Research Proposal Guidelines: How To Craft A Professional Piece Of Writing

Research Proposal Guidelines: How To Craft A Professional Piece Of Writing

A research proposal is one of the most important things that you will write. They are mostly completed as part of a PhD program. In fact, to enter a postgraduate program, you often have to submit a research proposal along with your application.

The research you want to conduct in your area of study will become your labor of love. You will be spending a ton of time on it, so your proposal must be approved in order to start something you are truly passionate about. It must be crafted to sound as professional as possible.

A good research proposal:

  • Is formatted correctly;
  • Is not vague;
  • Touches on a unique and original idea;
  • Begins to develop an interesting research question;
  • Shows your expertise in the subject area;
  • Shows you know how to conduct good research;
  • Includes some references from initial research.

As you can see, there are many components and aspects to writing up a solid research proposal, and it’s very important that you do it well and correctly.

So let’s get down to it. Here are the specifics…

What Should a Good Research Proposal Contain?

Every school or program is different so you will need to check with the one you are applying to make sure you are meeting their guidelines. This is very important. We are providing some key insights that are general but necessary. There may be some additional information your school needs in the proposal besides what we discuss here.

The Introduction

Just like any academic piece of writing, there needs to be a part at the beginning that is a good lead-in to the main ideas you want to share. It should have an impact and include the subject of a research. By the end of the introduction, the reader should know the central research problem and why it is important. The introduction should be clear and passionate.

An Abstract

An abstract is a summary of your proposal. It should be no more than a couple of sentences. Try and keep the length to about 100 words or less. It is different from an introduction because it is very concise.

A Literature Review

Related and prior studies have most likely been conducted in your subject area. These need to be mentioned. The point of the literature review is to acknowledge the existing work out there and point out the gap(s) you will be addressing in your work.

The literature review gives you the opportunity to challenge previously published work and spark some intrigue and interest for the work you want to compose. Follow the 5 C’s to craft a professional literature review within your research proposal:

  • Cite the pieces you are using;
  • Compare the arguments, theories, and research methodologies;
  • Contrast the arguments, theories, and research methodologies;
  • Critique (and critically analyze) the literature;
  • Connect the literature to your intended research and investigation.

Specifics about Your Research

Since you aren’t actually doing the research yet, this section may be the most difficult. It needs to be clear and well-organized. The reader needs to leave this section knowing that what you propose is worth pursuing. Make sure to include the research design and methods. Specify exactly what you will do and how you will do it. Don’t forget to include why it is important. Admit any pitfalls, challenges, or barriers you may encounter and how you will attempt to overcome them.

The Purpose

What are the potential implications your research will bring to the field? In what ways will your research define, redefine, or impact future studies or policies? These are some of the questions that should be examined towards the end of your research proposal.

Again, stress the importance of your desired research. Many research proposals tend to coincide with a grant application. If you are asking for money, it has to be clear where the money is going and why it’s going there.

The Bibliography

In the very end of the research proposal, it’s necessary to include a bibliography. Identify the most relevant works for your topic, including those mentioned in your literature review.

It is understood that your research may take a new direction or be modified slightly based on what you encounter when you start working. You cannot predict exactly how things will go, but in your research proposal, you have to get as close as you can to doing so.

Crafting a professional research proposal is complex and can be difficult. There are many pieces to be put together in a correct way in order to receive approval. Although you now may have a better and more complete understanding of some guidelines, don’t feel like you have to do it all alone. A research proposal writing service e.g. is a good resource for help when looking to write up something so important and complex.