What is a Research Proposal?
A research proposal is a precise and to-the-point academic document to propose a research project for seeking funding or approval. A research proposal is also submitted to indicate the research study that you intend to take up within your master’s or Ph.D. studies. It is supposed to lay out the research problem, novelty, or the question that you need to address along with how you are going to address it.
A research proposal is one of the most important academic documents that you will submit along with your scholarship application because it demonstrates your ability to undertake research effectively and efficiently.
Sections to be included in a Research Proposal:
Research proposals should include the following things:
- Title of the Research:
First of all, your research proposal should have a clear title that explains the topic of your research alongside its novelty. The title can be changed afterward once you are accepted for admission to the university of your choice. The title of the research proposal should be 08-14 words in length give or take.
- Abstract of the Research:
Next, the proposal should have a summary defining the research problem, novelty, and challenges that the researcher is interested in addressing.
- Literature Review:
Under this section, the student is supposed to discuss the previous researches that have been done in the subject area that links and supports the proposed study project. The literature review also indicates what gaps this research is aiming to fill that the previous studies failed to.
You have to carefully lay out the research methodology that you are going to adopt for your research. You have to be upfront about what kind of data the research needs to collect (primary or secondary) and how do you intend to analyze and draw results from that data.
- Novelty of the Research:
This section emphasizes the fact that your research is original and is going to contribute to the knowledge and understanding that is already available in your prospective field of study. You have to systematically build your case by lining out the reasons why it is absolutely important to undertake this research.
- Proposed Timetable and Timeline:
Break the process of your research into different phases and allot time for the completion of each phase. This should ideally be done in table form. This timetable would only be an estimate and the actual timespan for each phase is allowed to shift a little. But at this stage, you have to at least give an idea to your supervisor how much time and funding will you need for each stage of your research.
Any important studies related to your topic of research go under this section. Critically go through texts and studies and include only those that are absolutely relevant. This will reflect upon your analytical and research skills.
The Donts of Drafting a Research Proposal:
- Not being Brief:
The research proposal should have a direction and should be to the point. It should not sound like it is all over the place.
- Not being able to make a strong case for your research:
You should be very put together in your research proposal like you know what you are talking about. There should be a series of persuasive arguments through which the supervisor can understand the importance of your research.
- Sloppy way of writing:
Students often make the mistake of using generic terms and not focusing too much on sentence structuring. The research proposal has to be precise and should not contain grammatical errors or sloppy writing. The words used should be strong and the proposal should be focused.
- Being focused on wrong areas:
The proposal should be focused on outlining the importance of your research. You should be careful to not go into too much detail about minor things that are not that important for effectively carrying out your research. There should be a few questions that the proposal needs to answer like what gaps your research can fill or how will your research contribute to your field of study etc.