Writing a Research Proposal

Key Components to Must Consider When Writing a Research Proposal


Writing a research proposal is a lengthy task. This is because you cannnot write a research proposal in one sitting. Within this context, the students pursuing a research degreee must gather some basic information about its purpose, componenets, as well as the format, and structure. The do’s and don’ts list is too long to sum up here. Beside this, the structure and format of writing a research  proposal depends on many factors. It varies as field of study, the purpose of writing, and acacdemic institutions for which you are doing research varies. Despite this, we can list some key components that every research proposal must have. The best approach that you can follow while writing a research proposal is to make heads from each key component.

Key Components Of A Research Proposal

Executive Summary:

It is an umbrella statement for your research. Executive summary is optional, and depends on the academic institution’s research proposal criteria. It aims to facilitate the readers for overviewing all important points in the proposal. Like the executive summary of all writing types, here too, authors should write all important pointswithin the document. In other words, you can summarise the following sections;

  • Problem Statement
  • A brief description
  • The funding details
  • The organisations’ expertise


After executive summary, the second most important component of a research proposal is the introduction. Introduction sets a floor for introducing your research idea. While writing a research proposal, the author should focus on the following information;

  1. Don’t forget to write what you want to do.
  2. The impact of your research on the society.
  3. What will be the supposed possible outcome of your study?

While writing a research proposal, storytelling is helpful for setting the research platform. You can get research proposal help in you don’t know how to work on it. However, if you are writing your own,two to three paragraphs are more than enough for telling the research story. Further, in this story, addressing the following questions will improve a research’s worth;

  1. What is the central theme of the current research?
  2. How does the research’s title justify the problem statement?
  3. What points are hinting about the research methods?
  4. What is the purpose of conducting this current research?

Although it depends on disciplines, following sections are also part of the introduction of a research proposal;

  1. Research aims, and objectives.
  2. Research questions.
  3. Hypotheses to be tested.

Background and Significance:

Whether to introduce a separate head for history or background in research proposal or not also varies from organisation to organisation. Many times the tutor instructs students to include background within the introduction part. In either case, while writing research proposal’s background you can address the following things;

  1. A well-defined purpose of the study.
  2. Why is the completion of research important?
  3. What are the brief goals of the current study?

In introduction or background, the author should remember one more thing. That is, they must keep in mind that the reader does not know anything about your topic. So while writing the research proposal, remember that every piece of information should be both short, and concise.

Additional points:

The additional points that an author should know while writing a research proposal are as follows;

  1. It’s up to the researcher and whether he wants to state research problem in the introduction part, or make a separate head for it. In either case, purpose of the study should be prominent.
  2. In research proposal, the rational of given study is another vital component. The key concept behind the term rationale is to note ‘why your research is worth doing’. The technique that can help in the aspect of rationale writing is to answer ‘so what?’
  3. Another aspect to remember while writing a research proposal’s background or introduction is to address other issues regarding your problem statement.
  4. Further, it is the best place for defining all relevant key terms within your research.

Literature Reviews:

After doing well with the introduction and background, the next thing to do is literature review. As the name suggests, literature review includes already published literature. It is the most time-consuming part with regards to writing a research proposal. Apart from all other sections,it is the most information rich part of the research proposal. So the main concern about literature review is that of data organisation. Here, the author’s responsibility is to unite the facts in such a way that the reader can easily grasp the arguments. In conclusion, for writing the research proposal’s literature review, you can break the information into themes. You can also follow a conceptual, or theoretical framework for better data organisation.

Further,stating that literature review is only an act of stating previous research, is nothing more than a misconception.In fact, it is the act of stating other’s work within your own research problem settings. Here, the author’s task is to build a connection between other’s, or his own works.

  1. Here you can cite the methods, theories, and results for strengthening your point of views.
  2. As a researcher, your interpretation may support, or oppose the facts reported in previous works.
  3. Literature gap identification is the last thing to do for this section. Here, the researcher must explain what points were missing in the previous study. It also includes the approach you’ll be using for bridging the gaps.

Research Design and Methods:

Research method is another key component that you should know before writing a research proposal. This section aims to provide a detailed account about all research activities and protocol that you will opt for in terms of completing a research. As you are writing a research proposal, it should be in the future tense. It should also contain the step you will follow for testing/answering research questions/hypotheses.

The things to address in the methods section include the following;

  1. How you will gather data for solving a research problem?
  2. What will be the supposed sample size for your study?
  3. What techniques you will opt for in terms of converting raw data into a scientific story?


In conclusion of a research proposal, the author can sum up the importance, and significance part of the study. In research proposal, the conclusion section must not exceed one, or two paragraphs.


Like all other types of academic writings, writing a research proposal also needs to end at the references. It is important to highlight here that a Bibliography aims to credit the authors whose studies help you in solvingthe research question.

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