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How to Write a Prospectus

Last Updated: February 5, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow's content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 134,576 times. Learn more...

A prospectus is, in effect, a research proposal. The purpose of this document – be it a single page or dozens of pages long – is to sell your idea to the appropriate professor or research committee. You may be writing a prospectus for an undergraduate research project, a grad school study, or a doctoral dissertation. A prospectus also is used to apply for grants or other funding from universities or nonprofit organizations. [1] X Trustworthy Source Investor.gov Website maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commision’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy providing free resources about investing. Go to source

Things You Should Know

  • State your topic of study and the questions you intend to answer; then, explain how and why your study will answer those questions.
  • Outline the chapters of your prospectus and each stage of research, and include an estimate of the project's costs and timeline.
  • Use standard formatting unless otherwise instructed, with a table of contents and bibliography.
  • Carefully proofread your prospectus before submitting it for evaluation.

Describing the Goals of the Study

Step 1 State the general topic of your study.

  • Your topic isn't as broad as an entire subject such as history or sociology. Rather, you're going to list a specific aspect of that subject, such as "The Causes of World War II" or "The Impact of Globalization in Latin America."
  • This topic generally would be far too broad to write a single paper (or even a single book) about and even begin to cover it in a more than superficial manner.
  • In a shorter prospectus, such as for an undergraduate research paper, you typically won't need to devote more than a sentence to your topic before moving on to your research questions.

Step 2 List the questions your study will seek to answer.

  • Before you start formulating your questions, you may want to look at other research projects in your discipline to get a good idea of the types of questions typically asked.
  • For example, a history question may involve extensive research and synthesis of that research to discover any patterns that may emerge.
  • In contrast, questions in the social sciences such as political science may be based more on data gathering and statistical analysis.
  • In a short prospectus, this may simply be a bullet-point list of specific questions you expect to address through your research.
  • A longer prospectus, such as a grant proposal or dissertation prospectus, typically devotes several pages to discussing the specific questions that your research will address.

Step 3 Discuss the importance of these answers.

  • The more advanced you are in your discipline, the more crucial this portion of your prospectus is going to be.
  • If you're writing a prospectus for a research project in an undergraduate course, your professor likely won't expect you to contribute something new or profound to the field. However, graduate research and dissertations typically attempt to make a unique contribution to the area.
  • You may need to do some preliminary research before you can write this portion of your prospectus, particularly if you believe you are the only person ever to do research seeking specifically to answer the questions you've listed.
  • Any statement you make regarding the importance of your research should be supported by research, and you should be able to defend those assertions to the people reviewing your prospectus.

Step 4 Make clear how your study will answer the questions you've raised.

  • You want your thesis statement to be as clear as possible. If you find it difficult to craft a clear answer to the questions you've presented, it may be that your questions aren't as clear as they could be.
  • Keep in mind that if your question is vague or muddled, you're going to have a hard time coming up with a clear, definitive thesis statement.

Step 5 Summarize your interests and qualifications.

  • At this level, you're not just selling your idea, you're also selling your own knowledge, passion, commitment, and skills as a researcher to find the answers you seek.
  • For grant applications, information about yourself as a person and your personal interest in the topic you plan to research also can be important. When deciding which projects to fund, having a personal commitment or dedication to a particular issue may give you an edge.
  • Depending on the type of research you plan to do, you also may have to outline your position and your access or ability to gather various types of information, such as archives or classified documents.

Explaining the Organization of the Study

Step 1 Outline the chapters of your paper or project.

  • Keep in mind that this is just a plan – nothing's set in stone. At this early stage, your paper likely will change as you get into your research or start gathering the data and crunching numbers to work on your project.
  • You can create specific paragraphs or an outline, or you can write this section in a single seamless narrative. For shorter papers, that's probably all this section will be – essentially a couple of paragraphs that tell the readers how you anticipate you'll organize the final report on the project.

Step 2 Break down the phases or stages of your research.

  • For example, if you're doing a statistical analysis, you must first gather the data, then compile statistics from that data, then analyze the statistics you create.
  • For scientific experiments, this is the place where you'll describe the steps in the experiment.
  • If you're doing a project in the humanities, the stages of your research may not be as clear-cut as they would be if you were doing a research project for a more scientific discipline.

Step 3 Estimate the time it will take you to complete your project.

  • For graduate research projects or dissertations, the timeframe may be more open-ended. In these situations, you should provide an estimate in your prospectus of when you believe your project will be completed.
  • Coming up with a timeline and ultimate deadline of when the research will be completed is particularly important if you're applying for a grant.
  • How long you think it will take to complete your research affects the feasibility of the project, which is ultimately how your prospectus will be evaluated. Be realistic in what you can do within the time constraints you have.
  • Keep in mind that while you may be able to get an extension if your research ends up taking longer than you anticipated in your prospectus, you also may be expected to justify the reasons you need more time or explain why the initial estimate in your prospectus was incorrect.

Step 4 Calculate the amount of money your project or study will cost.

  • This is especially important if you're applying for a grant, as the people who review your prospectus will want a detailed breakdown of what you intend to do with the money if you're awarded the grant.
  • Typically you'll need to include expenses such as fees for access to archives or for copying, any costs for data collecting, and rentals of lab or other equipment.
  • You also should include a list of any resources you plan to use for which you anticipate there being no cost, such as use of the university library or computers and employment of student volunteers.

Formatting Your Prospectus

Step 1 Review any assignment information.

  • The guidelines also typically will include details on which citation method you should use, and may include details on using a particular style guide that will govern word usage, grammar, and punctuation rules.
  • Your assignment information also may specifically state how long each section is supposed to be, and which sections must be included.

Step 2 Use standard formatting.

  • Type your prospectus in a standard, legible font such as Times New Roman or Helvetica.
  • Typically you'll have one-inch margins on all sides of the paper, and your text will be double-spaced. Include page numbers if your prospectus is more than one page.
  • Follow the guidelines from your professor or department in regard to creating a cover sheet or using special formatting or headers on the first page.
  • If footnotes or end notes are required, set these up in your word processing app before you start working on your prospectus.

Step 3 Provide a table of contents.

  • The table of contents essentially is a list of chapters for your final report, and gives the readers of your prospectus an idea of what the final report will look like and how long it will be.

Step 4 Include a bibliography.

  • Some professors or departments require an annotated bibliography, in which you not only cite the sources you plan to use but provide a detailed description of what the source is and how it fits into your research.
  • Check the guidelines from your professor or department to make sure you're using the correct citation method for your bibliography.

Step 5 Proofread your work carefully.

  • Reading your prospectus backwards is a good way to proofread and catch errors you might have missed otherwise.
  • In addition to editing for grammar and punctuation, you also should check your language carefully. Make sure everything is written in a formal, professional tone.
  • Keep your audience in mind as you edit. While you may be writing your prospectus for professors or a department committee that has full understanding of your project's topic, you shouldn't assume any particular level of understanding. Rather, your prospectus should be written so that it can be understood by a generally intelligent person without any special knowledge in your field.

Expert Q&A

  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish through your research. Writing a prospectus that seems narrow in scope, but feasible, is better than writing a prospectus that seems overly ambitious and impractical. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Don't worry if your final paper or study ends up deviating from your prospectus. This often happens when you get further into your research, and is to be expected. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to write a prospectus for a research paper

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Write an Expression of Interest

  • ↑ https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing/investing-basics/glossary/prospectus
  • ↑ https://www.wichita.edu/academics/fairmount_college_of_liberal_arts_and_sciences/english/deptenglish/WritingaResearchProspectus.php
  • ↑ https://english.washington.edu/sites/english/files/documents/ewp/academicresearchpapersequence_grollmus.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.slu.edu/arts-and-sciences/theological-studies/student-resources/pdfs/prospectus-template.pdf
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/planresearchpaper/
  • ↑ https://poorvucenter.yale.edu/writing/graduate/writing-through-graduate-school/prospectus-writing
  • ↑ https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing/investing-basics/glossary/mutual-fund-fees-and-expenses
  • ↑ https://examples.yourdictionary.com/reference/examples/table-of-content-examples.html
  • ↑ https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/writing-a-bibliography-examples-of-apa-mla-styles
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/proofreading

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Writing a Research Prospectus

A prospectus is a formal proposal of a research project developed to convince a reader (a professor or research committee, or later in life, a project coordinator, funding agency, or the like) that the research can be carried out and will yield worthwhile results. It should provide:

  • a working title for your project,
  • a statement of your research question or issue,
  • an overview of scholarship related to this topic or to the this author,
  • a brief summary of your research methods and/or your theoretical approach.

A prospectus is normally accompanied by a bibliography, often annotated, which lists sources you have consulted or plan to consult for your research. In cases where the texts studied exist in multiple editions or in translation, the bibliography should normally state which edition, text, or translation you will be using and why. You also should include a Prospectus Cover Sheet (Word) , complete with the signature of your director and second reader.

