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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:

Introduction

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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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

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.

Methodology

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

 Statistics

  • 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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research proposal undergraduate sample

Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research

How to Write a Research Proposal as an Undergrad

As I just passed the deadline for my junior independent work (JIW), I wanted to explore strategies that could be helpful in composing a research proposal. In the chemistry department, JIW usually involves lab work and collecting raw data. However, this year, because of the pandemic, there is limited benchwork involved and most of the emphasis has shifted to designing a research proposal that would segue into one’s senior thesis. So far, I have only had one prior experience composing a research proposal, and it was from a virtual summer research program in my department. For this program, I was able to write a proposal on modifying a certain chemical inhibitor that could be used in reducing cancer cell proliferation. Using that experience as a guide, I will outline the steps I followed when I wrote my proposal. (Most of these steps are oriented towards research in the natural sciences, but there are many aspects common to research in other fields).

The first step is usually choosing a topic . This can be assigned to you by the principal investigator for the lab or a research mentor if you have one. For me, it was my research mentor, a graduate student in our lab, who helped me in selecting a field of query for my proposal. When I chose the lab I wanted to be part of for my summer project (with my JIW and senior thesis in mind) , I knew the general area of research I wanted to be involved in. But, usually within a lab, there are many projects that graduate students and post-docs work on within that specific area. Hence, it is important to identify a mentor with specific projects you want to be involved in for your own research. Once you choose a mentor, you can talk to them about formulating a research proposal based on the direction they plan to take their research in and how you can be involved in a similar project. Usually, mentors assign you one to three papers related to your research topic – a review paper that summarizes many research articles and one to two research articles with similar findings and methodology. In my case, the papers involved a review article on the role of the chemical inhibitor I was investigating along with articles on inhibitor design and mechanism of action.  

The next step is to perform a literature review to broadly assess previous work in your research topic, using the articles assigned by your mentor. At this stage, for my proposal, I was trying to know as much about my research area from these papers as well as the articles cited in them. Here, it is helpful to use a reference management software such as Zotero and Mendeley to organize your notes along with all the articles you look into for a bibliography. 

After going through your literature review, you can start thinking about identifying questions that remain to be answered in that field. For my JIW, I found some good ideas in the discussion section of the papers I had read where authors discussed what could be done in future research projects. One discussion section, for example, suggested ways to complement in-vitro experiments (outside of a living organism) with in-vivo ones (inside a living organism) . Reviewing the discussion section is a relatively straightforward way to formulate your own hypothesis. Alternatively, you could look at the papers’ raw data and find that the authors’ conclusions need to be revisited (this might require a critical review of the paper and the supplementary materials) or you could work on improving the paper’s methodology and optimizing its experiments. Furthermore, you might think about combining ideas from different papers or trying to reconcile differing conclusions reached by them.

The next step is developing a general outline ; deciding on what you want to cover in your proposal and how it is going to be structured. Here, you should try hard to limit the scope of your proposal to what you can realistically do for your senior thesis. As a junior or a senior, you will only be working with your mentor for a limited amount of time. Hence, it is not possible to plan long term experiments that would be appropriate for graduate students or post-docs in the lab. (For my summer project, there was not a follow up experiment involved, so I was able to think about possible experiments without the time or equipment constraints that would need to be considered for a JIW). Thus, your proposal should mostly focus on what you think is feasible given your timeline. 

Below are two final considerations. It is important that your research proposal outlines how you plan to collect your own data , analyze it and compare it with other papers in your field. For a research project based on a proposal, you need only establish if your premises/hypotheses are true or false. To do that, you need to formulate questions you can answer by collecting your own data, and this is where experiments come in. My summer project had three specific aims and each one was in the form of a question.

It is important to keep in mind in your proposal the experiments you can perform efficiently on your own – the experimental skills you want to master as an undergraduate. In my view, it is better to learn one to two skills very well than having surface-level knowledge of many. This is because the nature of research has been very specialized in each field that there is limited room for broad investigations. This does not mean your proposal should be solely based on things you can test by yourself (although it might be preferable to put more emphasis there). If your proposal involves experiments beyond what you can learn to do in a year or two, you can think of asking for help from an expert in your lab. 

research proposal undergraduate sample

A research proposal at the undergraduate level is an engaging exercise on coming up with your own questions on your chosen field. There is much leeway as an undergraduate to experiment within your field and think out of the box. In many ways, you will learn how to learn and how to formulate questions for any task you encounter in the future. Whether or not you want to be involved in research, it is an experience common to all Princeton students that you take with you after graduation.

In this post, I have described the basic elements of a natural science research proposal and my approach to writing one. Although the steps above are not comprehensive, I am hopeful they offer guidance you can adapt when you write your own proposal in the future.

— Yodahe Gebreegziabher, Natural Sciences Correspondent

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Writing Research Proposals

The research proposal is your opportunity to show that you—and only you!—are the perfect person to take on your specific project. After reading your research proposal, readers should be confident that…

  • You have thoughtfully crafted and designed this project;
  • You have the necessary background to complete this project;
  • You have the proper support system in place;
  • You know exactly what you need to complete this project and how to do so; and
  • With this funding in hand, you can be on your way to a meaningful research experience and a significant contribution to your field.

