How to Write a Research Proposal
What Is a Research Proposal?
A research proposal is a summary of your proposed research. The preparation of a research proposal is a key step in applying for research doctoral programs. Make sure that you have enough time to select a topic and the proposed supervisor, and prepare the text of the project. The scope of a research proposal is, as a rule, 1,000-1,500 words, and in some universities, 1,500-2,000 words (not counting abstracts and bibliographic references, the number of which should be between 10 and 20). Let’s find out how to write a research proposal and what structure it should have.
How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper: Structure
- Research proposal title
- Proposal abstract (no more than 300 words) – description of the research problem, its contexts, and significance
- General description of research:
– The relevance of research
– Goal, objectives, and expected results, which should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound
– The main idea of the research is what and how you will study
– Justification of the choice of the program in terms of the realization of feasibility of the proposed research paper
- Research positioning – literature review:
– An overview of the available and the most significant researches in this area
– A description of the existing theoretical and practical gaps that the project intends to fill
- Research methodology:
– The main research questions and the rationale for their importance
– Description of the information required for research
– Research methods
- Plan for the implementation of a research paper – a description of specific goals
How to Write a Research Proposal Outline
Before writing a research proposal, it is important to make a great outline. The outline should be clear and acceptable for the person who writes a research proposal and those who take part in it (the supervisor and other persons interested in it). The greatness of the outline is determined by the presence of “great” scientific terms that are rarely used in everyday life.
The comprehensibility and acceptability of the outline is the simplicity and accessibility in understanding its structure and the meaning of its constituent parts. A great research proposal outline is made if there is a need and, especially, a desire to do it. The better the outline, the easier (more convenient) it is to write a research proposal.
It is necessary to determine the urgency of the problem. It is necessary to determine the scientific novelty. You should narrow the problem in relation to your specialty, the specifics of the topic, to note that as a result of the analysis of scientific literature, you were convinced that no one considered this problem in this context. After you have done your outline, it is time to write your paper.
Steps for Writing a Research Proposal
- Write an abstract. While writing a research proposal abstract, make an emphasis on the research question, hypothesis, research methods, and findings. This part should not exceed 300 words and be as brief as possible.
- Write an introduction. Here you need to determine the object of research. Based on the topic, you should identify the keyword (words, phrases). For example: “The object of our research was the process of industrial production of brooms.” Also, you need to determine the subject of research. Identify the quality, action, and process that takes place with the object.
- Define a hypothesis. Assume the presence or absence of a causal relationship between one thing and another, that is, as a result of this, something will happen (or not). You need to demonstrate that what happens to the subject affects the object. Determine the purpose of research. Based on the topic and the problem, identify ways to solve it (what you need to do to solve the problem: identify, study, form, etc.).
- Define research tasks. Based on the goal, identify and list what needs to be done to solve it (1, 2, 3…). Each task should help solve the problem. You need to define research methods. Based on the goals and objectives, determine exactly how and with the help of what you will solve the problem. Methods should facilitate problem solving.
- Write a literature review. This part of the proposal aims to prove there is a solid groundwork for the investigation and the writer’s understanding of the researched problem. The literary review is a part of the research work, as it contains information that gives an idea of the theoretical works that you take as the basis of your research. You draw parallels with other texts (on the basis of a common time frame, common political views of the authors, etc.), looking for differences, and express your opinion on the point of view presented in the book.
- Write the methodological section. This section should describe how you are going to carry out your research and justify the chosen methods you are going to use. Identify ways of obtaining scientific knowledge that reflects dynamic processes and phenomena. Determine a specific path on which a research objective is achieved. Ensure comprehensive information about the process or phenomenon that is being researched.
- Write the results section. Offer some expectations about what kind of information you discovered and what you aimed to achieve. The main criterion of the effectiveness of the work done for students is the level of mastery of skills of research activities, and the results show how you mastered those skills.
- Write a conclusion. It is necessary to make basic conclusions. Relate conclusions with the relevance, purpose, objectives, and your hypothesis. Mention that the results of research confirmed that it was not done in vain.
How to Write a Research Proposal – Example
We have made a short example of the abstract, introduction, and literature review to help you start your writing. The topic of the research proposal is “Analysis of Milk Composition.”
In a biology research proposal on the analysis of milk composition, an analysis of the composition of milk from the manufacturers selected for the experiment will be carried out in order to identify milk that most closely meets nutritional standards. The proposal contains interesting information about the most important product for humans: milk.
In the process of research work on biology related to the analysis of milk composition, the author summarizes the theoretical material on the composition and benefits of milk, and also reveals the most natural milk among manufacturers. This paper analyzes the attitude of consumers to the firms that produce milk.
In the framework of research and experiment, the author reviewed the composition of milk indicated on the manufacturers’ packaging and compiled a table that highlights the main characteristics of each sample. The research proposal on the composition of milk is relevant at the present time of production of this product.
The benefits of milk have been known for a long time, and since ancient times it has been included in the diet of both children and adults. It is a valuable product for the body and is even used as a preventive and medicinal drug. Milk is considered a light product, because the lowest concentration of gastric juice is sufficient to digest it.
The benefits of milk are due to the content of a fairly large amount of vitamins of group B, A, and C. All parents call on their children to drink milk in order to increase their immunity and improve their mood, thanks to which familiarity with this product is high. But today, due to various technologies for preserving milk, the usefulness of this product is questioned, and a number of researchers believe that an adult does not have the proper enzymes that digest milk, and therefore its useful properties are disputed.
The fact that milk is good for the nervous system was announced in 2017 by Japanese scientists from Tohoku University. According to research involving more than a thousand people, milk (especially low-fat milk) and yogurt significantly reduce the risk of developing depression and increase emotional stability. As the head of the study, Dr. Ryoichi Nagatomi established that, to strengthen the nervous system, it is enough to drink milk or yogurt about four times a week. In further studies, scientists hope to determine what kind of biological mechanism underlies this phenomenon.
Researchers from the University of Maine (USA) have proven that drinking milk has a positive effect on brain function. Moreover, to improve memory and concentration one can and should not only drink milk, but also include dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and even ice cream in the diet. American scientists conducted a study on a group of people of different ages, who first carefully described their diet, and then performed a series of tests. The results showed that those who consume milk at least five to six times a week coped with the tests best of all, especially with the tests that check memory. But people who refuse milk showed results five times worse. Scientists attribute this to the beneficial substances found in milk that affect the development of “gray cells” (in particular, magnesium) as well as the beneficial effects of milk on the circulatory system that nourish the brain.
You can find full examples of research proposals on our blog:
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