual research, the outcomes and objectives will be tentative.
- Literature Review
A vital section, the literature review must be able to put light on all the relevant pieces of literature in the field of research under question. Literature reviews in research paper proposals allow writers to guide evaluators and future researchers towards similar research in the area.
Explain the methodological approaches you want to follow and the methods you intend to use in this section. This section must also convey information about the data collection techniques, expected outcomes and subsequent interpretation & discussions.
- Research implications
The impact and contributions of the research work find a place here. Elaborate on how your research contributes to the field of study, adds to the knowledge on the subject and fills gaps in the literature.
- Plan of work
Proposals need to include an approximate timeline of completion of each paper section along with a breakdown of the fundamental research writing blueprint. The timeline helps readers and research sponsors evaluate the feasibility of the project.
- Bibliographical References
The references must include a list of the critical texts that might contribute to the body of work. Follow the specified formatting and referencing instructions while writing the bibliographical reference.
The above research project proposal outline is followed across several prestigious institutions like Harvard, Oxford, Berkeley, etc.
Well, that brings us to the conclusion of this guide. Let’s hope the above information helps you develop a perfect research proposal that convinces any reader outright.
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