Research proposals typically include the following components:

  • Why is your project important? How does it contribute to the field or to society? What do you hope to prove?
  • This section includes the project design, specific methodology, your specific role and responsibilities, steps you will take to execute the project, etc. Here you will show the committee the way that you think by explaining both how you have conceived the project and how you intend to carry it out.
  • Please be specific in the project dates/how much time you need to carry out the proposed project. The scope of the project should clearly match the timeframe in which you propose to complete it!
  • Funding agencies like to know how their funding will be used. Including this information will demonstrate that you have thoughtfully designed the project and know of all of the anticipated expenses required to see it through to completion.
  • It is important that you have a support system on hand when conducting research, especially as an undergraduate. There are often surprises and challenges when working on a long-term research project and the selection committee wants to be sure that you have the support system you need to both be successful in your project and also have a meaningful research experience. 
  • Some questions to consider are: How often do you intend to meet with your advisor(s)? (This may vary from project to project based on the needs of the student and the nature of the research.) What will your mode of communication be? Will you be attending (or even presenting at) lab meetings? 

Don’t be afraid to also include relevant information about your background and advocate for yourself! Do you have skills developed in a different research experience (or leadership position, job, coursework, etc.) that you could apply to the project in question? Have you already learned about and experimented with a specific method of analysis in class and are now ready to apply it to a different situation? If you already have experience with this professor/lab, please be sure to include those details in your proposal! That will show the selection committee that you are ready to hit the ground running!

Lastly, be sure to know who your readers are so that you can tailor the field-specific language of your proposal accordingly. If the selection committee are specialists in your field, you can feel free to use the jargon of that field; but if your proposal will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary committee (this is common), you might take a bit longer explaining the state of the field, specific concepts, and certainly spelling out any acronyms.

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PROPOSAL WRITING

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The writing required for a research proposal is not like other, more familiar, forms of writing. In particular, it does not work like an essay where you weave your ideas in and out of the different sections.  Grant proposals are very segmented; each section is its own little pod.  In general, you complete the section and never revisit the content in it – you simply move on to the next argument you have to make.

OUR runs a number of different grant programs.  Our core proposal writing advice is connected to the Undergraduate Research Grant programs, where students apply to do independent research and/or creative projects in the summer or academic year.  What follows is a brief rundown of a basic research grant proposal, and we encourage you to use our URG Proposal Writing Guide   for a fuller exploration of what we want to see.  We also have lots of Sample Grant Proposals across a range of fields to help you.  Finally, OUR offers one-on-one advising for students applying to our programs, and we regularly review and provide feedback on multiple drafts.

We also have two other programs which use slightly modified proposal formats, and their guides can be found here (plus we have advisors for them too).

  • Undergraduate Language Grant Proposal Guide
  • Circumnavigators Travel-Study Grant Proposal Guide

RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL BASICS

Introduction.

A proposal introduction is part abstract for your entire project and part movie trailer pitching its value.  A good introduction tell us what the topic/issue is, why it is significant to study, and what you specifically propose to do about it.  Grant proposals are an ask for money, so if they don’t know what you are asking for money to do (aka your actual project, not just its subject), we are in trouble!  You are setting the frame for the entire proposal, so make it clear, compelling, and free of jargon.  We recommend that you wait to write the intro until you are finished drafting the rest of the proposal because it is much easier to summarize a proposal once you know what it actually says!

WHY IS THIS PROJECT NEEDED? YOUR LIT REVIEW

Your first main argument needs to justify that the topic warrants the work you intend to do. What is currently known/explored about your topic, and why is your project needed/what value will it add?  It is not enough to say that something hasn’t been done before; you also have to show that it should!  This section focuses on citations and quotations; use the words of experts to craft your argument about why this project is needed in your field.  Focus on making an argument for your project, not just listing a bunch of citations.  The goal of this section to reveal your research question as the logical choice to make in the field.  Make your lit review a funnel that leads clearly to your intended research question, so the reader will see that this project 1) needs to be done and 2) needs to be done that way you intend.

WHAT'S THE PLAN? YOUR METHODOLOGY

Now that the reader believes that this project should be done, you now need to show them how you will do it.  Take them step by step through the process you will follow.  This section is the beating heart of your proposal, so focus on specifics.  Think through (with your faculty) the full trajectory of the project and outline the steps and processes involved.  Remember to not stop at research collection; they will want to know how you plan to analyze the data you collect, whether that is interviews, literary analysis, or scientific procedures.  At the end of this section, the reader should be believe that you have a viable plan – if you follow these steps, then you should be able to answer the question at the end of the lit review.

CAN YOU DO IT? YOUR QUALIFICATIONS

We don’t need a list of everything you have ever accomplished in your life.  Instead, we want to see that you have the specific skills needed to do what you describe. In this way, this argument needs to be based upon the methodology you laid out in the previous section.  If you lack a critical skills, don’t worry (we know you don’t have a PhD!), but demonstrate how you will fill that gap, i.e. I will do this training course or my faculty will work with me on preparatory interviews…  Finally, end the proposal (there is no formal conclusion) telling the reader how this project will help you achieve your academic and professional goals.  They want to know that this project makes sense for you.

THE KEYS TO SUCCESS

  • Start early! Writing a good proposal takes time.
  • Read examples of  successful proposals.
  • Get lots of feedback. From your faculty, and also from the  advisors at the OUR , who are happy to read through drafts.
  • Be prepared to write multiple drafts.
  • If you are struggling with jargon, try this  nifty resource!

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17 Research Proposal Examples

research proposal example sections definition and purpose, explained below

A research proposal systematically and transparently outlines a proposed research project.

