Research Proposal: Definition, Purpose, & Writing Steps

Few students fully get the meaning and the importance of a research proposal. If you have a good research proposal, it means that you are going to carry out adequate research. A low-quality research proposal may be the reason your research will never start.

The main purpose of a research proposal is to convince the reader of your project’s value. You will have to prove that you have a plan for your work and that your project will be successful. Your reader has to be sure that it is not another useless piece of writing, but a profound research work that will be extremely important for science.

The main purpose of a research proposal is to convince the reader of your project's value.

Want to learn more about the reasons why it is important to have a research plan? Continue reading this article by experts!

🔤 Research Proposal: Definition

A research proposal is a document that proposes a particular research project, usually in academia or sciences, intending to get funding from an institution. A typical research proposal addresses a range of points:

  • A research question(s) that the proposed research seeks to answer
  • The data & methods that will be used to answer the questions
  • The time and financial costs for the research
  • The prior research in the field
  • Potential benefits for the sponsoring institution

Research proposals are usually required when one plans to write a thesis, dissertation, or research paper. The format is similar to that of a research paper, with an introduction, a literature review, a methods section, and a conclusion.

❗ Research Proposal: Purpose & Importance

The primary goal of any research proposal is to convince a sponsoring institution that a particular research project is worthwhile. The document usually aims to cover the aspects below.

✔️RelevanceConvince the reader that your project is original, interesting, and essential for a research field you’re working in.
✔️ContextDemonstrate your familiarity with the research field. Show that you know its current state and have a deep understanding of the literature.
✔️ApproachExplain your methodology. Show that your data and methods are thought about well.
✔️FeasibilityTalk about the practical side of your project. Confirm that you’re able to complete the research within the limits of the program or the institution you’re applying to.

👣 Making a Research Plan in 10 Steps

STEP #1: Determine your areaThe first and probably the easiest thing to do is to identify a general study topic or subject area to investigate.
STEP #2: Study literatureOn the second stage, you need to read as much literature on the general topic as possible. Make notes and summarize each study’s purpose and findings.
STEP #3: Find the gap in the literatureThe purpose of the previous step is to determine what studies have already been done on the subject of your research proposal and then identify any obvious gaps in the literature. Find where you can add to the existing body of knowledge.
STEP #4: Make a purpose statementThe purpose of the research proposal is to sell your idea to the funding agency. On this stage, the task is to explain why you are investigating this topic, what you propose to do, and why others should be interested in your research. This is called a purpose statement.
STEP #5: Formulate a question & hypothesesNext, you should craft a research question & hypotheses for your study. Research hypotheses determine what you will investigate and what you expect to find in your study. They are your supposed answers to the research question.
STEP #6: Write an introductionThe research proposal’s introduction should include the components that you created on the previous stages: a problem statement, a summary of the literature (you can use a summary maker for that), a concise description of the gap in the literature, a purpose statement, & a research question.
STEP #7: Describe your methodsIn your methods section, you should outline the procedures you plan to follow to complete the proposed study. The section generally includes: an explanation of the research design and some information on the data collection process.
STEP #8: Describe your research designOutline the research design of your academic research proposal. You should describe two or three possible alternatives for each part of the design.
STEP #9: Describe your data collection proceduresIn this section, describe how you are going to collect your data. Explain the scheme of analyzing the collected data and reporting the results.
STEP #10: Provide a timeline and budgetOn the final stage, you need to give some information on the estimated budget and schedule of your research.

🔗 References

This article was developed by the editorial team of, a professional writing service with 3-hour delivery.
Comments (45)

Education Help
Education Help

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Custom Writing
Custom Writing

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Scott Parks
Scott Parks

You’ll benefit from a research proposal sample, only if it is a good one! A lousy research proposal sample has nothing to do with advantages and benefits!


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