Contents:  In most cases, a prospectus will begin with an overview of existing scholarship, summarizing basic arguments relevant to the project. It will then position the project with reference to this scholarship. For this reason, the prospectus will demonstrate that you have conducted enough preliminary research to be able to design a relevant project and carry it through relatively independently. Since at this stage much research remains to be done, a thesis statement usually does not follow this introduction. Instead, include a statement of hypothesis or of the central research questions. The prospectus should then offer an overview of the project organization. If the project is large enough for chapters, include a breakdown of them. If special skills or assistance such as foreign language competency, access to archives or special collections, technical skills, or access to technical equipment are needed to complete your project, the prospectus should address your preparation in these areas. Part of your goal is, in essence, to "sell" your research supervisors on both your project and yourself as a researcher. Cover the ground well, presenting yourself and your project as intellectually convincing.

Developing an initial prospectus will help faculty understand where you are in the research process and help you bring focus to your research throughout the experience. Because it lays out a framework for your project, the prospectus can provide you with direction during the inevitable moments when you feel overwhelmed or lost. And because you have already clearly demonstrated your ability to carry out your research project, the prospectus can serve to reinforce your confidence and help keep you on track for a timely completion.

Beyond its relevance to your current research project, a prospectus helps you sharpen several important skills. Because a good prospectus demands concise, informative writing, composing one will help hone your writing style. In asking you to persuasively describe a compelling project and establish your ability to carry it out, it draws on abilities applicable to a variety of situations in and out of the academy, such as scholarship and funding applications, proposals for research forums, conferences, or publications, job applications, and preparation for larger and more complex research projects such as those found in Ph.D. programs and a variety of professional settings. The skill is so important that some people—grant writers—make a profession out of writing prospectuses.


Insights from zachary schrag, author of the princeton guide to historical research, how to write a prospectus.

A dissertation prospectus is an essay arguing that you have found a research problem whose solution merits thousands of hours of your time; hundreds of hours of the time of your various advisors and committee members as well as that of librarians, archivists, and other people of good will; and, if you are lucky, some public or foundation funds toward your research expenses. Though the dissertation you complete will likely differ significantly from the one you conceive, you should be able at least to sketch out a viable project before attempting to write one.

The prospectus also functions as the rough draft of a dissertation introduction, so by reading the introductions of monographs (especially historians’ first books, which are typically based on their dissertations), you can get a good idea of the form. Here I have drawn examples from such works.

Specifically, the prospectus must answer a series of questions. Though the questions are simple, answering them will require you to become a leading expert in the historiography of a given topic. Crafting your prospectus, then, should be hard work. But if done right, it will pay off in the end, for each hour devoted to the prospectus will save multiple hours by helping you research and write your dissertation more efficiently.

What question do you want to answer?

A major function of a prospectus, and ultimately the introduction of your dissertation, is to explain what question you seek to answer. This will keep you on track as you do your research, and it will help your reader understand why you are telling the stories you do.

Consider, for example, Bradford Hunt’s introduction to Blueprint for Disaster . He gives his introduction its own title: “What Went Wrong with Public Housing in Chicago?” This leaves no doubt about his goal in conducting the research he did. Put a question like that in your prospectus, and your committee will know exactly what you seek to accomplish.

In general, or perhaps always, the question should present a comparison, or dialectic. Hunt’s question,—what went wrong?—implies a comparison between the optimistic plans for public housing and the disappointing outcome. For other forms of dialectics used by historians, see “ Dialectical Thesis Statements .”

What have others written about your subject generally?

Whether or not previous historians have investigate the specific events you will discuss in your research, you should explain what they have said about the broader themes you will explore. For example, Kate Masur ( An Example for All the Land , 4.) explains the significance of her study of Reconstruction in Washington, D.C., by discussing scholarship about Reconstruction in general, and arguing that it has paid insufficient attention to ideas about equality:

Historians have shown how meanings of freedom differed not only between blacks and whites and between northerners and southerners, but also among African Americans, across lines of sex, class, and region of origin. The meanings of freedom were myriad, and it mattered immensely whose definitions won out. But the focus on freedom has left other important concepts relatively unexplored. Equality is one of them.

What have others written about your subject specifically?

Having framed a question, you need to explain why you think answering it will take years of primary-source research, rather than a few hours reading a book that someone else has already written. For some topics, this will mean addressing one or more accounts of pretty much the same events that you will explore.

Hunt, for example, knows he must explain why anyone would read his work rather a previous, and acclaimed, account of public housing in Chicago: Arnold Hirsch’s Making the Second Ghetto . Hunt’s introduction devotes three paragraphs to summarizing Hirsch’s work, noting its contributions and limits, and explaining how his account will differ. (More on this below.)

What is new about your approach?

In “ Reverse Engineering for Historians ,” I quote passages from book reviews to show how historians gauge the contributions of each other’s work. In introducing their books, historians make similar claims about their own work. Your prospectus should do the same.

Here are some examples of claims to novelty:

I am telling an untold or neglected story

Margarete Sandelowski, Devices & Desires: Gender, Technology, and American Nursing , 9:

Despite (or perhaps because of) the fundamental but confusing link between nursing and technology, it has yet to be the subject of much formal exploration. Technology can be seen in longstanding debates concerning the relative dominance of the hands, mind, and spirit of the nurse and whether nursing is an art, science, and/or (woman)craft, but is has rarely taken center stage. The nursing/technology relation has been the subject largely of anecdotes and speculation rather than the focus of formal research or critique.

Darren Dochuck, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt , xxii.

Few subjects have received more scholarly treatment lately than modern conservatism, and rightfully so. Whereas a previous generation of historians assumed liberal consensus in post-World War II America, the current one sees a contested political climate in which conservatism occupies a central role. Local studies of its activists, biographies of its leaders, analyses of its core ideas, and appraisals of its partisan maneuvers have all brought this diffuse and complicated movement into clearer focus. Yet, with few exceptions, these studies have cordoned off evangelicalism as an interest that nudged politicians and inflected politics only sporadically as a voice of protest from the periphery . . . From Bible Belt to Sunbelt will challenge this notion and help fill these gaps by demonstrating how southern evangelicalism was, from the very beginning, aligned with the forces that created the Sunbelt and embedded in the political processes that upset this region’s Democratic allegiances and constructed its Republican Right.

I am presenting new voices

Robin Bachin, Building the South Side , 12:

This book . . . pushes the boundaries of historical definitions of urban planning and design. Recent historians of planning have illuminated the complex process of urban development. Yet much of planning history remains focused on the planner as the primary shaper of urban growth, often ignoring the roles played by urban communities in challenging both the design and the use of city spaces. Other studies emphasize the promotional and regulatory nature of the state in shaping urban growth. In addition, some recent scholars have demonstrated the strong connections between private interests and public policy in structuring city development. This book offers a more expansive view of planning history, examining how various urban residents sought to imprint their identities and interests on city spaces through the ways they both designed and used them.

I am combining previously separate historiographies

Meg Jacobs, Pocketbook Politics , 6:

This book encourages a new way of studying state power by integrating popular politics and elite policymaking. The functioning of large administrative states can be understood only by exploring the ways that they legitimize their authority, which can include delegating power to citizens. Conversely, popular movements have succeeded in effecting change only to the extent that they win support at elite levels. Unlike most social historians who focus exclusively on consumers at the grass roots, Pocketbook Politics breaks new methodological ground by insisting on the centrality of national politics and the state in the nearly century-long fight to fulfill the American Dream of abundance. We know a good deal about the business and culture of the mass market. We also know about the rise of the modern welfare state and postwar Keynesian tax-and-spend fiscal policies, which sought to smooth the rough edges of modern capitalism. But we know less about the intersection of what consumer advocate Caroline Ware called “concrete daily economic experience” and economic policy-making. It was this powerful dialectic that Ware understood by her use of the phrase “economic citizenship.” Thus, this book combines political and social history, drawiing on government documents and presidential records as well as on grassroots sources and popular periodicals, in order to show the dynamic interplay between the state and its citizenry over marketplace issues during the twentieth century.

I am redefining categories

Similarly, David Stradling ( Smokestacks and Progressives , 5) explains how his specific study of debates over urban air quality complicates our broader understanding of environmental thought.

The story of the anti-smoke movement complicates not only the argument concerning postwar origins of environmentalism, but also the definition of conservationism. Generally historians have defined conservationism as a progressive movement to improve the nation’s use of important natural resources, especially water and timber. Most conservation histories do not look far beyond the rivers and forests of the American West. While in most histories conservationism remains almost exclusively a Western, rural, and sylvan movement, in actuality it entailed much more than the direction of Western watersheds through government management of forests and grasslands. It was a broad-based crusade designed to manage efficiently all of the nation’s resources, both in public and in private hands. The rhetoric that dominated the later anti-smoke movement, with its emphasis on the promotion of efficiency and conservation of coal for smoke reduction, serves as an obvious example of how conservationism penetrated progressive cities. Indeed, conservation included a myriad of movements in cities to conserve resources, health, and beauty. Conservationism inhabited progressive cities as well as Western lands.

