Research proposal writing guidance

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How to Write a Research Proposal

When some students are requested to write this type of work, they get stranded as they have no idea how to go about it. The research proposal is an essential piece during your studies, and you should take adequate time to complete it. It is an assignment that provides a clear description of a specific study and whose main aim is to investigate and find solutions for a particular problem.

The research proposal should convince the readers that you have a suitable research topic and plans to do it. The writer must ensure that their proposal can answer the following questions:

•   What are your research objectives?

•   What motivates you to do the work?

•   How will you achieve the goals?

Importance of a Research Proposal

•   It is used to evaluate whether there is expertise to support your research topic.

•   The work proposes a project that will have a positive contribution to a subject area.

•   It helps to reveal a writer’s plan for carrying out their research work. For example, it shows the methodology and theoretical framework to be used.

•   The proposal enables the writers to do their research work within the appropriate time and using the resources at their disposal.

Skills Required when Writing a Research Proposal

Every writer would want to grab the readers' attention and encourage them to keep reading their work. The following are some of the skills that they need to have to achieve that objective:

•   Knowledge in a subject matter.

It is an opportunity for researchers to display the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their study area. The writers also show their familiarity with some of the trends in their field of study.

•   Critical thinking skills.

For an individual to complete a research proposal, they must have excellent skills for analyzing different issues, evaluation, and creative thinking.

•   Communication.

The researcher uses the proposal to highlight his points in a precise manner. There is a need to possess excellent communication skills to ensure that a person achieves their desired results.

Common Mistakes when Writing a Research Proposal

I.   Failure to frame the research questions correctly.

II.   Failing to cite landmark studies in a particular subject area.

III.   Failure to present the contributions of other researchers in a proposal.

IV.   Losing focus on the research questions.

V.   Inability to write a persuasive argument to support your work.

VI.   Failing to provide a detailed explanation for the central issues of research.

VII.   Incorrect citation and referencing of a proposal.

VIII.   Using an inappropriate length for the assignment.

Sections of a Research Proposal

1.   Title.

It must be concise and descriptive. It is recommendable to develop a title in terms of a functional relationship to identify dependent and independent variables clearly. Come up with a title that will help to grab the attention of your target audience. A title can encourage the readers to continue reading the other parts of your proposal.

2.   Abstract.

The section contains about 300 words and is a summary of the assignment. Write this part after completing the other sections of the research proposal. Some of the contents of the abstract include:

•   Research question.

•   The rationale for your study.

•   Your hypothesis.

•   Methodology used. For example, the writer can point out the designs to be used, samples, and instruments.

•   Findings.

3.   Introduction.

This part of your research proposal aims to give a background for your research problem. Take time when you are framing the research problem. Some people find the exercise hard and end up seeking professional assistance to do the work. The researchers should develop a research problem related to a current research topic to ensure that their work attracts readers.

There is a need to use creativity and critical thinking when framing your research problem. You must also be knowledgeable in your subject area. If you choose to focus on an older subject area, make sure that it is still considered viable. Provide a brief historical background of your research problem. The readers would also be interested to understand the contemporary context of the subject. Highlight some of the most relevant publications about the research topic.

You will also be required to explain the relationship between the different variables that you used in your proposal. Some of the common types of variables used in work include:

•   Independent variables.

•   Dependent.

•   Intervening Variables.

•   Background.

4.   Literature Review.

Different institutions may have different requirements when writing this part of the research proposal. In some cases, the literature review is included in the introductory section of the work. Consult your academic supervisor about this issue.

The Purpose of the Literature Review

•   It allows researchers to give credit to individuals who contributed to the research topic.

•   It is an opportunity for individuals to display their knowledge in the subject area.

•   Shows a person’s ability to do a critical analysis of literary work that has been used in the subject area.

•   Displays a writer’s ability to integrate existing literature.

•   Informs the readers of the knowledge gap that you will fill through your research work.

Common Mistakes when Writing your Literature Review

•   Poor organization of different ideas.

•   Failure to ensure the coherence of the content.

•   The repetitiveness of the items in your review.

•   Incorrect citation.

•   Inability to incorporate up to date information.

•   Including irrelevant citations and references.

•   Over-reliance on secondary sources of information.

5.   Methodology.

The writer explains to the readers how they will handle the research problem. The researchers outline different activities that will be involved from the start to the end of the project. The methodology adopted will determine the reliability of your research. Explain why your method is the best to carry out your research.

6.   Results.

Highlight the type of data that you will collect during your research. The readers will also expect you to explain the procedures you will employ to test your hypothesis.

7.   Discussion.

Help the readers of your proposal to understand the potential impact of your work. Outline the limitations and weaknesses of your project.

8.   List of References.

The format used in this section depends on your discipline. Consult your supervisor about the required style.

9.   Budget.

The costs will vary from one proposal to another. It reveals the cost to be met by the sponsors. Some of the expenses include personnel and administration. 

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