Guidelines for a Research Proposal

Guidelines for a Research Proposal

Learn complete guidelines for a research proposal that helps you to get better academic grades.

A research proposal is a formal proposal that you write and present when applying for a research grant, fellowship or another type of funding. Your research proposal may be a part of your thesis or dissertation, submitted in advance of your candidature.

In the context of an academic application, the term “research” can be defined as: “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.”


It provides an overview of the proposal and lists its main components such as research questions, methodology, etc.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research proposal. It is the introduction to your proposal and should be no longer than one page. The abstract should be written in a way that it is easy to read and understand. The structure of an excellent abstract includes:

– A clear title

– An introduction paragraph that provides background information about your topic, including why it’s important and what you hope to learn from doing this study or experiment

– A summary of your main points (usually at least three)

You may also want to consider including some additional content such as: introductory information about yourself as well as any co-investigators; any relevant literature review or literature citations; results of previous studies on similar topics; etc., depending on what is appropriate for your research proposal format.


It sets the scene by providing background information and a rationale for your project. This section must explain why this research needs to be conducted.

The Context section will set the scene by providing background information and a rationale for your project. This section must explain why this research needs to be conducted.

The first paragraph of this section should begin with ‘The importance of context…’ This statement is followed by a brief overview of existing research in the field, which serves as an introduction to your own work. You can also include information about other work being carried out in similar areas (including both published and unpublished).

Research question(s)

It provides a concise statement reflecting what you intend to investigate and the outcomes you hope to achieve. It should be clear and concise, with no ambiguity.

How do we know if our research question is a good one?

Research questions must be specific. In other words, they should be focused on a particular issue or problem, with no ambiguity. They must also be answerable so that there is something concrete that you can find out by doing your research project. A good research question has all five characteristics of being clear (or unambiguous), focused on how you will obtain the results needed to address your topic of interest, testable in terms of its validity and reliability over time, measurable in some way (quantitative or qualitative), and testable in terms of its potential practical applications/implications for society (if applicable).

Research methodology or design

It outlines the approach you will take to answer the research question, giving details about the study participants, materials and procedures used in your investigation.

Research design refers to the approach you will take to answer your research question, giving details about the study participants, materials and procedures used in your investigation.

It’s important that you explain your research design in sufficient detail so that it can be replicated by others who want to conduct similar work. You should also provide enough information for readers of your proposal to understand exactly how you will carry out your work. This might mean including:

– Theoretical framework – this is used as a conceptual model of how things are related (ie how they interact) and may include other variables that influence outcomes

– Research questions or hypotheses – these describe what you expect to find

– Sample characteristics – age group, gender mix etc; if applicable

– Measures used – eg questionnaires/interviews

Ethical considerations

It explains how you will address ethical issues, such as confidentiality and benefits/risks to participants.

The following are some of the most important ethical considerations you need to address in your research proposal:

– Consent: You must obtain written consent from all participants who take part in your study. It’s also important to ensure that participants understand what they’re being asked to do, why they’re being asked to do it, who is conducting the study and what their rights are as a participant (including how long they can withdraw from the study if they change their minds). To help make sure your consent form is clear and easy for people to understand, ask an ethics committee member or someone with expertise in writing these kinds of documents for help.

– Privacy policy: You should have an explicit privacy policy so that people know how you plan on using their information – whether it be personal information from questionnaires or recordings made during interviews – if any such material will be stored electronically or physically at all; whether data collected during this research project will be stored indefinitely or destroyed once analysis is complete; any other circumstances under which identifying information might be released without participant consent such as through court orders or subpoenas (Note: this may vary based on where you live).

Literature review

It should provide evidence that you have familiarised yourself with previous work done on your topic of interest. It demonstrates that your proposed project is not simply a repetition of existing research but that you have identified a gap in knowledge that needs to be addressed (or an area where current research is incomplete).

As a first step in writing a research proposal, it is important to familiarise yourself with the existing literature on your proposed topic. If you are unfamiliar with the literature in your area of interest, you can use databases such as Google Scholar ( or JSTOR ( Searching these databases will enable you to identify previous studies conducted on similar topics that may be useful in informing your own research design and methods.

The literature review should be an objective summary of previous work in the field and not a repetition of it. It should explain why this work was done, what methods were used and what results were obtained from each study cited by providing references to all papers cited at least once in the document, including any published abstracts or dissertations/theses where relevant; if some sources are not available online then photocopies or digital copies must be provided for examination by experts at UQ who will assess their relevance before granting access rights – this applies particularly when citing unpublished manuscripts which may only exist as hard copy printouts rather than electronic files stored on computer disks/drives etc..

It is generally preferable that authors avoid citing multiple sources from one article because this makes it difficult for readers who want to find out more about specific aspects of research reported within this paper – instead try citing different parts of reports separately so readers can access them easily;


A good research proposal should be clear, concise and well-organised, with no ambiguity. It should be based on strong evidence that you have done your homework on the subject matter. It’s a good idea to have a colleague or supervisor review it before submitting it for consideration.

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2 responses to “Guidelines for a Research Proposal”

  1. The article is very useful. I have learned a very valuable information from this articles. Thank. Please keep posting…

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