Whose story will you tell?

As noted above, one way to make an original contribution is to tell an old story with new protagonists. And even if you are telling an untold story, you still need to know who your main actors will be, since tracking them will be the main part of your research, and your choice of protagonists will determine the sources you seek and the organization of your dissertation.

The prospectus must therefore make clear whose story you will tell. If the answer changes part by part, or chapter by chapter, make that explicit.

What sources will you use?

A sad truth is that historians can only answer a small fraction of the questions we can conceive. The historical record—archives, publications, interviews—represents just a fragment of the information we wish we had. If the answers to your questions burned in a library fire, died two years before you started grad school, or just were never recorded in the first place, you may need to find new questions.

Thus, a prospectus must show that you can access a critical mass of sources for your work. This means assembling a bibliography of primary sources in some detail. If you plan to rely on newspapers, list them by title. If you plan to use archives, identify the record groups or collections.

With any luck, you will find many more sources as your work progresses, but your prospectus should demonstrate that you have enough to complete the project even if you find nothing else.

The sources should correspond to your protagonists. If your protagonists did not leave any sources, explain how you will track their voices and deeds through sources created by others.

How will you tell your story?

Finally, the prospectus should give some sense of the organization of the dissertation. Will it be primarily chronological or thematic? If the former, how will you periodize your story? If the latter, what are the key themes? How will you divide the work in to chapters? What question will each chapter answer? Who are the major actors in each? What sources will you use to tell their stories?

Many monographs give models of this in the form of chapter summaries. For example, Eric Yellin outlines Racism in the Nation’s Service (8) at both the section and chapter levels. Note how the organization is both chronological (particularly the section divisions) and thematic (with chapters 4, 5, and 6 tracing discrimination from thought to deed to reaction).

This book traces the rise and fall of African American civil servants in three sections. The first section establishes the world of black politics and federal employment in Washington, D.C., before Woodrow Wilson’s election in November 1912. Chapter 1 takes us on a walk through Washington and its federal offices around the turn of the twentieth century, and chapters 2 and 3 follow national politics and its connection to federal employment from Abraham Lincoln’s administration to William Howard Taft’s. The next section charts the rise of the Wilsonian regime between 1913 and 1917. Chapter 4 explores the ideologies and discourse swirling around the Wilson administration, in particular the relationship between progressive politics and white supremacy. Chapter 5 lays out the ways in which Wilson’s administrators went about discriminating against African American federal employees in Washington, from separating and isolating employees to limiting career prospects. Chapter 6 examines the methods of resistance and protest deployed by black employees and civil rights activists, as well as Woodrow Wilson’s response to the protests. Finally, the last section, chapter 7, follows the story into the late 1920s, when the generation of federal employees who experienced Wilsonian discrimination began to die out. This chapter returns us to ordinary life in federal offices and in Washington’s streets, to see the ways in which the changes under Wilson’s administration became institutionalized after Republicans returned to national power.

You can swap, but you can’t abandon

Once you have answers to all these questions, you can change them as you proceed in your research. But you can only discard an answer if you have a new one to put in its place.

It’s like buying a bicycle, then swapping out the rims, handlebars, saddle, cranks, cables, cassette, and so on, until the machine you are riding bears little resemblance to the one on which you began your voyage. That’s fine, but at any given moment, the bike must have two wheels, some handlebars, and all the rest, or it’s not a bicycle. And like a good bicycle, whatever happens down the road, your prospectus should support your weight and keep you moving forward.


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Trapped in dissertation revisions?

How to write a dissertation prospectus (with outline and examples), published by nicholas tippins on april 30, 2020 april 30, 2020.

Last Updated on: 2nd February 2024, 05:41 am

Your dissertation prospectus is the first formal document you submit to your dissertation committee outlining your intended study. It is not a long document; usually around 10-20 pages. It should be submitted fairly soon after establishing candidacy.

It is wise to discuss your prospectus with your Chair and committee members before writing it. They will give you valuable pointers about your intended study, and you’ll save yourself the effort of rewriting it after you get their feedback.

In this article, I’ll provide an example outline of a dissertation prospectus, discuss the basics of how to write a dissertation prospectus, and also explore the similarities between writing a prospectus and asking someone on a date.

Dissertation Prospectus: Example Outline 

While every institution will have different requirements (and you should absolutely look at those before writing your dissertation prospectus), there are a few basics that are common to most of them. 

woman in a orange shirt working on her laptop next to the window

Title : This is more of a labor than you might have anticipated. Gone are the days of last-minute essay titles. The dissertation prospectus title is a hyper-specific description of what you plan to study. It should align with your problem and purpose statements. 

Focus, or Statement of Thesis : This is where you describe what you’ll study. No need to write a ton here–a few sentences or short paragraphs is usually sufficient.

Again, this must be very specific. It’s easiest to think of this section as a central question of your dissertation. Can you distill the focus of your dissertation into one question? If not, chances are your topic is too broad.

Since this section will become your Problem Statement and Purpose statement , it can be helpful to consider “what is the problem I’m trying to solve,” and “with that in mind, what is the purpose of this study?” 

Summary of Existing Literature: What other studies have been done on the subject? This is the very beginning of what will become your Literature Review . It’s important that you’re familiar with the landscape before you dive into studying a subject so that you can be sure that you’re building off of existing knowledge and adding a genuine contribution to the field.

Methodology: Discuss the methods you plan on using. You should know whether your study will be qualitative or quantitative, as well as any theoretical or conceptual frameworks you plan on using.

Outline: Some institutions ask that you provide a brief outline of each chapter. 

Timeline : Some institutions ask for a rough timeline. Make sure to account for time researching existing literature, collecting data, and writing.

how to write a prospectus for a research paper

Bibliography: Here, you’ll list the sources that you reference in your prospectus. 

How to Write a Dissertation Prospectus

woman focused on typing on her laptop next to a large window in a café

Writing a Dissertation Prospectus Is Like Asking Someone on a Date

One of the most common challenges students have when they begin writing their dissertation prospectus is lack of specificity. The level of specificity required in academic writing is unique, and it often takes students a while to grasp just how specific they need to be.

One (sort of) helpful way to look at this is that it’s like asking someone out on a date. In both a dissertation proposal and a date proposal, you need to communicate the following information:

  • Who is involved?
  • What are we doing?
  • Where are we going?
  • When is this happening?

In a date scenario, usually that’s you and me. But maybe two of our mutual friends are coming along for a double date. Or an adult chaperone. Or maybe it’s you and one of my friends who I think would be perfect for you, even though you think he’s an asshole. Do you see how it’s important to know who we’re talking about? 

Knowing who is equally important in a dissertation. And we have to be super-specific here. Not just “branch managers,” but “branch managers at a medium-sized paper company in Pennsylvania.” 

man writing dissertation prospectus on his tablet computer in the kitchen

For one of the first dates I went on with my partner, I neglected to tell her that we were going hiking. She showed up in a sundress and pretty little sandals (which I also neglected to notice were not appropriate for hiking). I should also mention that “hiking” for me is more like bush-whacking; it involves following deer trails, climbing over fallen trees, scaling small cliffs, and jumping over streams. 

Despite her attire, we had a blast, and only once did she mention that she “maybe should have brought different shoes.” If I were to do it over again, though, I would tell her what we were doing so she could dress appropriately.

It’s also important to know what you’re studying. What phenomenon, event, etc. Are you studying employee engagement, 

If we’re going on a date, I have to know where to meet you. At a cute local diner or L’etoile? Knowing where we’re going only makes sense. If I plan on taking you to Venice, but you think we’re meeting at our favorite cafe, there might be a problem–no matter how nice Venice is. 

woman smiling and working on her laptop with her headphones on

See, knowing where we’re talking about is important. Guess what–the same is true for a dissertation.

Most dissertation studies (at least those with human subjects) involve a limited area. It’s important to know where a study took place in order for future researchers to account for the location when trying to replicate your data. It’s also important to know where in order to interpret the data in context.

For example, upper-level managers in banks in Nigeria have a different context than those in the United States. Women between the ages of 25 and 40 who earn the majority of their household income have a different context depending on whether they’re in Tokyo, rural India, or a medium-sized city in Brazil. Each of these countries has different cultures, laws, economies, and historical events that affect the data you collect.

This is something most people get right when asking someone on a date. It’s hard to meet up if you’re there at different times. However, not everyone gets this right in the dissertation prospectus.

You can explore about the causes or the effects of the financial crisis in Rome, but what you discover will differ depending on whether you mean the Roman Empire’s financial crisis of 33 A.D. , or the Italian financial crisis of 2018 . 

how to write a prospectus for a research paper

How to Write a Dissertation Prospectus: Summary

Your prospectus is usually the first formal document you submit on your way to writing your dissertation . When done well, it can provide you a strong basis for writing your Chapter 1. I encourage you to reach out to your committee before writing it to discuss what your plans are, and again if anything is unclear. You’ll save valuable time by doing this proactively, and you’ll also learn the essential vocabulary of the academic.

