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How do I Write a Research Proposal?

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  • Written By: Svetlana Arutyunyan
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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The first step to writing a research proposal is developing the topic to be researched. You should think about a topic that interests you, a topic that would further the understanding of a particular subject. Usually, the purpose of a research proposal is to ultimately receive funding for the research. Thus, you need to ensure that the proposal is persuasive enough to warrant such funding.

When writing a research proposal, you ought to be able to clearly answer why you are undertaking the project, why it is worth being studied, and how you plan to accomplish the project. Someone reviewing the proposal should clearly be able to form answers to these questions. That is why it is important to write clearly, with impact, and to convince the reader that you have a solid grasp of the topic.

The title of the topic should be concise. It should also be catchy and evoke interest in the proposal. The title of the research proposal is written on the first page, called the title page, on the upper left corner. Also on the title page are the author’s name, and the university they are affiliated with, which is centered in the middle of the page.

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Following the title page is a short and clear abstract that is no more than a paragraph in length and summarizes the main ideas of the research proposal. It usually spans at approximately 120 words. The introduction of the proposal follows the abstract. It provides a background on the research subject, demonstrates the unexplored areas of the particular subject, warranties the exploration of the proposed topic, and, most importantly, contains the hypothesis.

The hypothesis suggests a correlation between two variables, and is the main aspect of the research proposal that you are trying to prove or disprove through the experiment. In the introduction, following the hypothesis, describe why you are studying the particular topic, how you plan to undertake it, and reiterate the need to study the topic.

After the introduction, there should be a comprehensive literature review. The purpose of the literature review is to give credit to those who have already studied the subject and have laid the foundation for your work. The purpose is also to lay out what is already known on the subject, and expose the areas that could benefit from more study.

Next, the research proposal contains the methodology by which the research will be carried out. The methodology section needs to be so detailed that another researcher would be able to emulate the experiment. It needs to specify the means for obtaining the qualitative or quantitative data that will be used in the research, what instruments will be used, who the participants will be, where the research will take place, and how long it should take.

Then, a research proposal needs to briefly state how it will collect the results from the methodology, and how this step would help prove or disprove the hypothesis. Finally, it contains a conclusion that summarizes the experiment and ties the hypothesis to the methodology and results of the research.

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