Research proposals are an important part of research studies undertaken by students as part of their graduate and postgraduate degree programs. This article defines the term ‘research proposal’ followed by an outline of the important steps that you should follow while you prepare your research proposal.
What is a Research Proposal?
Like that of an abstract for a research paper, the research proposal is an organized summary of the research that students undertake at the graduate and postgraduate levels. It sets out the key questions and problems that the researcher intends to address in his/her research study. similarly, it informs about the estimated time and expenses required for the research. It also briefs about the research methodology that the research intends to adopt for his study. Moreover, it gives an outline of the general area of knowledge in which the research topic falls. Furthermore, it informs how the study will be helpful for the sponsoring agency and society.
What should you include in the proposal of Your Research?
The following are the important components you should include in your research proposal.
1. Research Proposal Title
The title outlines the key ideas of the proposed study. It should neither be too long nor too short. A good title is one that describes the main contents of your research in the fewest possible words. Moreover, the title that you choose is subject to change as the research study progresses.
2. Abstract of the Research
An abstract is a brief statement about your proposed research study. It usually consists of a maximum of 100 words. Sometimes, it may consist of a few sentences demonstrating the problem or main question you want to address in your research.
3. Research Background
You have to give some background information as to how the stated problem emerged to justify its redressal. In other words, you will outline a sketch of the general area of knowledge within which the research topic falls.
4. Literature Review
A literature review is an important part of a research proposal. Thus you will give an organized summary of the latest developments and recent debates on the topic. The literature review demonstrates communication skills and familiarity with the field relevant to your research topic.
5. Research Questions
The research proposal sets out the key questions that the researcher intends to address. It is important to spend a sufficient amount of time to reflect and think upon the main questions to make sure that the research proposal is not too broad. The key questions should guide to make sure the project is feasible within the defined period of the degree program.
Apart from this, the proposal informs about the planned approach i.e. empirical, theoretical, etc. to address the queries.
6. Research Methods
You will need to outline the research method that you will use within the framework of your research project. This part of the proposal also briefs the sources of data, tools used for data collection, and proposed methods of data analysis.
7. Significance of Research
Mention the significance of the proposed research is an important part of the proposal. You will need to outline what difference the research will make to your university, the field of study, and society at large?
A bibliography is an important component of a research proposal. You will need to provide a list of all activities that you plan to do as part of your research study.
9. How long should the Research proposal be?
The word limit for a proposal is usually between 2000-25000. However, it varies depending upon the word limit criteria prescribed by your university.