Research Proposal Writing

Even if you follow all our recommendations, we cannot promise that you will receive a grant. However, with our recommendations you will be in a better position to develop a structured and comprehensive proposal, which highlights your interests and communicates your ideas to the target audience. It is time to begin. Good Luck with that!

As you are getting ready to apply for research funding, you must be ready to submit a well-developed, structured, and evidence-based proposal for your study. It must contain all information needed to guarantee the success of your proposal and future study. This being said, the purpose of this document is to provide your audience with sufficient information about your research idea in ways that fit in the context and discipline of your study. You must use your research proposal as an opportunity to communicate the challenges and controversies surrounding your future study.

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Of course, the mere fact that you are writing a research proposal does not imply that you will not be able to change it. Moreover, you cannot know beforehand what results you will obtain in your research. Thus, your proposal is actually some preliminary observation of the design and anticipated results of your proposed study. You are free to emphasize different components of your work and provide your readers with, as much information as you think is needed to validate your points.

The first thing to do while working on a research proposal is to ask the supervisor for more details regarding the length of such proposal, type of referencing and formatting styles, the need for tables of contents and appendices, and so on. Because the selection committee reads dozens of proposals every day, you may want to make it concise but informative, while following the requirements provided by your supervisor. At the same time, feel free to follow our advice below for each component of your research proposal.

Title Page:

  • Include your name, surname, university position, academic title (if any), and contact information.
  • Include a draft title of your study. Be specific. Do not be vague. Make sure that it is accurate and, at the same time, innovative. It must capture the attention of your readers. You cannot produce a comprehensive title for your research proposal, unless you have a clear and established idea for your study. Limit your title to 60 characters. Use keywords, which will make your research proposal stay apart from other works.
  • Include a comprehensive timeframe. In other words, specify how much time you will need to complete your study.
  • Mention any similar projects that were funded before you and the contribution you will make to previous research.

Executive Summary

You must include a one-page summary for your research proposal. This summary will have to provide an abridged version of your proposal, specifying the aims, timeframes, and importance of your study.

Literature Review

Make sure that you conduct a thorough and detailed review of literature to identify the existing knowledge gaps and propose ways for closing them. You will have to reference earlier scientists and researchers extensively. You will need to review and analyze the theoretical frameworks that were used by other researchers before you. Your task is to prove that you have become particularly versatile in every aspect of your study question, topic, and subject. You must show to the selection committee that you have grasped the essence of your problem and that your study will provide a productive and cost-effective solution.

Your Previous Work

Don't hesitate to cite any previous work you have done on the topic. You must trace the progress of your ideas to the proposed study.

Research Purpose, Questions, and Objectives

You must outline the purpose, research questions, and objectives of your study. These objectives may not all be academic. Take a broader look on your research problem and include some social, economic, or ethical questions you may want to answer in the course of your study. You will certainly impress the selection committee if you can look beyond your immediate research problem and place it into a broader context.

These broader questions may or may not have empirical underpinnings. Of course, it is strongly encouraged to use empirical evidence in support of your research proposal claims and ideas. You may want to offer some novel look on your problem or deliver a deeper insight into its implications for the society. In any case, be thorough and persuasive.

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Develop an Outline

An outline is probably the most fundamental component of your research proposal.

  • First, determine the amount of time you will need to complete the study.
  • Second, outline the body of evidence you want to use in developing and implementing your research proposal ideas. Based on the topic of your study, you will need to gather much relevant and credible evidence and include it in your research proposal.
  • Do not forget to specify the methods you intend to accomplish your purpose. Are you a qualitative or quantitative researcher? Answer this question before you proceed.

You must plan to have plenty of time for your research proposal. You must have flexibility and opportunity to manage your research proposal writing and editing processes. You must also secure enough time for studying literature and developing an evidence-based foundation for your proposed research. Use your findings to develop a hypothesis or a set of qualitative research questions, which will further guide the development and completion of your research proposal.


Create a persuasive and realistic timetable, which will show how you plan to manage your research at different stages of its implementation. Estimate the amount of resources you might need to complete your study without delays.

Developing Research Bibliography

Create a reference list for all sources you have used in your paper. Follow the formatting requirements provided by your supervisor or institution.


Include any attachments that are relevant to your proposal, such as previous publications and a CV.


Once you are done with preliminary writing, edit and proofread your draft. Take as much time as you need to make it perfect.


  1. See if the abstract, executive summary and the final contents of your research proposal incorporate the same information.
  2. Make your proposal structured. Follow the logic of research proposal writing adopted in the academic world. Write and format your document in an easy-to-navigate way.
  3. Summarize the principal issues surrounding the research problem.
  4. Use active rather than passive voice. Establish a strong academic position and support it with evidence.
  5. Include visual elements such as bullet points, etc. Do not overuse white spaces between different components of your work.
  6. Eliminate any grammar and spelling mistakes in your research proposal.
  7. If you are not sure that your research proposal is perfect, ask somebody proficient in this aspect of work and get timely assistance before it is too late.

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