How to Write a Research Proposal?

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A research proposal is a brief document that describes the prospect of your future research project. It usually has three to seven pages and contains details of your research’s objective, significance, problematics, methodology, etc. The purpose is to have a map of your upcoming research journey. It is an outline of the whole research process.

A research proposal explains the need for the proposed research project. It also tells who will get benefit from it and what are those benefits; what kind of data to be collected or study plans to be made and how to do it; what is its duration, etc.

Further, quantitative research includes data collection and interpretation. Whereas qualitative research is theoretical, which means, it is conceptual, derived from analyzing concepts through abstraction. The research proposal for qualitative research mainly has the following components:


A title must not be too broad or general. It should describe the objective of the proposed work. It should also be concise. It can also have a sub-part.

The Objective and the Scope of the Study:

This section is to substantiate your research. To do so, you must describe previous studies related to your topic. It will explain the background, objective, and limits of the study. First, you should introduce the problem by making general statements and claims. Then, you should move to some specific claims and arguments. Finally, state the purpose of the study. The area of the study is always very wide. You have to confine your research by deciding the scope of your research plan. So clearly state the scope and the objective of the study.

The Significance of the Study:

A research proposal explains how the proposed work is significant in the area of the study. And what contribution it has to the current debates. The proposed research must have some value. This part indicates the value of the proposed work in the particular field. It demonstrates why the researcher cares about the problem and explains how the study may resolve theoretical issues or develop an alternative model in your area of interest.

Literature Review:

Daniel D. Hutto says the literature review “(p)rovides a conceptual framework for the reader so that the research question and methodology can be better understood.” It also “demonstrates to the expert reader that the researcher is aware of the breadth and diversity of literature related to the research question. It is important that you are able to provide an integrated overview of your field of study. This means that you show awareness of the most important and relevant theories, models, studies, and methodologies.”

Primarily, a literature review has two functions: a) to summarize texts and b) to evaluate the texts. It helps to find out what is already known in a particular field. Also, it allows you to engage with the debates in the particular area of the research and situate the research in the prominent debate.

The Problematic of the Study:

  • The research problem(s) and question(s) must be stated explicitly.
  • It can be written in bullets for more clarity.
  • Don’t forget to explain the background in which the research question(s) has occurred.

Research Methodology:

There are different research methods. Deciding research methods explains what approach you are taking and what methods you are using to arrive at the conclusion for the proposed study.


In this section, all the sources related to your proposed study should be listed. It shows briefly what you have read so far and on what basis you have constructed your proposed research.

In sum, a research proposal shows what motives a researcher to work with a particular topic. It gives an outline of the proposed work by describing the objective, significance, research problem, methods, etc. A good research proposal must contain the above-listed components.

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