What is Research Proposal

What is Research Proposal

What is Research Proposal
Ashma Shrestha

A research proposal is a detailed research project strategy you must submit before beginning the investigation.

A research proposal describes the nature and scope of your proposed or future research. It is intended for an academic audience, such as your mentor or another academic with a comparable subject background. By thinking through the complete research project from beginning to end, you can identify critical concerns with the project's viability.

During postgraduate education, a proposal is usually submitted before beginning research for a final-year project and before or during doctoral courses. A bid can also be submitted as part of a financial project application.

Defined, it is your strategy for the work you intend to do. All research proposals are designed to convince someone how and why your proposed project is worthwhile.

You will need to justify and explain your selections in your proposal. Always consider the reasons for your preferences and why they are the most acceptable options accessible to you and your project.

Purpose of Research Proposal

  • Persuade the reader of your research's relevance and significance to your field and its originality. This is commonly done in the introduction and the literature review.
  • Show that you are connected with the subject, that you comprehend the current state of research on the topic, and that your ideas have a solid academic foundation, 
  • Show that you are connected with the subject, comprehend the current state of research on the topic and that your ideas have a solid academic foundation. You must explicitly defend all of your decisions.
  • Show why your project is reasonable and viable within the realistic limits of the course, timetables, institution, or funds.
  • Suggest a feasible method for carrying out the requested research project.


Structure of Research Proposal

Research proposals are typically between one and five pages long (600-1,500 words). Proposals for more extensive initiatives, like a doctoral dissertation or a request for financial support, are typically significantly lengthier and more in-depth.

Keep in mind that the point of your research proposal is to describe in detail the scope and nature of your proposed study and its intended outcomes, methodology, and significance.

The specific structure of a research proposal will change depending on the field and the level of study. Still, all proposals need an introduction, literature review, research plan, and reference list.

Following general guidelines can be utilised when creating your research proposal for a dissertation or PhD application:

Title of the Research

The proposal should include an official title; however, it is expected that this will change as the research develops, so this can be a working title.

The proposal, like the thesis or doctoral dissertation, will need a title page that typically includes the following:

  • Project Title Under Consideration
  • Your Name Here
  • Name of your supervisor
  • Your Organization and Division


If you want your proposal to be taken seriously, the opening section needs to do an excellent job selling your project. It explains the context of the study and is often organised from broad to specific, with your research question or hypotheses at the end of the range.

It should typically include the following:

  • Topic introduction
  • Problem statement
  • Research questions
  • Background and context

If your proposal is lengthy, you should divide the introduction, context, problem description, goals, and significance into sections.

Literature Review

This section provides a more thorough evaluation and summary of prior research relevant to your proposed subject. It serves as a direct link between your study's context and importance. This section aims to demonstrate the significance of your planned study within the area of inquiry and highlight what makes your research unique.

Your ability to critically evaluate the relevant literature will also demonstrate that you are not merely restating the work of others. You should also include an explanation of the importance of your research here.

In conclusion, briefly discuss the most critical takeaways from the analysed literature. Many researchers utilise the "five Cs" framework for preparing literature reviews since it is one of the most effective ways to organise a review of the relevant prior research in a specific field.

  • Cite
  • Compare
  • Contrast
  • Critique
  • Connect

Research Objective & Question

The objectives and questions of the study should direct your investigation.

Your research objectives should reflect the study's reasons and the precise outcomes you want to find. How you plan to accomplish your research's goals and what information you hope to uncover should be reflected in the questions you ask.


If instructed to do so by your university or funding organisation, you can declare your research aims and questions after the introduction (before the summary of the proposal) or at the end of the literature review.

Research Design & Methodology

After analysing the relevant literature, it is essential to concentrate on your project by restating its primary goals. The study design and methods section should outline the strategy and procedures you'll use to answer your research questions. You must also show that the project can be completed within the allotted time and other criteria.

The proposal's methodology should detail the steps that will be taken to complete the study. Sample, procedures, data collection/analysis, and ethical considerations should all be described and justified here.

When outlining your methodology, be careful to include the following details:

  • Determine how you will conduct the research and what tools you'll use to analyse the data in light of your central research question.
  • Explain what you hope to achieve and how you intend to spend your time as you use the strategies you have chosen.
  • Remember that the methods section is more than just a list of tasks. Because you have already chosen these methods, you should now defend them as the most appropriate means of investigation. Defining this for us would be helpful.
  • Last but not least, before beginning your research design, ensure you've thought about and acknowledged any potential problems.

Knowledge Implications

One way to ensure your proposal ends on a high note is to discuss and highlight the research's possible consequences.

Though you will know the outcome of your study once you've completed it, you should have a good concept of what your research will add to the area before you begin. You may argue that this is the most critical part of your research proposal because it explains why your study is required.

Using your study's stated goals as a foundation, discuss how the findings will inform future research, practice, theory, policies, processes, etc. Restate your intended contribution and why it is crucial.


Describes the phases of the research project in a timeline, spreadsheet, or tabular format, along with the due dates for the completion of each phase or task. Any obstacles that you expect to face should be mentioned.


A thorough explanation of the principles of your research work should be included in the proposal. It makes you consider your plans in great detail and convenient terms.


You need to include a complete budget if you're seeking research funding. This displays your projected costs for each component of your project. Verify the costs that the financing source will agree to pay.


In this part, you should summarise your study proposal and reaffirm your research goal.

Including a couple of your predicted results in your research proposal's conclusion is one of the most remarkable ways to do so. When you get to this phase, you have to say what decisions and points you plan to make. 

Based on your research thus far, your reader will know that these are anticipated conclusions and that these expectations will probably change once the entire study has been conducted.


Every source you used in your research proposal must be appropriately cited, along with a complete list of references. To be sure you are citing and referencing correctly. Please refer to your department's reference guidelines.

Every source used in the research proposal should be in the reference list. The reference list and in-text citations should adhere to the concerned institutions referencing standards.


Before submitting your research proposal, it is crucial to redraft, edit, and proofread your research proposal.  Before submitting it to the reviewers, seek criticism and writing tips from a friend, coworker, or supervisor.

Consider using expert proofreading services to eliminate grammar mistakes, review your proposal's structure, and improve your adherence to the required academic style if you want to increase your chances of gaining approval.

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