Below is a list of points that are often included in research proposals.
- A clearly focused statement of the overall purpose of the proposed research.
- A clearly focused research question/hypothesis that is:
- worth asking;
- capable of being
- Precise definitions of the key terms in the research question/s or hypothesis that will allow them to be clearly observed, measured and identified throughout the
- An awareness of key research that has already been carried out in the particular area including:
- what conclusions were reached in this previous research, by whom and when;
- whether these conclusions are in agreement or conflict with each other;
- the main issues or controversies that surround the problem;
- significant gaps in previous research in this particular area;
- an indication of how this previous research is relevant to the proposed
- An appropriate choice of research approach for the particular question or problem including a well-defined list of procedures to be followed in carrying out the This should include the method of data collection and analysis. The proposal should also include, if appropriate:
- a broad description of any particular theoretical framework to be used in the analysis and the reason/s for its use in the study;
- a brief statement describing how the sample population will be selected for the study and the reason for the approach to selection;
- a pilot study in which the research instruments will be trialled and evaluated and an analysis carried out of the trial
- A section which highlights any anticipated problems and limitations in the proposed study including threats to reliability and validity and how these will be
- A statement which illustrates why the study is significant; that is, why the research question or hypothesis is worth
- Consideration of ethical issues involved in carrying out the research such as whether informed consent needs to be obtained, and if so, how this will be
- A proposed timetable for the research. This is extremely important as it gives an indication as to how realistic the proposal actually
- A proposed budget for the research (if appropriate). This is also impor- tant as it gives an indication of how realistic the proposal may be in terms of financial requirements and whether the research might need to be adapted in the light of
- A list of references which relate to the
- Appendices (if appropriate) which contain any material that will be used or adapted for the study, including any permission that might need to be obtained to use
Purpose of each section of a research proposal
|To summarize, in a few words, what the research will be about
|To provide an overview of the study which you will expand on in more detail in the text that follows.
|To present a clear and concise statement of the overall purpose of the research.
Relevant background literature
|To demonstrate the relationship between the proposed study and what has already been done in the particular area; that is, to indicate the ‘gap’ that the study will fill.
|To provide an explicit statement of what the study will investigate.
Definitions of terms
|To provide the meaning of the key terms that have been used in the research question/s.
|To give an illustration of the steps the project will go through in order to carry out the research.
Anticipated problems and limitations
|To show awareness of the limitations of the study, whatproblems may be met in carrying it out, and how they will be dealt with.
Significance of the research
|To say why the study is worth carrying out
|To say what resources the research will require – and what other costs may be anticipated in carrying out the study.
|To provide a statement as to how participants will be advised of the overall nature of the study, and how informed consent will be obtained from them.
Proposed table of contents
|To give an overview of the scale and anticipated organization of the thesis or dissertation.
|To give a working plan for carrying out, and completing, the study.
|To provide detailed references and bibliographic support for the proposal.
|To provide examples of materials that might be used, or adapted, in the study.