Nicholas Tippins

Nicholas has been a dissertation editor since 2015. He founded a dissertation editing firm that served clients around the world. Currently, he manages the editing team at Beyond PhD Coaching.

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Prospectus writing.

Writing your prospectus is the first step towards completing your dissertation. It represents an opportunity to identify your project goals, create a roadmap for completing your graduate work, and to frame the significance of your work.  Your committee will provide you with feedback on the prospectus.

While different departments and disciplines will have their own requirements, in general, your prospectus will include an abstract, background and significance of research, a literature review, a description of the preliminary work you have completed, an explanation of your method or approaches, potential limitations or issues with the project, a timetable for completion, a conclusion, and a list of references.

The Graduate Writing Lab’s team of writing consultants can help you at any stage of your prospectus drafting, from brainstorming ideas, through early drafts, and polishing a final product. You can make an appointment with a consultant at:  https://poorvucenter.yale.edu/writing/graduate .

  • General Guidelines for Writing a Prospectus

The Graduate Writing Lab has collected sample prospectuses from various disciplines for your reference, which are available here as downloadable resources.

  • East Asian Languages and Literature  
  • Film Studies  
  • History of Art and African American Studies  

Social Sciences

  • African American Studies 
  • Political Science  
  • Cell Biology  
  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics  
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology  
  • Physiology  


how to write a prospectus for a research paper

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Writing a Prospectus: Home

Library resources.

Sample Lists of texts in J. Willard Marriott Library

Dissertation   proposal  guidebook :  how   to   prepare   a  research  proposal  and get it accepted ( LB2369 .G26)

Theses   and   dissertations  : a  guide   to   writing  in the social  and  physical sciences ( LB2369 .T44 1997)

Theses   and   dissertations  : a  guide   to  planning, research,  and   writing ( LB2369 .T458 2000)

Completing   dissertations   in   the   behavioral  sciences and education ( LB2369 .L65 1985)

Proposals   that   work  : a guide for planning dissertations and grant proposals ( Q180.55.P7 L63 2007)

Dissertation   solutions  : a concise guide to planning, implementing, and surviving the  dissertation  process ( LB2369 .A94 2012)

Avoiding thesis and  dissertation  pitfalls : 61 cases of problems and solutions ( LB2369 .T457 2001)

Prospectus Guide

Writing a Prospectus

There are many different kinds of prospectuses for different purposes. Ph.D. students are asked to submit dissertation prospectuses to their committees; most research grant applications require them; academic job candidates often include short prospectuses with their application materials; and book publishers request them as part of the process of considering a manuscript for publication. Editors of journals and essay volumes may also request a prospectus of a proposed article. These different kinds of prospectuses differ mostly in regard to the length and detail with which the project is described. Dissertation prospectuses can run anywhere from 5 to 30 pages, depending on the amount of detail requested of the student, while grant and job applications generally require brevity (1-2 single-spaced pages for a job application; 3-5 single-spaced pages for many grants). It is highly likely that before a major project is published, 3 or 4 different kinds of prospectuses will have been written for it. 

A dissertation prospectus is a Ph.D. students attempt to describe a dissertation project, including the central problem, puzzle or question to be addressed, the existing literature, and how the project might add to that literature. 

Below you will find general information. When in doubt you should always consult your department and faculty advisors. Academic writing is discipline specific, so one size definately doesn't fit all. 

A prospectus should answer the following questions: 

  • What is the subject of the study? How is the subject defined (is there any special use of terminology or context)? What are the main research questions the study aims to answer?
  • Why is the author addressing this topic? What have other scholars written about this subject, and how is this author's approach, information, or perspective different? What need or gap does this proposed study fill in the scholarly conversation? What new approach to a familiar topic does it propose to offer? What will be the study's original and special contributions to this subject?
  • What are the main sources that will be used to explore this subject? Why are these sources appropriate?
  • What is the proposed organization of the study?
  •  Does the author have any special needs in order to complete this study? In particular, does s/he need funding to travel to archives, gain access to collections, or acquire technical equipment? Does s/he have the special skills (languages, technical expertise) that this project might require?


  • Title: it should be informative and helpful in pinpointing the topic and emphasis of your study
  • The body of the prospectus: this section should concentrate on addressing questions 1-3 above. The goal of this section is both to describe the project and to "sell" the reader on its potential interest and scholarly significance.
  • A chapter breakdown: This can either be a formal section, in which each chapter is described in turn in about a paragraphâs worth of text, or it can be done more narratively, in which the whole project is outlined as a more seamless story. Either way, it should address question #4, above.
  • (for grant applications, if applicable) a brief paragraph at the end addressing question #5.
  • (for dissertation prospectuses) a bibliography is usually required.
  • (for book prospectuses) a table of contents is usually requested.

Some further considerations:

Think about your audience. Most of the members of your dissertation committee will know a lot about your area of research. But this may not be true, for example, of committee members from outside the department. It is even less likely that readers of job or grant applications or book editors will be familiar with the particular area of scholarship in which you work. It is therefore important that your prospectus convey its subject matter in as clear a fashion as possible, and that it not make too many demands upon its readers in regard to knowing specialized terminology or about debates within a given field. Your prospectus should be meaningful and interesting to an intelligent general reader.  What readers look for in a good prospectus. In most cases, prospectuses are being reviewed because people are considering entrusting you with something: the freedom of advancing to candidacy; a job; grant money; a book contract. They need to know if their trust will be well placed, and that you are a good bet to follow through on your proposed work. Questions that often arise in this regard are as follows:

  • How interesting and important is this study? (will we have helped make an important contribution if we support this work?)
  • Is the study feasible? Can it be done in a reasonable time frame?
  • Can this author produce an excellent dissertation/book? (nobody wants to back a shoddy effort)

Your prospectus should address the first of these concerns head-on and show the reader exactly why your project is important, interesting, and, if possible, relevant to broad (human/social/political/cultural) concerns. The second two questions are a little tougher to address. Often, they emerge because the project appears to be too broad or ambitious in scope or not yet completely formulated. Or perhaps the readers have concerns about the author's scholarship. If you are concerned that your dissertation prospectus describes a project that appears too big to be successfully completed, you should discuss this with your dissertation director; this might be a signal that you need to reconsider your project's structure. As for the scholarship issue, you can best address this by making sure to show that you are completely in charge of the scholarly apparatus of your project: you know what you're talking about in regard to the scholarly debates, and you give sufficient (and the right) citations. (A negative example: if you say you're the first person to study a particular topic, you had better be right!)  Dissertations are works in progress. If you have read these suggestions in preparation for writing a dissertation prospectus, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps you worry that you don't know how to address all the issues raised in the five key questions outlined above. This is probably because your dissertation topic and/or organization has not been thoroughly worked out yet. Indeed, many students find it hard to be decisive about the shape, topic, and issues in a dissertation until they are well into the writing (which is why more advanced students tend to write better prospectuses than those just starting their research, and, not coincidentally, compete better for jobs and grants). If your dissertation is still in its early stages, you may have to bluff a little to produce a cogent prospectus, and even resign yourself to remaining a bit speculative in places about features of your project. But you should also see whatever difficulties you have in writing your prospectus as diagnostic of the work have yet to do in planning your dissertation: if you are having trouble articulating the topic, you probably need to think it through more thoroughly; if you are uncomfortable with your rationale for undertaking the project, perhaps you need to do more research on previous approaches; if you have trouble summarizing your chapters, perhaps you need to spend some time on either the organization of the dissertation or on the content of the individual chapters. This exercise is worth the effort: a dissertation prospectus will probably be the first draft of all the other prospectuses to follow.

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  • Last Updated: Apr 14, 2020 3:55 PM
  • URL: https://campusguides.lib.utah.edu/prospectus

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A resource for interdisciplinary writers, photo ©2009 david frazier, research prospectus for seminar papers.

The prospectus is a fully-developed research plan that will help you pull together your research materials as you think about how to pursue your research question and develop your thesis. It describes your topic, introduces your working thesis, and explains the sources that you plan to use and pursue in building your argument.

In a Prospectus, You Should....

  • Introduce and describe your topic
  • State what you already know about it
  • State your primary research question
  • Propose a tentative claim (that is, your working thesis, or possible answers to your primary research question)
  • Outline the primary support (evidence + reasoning about the evidence in relationship to your claim) that you will use to develop your thesis
  • Identify the sources containing that evidence and the disciplinary (or interdisciplinary) approaches those sources represent
  • Indicate significant counter-arguments to your working thesis (or anomalous pieces of support that you will have to account for)
  • Identify the sources that contain these counter-arguments/anomalies
  • Explain why your insight into this topic is significant and interesting (how does your thesis pass the “so what?” test?)

