How to write a research proposal

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By Kathy Smith

A research proposal is a crucial paper needed when you are trying to apply for a grant or scholarship, especially in a specialized, expensive field. It’s also a requirement when you want funds for different aspects of business, money and professional growth. Despite the importance, many people struggle with research proposals. Here are several steps to follow when you are writing a research proposal.

Title page
The title page is the page that tells the readers what exactly it is you want to accomplish. You need to title you research proposal. The best practice is having the title as descriptive as possible. Include keywords of the study somewhere in the title and keep the characters to below ten words or 60 characters to catch attention.

The abstract is one of the most crucial parts of the research proposal. This is a summary of what the proposed research is about. Keep it under one page is possible. Some experts propose this be the last part to be written when the proposal is done.

Literature review
When you want to do a research proposal, using what others have studied and found as a guide is critical. Raters want you to study something that has real correlation with what is already studied. Choose references that are reputable, respected, and credible.

It helps a lot to give some background history on what you want to study. This is where you develop your concept as to why you want to conduct the research or need a grant. Why is it important?

After you have given the history, proceed to outline your objectives for the study or research. Let these be concise, clear, and straightforward. Make your objectives measurable so it’s clear that you’ve accomplished them later.

Outline for the project
In this part of the research proposal, you need to define what you will do at every stage to get the results you require. How will you accomplish each objective? In a nutshell, just guide the readers through the process and explain why each step is important.

Time is of the essence when research proposals are concerned. You must have the different timelines you need to start working on the research and the time when you feel your work will be complete.  Try to be as realistic as possible with scheduling.

Once all has been said and done and you have set out how you propose to do the project, add the bibliography. This is also another place where you can show that you are aware of what others are doing in the same field. Use a standard bibliographic format or style such as Chicago or APA.

When you are proposing, your credentials matter. Funding agencies are not usually going to accept a proposal from an amateur. You need to attach your academic credentials, recommendation letters, CV, affiliations, etc. to seal the proposal.

Editing is the last and yet, most important stage of the research proposal process and you need to put a lot of focus on this stage. If you can find a skilled third party to do it, so much the better, but never submit a proposal that has not been proofread and edited.

Kathy Smith is a research methodology dissertation writer.

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2 Responses to How to write a research proposal

  1. Excellent Kathy!


  2. Pingback: How to write a research proposal | Citizen Scientists League « campbellreyes

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