Monday, April 22, 2024

How to Write a Research Proposal Outline?

Whenever you are working on a research paper, you do not submit the final paper in one go. There are intermediatory steps in between. This involves a lot of rework and revision. The first document that you submit is the research proposal. In this article, we will dive into how to write a research proposal outline.

Writing a research proposal is not very different from writing a research paper. However, students working with research papers for the first time often get confused and thus mess up the quality. Thankfully, today, students can avail themselves of academic writing services to get readymade solutions for their research proposals. If you also want to hire a research proposal writing service, first get the details about the service. You must verify the authenticity of the service before you hire them.

But if you want to write it independently, here’s a brief guide. Let’s start with understanding its purpose.

What is the Purpose of the Research Proposal?

Students frequently need to write research proposals to obtain funding for their projects. Before beginning your thesis or dissertation, you may be required as a student to write a research proposal as part of your graduate school application.

A proposal can assist you in conceptualizing what your research might look like and convince a funder, academic institution, or supervisor that your project is worthwhile.

A research proposal’s length can vary greatly. A proposal for a bachelor’s or master’s thesis may only consist of a few pages, whereas proposals for Ph.D. dissertations or research funding typically require much more space and detail. You can get assistance from your supervisor in deciding how long your work should be.

A research proposal outlines a planned study’s goals, methodology, timeline, and budget. Its primary objective is to convince a funding agency or other interested parties that the proposed project is worthwhile and that the scholar possesses the skills and resources required to finish it successfully. The proposal must be extremely clear, concise, and compelling, providing a compelling case for the importance of the research, its potential value, and the novel approach the author would take. A compelling study proposal is essential for any aspirational researcher, as it can lead to funding opportunities, collaborative efforts, and even novel discoveries.

Consider the format of your proposal as a condensed version of your thesis or dissertation, omitting the sections on results, conclusion, and discussion. This will help you get started.

Now, let’s see how to write one.

How to Write a Research Proposal?


Even though it’s just a class assignment, students still need to approach the introduction as the compelling first draught of a research inquiry or in-depth analysis of the importance of a topic for study. Your readers should be able to comprehend your goals after reading the introduction. They should also be able to engage with the study’s possible outcomes and your excitement for the subject.

Think of your introduction as a two- to four-paragraph story that briefly addresses the following queries:

  • What does the research raise the main issue?
  • Which academic discipline is pertinent to that central issue?
  • Which techniques ought to be applied to that problem’s analysis?
  • What makes this study significant?
  • What does it mean for academia and the global community?
  • Why should the findings of the suggested research concern someone who is reading the proposal?

Be aware that funding agencies or academic institutions do not typically require an abstract or synopsis before the introduction. It is advisable to consult the policies of your organisation, though.

Background and Significance

This section should explain a research proposal’s context and significance in detail. Although some authors include this section in the introduction, several academics would rather write it separately so that the story of the proposal flows naturally.

Assuming that your readers are busy but still want to know the main points of your research problem and the complete study is a smart way to approach this section. Remember that this is a brief essay meant to spark interest in your research, not a comprehensive one covering every aspect of your planned study.

Keeping these in mind, you should try to address the following important factors, even though there isn’t a set rule for defining the significance of a proposed study:

  • Give a more thorough explanation of the research goal and identify the study’s problem. When the research problem is complex or multifaceted, this is crucial.
  • Justify your research proposal and provide an interesting justification for why it should be carried out.
  • Describe the main concerns or problems that will be dealt with. This can be stated explicitly or through questions.
  • Emphasize how your research can advance current understanding of the issue with the proposed study.
  • Give specifics about your study’s methodology, including the important sources you used, your analytical strategy, etc.
  • Define the parameters of your proposed study precisely to give the research a clear focus. If needed, give definitions for important words or ideas.

Prior Studies & Literature Review

This section, which primarily provides a more thoughtful review and synthesis of existing studies relevant to your proposed research problem, directly relates to your study background and significance. This section attempts to demonstrate your proposed work’s uniqueness and creativity while appropriately placing it within the larger context of the research.

This section directly relates to the background and significance of your study by offering a more comprehensive review and synthesis of previous research pertinent to your proposed research problem. This section aims to illustrate the originality and inventiveness of your suggested work while suitably situating it within the broader framework of the investigation.

Many academics are using the “five Cs” when writing a literature review because there are numerous effective ways to frame your review of related studies that have already been done.

  • Cite sources to keep the main focus on earlier research on the research problem correctly.
  • Compare and contrast the approaches, conclusions, models, and claims made in the literature.
  • Critique the works of literature. Determine the compelling justifications that academics offer.
  • Connect the existing literature and your research topic and area.

Aims and Research Questions

Having chosen a viable study angle, the next step is formulating your research goals. When reading your proposal, ask yourself: What information do you want the readers to learn? Give yourself ample time to state your goals clearly and put them in a single sentence.

Establishing a research objective can aid in maintaining focus and averting distractions. All research proposals, regardless of the particular subject, issue, or approach, must address the different kinds of research questions, particularly the following:

  • What do you plan to achieve? Be straightforward and concise in describing the research problem and the topic you propose to study.
  • Why do you want to conduct the research? You must also provide compelling evidence that your selected topic is worthy of a thorough examination.
  • How are you going to conduct the research? Ensure your proposed study is doable and provide a clear, coherent set of strategies to complete it.

This section, typically the introduction’s final paragraph, may be included in the introduction for certain institutions.

Research Design and Methods

Since you are not yet conducting the actual research, this section needs to be written correctly and logically. But it must assure your readers that it’s worthwhile to pursue.

Convincing the reader that your research design and suggested analytical strategies will appropriately address the study’s problem or problems is the fundamental goal here. Additionally, it seeks to reassure the reader that the chosen methodologies effectively interpret the expected study results. Your research design and methodology should be closely linked to the specific goals of your study.

Parting Thoughts

These are the major chapters of a research paper outline. But often, institutes ask to add further chapters like ethical principles, contribution to knowledge, etc. However, this guide will help you frame the primary research proposal accurately. In case changes are required ask your professor and do accordingly.


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