Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to Write a Research Proposal That Rocks in 45 Minutes

How to Write a Research Proposal

Warning: the 45 minutes are only for WRITING the proposal. Because doing all the necessary reading is a different thing.

If you’ve already chosen a good topic and read a good deal of academic materials, set your timer. Here we’ll show you how to write a research proposal that rocks and format it appropriately.

The Sections of the Proposal – 30 Minutes

The length of the proposal depends on your topic and requirements of the chosen institution. The main purpose of writing a research proposal:
  • gain the readers’ attention;
  • to show why a particular topic is important;
  • to discuss how you are going to address it.
So, with these main goals on your mind, you may want to start it:


Context: What area will your research address? Indicate the subject matter briefly and quickly.

Question: What specific issues or aspects will your study address?

Significance: Why is this specific topic important? What will we learn from it?

*Note that only one or two sentences would be usually enough to answer any of the questions above.

Literature Review

Existing knowledge: What the most reputable studies in the field say about his topic? (Better if the contradicting views are considered).

Gap in literature: Why will your research say something new on the topic?

Research Question in Detail

Just in case this point in academic proposal writing puzzles you, feel free to use any of the following most common formulas:

Is there a positive (negative) relationship between the phenomena?

Does X affect Y?

Does X cause Y?

What is the prevalence of X among the Y population?

Does X have effects on Y?


Brief overview: What approach are you going to use to investigate the question? What’s your logic for collecting and interpreting the data?

Data collection – analysis – interpretation: It might be reasonable to include the table with time frames for your study into this section.

Expected Results

Possible Outcomes: Try to predict the possible outcomes of your research, both which could prove or disapprove your hypotheses.

Significance: Just a few more words on the significance of the study could be a perfect concluding note for writing a research proposal that wins attention and appreciation.

Formatting and Proofreading – 15 Minutes

After you’ve completed the last section of your proposal, there are only two last steps left. They are formatting and proofreading, which won't take you much time.

Bonus Tips and Tricks

  1. Read a lot of literature related to your topic.
  2. Start making notes as soon as you start your investigation.
  3. Give time frames, not exact dates for the particular stages of investigation – try to keep it flexible.
So, these were the best proven practices on how to write a research paper proposal. Please let us know if any of your questions still are left without answers. And I will do my best to address all of your concerns by editing this post.