Guide to Writing a Strong Research Proposal

Before you get into writing a research proposal, you need to understand what it is. A research proposal describes what’s investigated, its importance, and how the research gets conducted. 

When it comes to how a research proposal gets written, it usually differs between various fields. Nonetheless, they have some common features all around. The elements that are contained at least in the research proposal include the cover page, the introduction, literature review, the research design, and the reference list. 

Different variation occurs when it comes to naming these different sectors, but they remain the same when it comes to the goals achieved. This article will be looking at a basic template for research proposals and explaining everything needed in each part. 

  1. The purpose of the research proposal

For most academics, the purpose of writing their research proposals is to get funds for their projects. As a student, you are to write a research proposal to approve your dissertation or thesis plan. 

The main characteristic of a research proposal is to persuade someone. These may be funders, supervisors, educational institutions. You want to convince them that the project you’re having is worthwhile. 

When writing your research, you should aim for relevance, context, approach, and feasibility. 

When it comes to the length of your proposal, it usually varies. When you look at a bachelor’s thesis proposal or a master’s thesis proposal, they are usually just a few pages. On the other hand, Ph.D. dissertation proposals and research funding proposals are usually very detailed and long. The proposal’s structure looks like a shortened thesis, but it lacks the discussion and results in sections. 

  1. Title Page

As compared to a thesis or dissertation, a research proposal has a title page. The title page includes:

  • The title of your project proposed
  • Your name
  • The name of the supervisor
  • The department and the institution

As you are writing your proposal, make sure to check in with your funding body or department if there are any specific requirements in terms of formatting required by the funding body or department. 

If your writing proposal is lengthy, make sure you include a table of contents and an abstract. The abstract helps the reader to navigate easily through the document. 

  1. Introduction

When beginning your proposal, the initial part is pitching for your project. Make sure that you explain briefly what you are trying to do and why you are trying to it. The introduction section should introduce the topic, the background, and context of the research, outline your problem statement and outline the research questions. Depending on the size of your research, if it’s long. You should have separate sections with a more detailed background and context information, the problem statement, the aims, objectives, and the research’s importance. 

  1. Literature review 

As you write your research proposal, it is important to show the reader that you are conversant with the topic. Having a good and strong literature review shows the reader that your research’s foundation gets based on knowledge. It also sets you apart as someone doing something different and not repeating what others have done. 

  1. Research methods and design 

After completing your literature review, it is essential to state your main objectives again. The literature review brings the project back to focus. The methodology or research design should be responsible for describing the approach that will be followed overall and also the practical steps to be followed.


To finish your research strongly, you can state the implications of your research for practice or theory. Do not also forget to include the reference list or the bibliography in your research proposal. There are many resources online that you can refer to. And if you do not know where to begin or go, you can consult your lecturer.

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