Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Writing a Research Proposal

This guide contains information and guidance on how to write a research proposal.

About This Guide

This guide is structured to assist you in the process of writing a research proposal.  It contains the following:

            Explains the different parts of a research proposal and what to include in them.

            Provides an outline on how to order the content in your proposal for flow and continuity.

            Explains some common writing mistakes and how to avoid them.

            Lists library and web resources that can assist you in writing your research proposal.

            A list of outside sources that were used to create this guide.

            Additional resources for extra assistance.

Why write a research proposal?

Before you begin conducting research on a chosen research topic, you may have to write a proposal that will be reviewed.  You may need to write a research proposal for any of the following reasons:

  • Your course instructor needs to approve your research topic prior to beginning research.
  • Your research project requires additional funding from an organization.  They will want to know the goals of your project before granting the funds.
  • To clearly justify the need for your research and demonstrate how the study will be conducted.

Regardless of your need for a research proposal, they are a crucial part of the research process.  According to McCombes (2019), the purpose of a research proposal is to:

  • Convince the reader or evaluator that your topic is relevant, significant, and interesting.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the field and that you understand the research that has already been done on the topic.
  • Show that you have carefully and thoroughly planned out your project's methodology.  In other words, you will know what to do to complete the project successfully.
  • Prove that the project is feasible with the resources you will have.

It is very important to write your proposal accurately and thoroughly, as there are several elements that need to be addressed.  Not only will it determine whether or not your proposal will be approved, it will also greatly impact the outcome and quality of your project!