Remember that your prospectus is a planning document; while it will provide the foundation for your finished presentation or paper, it is not intended to be the presentation or paper itself, or to state exactly what your presentation or paper will say (that is, it is not an abstract of an essay already written or a presentation already given, but an anticipation of what will come based on the preliminary research you’ve done). You will discover as you do further research that you might need to make changes to your initial plan and to your working thesis (sometimes substantial ones).

book 5

be sure to address these questions in any research prospectus

1. Summarize what you already know about the topic.

2. What is your proposed title?

3. Who is your intended audience?

4. What is the purpose of your paper; that is, what will this paper do for the reader? For you? Be specific.

5. What is your proposed thesis?

6. What major question(s) do you hope to answer in this paper that pertain to your purpose?

7. What is your proposed outline or organization (e.g., what will you discuss first, second, third,etc.)?

8. Tentatively, what sources will you be using? Cite those sources, and document them at the end of your prospectus on a Works Cited page.

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  • A Research Guide
  • Writing Guide
  • Assignment Writing

How to Write a Prospectus for a Research Paper

  • What is a prospectus

How to write a prospectus

  • Writing Tips
  • Prospectus writing format

What is a prospectus?

  • Decide on your topic- a prospectus as mentioned earlier should give a solution to a specific problem which, in essence, affects quite some people if not everyone. Hence your prospectus should essentially answer a specific question, and this will give you the topic of your prospectus and give you direction on what you are going to write about and how you are going to put it down. Ensure that your topic is not as broad as a whole subject but just a section of the whole subject.
  • Research on the topic- although the question you are going to answer is peculiarly different from what other people have already worked on, it must be of the same subject as what has already been worked on which may shed some light on the topic you are working on. You may find articles that are closely similar to the one you are working on or that is in the same subject as yours. For example, if your proposal is on business but more specifically on importing and exporting, you will find other business articles and others that are about the import and export market. These will help you stay on track and give you very clear pointers to what is expected. For example, incorporation of technology in medical record keeping.
  • Enumerate the main questions that your prospect is aimed at answering- helps you to stay on course when writing you proposal as these are the problems you seek to answer in your proposal. The questions are distinct depending on the type of research proposal you are working on such a dissertation proposal will focus more on justifying the questions put forward and explaining these questions, in some other prospectus especially the short ones, they may be just a simple list of questions.
  • What are the benefits of incorporating technology into health record keeping?
  • What ways can technology be incorporated into the health record keeping process effectively?
  • What stands out in your work? This a very important question that every prospectus writer should keep in mind when deciding what to write about and work on. This is important as you are required to focus on the factor that unique between your work and what other people have worked on. Remember that it is this uniqueness that will guarantee the acceptance of your work by your advisors and the hard to please committee members mandated to listen to your idea. This is very important especially when you are requesting for funds from a target and interested companies to enable you to work on your chosen topic.
  • The sources you are going to use- even with a clear objective of the topic you are going to work on, it is not possible to come up with the contents of your prospectus on your own. Hence, it is necessary for you to select a wide selection of books, articles, manuscripts and any other write up that will enable you to come up with a credible write-up. Thinking and coming up with the whole content on your own will leave you stressful and may even make you give up on your topic of interest.
  • Whose story are you going to tell? After selecting your desired problem, you have to now carefully select the characters in your story especially the protagonist who has to be unique from all others amidst the similarity in the story theme with that of already finished works. This will help you identify how you are going to plot your story and build your story.
  • Consider how you are going to tell your story- you should decide the plot of your story and the themes you are going to expound on or that which your story is going to be centered upon, each chapter has to build on a specific theme to make the story flow well. Remember that you have to maintain a good and clear flow of ideas.
  • Design your timeframe- working with a clear timeline is essential in ensuring that you complete your research well before the stipulated time and enable you to do the same unruly hence minimize the number of mistakes you are likely to make and give you time to keenly proofread your write up.
  • Create a workable budget for your research work-  a research work, most definitely, is accompanied by costs for equipment and data collection from different sources among other things that you may be required to purchase during your research work.
  • Once you have carefully considered all these points, you are more than ready to get your idea on paper, and the results will most assuredly be awesome and much more rewarding but only if you put in all your mind and heart to your work. It’s a matter of hard work, precision, assertiveness, and dedication towards achieving your goal.
Read also: One of the best ways to get a degree is to buy dissertation from trustworthy writing service.

Some important prospectus writing tips

  • Consider the topic you have chosen- it is important that you stay on course and focus on that specific problem or rather question that you are bound to answering. The themes or chronological order of events that you have chosen to work within your prospectus should be what you will follow to ensure that there is a systematic order of events hence a smooth flow of ideas and in turn, easier reading and comprehension of your document. Moreover, the topic you choose should be one that you are most comfortable in and will engage your thoughts effectively.
  • Formatting- human is to err, and no matter how advanced you are in the field you are working on, or how confident you are with yourself and your work, you are bound to make mistakes. Thus, it is prudent to take your time and go through your work over and over again before submitting it. You may even choose a trustworthy person to give you a second opinion.
  • Go through the guidelines provided by your advisor to ensure that your research has captured all the areas outlined.
  • Format your work just like you would any type of research paper- standard font should be used that is visible, use one-inch margins and double-spaced text. If there are any formatting specification given by the advisor, follow these specifications to the latter.
  • Precision and accuracy- avoid unnecessary grammatical and sentence structure errors that you can easily avoid. Also, ensure that the sources you choose to derive your content from are credible to ensure accuracy in your story or write up.
  • Keep in mind the audience that your write up will be directed to the beginning with your advisors to the committee members. Make the content as comprehensive as possible to the target audience get your whole idea.
  • Ensure that your story is as realistic and believable as possible so that even convincing the committee members will be such a walk in the park.
  • Allow your ideas to flow without any hindrance or holding back to give you a wide scope of content for your prospectus. Do not be afraid of pouring out your heart and mind as there is room for formatting to erase anything that is irrelevant and out of context.
  • Make your prospectus as interesting as it can be. Play around with words, include ideologies where necessary, questions that will prompt the audience to ponder on what you have written, rhetorical questions and many more. However, you should be careful not to overdo it to so much so that your story loses focus on the main theme and objective it was intended for.
  • Originality is key in a prospectus, and there should be a clear margin of difference between that which you are researching on and what other researchers’ in your field have already done.


Useful information: Read more about professional dissertation writing services .

Prospectus writing format – how to apply it

  • The topic of your prospectus- this is basically what the document is all about. In longer research proposals, you may have to give a brief outline of the topic you have chosen to write on whereas, in shorter proposals such as those of undergraduates, it is not necessary to include this section.
  • The questions that your prospectus is aimed at answering or rather the problems that you are aimed at solving through your work. As mentioned the type of questions and whether or not you will explain or elaborate them depends on the kind of research proposal you are working on.
  • Impact of the answers to the questions you have identified- for a prospectus to be easily accepted by the people and most importantly by interested parties, especially in the case of the dissertation prospectus, its importance to improving the field and even people’s lives should be clearly outlined and hence the importance of this section. Also, you should be careful to state something that is attainable, and that can be scientifically supported by facts or other preliminary research works on the topic.
  • The next section should involve detailed and clearly stated means by which your research will be able to answer the stated questions or problems. This section carries the weight and should be done with much thought and consideration of the topic and the questions you are looking forward to answering.
  • Your qualifications and interests- this is a small but rather important section of your prospectus where you should give a summary of your knowledge, commitment and drive towards the chosen topic. This section is very important especially when you are presenting your work to get grants or funds to complete your work hence it is your opportunity to build quite an impressive reputation. In some prospectus, it may be necessary also to include how you will access sources of information.
  • Create a plot or draft of the chapters that your research is going to include- this may change in the course of your research but will give you clear guidance on the order of chapters so just create a draft to get you started.
  • Divide your work into sections- this is mainly applicable in scientific research papers where you have to follow a specific procedure from the methodology, experiment, data collection, data analysis and interpretation which have to be indicated in the research proposal.
  • Table of contents- this section enumerates the research paper chapters and give the pages of each of the subtopic to enable easier navigation through your research paper and gives an idea of how long the paper is.
  • Bibliography- this is a list of all the sources that you derived your content. It should include: the author’s name, title, edition, year of publication and the page from which you derived your content.
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Honors College Research Program: Writing the Research Prospectus

  • College Level Research
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  • Writing the Research Prospectus

What is a Research Prospectus?

A Research Prospectus is a formal research proposal. You should design the Research Prospectus to convince readers you can complete the research. It should contain:

A research statement or question

An overview of scholarly work already done around your topic; the background and context of your proposed research 

A summary of your research methods or your approach to completing the research

The Honors College has specific guidelines for laying out your Research Prospectus. Please see link to the guidelines below.