The purpose of a research proposal is to demonstrate a project’s viability and the researcher’s preparedness to conduct an academic study. It serves as a roadmap for the researcher.

The process holds value both externally (for accountability purposes and often as a requirement for a grant application) and intrinsic value (for helping the researcher to clarify the mechanics, purpose, and potential signficance of the study).

Key sections of a research proposal include: the title, abstract, introduction, literature review, research design and methods, timeline, budget, outcomes and implications, references, and appendix. Each is briefly explained below.

Watch my Guide: How to Write a Research Proposal

Get your Template for Writing your Research Proposal Here (With AI Prompts!)

Research Proposal Sample Structure

Title: The title should present a concise and descriptive statement that clearly conveys the core idea of the research projects. Make it as specific as possible. The reader should immediately be able to grasp the core idea of the intended research project. Often, the title is left too vague and does not help give an understanding of what exactly the study looks at.

Abstract: Abstracts are usually around 250-300 words and provide an overview of what is to follow – including the research problem , objectives, methods, expected outcomes, and significance of the study. Use it as a roadmap and ensure that, if the abstract is the only thing someone reads, they’ll get a good fly-by of what will be discussed in the peice.

Introduction: Introductions are all about contextualization. They often set the background information with a statement of the problem. At the end of the introduction, the reader should understand what the rationale for the study truly is. I like to see the research questions or hypotheses included in the introduction and I like to get a good understanding of what the significance of the research will be. It’s often easiest to write the introduction last

Literature Review: The literature review dives deep into the existing literature on the topic, demosntrating your thorough understanding of the existing literature including themes, strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the literature. It serves both to demonstrate your knowledge of the field and, to demonstrate how the proposed study will fit alongside the literature on the topic. A good literature review concludes by clearly demonstrating how your research will contribute something new and innovative to the conversation in the literature.

Research Design and Methods: This section needs to clearly demonstrate how the data will be gathered and analyzed in a systematic and academically sound manner. Here, you need to demonstrate that the conclusions of your research will be both valid and reliable. Common points discussed in the research design and methods section include highlighting the research paradigm, methodologies, intended population or sample to be studied, data collection techniques, and data analysis procedures . Toward the end of this section, you are encouraged to also address ethical considerations and limitations of the research process , but also to explain why you chose your research design and how you are mitigating the identified risks and limitations.

Timeline: Provide an outline of the anticipated timeline for the study. Break it down into its various stages (including data collection, data analysis, and report writing). The goal of this section is firstly to establish a reasonable breakdown of steps for you to follow and secondly to demonstrate to the assessors that your project is practicable and feasible.

Budget: Estimate the costs associated with the research project and include evidence for your estimations. Typical costs include staffing costs, equipment, travel, and data collection tools. When applying for a scholarship, the budget should demonstrate that you are being responsible with your expensive and that your funding application is reasonable.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: A discussion of the anticipated findings or results of the research, as well as the potential contributions to the existing knowledge, theory, or practice in the field. This section should also address the potential impact of the research on relevant stakeholders and any broader implications for policy or practice.

References: A complete list of all the sources cited in the research proposal, formatted according to the required citation style. This demonstrates the researcher’s familiarity with the relevant literature and ensures proper attribution of ideas and information.

Appendices (if applicable): Any additional materials, such as questionnaires, interview guides, or consent forms, that provide further information or support for the research proposal. These materials should be included as appendices at the end of the document.

Research Proposal Examples

Research proposals often extend anywhere between 2,000 and 15,000 words in length. The following snippets are samples designed to briefly demonstrate what might be discussed in each section.

1. Education Studies Research Proposals

See some real sample pieces:

  • Assessment of the perceptions of teachers towards a new grading system
  • Does ICT use in secondary classrooms help or hinder student learning?
  • Digital technologies in focus project
  • Urban Middle School Teachers’ Experiences of the Implementation of
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Experiences of students of color in service learning

Consider this hypothetical education research proposal:

The Impact of Game-Based Learning on Student Engagement and Academic Performance in Middle School Mathematics

Abstract: The proposed study will explore multiplayer game-based learning techniques in middle school mathematics curricula and their effects on student engagement. The study aims to contribute to the current literature on game-based learning by examining the effects of multiplayer gaming in learning.

Introduction: Digital game-based learning has long been shunned within mathematics education for fears that it may distract students or lower the academic integrity of the classrooms. However, there is emerging evidence that digital games in math have emerging benefits not only for engagement but also academic skill development. Contributing to this discourse, this study seeks to explore the potential benefits of multiplayer digital game-based learning by examining its impact on middle school students’ engagement and academic performance in a mathematics class.

Literature Review: The literature review has identified gaps in the current knowledge, namely, while game-based learning has been extensively explored, the role of multiplayer games in supporting learning has not been studied.

Research Design and Methods: This study will employ a mixed-methods research design based upon action research in the classroom. A quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test control group design will first be used to compare the academic performance and engagement of middle school students exposed to game-based learning techniques with those in a control group receiving instruction without the aid of technology. Students will also be observed and interviewed in regard to the effect of communication and collaboration during gameplay on their learning.

Timeline: The study will take place across the second term of the school year with a pre-test taking place on the first day of the term and the post-test taking place on Wednesday in Week 10.

Budget: The key budgetary requirements will be the technologies required, including the subscription cost for the identified games and computers.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: It is expected that the findings will contribute to the current literature on game-based learning and inform educational practices, providing educators and policymakers with insights into how to better support student achievement in mathematics.

