Before you can start writing an important research paper, such as an MA thesis or a PhD dissertation, you’re required
to write a proposal for a research paper. The document sometimes required during the admission process at some
graduate schools. If you intend to conduct an independent research and you’re trying to get it funded, you also need
to write a research proposal before you tackle the main project.
This proposal is a coherent summary of the research you propose doing. It sets the main issues and questions you
intend to tackle. It will also outline the area or areas of study where your research belongs to, referring to the
current accumulation of knowledge and recent research regarding the issue. Finally, your proposal will provide
convincing arguments regarding the uniqueness and necessity of your proposed research.
Okay. Now you know what a research proposal is. The only question is: how to write it?
That’s what we’re here for today! This guide will take you through the process of research proposal writing.
Basic Q&A. Proposal for Research Paper
As any other student, you have many questions about this project. You’ve never written such a paper before, and the
only thing you know is that it’s not the same as the standard research papers you had experience with. It’s an
entirely new, more complex project and you don’t know how to deal with.
Relax. We’re here to answer your questions.
- What’s the purpose of a research proposal?
When you’re about to start working on a serious research project, such as a PhD dissertation, you have to
that you have the capacity to communicate complex ideas in unique, critical, and clear manner. In addition,
research proposal will help you match your interests regarding the research with your supervisor or mentor.
- How long should it be?
The research proposal is definitely longer than a usual essay, but it’s shorter than the actual research project
will follow. If you’re looking for a direct answer, research proposals usually take 2,5 – 3k words.
However, the word count will ultimately depend on your topic, as well as on the requirements of your school.
- Why do I need a mentor?
It’s nearly impossible for a graduate student to know everything there is to know about the topic, and convey their
ideas for research through in a well-written and well-formatted proposal. The mentor provides proper guidance through
the process. Yes. This means that your mentor will probably ask you to revise certain aspects of your working
version. However, that collaboration will lead you towards a better proposal and overall research.
What Should the Research Proposal Include?
Basically, the research paper proposal is consisted of the following chapters:
|Title||This will be just a proposal for a title of the research paper at this stage. Further on, you’ll be able
to revise the title if your proposal gets accepted.
|Abstract||Here, you’ll provide a brief and straightforward statement of the intended research. It may take one or
few sentences for you to set out the problem you intend to address.
|Research Questions||In this chapter, you will set out the main research questions that you’ll tackle during the process of
development. It’s important to make one or two main questions a priority, and then derive several
secondary research questions.
|Research Context||What’s the current situation in the area of study your research belongs to? What’s the state of knowledge
on your topic? What do recent debates focus on?
|Methodology||Will you conduct library research or will you engage in field work? Will you interview people or use
surveys? In this part of the research proposal, you should clearly explain what methods you’ll use.
|Significance of Research||Why should the mentor or organization invest their time to help you conduct this research? How will the
academic community benefit from it? In this part of the research proposal, you should shed light on the
way your research will add to the current state of knowledge in the relevant field of study.
|Bibliography||Finally, you’ll provide well-formatted citations of the most important works tackling your topic. Don’t
forget to handle the formatting in accordance with Chicago, Harvard, APA, or MLA style, depending on the
instructions provided by your university.
Tips: How to Write a Proposal of Research Paper
We’ll be honest: that won’t be easy. The proposal is the first stage of the most important research project you’ve
ever worked on. However, you’ve come this far with your studies, so the one thing you can be sure of is that you can
This is the strategy that will help you handle the project step by step:
- Make Sure You Know Enough
Before you can start researching and writing, you have to understand the current literature related to your
topic. Google Scholar is a great place to start. However, it’s also important for you to explore the library of
your university. You’ll find plenty of works you can learn from.
Before you start the reading process, you’ll have a general idea of the topic you want to tackle. During the
reading, you’ll form a more specific idea that will provide unique value to the area of study. Also
take notes while you read!
- Make Your Outline
Build a template that will follow the format proposed by your college or university. Then, discuss it with your
mentor and ask if you should include something else in your project.
- Keep the Communication with Your Mentor Alive
The mentor won’t keep chasing you, asking questions about your project and offering their assistance. You’re the
one who needs to initiate contact, so find out what their working hours are and contact the mentor whenever you
need advice or assistance.