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Contents of Research Proposal

A research proposal is put forwarded by a researcher to his supervisor/external examiner with a view to outline his proposed area of study. The basic goal of a research proposal is to justify about the feasibility of the research topic. The prospective researcher should keep in mind that his proposal would only be accepted if it is presented thoughtfully. A unique topic may also be rejected due to poor proposal writing skill. Therefore, it is the quality of writing rather than the quality of the topic that determines the viability of a project proposal. Therefore, in order to get a research proposal approved, the researcher must take care that his proposed methodology is outlined in a convincing manner.

Contents of Research Proposal

Research proposal does not have any fixed format. Research content varies depending upon topic. Moreover, different disciplines, donor organisations and academic institutions adhere to different formats and requirements. However, every research proposal comprises several common components. The researcher has to opt the appropriate component based on his research problem. Regardless of one’s research area and the methodology he chooses, all research proposals must encompass the following points:
  1. Introduction: This section should describe in clear terms the research area and findings from previous studies. Moreover, the research proposer should structure his Introduction in such a way that the supervisor may have a very good idea of what the central issue of his proposal will be. The introductory parts should include the following points –
    1. The justification or background of the study.
    2. A clear statement of the problem.
    3. What is the field of study about and what is missing from it.
  2. The resources: This section should include all the information about various resources that the study will require:
    1. The source of the resources.
    2. Academic preparation for the research. It must be demonstrated that the groundwork has already been done.
    3. The proposed place of research.
  3. The significance of the research project: In this segment the researcher has to provide appropriate rationale for choosing the particular place for his research. The significance of the study justifies why the research is important:
    1. in a particular field of study, and a wider field of study, and
    2. in the context of the country.
  4. Plan after completion: This section should describe in detail about the benefits that the country or the place of work will receive after its completion.

  5. The timeframe: A detailed timetable scheduling all aspects of the research should be prepared. This will include time taken to conduct background research, questionnaire or interview schedule development, data collection, data analysis and report writing.

  6. Methodology: This section is very important because it tells the Research Committee how the proposer plans to tackle his research problem. This section should be quite detailed – many funding organisations find that the most common reason for proposal failure is the lack of methodological detail. In this section the proposer need to describe the following factors:
    1. Dependence on primary, secondary and other materials
    2. The steps to be followed
    3. The format of the paper
    4. Style sheet or the method of documentation to be followed
  7. Bibliography: At the end of his paper, the researcher has to provide a list of all the sources he used to gather information for the paper. The list of the sources should be arranged in alphabetical order by the first word. The list should consist all the available –
    • Books
    • Journals, and
    • Other materials.


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Contents of Research Proposal

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