2. Psychology Research Proposals

See some real examples:

  • A situational analysis of shared leadership in a self-managing team
  • The effect of musical preference on running performance
  • Relationship between self-esteem and disordered eating amongst adolescent females

Consider this hypothetical psychology research proposal:

The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Stress Reduction in College Students

Abstract: This research proposal examines the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on stress reduction among college students, using a pre-test/post-test experimental design with both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods .

Introduction: College students face heightened stress levels during exam weeks. This can affect both mental health and test performance. This study explores the potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions such as meditation as a way to mediate stress levels in the weeks leading up to exam time.

Literature Review: Existing research on mindfulness-based meditation has shown the ability for mindfulness to increase metacognition, decrease anxiety levels, and decrease stress. Existing literature has looked at workplace, high school and general college-level applications. This study will contribute to the corpus of literature by exploring the effects of mindfulness directly in the context of exam weeks.

Research Design and Methods: Participants ( n= 234 ) will be randomly assigned to either an experimental group, receiving 5 days per week of 10-minute mindfulness-based interventions, or a control group, receiving no intervention. Data will be collected through self-report questionnaires, measuring stress levels, semi-structured interviews exploring participants’ experiences, and students’ test scores.

Timeline: The study will begin three weeks before the students’ exam week and conclude after each student’s final exam. Data collection will occur at the beginning (pre-test of self-reported stress levels) and end (post-test) of the three weeks.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: The study aims to provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in reducing stress among college students in the lead up to exams, with potential implications for mental health support and stress management programs on college campuses.

3. Sociology Research Proposals

  • Understanding emerging social movements: A case study of ‘Jersey in Transition’
  • The interaction of health, education and employment in Western China
  • Can we preserve lower-income affordable neighbourhoods in the face of rising costs?

Consider this hypothetical sociology research proposal:

The Impact of Social Media Usage on Interpersonal Relationships among Young Adults

Abstract: This research proposal investigates the effects of social media usage on interpersonal relationships among young adults, using a longitudinal mixed-methods approach with ongoing semi-structured interviews to collect qualitative data.

Introduction: Social media platforms have become a key medium for the development of interpersonal relationships, particularly for young adults. This study examines the potential positive and negative effects of social media usage on young adults’ relationships and development over time.

Literature Review: A preliminary review of relevant literature has demonstrated that social media usage is central to development of a personal identity and relationships with others with similar subcultural interests. However, it has also been accompanied by data on mental health deline and deteriorating off-screen relationships. The literature is to-date lacking important longitudinal data on these topics.

Research Design and Methods: Participants ( n = 454 ) will be young adults aged 18-24. Ongoing self-report surveys will assess participants’ social media usage, relationship satisfaction, and communication patterns. A subset of participants will be selected for longitudinal in-depth interviews starting at age 18 and continuing for 5 years.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of five years, including recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide insights into the complex relationship between social media usage and interpersonal relationships among young adults, potentially informing social policies and mental health support related to social media use.

4. Nursing Research Proposals

  • Does Orthopaedic Pre-assessment clinic prepare the patient for admission to hospital?
  • Nurses’ perceptions and experiences of providing psychological care to burns patients
  • Registered psychiatric nurse’s practice with mentally ill parents and their children

Consider this hypothetical nursing research proposal:

The Influence of Nurse-Patient Communication on Patient Satisfaction and Health Outcomes following Emergency Cesarians

Abstract: This research will examines the impact of effective nurse-patient communication on patient satisfaction and health outcomes for women following c-sections, utilizing a mixed-methods approach with patient surveys and semi-structured interviews.

Introduction: It has long been known that effective communication between nurses and patients is crucial for quality care. However, additional complications arise following emergency c-sections due to the interaction between new mother’s changing roles and recovery from surgery.

Literature Review: A review of the literature demonstrates the importance of nurse-patient communication, its impact on patient satisfaction, and potential links to health outcomes. However, communication between nurses and new mothers is less examined, and the specific experiences of those who have given birth via emergency c-section are to date unexamined.

Research Design and Methods: Participants will be patients in a hospital setting who have recently had an emergency c-section. A self-report survey will assess their satisfaction with nurse-patient communication and perceived health outcomes. A subset of participants will be selected for in-depth interviews to explore their experiences and perceptions of the communication with their nurses.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of six months, including rolling recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing within the hospital.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide evidence for the significance of nurse-patient communication in supporting new mothers who have had an emergency c-section. Recommendations will be presented for supporting nurses and midwives in improving outcomes for new mothers who had complications during birth.

5. Social Work Research Proposals

  • Experiences of negotiating employment and caring responsibilities of fathers post-divorce
  • Exploring kinship care in the north region of British Columbia

Consider this hypothetical social work research proposal:

The Role of a Family-Centered Intervention in Preventing Homelessness Among At-Risk Youthin a working-class town in Northern England

Abstract: This research proposal investigates the effectiveness of a family-centered intervention provided by a local council area in preventing homelessness among at-risk youth. This case study will use a mixed-methods approach with program evaluation data and semi-structured interviews to collect quantitative and qualitative data .

Introduction: Homelessness among youth remains a significant social issue. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of family-centered interventions in addressing this problem and identify factors that contribute to successful prevention strategies.

Literature Review: A review of the literature has demonstrated several key factors contributing to youth homelessness including lack of parental support, lack of social support, and low levels of family involvement. It also demonstrates the important role of family-centered interventions in addressing this issue. Drawing on current evidence, this study explores the effectiveness of one such intervention in preventing homelessness among at-risk youth in a working-class town in Northern England.