  • Honors College Prospectus Guidelines

Theses and Dissertations - in the Library

how to write a prospectus for a research paper

Confronting the idea of writing a senior project can be daunting; therefore, it may be helpful for you to take a look at what earlier students in the Honors Program have written. You can find previous Honors Senior projects in the Marx Library. Try this keyword search in SOUTHcat :

dissertation? thes?s honors

Honors theses all start with the call number LD 10, so you can also do a call number search in SOUTHcat to get a list of  titles:

how to write a prospectus for a research paper

Dissertations and theses in the Marx Library are all located in the Reference area on the 2nd Floor North, but they can be checked out like any other circulating book.

These and Dissertations - Electronic

Coming soon!

Questions to Ask

Are you having trouble getting started? Below are some questions that may help get you started:

What is your research about?

What makes your topic worth researching? 

What is your research design?

What kind of articles do you need?

What have you found so far, and where are the information gaps?

Links to More Information

Stuck? The links below have a lot of information about what a research prospectus is, what it should include, and ways to lay one out.

  • Bowling Green State University - Outline An outline of a research prospectus.
  • Southern New Hampshire University - Research Proposals A guide to writing research proposals with links to examples.
  • University of Guelph - Research Proposals A guide for how to Write a Research Proposal
  • Wichita State University - Research Prospectus A guide on writing a research prospectus.
  • << Previous: Literature Review Basics
  • Last Updated: Jan 26, 2024 10:36 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.southalabama.edu/honorsresearch

Florida State University

FSU | Department of History

Department of History

Guidelines for a prospectus.

The prospectus should be typed, double-spaced, preferably about 10 pages in length or more, exclusive of preliminary outline and bibliography.

I.  The PROSPECTUS is a formal statement about your chosen topic of research . It should contain an explanation of the larger historical concerns which make your topic worth doing. You will also be able to present questions that you will be asking of your sources. Lastly, it asks you to present some tentative conclusions and perhaps a thesis. It should contain the following components.

  • A. A  discussion of the general topic . Describe your subject briefly, place it in an historical context, and state its significance to the larger historical issue(s).
  • B.   A definition of the "problem" that you are confronting, including a few questions that you will ask in an attempt to solve the problem.  You should present tentative conclusions and even a thesis statement. The purpose here is to see how you are conceptualizing your problem and how you might get at some answers. Keep in mind that any conclusions and/or a thesis which you propose are tentative at this point. All will probably be revised as you proceed with your research.
  • C.  Historiography.  Your prospectus should include a survey of the historiography of the topic and themes which you plan to cover. It should be a significant part of the prospectus. You should discuss how and why your research will contribute to the existing literature. Does it fill a gap? Does it add a new perspective? If so, what?
  • D.  A discussion of your sources . Describe the primary sources that you will use for each part of your work.

II.   A PRELIMINARY OUTLINE  should be included with the prospectus . Follow traditional outline form. The outline should not be TOO detailed but it should offer general topics and subtopics. It should enable you to approach your topic and present your material in an effective, organized way. Remember that it is tentative; you will revise it as you proceed.

III.  The last part of this prospectus is a more detailed WORKING ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY composed of two parts:  sources which you have in your possession, and sources which you have not yet obtained but intend to use.

  • A.   For sources in your possession:  Divide the bibliography into primary and secondary sources. Use complete bibliographical information for each entry and follow standard form. Remember to alphabetize by author's last name or the appropriate title word. For each entry, or groups of entries, briefly annotate the sources.
  • B.   For sources which you have not yet obtained but intend to use : Do exactly the same as for Part A except you do not have to annotate the entries. Give some indication about the availability and likely access of the sources you plan to consult, especially archival sources.

IV.   A tentative time table.  This should include the number of weeks or months you expect each stage of your labors to cover. Most everything takes longer than you expect!

V.  A one-paragraph Summary.

VI.   A cover page with:

  • A. proposed title;
  • B. signature of major professor;
  • C. signatures of all committee members including outside representative.

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What is a Prospectus?

A dissertation prospectus is a document that shows the researcher’s plan for the dissertation project. This document should provide enough information to verify the need for their study, the way it is situated amongst existing literature, and how the research will be facilitated. A committee will use this document to verify the viability of a study and to start the conversation regarding where the research could go or other potential avenues to explore.

Note: The prospectus is only the initial starting point, so the focus of the study may change as you continue to research and develop your ideas.

In the prospectus, you are primarily responsible for identifying:

  • What you are researching
  • Why it matters
  • What the foundation of the research is

Use Sources Develop Argument

The dissertation will follow the format of the prospectus template . It is primarily modeled after the professional version of APA 7th edition, but does require minor deviations.

The prospectus is generally a minimum of 15 pages, is double-spaced, and includes an extensive reference section. Remember that the prospectus is the initial plan. While a fair amount of information and evidence is necessary to show a firm foundation, it should not be exhaustive. Provide the information that is necessary in a concise and clear manner.

The prospectus will consist of the following sections/components:

The title of your dissertation should be relevant, clear, concise, and informative.

Focus: Can your readers determine the focus and topic of your research?

Approach: Does indicating your approach help the reader to determine the overall impact on your results?

Specificity: Were you specific enough about the factors or aspects studied?



Problem Background

What is the central problem that your research will address? The existence and extent of this problem should be verified with research.

Context: Explain the depth of the problem with enough information for readers to understand the reason it is an issue

Issue: State the problem clearly and precisely

Importance: Indicate who it influences or what would happen if this problem were not solved.

Objective: Situate your research here. What will you achieve with your research? What is your aim? ( tense: future simple – This study will…. )

Problem Statements

From the context of your problem background, identify specific problems that your research aims to address. These should be stated in a single sentence format (at most two) and be supported with a citation.

Note: The problem statements should link to the research questions

how to write a prospectus for a research paper

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study will explain, in simple terms, what the point of the study is. You can think of this as identifying the research type, direction, purpose (reason for it), and what the overall goal is.

Begin the sentence with: “The purpose of this (qualitative/quantitative/mixed methods) study is to (insert action verb).

Action verbs for qualitative studies: explore, understand, describe, etc.

Action verbs for quantitative studies: examine, analyze, predict, etc.

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework

The framework will indicate the structure and basis of your proposed research. For more information on frameworks, see the framework page.

Research Questions

Indicate a research question(s) that derive from the problem statements previously mentioned.

Specific: Does each question focus on one issue/problem?

Clear: Does your reader understand what you are researching?

Legitimate: Is it a question (open-ended) and not a statement?

Answerable: Can you answer the question that you have asked with the resources and time you have available?

Nature of the Study

Explain your proposed method, research design, required data, data collection method, and data analysis methodology.

Note: This is a plan for a future study, so future simple is used.

Method: Qualitative, quantitative, mixed

Research design: Evaluation, action research, correlational, quasi-experimental, grounded theory, phenomenological, etc.

Data: What data is needed? (Primary/secondary?)

Data collection method: Survey, questionnaire, interview, observation, focus group, etc.

Data analysis methodology: exploratory analysis, descriptive analysis, regression analysis, etc.

Consider aspects like: location of study, time frame, participants, sampling, etc.

Significance of the Study

Indicate the potential impact of your study.

Contribution: How will your findings contribute to your field?

Gap: What will your research add to the gap you identified?

Benefit: Who will benefit most from this research?

The references typically span 3-5 pages. All references should be formatted using APA 7th edition. See the APA page for further information on properly formatting your references.

Samples of Prospectuses

When Do I Complete the Prospectus?

The prospectus will be completed in the second year of your doctoral program during the RES721 course.

Can I Start Working on it Before RES721?

For suggestions on what you can be working on now to prepare for your dissertation, please see here .

What if I need help?

For help on the prospectus, you can see the list of services the Doctoral Writing Center provides here .


How To Write A Prospectus: 7 Tips and Tricks for Success

How To Write A Prospectus? Writing a good prospectus is important because it serves as a blueprint for the project, scope, and methodology, outlining its purpose, and expected outcomes. 

A well-written prospectus not only helps us to clarify the project’s goals, it also serves as a tool for seeking funding and attracting potential investors. 

But for many students, it is a difficult task to write a good prospectus because it requires a comprehensive understanding of the proposed project, strong writing skills, and also a clear vision of the project’s goals. 

It also requires extensive research, and analyzing data which can be time-consuming. These are the reasons that can make a good prospectus a challenging task that requires a lot of time, effort, and expertise. 

That’s why many students search on the internet for “how to write a prospectus”. If you are one of them then don’t worry! In this blog, I will provide you with some of the best tips on How To Write A Prospectus that will help you to write a good prospectus. 

With proper planning, research, and attention to detail, it can be possible to write a good prospectus that reflects the proposed project’s potential and attracts the necessary support. 

Fundamentals Of Writing A Prospectus

Table of Contents

Some of the fundamental points we listed below that you should understand before drafting a prospectus are listed below.

Topic selection: The main purpose behind preparing a prospectus is to understand the concept on which the project is to be carried out. Therefore, before drafting a prospectus, the researcher is requested to choose a valid research topic. When selecting a research paper , the primary factor to be considered is that it should be relevant.

