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How to Write a Research Proposal

September 04, 2015 - Posted to Dissertation topics and examples

Content how to write a research proposal

How to Write a Research Proposal

Writing a research proposal can be a tough project if you have never written one before. Usually, these documents are prepared as students get ready for their theses and dissertations, and they must be approved either by an advisor or dissertation committee before work can begin.

What is a Research Proposal?

The purpose of a research proposal is to provide a summary of exactly what you will be doing as you move forward in the production of a thesis or dissertation. While your department may have its own specific guidelines, there are very basic parts that must be included, no matter what those specifics may be.

  1. Your Research Question. This has usually already been established by you and approved by your advisor. It is based on a general topic area and then a specific research topic that you have selected from your coursework and initial literature reviews you have conducted. It must be stated in scholarly terms, and, in the case of a thesis specifically, should include a hypothesis.
  2. Justification or the Research Question. In this section, you must prove that the research question you are pursuing is important to your field, that it will contribute important findings for future researchers.
  3. Short Summary of Literature. You will need to include a summary of the initial literature you have already read related to your question and how that literature points to the need for your research.
  4. Your Objectives. What is it that you will attempt to determine by your research? Will you be validating earlier research? Will you be adding something new to existing research? You need to get very specific here.
  5. You Research Design. In this section, you will outline exactly how you plan to research your question. Will your research be quantitative or qualitative? Will you have random samplings or experimental and control groups? What instruments will you use – those that have already been validated or unique instruments that you will create? What specifically will be the “treatment” if you are using an experimental group? And how will you analyze the data that you gather?
  6. Your timeline. You must provide a timeline for each aspect of your project. When will your literature review be finished? When will your study be completed? There will be some flexibility allowed here, but you need to at least have an initial plan for completing each aspect of your project.

Most students entering this phase of their degree programs are naturally concerned with how to write a research proposal that is going to be acceptable. And, quite often, the proposal is initially rejected, and re-writes will have to occur. It can be pretty frustrating, to be sure. For this reason, many students seek dissertation of thesis writing help during this early stage, so that they can then get on with their projects. You should not feel inadequate or guilty about getting some professional help with your research proposal. Often, it is simply a matter of getting down on paper what is already a great research project. If you need help, get it!

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