Research Design and Methods: The study will evaluate a new family-centered intervention program targeting at-risk youth and their families. Quantitative data on program outcomes, including housing stability and family functioning, will be collected through program records and evaluation reports. Semi-structured interviews with program staff, participants, and relevant stakeholders will provide qualitative insights into the factors contributing to program success or failure.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of six months, including recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing.

Budget: Expenses include access to program evaluation data, interview materials, data analysis software, and any related travel costs for in-person interviews.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide evidence for the effectiveness of family-centered interventions in preventing youth homelessness, potentially informing the expansion of or necessary changes to social work practices in Northern England.

Research Proposal Template

Get your Detailed Template for Writing your Research Proposal Here (With AI Prompts!)

This is a template for a 2500-word research proposal. You may find it difficult to squeeze everything into this wordcount, but it’s a common wordcount for Honors and MA-level dissertations.

Your research proposal is where you really get going with your study. I’d strongly recommend working closely with your teacher in developing a research proposal that’s consistent with the requirements and culture of your institution, as in my experience it varies considerably. The above template is from my own courses that walk students through research proposals in a British School of Education.

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Hi Levi, use the site search bar to ask a question and I’ll likely have a guide already written for your specific question. Thanks for reading!

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Home » How To Write A Research Proposal – Step-by-Step [Template]

How To Write A Research Proposal – Step-by-Step [Template]

Table of Contents

How To Write a Research Proposal

How To Write a Research Proposal

Writing a Research proposal involves several steps to ensure a well-structured and comprehensive document. Here is an explanation of each step:

1. Title and Abstract

  • Choose a concise and descriptive title that reflects the essence of your research.
  • Write an abstract summarizing your research question, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. It should provide a brief overview of your proposal.

2. Introduction:

  • Provide an introduction to your research topic, highlighting its significance and relevance.
  • Clearly state the research problem or question you aim to address.
  • Discuss the background and context of the study, including previous research in the field.

3. Research Objectives

  • Outline the specific objectives or aims of your research. These objectives should be clear, achievable, and aligned with the research problem.

4. Literature Review:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of relevant literature and studies related to your research topic.
  • Summarize key findings, identify gaps, and highlight how your research will contribute to the existing knowledge.

5. Methodology:

  • Describe the research design and methodology you plan to employ to address your research objectives.
  • Explain the data collection methods, instruments, and analysis techniques you will use.
  • Justify why the chosen methods are appropriate and suitable for your research.

6. Timeline:

  • Create a timeline or schedule that outlines the major milestones and activities of your research project.
  • Break down the research process into smaller tasks and estimate the time required for each task.

7. Resources:

  • Identify the resources needed for your research, such as access to specific databases, equipment, or funding.
  • Explain how you will acquire or utilize these resources to carry out your research effectively.

8. Ethical Considerations:

  • Discuss any ethical issues that may arise during your research and explain how you plan to address them.
  • If your research involves human subjects, explain how you will ensure their informed consent and privacy.

9. Expected Outcomes and Significance:

  • Clearly state the expected outcomes or results of your research.
  • Highlight the potential impact and significance of your research in advancing knowledge or addressing practical issues.

10. References:

  • Provide a list of all the references cited in your proposal, following a consistent citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).

11. Appendices:

  • Include any additional supporting materials, such as survey questionnaires, interview guides, or data analysis plans.

Research Proposal Format

The format of a research proposal may vary depending on the specific requirements of the institution or funding agency. However, the following is a commonly used format for a research proposal:

1. Title Page:

  • Include the title of your research proposal, your name, your affiliation or institution, and the date.

2. Abstract:

  • Provide a brief summary of your research proposal, highlighting the research problem, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes.

3. Introduction:

  • Introduce the research topic and provide background information.
  • State the research problem or question you aim to address.
  • Explain the significance and relevance of the research.
  • Review relevant literature and studies related to your research topic.
  • Summarize key findings and identify gaps in the existing knowledge.
  • Explain how your research will contribute to filling those gaps.

5. Research Objectives:

  • Clearly state the specific objectives or aims of your research.
  • Ensure that the objectives are clear, focused, and aligned with the research problem.

6. Methodology:

  • Describe the research design and methodology you plan to use.
  • Explain the data collection methods, instruments, and analysis techniques.
  • Justify why the chosen methods are appropriate for your research.

7. Timeline:

8. Resources:

  • Explain how you will acquire or utilize these resources effectively.

9. Ethical Considerations:

  • If applicable, explain how you will ensure informed consent and protect the privacy of research participants.

10. Expected Outcomes and Significance:

11. References:

12. Appendices:

Research Proposal Template

Here’s a template for a research proposal:

1. Introduction:

2. Literature Review:

3. Research Objectives:

4. Methodology:

5. Timeline:

6. Resources:

7. Ethical Considerations:

8. Expected Outcomes and Significance:

9. References:

10. Appendices:

Research Proposal Sample

Title: The Impact of Online Education on Student Learning Outcomes: A Comparative Study

1. Introduction

Online education has gained significant prominence in recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research proposal aims to investigate the impact of online education on student learning outcomes by comparing them with traditional face-to-face instruction. The study will explore various aspects of online education, such as instructional methods, student engagement, and academic performance, to provide insights into the effectiveness of online learning.