Choosing relevant data: You have to make extensive research after selecting the topic to provide valuable details in the prospectus. For example, you will carry out a project in the field of engineering. The investigator was planning to perform detailed research using all related sources.

Creating specific questions: In the prospectus for finding a solution in the project, you should answer different questions. Only when the issues are of high importance and relevance can high-quality solutions be suggested in the project. 

How To Write A Prospectus?

Before beginning to how to write a prospectus, keep the following points in mind:

Choose your topic

Choose your topic

As mentioned above, a prospectus should provide a solution to a particular problem that affects some, if not everybody. That is why your prospectus should answer a particular question, which will give you the specific topic of your prospectus and guidance on what you are writing about and how you are to write. Make sure your subject is not as extensive as a whole but only a section of the topic.

Analyze the subject

Analyze the subject

Even if the question you are about to answer is quite different from the one already worked upon by others. it should be the same subject as what has been worked on, which can draw some light on the subject you are working on.

Collect Resources

Collect Resources

Even if you have a clear goal in mind for the topic you’ll be working on, you won’t be able to deal with your prospectus’ contents on your own. As a result, you must choose from a wide range of books, articles, documents, and other written materials to produce a convincing report. You will become stressed if you try to think and create the entire content of your own, and you may even quit on your subject of interest.

Which story will you tell?

Following the selection of your desired issue, you must now carefully select the characters in your storyline, particularly the protagonist, who must be distinct from all others despite the story theme’s similarity to that of previously completed works. It will assist you in determining how you will plot and build your story.

Think about how you will tell your story

Think about how you will tell your story

Every chapter must build on a specific topic to make the story flow properly. You should decide your story’s track and the themes you will explain or that your story will be focused on. Try to maintain a good and clear flow of ideas.

Design your timetable

Design your timetable

It’s important to work with a precise timetable to ensure that you finish your research well into the specified time. it helps you in reducing the errors you may make in your report and allow you to check your report thoroughly.

Make your research work with a working budget

Make your research work with a working budget

  Research costs are most likely accompanied by equipment and information collection from a variety of sources that can be purchased during your research work.

Tips For Writing The Prospectus

Now that you know how to arrange the prospectus and make it acceptable to the readers? We mentioned some points below which helps you in enhancing your prospectus writing.

Get a better understanding of the chosen subject: If the student understands the selected subject could present an unmistakable prospectus. A thorough study is essential for drafting an important prospectus and making better use of the subject. The public would not easily accept the prospectus drawn out from a guess.

Suitable formatting: Simply providing the necessary data in an unorganized manner will not earn you points on the prospectus assignment. To determine the best layout for your prospectus, consult previous scholarly works.

But there is still a generic layout for all prospectuses; there could be some minor differences depending on the discipline chosen. 

Select a genuine and unique theme for a prospectus: select a unique theme and topic for your assignment. Trying an underrated and out-of-date research topic will not carry the reader’s attention. Choosing an authentic and creative subject would spark the audience’s interest and assist in scoring an excellent grade. Try avoiding grammar and contextual errors in your article so that your prospectus surprises the audience. 

 Important Formatting Rules For A Prospectus

  • Review the guidelines of your advisor to ensure you have covered all the areas outlined in your research.
  • Try to use a standard font, one-inch margins, and double-spaced text. If the advisor presents any formatting specifications, follow the latter guidelines.
  • Allow your thoughts to move freely or reject them to give your prospectus a wide range of content. Don’t be scared to pour out your heart and mind since formatting is free of irrelevant and contextual factors.
  • Make your prospectus as attractive as you possibly can. Experiment with words, including ideologies where appropriate, questions that encourage the audience to reflect on what you’ve written, rhetorical questions, and so on.
  • Keep in mind that your written information will be sent to members of the committee. To make the content as comprehensive as possible get all your ideas to the target audience.

Conclusion (How To Write A Prospectus)

In this blog, I have provided some of the best tips on how to write a prospectus that will help you to write a good prospectus. 

Writing a good prospectus is an important step in any project’s planning process, and it requires careful consideration and attention to detail.

To write an effective prospectus, you must have a clear understanding of the project’s purpose, scope, methodology, and expected outcomes. 

I hope you have understood this blog easily. If you like our blog then share it with your friends. 

And also if you have any queries related to this blog, then comment to us. I will reply to you as soon as possible.

What are the key components of a prospectus?

It includes a summary of the project, a literature review, methodology, expected outcomes, and the resources and funding required to carry out the project.

How should I start writing a prospectus?

The first step to write a prospectus is to have a comprehensive understanding of the proposed project, including its purpose, scope, and potential impact. This requires extensive research, planning analysis and also in-depth understanding of the project’s stakeholders and audience.

How long should a prospectus be?

It depends on the scope and complexity of the proposed project. But most prospectuses are between 5-10 pages in length.

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  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 21, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:


Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

Table of contents

Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research proposals.

Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

Research proposal length

The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

Download our research proposal template

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Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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See an example

how to write a prospectus for a research paper

Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

  • Example research proposal #1: “A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management”
  • Example research proposal #2: “Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use”

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

Your introduction should:

  • Introduce your topic
  • Give necessary background and context
  • Outline your  problem statement  and research questions

To guide your introduction , include information about:

  • Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
  • How much is already known about the topic
  • What is missing from this current knowledge
  • What new insights your research will contribute
  • Why you believe this research is worth doing

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

  • Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
  • Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
  • Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize prior scholarship

Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

For example, your results might have implications for:

  • Improving best practices
  • Informing policymaking decisions
  • Strengthening a theory or model
  • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
  • Creating a basis for future research

Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

Download our research schedule template

If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

  • Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
  • Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
  • Source : how did you calculate the amount?

To determine your budget, think about:

  • Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
  • Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
  • Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.


  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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McCombes, S. & George, T. (2023, November 21). How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved April 2, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-process/research-proposal/

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HIST 301: The Historian’s Craft: Reading, Research and Writing History

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Research Prospectus Fall 2020/ Professor Kaja

Research Paper  Prospectus : You are required to create a research paper prospectus on a topic of your choosing. This is a semester-long assignment and the earlier you start the better your paper will be.  Many of the smaller writing assignments, including your bibliographies, thesis exercises, outlines, and draft paragraphs, will be designed to help you complete this assignment. Those assignments and their due dates are available on your course canvas site. 

Guidelines for the Assignment For secondary sources include: 

1) Full citation

2) One sentence explaining of the main argument of the book/article

3) 1-2 sentences explaining how you expect to use the reading (relevant topics, themes, ides).

Guidelines for primary sources include:

2) 2-3 sentences about why you think the source will be useful

Example of Annotated Citations

Topic: Benjamin Franklin’s diplomatic mission to Paris during the American Revolution.

Adams, John. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, volumes 1–4, L. H. Butterfield, Editor.  Cambridge, Mass, 1961.

The differences between Franklin and Adams will be helpful to  contrast. I also think Adams will offer another not so perfect perspective of Franklin  while in France. His papers include letters, diary, and writings.

Franklin, Benjamin. 1984. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Buccaneer  Books.

Franklin’s autobiography will help me to see how Franklin perceived himself and his life in politics. This will also be informative to the formation of his early life and its effect on his later life in France.

What is a Research Prospectus

The purpose of a research prospectus is to describe and plan a paper you will later be writing. A good prospectus should:

  • describe a topic and a  problem  or  question  about it that your research will clarify;
  • identify the sources you will draw on to answer that question;
  • lay out a possible plan for the different sections of your paper (the steps of your argument);
  • make your topic understandable and interesting to others.

Tips on Writing a Research Prospectus

Think of your prospectus as a work-in-progress. 1.As you gather secondary literature on your topic, either thinking broadly or narrowly, you should focus on how your study fits into the historiographical literature.

2.As you begin to analyze the primary sources you are able to retrieve, you may discover that you need additional sources, which you should add to the your annotated bibliography entries.

3. And, as you look over the evidence in both your primary and secondary sources, you may discover that your thesis ideas/points may have changed, and that you need to revise, or rethink altogether, your thesis question.

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A Look Into Independent Research: The Politics Junior Paper

April 1, 2024, odette perrusquia.

When I first got into Princeton the idea of conducting independent research was a faraway idea—a requirement to graduate I knew I was signing up for, but an idea I didn't quite grasp in its entirety until it was my turn to start my Junior Paper (JP).

Within the Politics Department, students have to write two pieces of independent work during their junior year: a research prospectus in the fall (a 12 to 15-page research proposal on a topic you can expand on in spring semester), and a Spring Junior Paper (which is typically between 20 and 35 pages). All Politics juniors enroll in a required class about research methods in Political Science alongside a research seminar on a topic of their choice. For example, I took one on Migration and Forced Displacement, meaning my fall JP had to broadly focus on this theme.

