How to write an effective research proposal?
The research proposal should be able to justify the need to research a problem and also give the feasible ways of performing the study. There are certain guidelines for every research problem. Literature review is an important element of a research proposal, and it should be comprehensive. The proposal should justify that there is need to perform the given research. Rationale, exhaustive methodology, a statement of predicted results, and gains obtained from the research’s completion are the key objectives of a research proposal.
Importance of writing a research proposal
- Your professor would want to assess your skills in conducting an elaborate research study, and hence creating a research proposal is important.
- You will also perform a thorough literature review to demonstrate that a research problem needs more research or an existing research problem has been answered ineffectively.
- You will also be able to enhance your general research and writing skills.
- Understand the importance of structuring your research proposal to attain the research objective
- Bring a sense of curiosity and to ask the question “why” in developing the research.
PhD Writing Assistance – Topic Proposal
Key components of a research proposal
- The objective of the research proposal should be to provide the readers with adequate details to evaluate the usefulness of your proposed study. As said earlier, an extensive literature review should be conducted in the research proposal, but findings and analysis of the findings are not included. Ensure that your proposal is succinct and compelling.
- Ask yourself what you are going to achieve and what your study is going to contribute. Besides, contemplate on the underlying reason for doing the research.
- Then proceed with the methodology of your research. Ensure that what you aspire to do is feasible.
Don’t fall in the trap of these common mistakes!
- A research proposal should be brief and should not deviate from the topic. There should be a clear-cut direction for the proposal
- While you are researching for appropriate content for your research paper, ensure that you give appropriate citations.
- The proposal should be explanatory enough in guiding the reader in showing in what ways and how it will address the issue.
- The argument must be clear and convincing. You should persuade the committee as to why your study should be funded.
- Though you may have conducted extensive research and have lot of points to cover, if your grammar and writing style is not good, it won’t be beneficial for you. The committee will expect a lot from your proposal too.
- Ensure that you know how to address the key issues at hand without being overwhelmed by small issues.
Starting the proposal writing process
The length of the research proposal generally differs. It can be between 8 and 35 pages. There should references too. It’s always best to ask the supervisor to provide any specific guidelines before proceeding with the proposal. You can ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the study?
- Why I should concentrate on the topic’s significance?
- What issues will the study address?
- In what way it will add to the research already present on the topic?
- How should I set a crisp plan, and what steps should I take to implement the plan within the given time?
A good research proposal should convey your expertise over the topic and prove your inquisitiveness in performing the study. The readers should be eager to read the full research once they go through the research proposal.
Sections in research proposal
A research proposal is the initial step in getting approval to write a PhD dissertation. Here, the introduction is an important part. After going through the introduction, your readers should know your coverage of the proposal and also should be enthusiastic in learning about your study’s possible results.
The introduction can be between two and four paragraphs. You should answer questions including what is the pivotal research problem, what is the subject pertinent to the research problem, what methods are relevant to assess the research problem, and what is the overall significance of the research.
Background and Significance
The context of your proposal is elucidated here. You also explain why the context is significant. This can be combined with your introduction part too or you can build a dedicated section for it. Write this with the aim that you are informing the readers about a topic which they don’t know. You should not cover everything you know about the topic here; just explain the objectives of your research.
- You can be more informative in this section compared to the introduction section.
- State your study’s rationale and appropriately state why it is worth carrying out.
- Give a clear idea of the issues to be solved by your research. Ensure that you keep a track of how your study develops on earlier assumptions about the research concern.
- Set out the methods that you have intended to apply for performing your research. Make sure that you are using the appropriate primary sources and show their contribution to your research.
- Explain the proposal’s boundaries so as to offer a clear direction. You can also state what will not be included in your study. You can also offer definitions of important concepts.
You have to demonstrate that your research is original as well as innovative to the readers in this section. You have to bring your research under the context of what is being presently explored. You should also think about the questions other researchers have posed and how they have carried out the research. Finally, you should explain your comprehension of their findings and then future recommendations.
The literature review should be packed with information and should be wisely structured. The reader should be able to comprehend the principle arguments driving your proposed study. You can classify the literature review as concepts. When you are working on the conceptual categories, you will realize where you are making repetitions and hence refrain from the same.
Research Design and Methods
This section must be clearly written and should be structured with a flow. Here the main aim is to persuade the reader in understanding that the methods will offer the way to effectively understand the potential outcomes. Your design and methods should match the particular objectives of your study.
- Don’t limit your research design interpretation with only the methods other researchers have implemented. You can also use methods of data collection that have not been applied but have the potential to use. Being specific in your methodological approaches is the key.
- For better explanation of the methods applied, you have to tell about the research process you will take up and the means through which you will interpret the outcomes obtained. You can tell how you will utilize your time while making use of the methods.
- Instead of viewing the methodology as simply a list of activities, view it as an argument that explains how these activities contribute to the research problem. Be clear in your approach.
- You should also forecast and acknowledge any possible barriers in performing your research design and state how you are going to solve them. There may be bottlenecks in the methods you choose, so carefully address them without making your supervisor to do the task.
Preliminary Suppositions and Implications
You should take care in discussing about the evaluation process and potential implications. You have to clearly lay out how your research will contribute to existing knowledge. It can be even through revision or adding more information. You should also discuss how the estimated results will have an impact on future research.
Regarding the potential implications of your research study, ask what recommendations for future research could emerge from the potential results of the study, what is the implication of the outcomes to practitioners in the real scenario, in what way the research contribute to addressing various problems, will there be any area that will be impacted by the research, etc.
The conclusion explains the significance of your proposal and gives a succinct outline of the total study. Two paragraphs would be more than enough for this section. You have to highlight in these paragraphs why the research problem is good enough in contributing to the broader scope of the research, why your proposed study is different, and how it should proceed with existing knowledge.
The reader should understand why the study should be carried out and the specific objective of the study. The reader should also make out why the specific research designs and methods are implemented. Besides, the potential implications arising from your proposed study should also be discerned by the reader .The reader should also have a grasp of how your study suits the broader context.
Citing sources that you have applied in your research is a means of acknowledging the authors. You can either have it as a reference section or a bibliography section. While the reference section lists only the literature that you actually utilized in your proposal, the bibliography section lists everything you utilized in your proposal. In both the cases, this section should be a testament of your thorough working on the research. It should also demonstrate that you are not plagiarizing. Cited works should always apply a standard guideline that adheres to the writing style suggested by the domain of your course. Your professor may even tell the style. This section will not generally contribute to the overall page length of your research proposal.