2. Objectives

The main objectives of this research are as follows:

  • To compare student learning outcomes between online and traditional face-to-face education.
  • To examine the factors influencing student engagement in online learning environments.
  • To assess the effectiveness of different instructional methods employed in online education.
  • To identify challenges and opportunities associated with online education and suggest recommendations for improvement.

3. Methodology

3.1 Study Design

This research will utilize a mixed-methods approach to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. The study will include the following components:

3.2 Participants

The research will involve undergraduate students from two universities, one offering online education and the other providing face-to-face instruction. A total of 500 students (250 from each university) will be selected randomly to participate in the study.

3.3 Data Collection

The research will employ the following data collection methods:

  • Quantitative: Pre- and post-assessments will be conducted to measure students’ learning outcomes. Data on student demographics and academic performance will also be collected from university records.
  • Qualitative: Focus group discussions and individual interviews will be conducted with students to gather their perceptions and experiences regarding online education.

3.4 Data Analysis

Quantitative data will be analyzed using statistical software, employing descriptive statistics, t-tests, and regression analysis. Qualitative data will be transcribed, coded, and analyzed thematically to identify recurring patterns and themes.

4. Ethical Considerations

The study will adhere to ethical guidelines, ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of participants. Informed consent will be obtained, and participants will have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.

5. Significance and Expected Outcomes

This research will contribute to the existing literature by providing empirical evidence on the impact of online education on student learning outcomes. The findings will help educational institutions and policymakers make informed decisions about incorporating online learning methods and improving the quality of online education. Moreover, the study will identify potential challenges and opportunities related to online education and offer recommendations for enhancing student engagement and overall learning outcomes.

6. Timeline

The proposed research will be conducted over a period of 12 months, including data collection, analysis, and report writing.

The estimated budget for this research includes expenses related to data collection, software licenses, participant compensation, and research assistance. A detailed budget breakdown will be provided in the final research plan.

8. Conclusion

This research proposal aims to investigate the impact of online education on student learning outcomes through a comparative study with traditional face-to-face instruction. By exploring various dimensions of online education, this research will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and challenges associated with online learning. The findings will contribute to the ongoing discourse on educational practices and help shape future strategies for maximizing student learning outcomes in online education settings.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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What (Exactly) Is A Research Proposal?

A simple explainer with examples + free template.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2020 (Updated April 2023)

Whether you’re nearing the end of your degree and your dissertation is on the horizon, or you’re planning to apply for a PhD program, chances are you’ll need to craft a convincing research proposal . If you’re on this page, you’re probably unsure exactly what the research proposal is all about. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Overview: Research Proposal Basics

  • What a research proposal is
  • What a research proposal needs to cover
  • How to structure your research proposal
  • Example /sample proposals
  • Proposal writing FAQs
  • Key takeaways & additional resources

What is a research proposal?

Simply put, a research proposal is a structured, formal document that explains what you plan to research (your research topic), why it’s worth researching (your justification), and how  you plan to investigate it (your methodology). 

The purpose of the research proposal (its job, so to speak) is to convince  your research supervisor, committee or university that your research is  suitable  (for the requirements of the degree program) and  manageable  (given the time and resource constraints you will face). 

The most important word here is “ convince ” – in other words, your research proposal needs to  sell  your research idea (to whoever is going to approve it). If it doesn’t convince them (of its suitability and manageability), you’ll need to revise and resubmit . This will cost you valuable time, which will either delay the start of your research or eat into its time allowance (which is bad news). 

A research proposal is a  formal document that explains what you plan to research , why it's worth researching and how you'll do it.

What goes into a research proposal?

A good dissertation or thesis proposal needs to cover the “ what “, “ why ” and” how ” of the proposed study. Let’s look at each of these attributes in a little more detail:

Your proposal needs to clearly articulate your research topic . This needs to be specific and unambiguous . Your research topic should make it clear exactly what you plan to research and in what context. Here’s an example of a well-articulated research topic:

An investigation into the factors which impact female Generation Y consumer’s likelihood to promote a specific makeup brand to their peers: a British context

As you can see, this topic is extremely clear. From this one line we can see exactly:

  • What’s being investigated – factors that make people promote or advocate for a brand of a specific makeup brand
  • Who it involves – female Gen-Y consumers
  • In what context – the United Kingdom

So, make sure that your research proposal provides a detailed explanation of your research topic . If possible, also briefly outline your research aims and objectives , and perhaps even your research questions (although in some cases you’ll only develop these at a later stage). Needless to say, don’t start writing your proposal until you have a clear topic in mind , or you’ll end up waffling and your research proposal will suffer as a result of this.

Need a helping hand?

research proposal undergraduate sample

As we touched on earlier, it’s not good enough to simply propose a research topic – you need to justify why your topic is original . In other words, what makes it  unique ? What gap in the current literature does it fill? If it’s simply a rehash of the existing research, it’s probably not going to get approval – it needs to be fresh.

But,  originality  alone is not enough. Once you’ve ticked that box, you also need to justify why your proposed topic is  important . In other words, what value will it add to the world if you achieve your research aims?

As an example, let’s look at the sample research topic we mentioned earlier (factors impacting brand advocacy). In this case, if the research could uncover relevant factors, these findings would be very useful to marketers in the cosmetics industry, and would, therefore, have commercial value . That is a clear justification for the research.

So, when you’re crafting your research proposal, remember that it’s not enough for a topic to simply be unique. It needs to be useful and value-creating – and you need to convey that value in your proposal. If you’re struggling to find a research topic that makes the cut, watch  our video covering how to find a research topic .