My fall prospectus sought to ask why Central American migrants made the choice to join migrant caravans. Although I excelled in this project, by the time spring semester came around, I realized that my fall topic would be infeasible to carry out: I simply did not have access to the kind of evidence that I would need to answer the question within the time I had. By late February, I felt a bit panicked about my JP and the prospect of having to start over.

During the spring semester, Politics juniors select a JP Advisor from the Politics faculty. This professor becomes your primary point of contact for all questions related to your project, providing guidance along the way and ultimately contributing to the grading of the final product. Luckily, my advisor, the lovely Professor Nancy Bermeo , provided me with guidance and extremely helpful advice early on. By early March, I was back on track and ready to do research for my JP before the draft deadline at the end of the month.

My Spring JP is still a study of migrant caravans, but the focus of my research has shifted to understanding why the caravan of late 2018 achieved relatively more success than other caravans in the surrounding years. I have spent the last two months conducting an analysis of various books written by individuals who traveled alongside the caravan, interviews with caravan participants, press releases from the Mexican government, and newspaper articles from both the U.S. and Mexico. Although many students pursue more quantitative methods in their research, I have learned that I really enjoy conducting qualitative research in my own work. This topic has allowed me to build on some of the research that I had already conducted in the fall, and it has connected with a topic of interest that I had studied in the spring of my freshman year. (One of my papers freshman year analyzed how Mexico-U.S. relations have shaped Mexican immigration policy in the 21st century.) When I began to connect the dots across these different topics, I felt what I can describe only as a full circle moment.

They say that the senior thesis is the culmination of your four years as an academic here at Princeton, but as an outgoing junior, I am already beginning to feel that way about my JP. So many of the academic interests I have spent so long researching and taking classes on—immigration, Mexican politics, collective and contentious action—are coming together in this project to create something I am genuinely excited and proud to be working on. Understanding who I am as a researcher and discovering the topics I am most passionate about have been some of the most rewarding aspects of my time as a Princeton undergraduate.

Maybe in a year I'll be writing about my senior thesis, whatever that might look like—I think I'm learning the uncertainty is the best part. Until then, however, I'll be working away in Firestone Library, thinking of summer but enjoying every bit of hard work that will go into my JP.

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  1. Final Paper Draft/Research Prospectus

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  4. Intermediate Paper 2: COL

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  6. Intermediate Paper 2: COL


  1. How to Write a Prospectus: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    2. Use standard formatting. Unless you're told otherwise, you typically want to format your prospectus the same way you'd format any other research paper or assignment you are turning in for a class in the same department. Type your prospectus in a standard, legible font such as Times New Roman or Helvetica.

  2. PDF Short Assignment #3: Prospectus

    After you write your prospectus: The final paper may deviate from your prospectus. As you begin to research more deeply and think more critically, you might decide to use entirely different sources or make an entirely different argument or even ask a different question. That's ok. That's part of the researching and writing process ...

  3. PDF Prospectus

    your prospectus says you plan to do: think of it as a serious hypothesis, a preliminary blueprint. And, to repeat: do not wait until you are ready to write; write before you seem ready, every day if possible. If you get lonely writing, find others to share work mutually. Talk to your friends, old professors and TFs, anyone who will listen.

  4. Writing a Research Prospectus

    Writing a Research Prospectus. A prospectus is a formal proposal of a research project developed to convince a reader (a professor or research committee, or later in life, a project coordinator, funding agency, or the like) that the research can be carried out and will yield worthwhile results. It should provide:

  5. How to Write a Prospectus

    Specifically, the prospectus must answer a series of questions. Though the questions are simple, answering them will require you to become a leading expert in the historiography of a given topic. Crafting your prospectus, then, should be hard work. But if done right, it will pay off in the end, for each hour devoted to the prospectus will save ...

  6. How to Write a Dissertation Prospectus (with outline and examples)

    Your dissertation prospectus is the first formal document you submit to your dissertation committee outlining your intended study. It is not a long document; usually around 10-20 pages. It should be submitted fairly soon after establishing candidacy. It is wise to discuss your prospectus with your Chair and committee members before writing it.

  7. Prospectus Writing

    Writing your prospectus is the first step towards completing your dissertation. It represents an opportunity to identify your project goals, create a roadmap for completing your graduate work, and to frame the significance of your work. Your committee will provide you with feedback on the prospectus. While different departments and disciplines ...

  8. ULibraries Research Guides: Writing a Prospectus: Home

    Writing a Prospectus. There are many different kinds of prospectuses for different purposes. Ph.D. students are asked to submit dissertation prospectuses to their committees; most research grant applications require them; academic job candidates often include short prospectuses with their application materials; and book publishers request them as part of the process of considering a manuscript ...

  9. How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Proposal

    Writing a proposal or prospectus can be a challenge, but we've compiled some examples for you to get your started. Example #1: "Geographic Representations of the Planet Mars, 1867-1907" by Maria Lane. Example #2: "Individuals and the State in Late Bronze Age Greece: Messenian Perspectives on Mycenaean Society" by Dimitri Nakassis.

  10. PDF Research Prospectus Outlined

    A research prospectus is a preliminary plan for conducting a study. This is not a detailed, technical research proposal, but, rather, a considered analysis of the issues you are likely to confront in such a study. ... This should be a thoughtful, reflective paper that presents a balanced view of the proposed study - both its problems and its ...

  11. MALS Writing Center

    The prospectus is a fully-developed research plan that will help you pull together your research materials as you think about how to pursue your research question and develop your thesis. It describes your topic, introduces your working thesis, and explains the sources that you plan to use and pursue in building your argument.

  12. How to Write a Prospectus for a Research Paper

    Prospectus writing format - how to apply it. Just like any other important document, the contents of a prospectus should be written in a systematic outline. The order of the prospectus should be as follows: The topic of your prospectus- this is basically what the document is all about. In longer research proposals, you may have to give a ...

  13. Writing the Research Prospectus

    A research statement or question. An overview of scholarly work already done around your topic; the background and context of your proposed research . A summary of your research methods or your approach to completing the research. The Honors College has specific guidelines for laying out your Research Prospectus. Please see link to the ...

  14. PDF Guidelines for the Proposal or Prospectus

    In general, then, if you are working on a research thesis or a dissertation, you will write a research proposal. If you are enrolled in the non-thesis option you have 3 choices: (a) a research proposal if your topic addresses a research question, (b) a prospectus, but with some of the elements of a proposal (e.g.,

  15. How to Write a Research Prospectus

    Several viewers have asked for a video about how to write a research prospectus, which is a description of research to be conducted, typically by a graduate ...


    To help organize your research so as to prepare for serendipity--and also to help you figure out which documents you don't need to research--I suggest that you draft an essay outlining your overall research strategy for the project. The prospectus should be about 10-15 pages long, and should include the following elements: 1. A section defining ...

  17. Guidelines for a Prospectus

    The prospectus should be typed, double-spaced, preferably about 10 pages in length or more, exclusive of preliminary outline and bibliography. I. The PROSPECTUS is a formal statement about your chosen topic of research. It should contain an explanation of the larger historical concerns which make your topic worth doing. You will also be able to present questions that you will be asking of your ...

  18. Dissertation Specific: Prospectus

    A dissertation prospectus is a document that shows the researcher's plan for the dissertation project. This document should provide enough information to verify the need for their study, the way it is situated amongst existing literature, and how the research will be facilitated. A committee will use this document to verify the viability of a ...

  19. How To Write A Prospectus: 7 Tips and Tricks for Success

    Some of the fundamental points we listed below that you should understand before drafting a prospectus are listed below. Topic selection: The main purpose behind preparing a prospectus is to understand the concept on which the project is to be carried out.Therefore, before drafting a prospectus, the researcher is requested to choose a valid research topic.

  20. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We've included a few for you below. Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management" Example research proposal #2: "Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use" Title page

  21. Research Prospectus Assignments

    Research Paper Prospectus: You are required to create a research paper prospectus on a topic of your choosing.This is a semester-long assignment and the earlier you start the better your paper will be. Many of the smaller writing assignments, including your bibliographies, thesis exercises, outlines, and draft paragraphs, will be designed to help you complete this assignment.

  22. PDF HISTORY 2129 ENVS 2449: Guidelines For Writing A Research Paper

    HISTORY 2129 / ENVS 2449: Guidelines For Writing A Research Paper Prospectus in History. Below is a guide for writing a prospectus for a research paper. Although you may not be able to answer all these questions in your prospectus, you should try to have some solid preliminary answers. Thesis statement or hypothesis. the topic or subject of ...

  23. A Look Into Independent Research: The Politics Junior Paper

    Within the Politics Department, students have to write two pieces of independent work during their junior year: a research prospectus in the fall (a 12 to 15-page research proposal on a topic you can expand on in spring semester), and a Spring Junior Paper (which is typically between 20 and 35 pages).

  24. How to Write a Prospectus For a Research Paper

    1. Title and Introduction. The title of your prospectus should be concise yet descriptive, conveying the essence of your research. Follow this up with an engaging introduction that provides ...