If you find yourself applying to a privately funded (or self-funded) student scholarship position, you may have to create a research proposal. Additionally, writing a research proposal also comes in handy if you want to write published work in your field of study. Keep reading to learn more about a research proposal and how you can write one quickly and effectively!
What Is A Research Proposal?
A proposal for research is a piece of writing demonstrating that you have a certain amount of support and expertise to conduct research. It conforms specifically to your field of research and can added to a resume or existing application.
Most research proposals are 4-8 pages long or 2000-4000 words (University of Oxford guidelines suggest around 2,500 words) . Additionally, there are some main components, such as research methodologies and questions, which we will cover later.
Research Proposal Titles
The first component of any research proposal is a title. As you can probably guess, your title should give a general idea of what you are researching or what questions pertain to your research. Here is a great article on how to find a research paper title from Sacred Heart University).
Next up, your proposal should contain a fair amount of background information about your research. Some pieces of background information that you should think about including are:
- Your discipline or field of study.
- A summary of developments and recent ideas within your field.
- A background of what your question is.
- A background of problems and challenges associated with your research.
Here is a helpful article form USC that discusses this further.
All types of research should have some type of guiding research question (or questions). These questions should be clearly stated, explain what you are researching, and illustrate any problems or challenges that may come up as you research. You can learn more about writing a research question from this George Mason University article.
Just like with the scientific method, your proposal should clearly show what methodology is used. In other words, you should explain what sources you will take information from and what theoretical approach you will take to study. Additionally, including the specific research methods that will be used, and an explanation of why your methods of research will be beneficial.
Proposed Schedule Of Work
Your proposal should also include a clear outline of the separate portions that make up your whole project. Additionally, each portion should have a proposed schedule/timeline.
Following standard protocol, most full-time research projects are supposed to wrap up within three years, whereas part-time projects should be wrapped up within six.
Laying out a clear idea of when certain work will be done and how long each aspect will take can allow all parties to plan for future events.
Lastly, your project should contain a polished bibliography. In your bibliography, you should include a list of sources used as references to your work. Also, it may be beneficial to include a selection of sources that relate to your research.
You can download several examples of a research proposal here.
Related: How To Write A Whitepaper Document