Free Webinar: How To Write A Research Proposal

It’s all good and well to have a great topic that’s original and valuable, but you’re not going to convince anyone to approve it without discussing the practicalities – in other words:

  • How will you actually undertake your research (i.e., your methodology)?
  • Is your research methodology appropriate given your research aims?
  • Is your approach manageable given your constraints (time, money, etc.)?

While it’s generally not expected that you’ll have a fully fleshed-out methodology at the proposal stage, you’ll likely still need to provide a high-level overview of your research methodology . Here are some important questions you’ll need to address in your research proposal:

  • Will you take a qualitative , quantitative or mixed -method approach?
  • What sampling strategy will you adopt?
  • How will you collect your data (e.g., interviews, surveys, etc)?
  • How will you analyse your data (e.g., descriptive and inferential statistics , content analysis, discourse analysis, etc, .)?
  • What potential limitations will your methodology carry?

So, be sure to give some thought to the practicalities of your research and have at least a basic methodological plan before you start writing up your proposal. If this all sounds rather intimidating, the video below provides a good introduction to research methodology and the key choices you’ll need to make.

How To Structure A Research Proposal

Now that we’ve covered the key points that need to be addressed in a proposal, you may be wondering, “ But how is a research proposal structured? “.

While the exact structure and format required for a research proposal differs from university to university, there are four “essential ingredients” that commonly make up the structure of a research proposal:

  • A rich introduction and background to the proposed research
  • An initial literature review covering the existing research
  • An overview of the proposed research methodology
  • A discussion regarding the practicalities (project plans, timelines, etc.)

In the video below, we unpack each of these four sections, step by step.

Research Proposal Examples/Samples

In the video below, we provide a detailed walkthrough of two successful research proposals (Master’s and PhD-level), as well as our popular free proposal template.

Proposal Writing FAQs

How long should a research proposal be.

This varies tremendously, depending on the university, the field of study (e.g., social sciences vs natural sciences), and the level of the degree (e.g. undergraduate, Masters or PhD) – so it’s always best to check with your university what their specific requirements are before you start planning your proposal.

As a rough guide, a formal research proposal at Masters-level often ranges between 2000-3000 words, while a PhD-level proposal can be far more detailed, ranging from 5000-8000 words. In some cases, a rough outline of the topic is all that’s needed, while in other cases, universities expect a very detailed proposal that essentially forms the first three chapters of the dissertation or thesis.

The takeaway – be sure to check with your institution before you start writing.

How do I choose a topic for my research proposal?

Finding a good research topic is a process that involves multiple steps. We cover the topic ideation process in this video post.

How do I write a literature review for my proposal?

While you typically won’t need a comprehensive literature review at the proposal stage, you still need to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the key literature and are able to synthesise it. We explain the literature review process here.

How do I create a timeline and budget for my proposal?

We explain how to craft a project plan/timeline and budget in Research Proposal Bootcamp .

Which referencing format should I use in my research proposal?

The expectations and requirements regarding formatting and referencing vary from institution to institution. Therefore, you’ll need to check this information with your university.

What common proposal writing mistakes do I need to look out for?

We’ve create a video post about some of the most common mistakes students make when writing a proposal – you can access that here . If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary:

  • The research topic is too broad (or just poorly articulated).
  • The research aims, objectives and questions don’t align.
  • The research topic is not well justified.
  • The study has a weak theoretical foundation.
  • The research design is not well articulated well enough.
  • Poor writing and sloppy presentation.
  • Poor project planning and risk management.
  • Not following the university’s specific criteria.

Key Takeaways & Additional Resources

As you write up your research proposal, remember the all-important core purpose:  to convince . Your research proposal needs to sell your study in terms of suitability and viability. So, focus on crafting a convincing narrative to ensure a strong proposal.

At the same time, pay close attention to your university’s requirements. While we’ve covered the essentials here, every institution has its own set of expectations and it’s essential that you follow these to maximise your chances of approval.

By the way, we’ve got plenty more resources to help you fast-track your research proposal. Here are some of our most popular resources to get you started:

  • Proposal Writing 101 : A Introductory Webinar
  • Research Proposal Bootcamp : The Ultimate Online Course
  • Template : A basic template to help you craft your proposal

If you’re looking for 1-on-1 support with your research proposal, be sure to check out our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the proposal development process (and the entire research journey), step by step.

Literature Review Course

Psst… there’s more!

This post is an extract from our bestselling Udemy Course, Research Proposal Bootcamp . If you want to work smart, you don't want to miss this .

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51 Comments

Myrna Pereira

I truly enjoyed this video, as it was eye-opening to what I have to do in the preparation of preparing a Research proposal.

I would be interested in getting some coaching.

BARAKAELI TEREVAELI

I real appreciate on your elaboration on how to develop research proposal,the video explains each steps clearly.

masebo joseph

Thank you for the video. It really assisted me and my niece. I am a PhD candidate and she is an undergraduate student. It is at times, very difficult to guide a family member but with this video, my job is done.

In view of the above, I welcome more coaching.

Zakia Ghafoor

Wonderful guidelines, thanks

Annie Malupande

This is very helpful. Would love to continue even as I prepare for starting my masters next year.

KYARIKUNDA MOREEN

Thanks for the work done, the text was helpful to me

Ahsanullah Mangal

Bundle of thanks to you for the research proposal guide it was really good and useful if it is possible please send me the sample of research proposal

Derek Jansen

You’re most welcome. We don’t have any research proposals that we can share (the students own the intellectual property), but you might find our research proposal template useful: https://gradcoach.com/research-proposal-template/

Cheruiyot Moses Kipyegon

Cheruiyot Moses Kipyegon

Thanks alot. It was an eye opener that came timely enough before my imminent proposal defense. Thanks, again

agnelius

thank you very much your lesson is very interested may God be with you

Abubakar

I am an undergraduate student (First Degree) preparing to write my project,this video and explanation had shed more light to me thanks for your efforts keep it up.

Synthia Atieno

Very useful. I am grateful.

belina nambeya

this is a very a good guidance on research proposal, for sure i have learnt something

Wonderful guidelines for writing a research proposal, I am a student of m.phil( education), this guideline is suitable for me. Thanks

You’re welcome 🙂

Marjorie

Thank you, this was so helpful.

Amitash Degan

A really great and insightful video. It opened my eyes as to how to write a research paper. I would like to receive more guidance for writing my research paper from your esteemed faculty.

Glaudia Njuguna

Thank you, great insights

Thank you, great insights, thank you so much, feeling edified

Yebirgual

Wow thank you, great insights, thanks a lot

Roseline Soetan

Thank you. This is a great insight. I am a student preparing for a PhD program. I am requested to write my Research Proposal as part of what I am required to submit before my unconditional admission. I am grateful having listened to this video which will go a long way in helping me to actually choose a topic of interest and not just any topic as well as to narrow down the topic and be specific about it. I indeed need more of this especially as am trying to choose a topic suitable for a DBA am about embarking on. Thank you once more. The video is indeed helpful.

Rebecca

Have learnt a lot just at the right time. Thank you so much.

laramato ikayo

thank you very much ,because have learn a lot things concerning research proposal and be blessed u for your time that you providing to help us

Cheruiyot M Kipyegon

Hi. For my MSc medical education research, please evaluate this topic for me: Training Needs Assessment of Faculty in Medical Training Institutions in Kericho and Bomet Counties

Rebecca

I have really learnt a lot based on research proposal and it’s formulation

Arega Berlie

Thank you. I learn much from the proposal since it is applied

Siyanda

Your effort is much appreciated – you have good articulation.

You have good articulation.

Douglas Eliaba

I do applaud your simplified method of explaining the subject matter, which indeed has broaden my understanding of the subject matter. Definitely this would enable me writing a sellable research proposal.

Weluzani

This really helping

Roswitta

Great! I liked your tutoring on how to find a research topic and how to write a research proposal. Precise and concise. Thank you very much. Will certainly share this with my students. Research made simple indeed.

Alice Kuyayama

Thank you very much. I an now assist my students effectively.

Thank you very much. I can now assist my students effectively.

Abdurahman Bayoh

I need any research proposal

Silverline

Thank you for these videos. I will need chapter by chapter assistance in writing my MSc dissertation

Nosi

Very helpfull

faith wugah

the videos are very good and straight forward

Imam

thanks so much for this wonderful presentations, i really enjoyed it to the fullest wish to learn more from you

Bernie E. Balmeo

Thank you very much. I learned a lot from your lecture.

Ishmael kwame Appiah

I really enjoy the in-depth knowledge on research proposal you have given. me. You have indeed broaden my understanding and skills. Thank you

David Mweemba

interesting session this has equipped me with knowledge as i head for exams in an hour’s time, am sure i get A++

Andrea Eccleston

This article was most informative and easy to understand. I now have a good idea of how to write my research proposal.

Thank you very much.

Georgina Ngufan

Wow, this literature is very resourceful and interesting to read. I enjoyed it and I intend reading it every now then.

Charity

Thank you for the clarity

Mondika Solomon

Thank you. Very helpful.

BLY

Thank you very much for this essential piece. I need 1o1 coaching, unfortunately, your service is not available in my country. Anyways, a very important eye-opener. I really enjoyed it. A thumb up to Gradcoach

Md Moneruszzaman Kayes

What is JAM? Please explain.

Gentiana

Thank you so much for these videos. They are extremely helpful! God bless!

azeem kakar

very very wonderful…

Koang Kuany Bol Nyot

thank you for the video but i need a written example

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How to write a research proposal

Advice and guidance on writing a proposal for a student research project.

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Purpose of a Research Proposal

A research proposal should describe what you will investigate, why it is important to the discipline and how you will conduct your research.

Simply put, it is your plan for the research you intend to conduct. All research proposals are designed to persuade someone about how and why your intended project is worthwhile. 

In your proposal you will need to explain and defend your choices. Always think about the exact reasons why you are making specific choices and why they are the best options available to you and your project. 

Your research proposal aims should be centred on: 

  • Relevance - You want to convince the reader how and why your research is relevant and significant to your field and how it is original. This is typically done in parts of the introduction and the literature review.
  • Context - You should demonstrate that you are familiar with the field, you understand the current state of research on the topic and your ideas have a strong academic basis (i.e., not simply based on your instincts or personal views). This will be the focus of your introduction and literature review. 
  • Approach - You need to make a case for your methodology, showing that you have carefully thought about the data, tools and procedures you will need to conduct the research. You need to explicitly defend all of your choices. This will be presented in the research design section. 
  • Feasibility - You need to demonstrate clearly that your project is both reasonable and feasible within the practical constraints of the course, timescales, institution or funding. You need to make sure you have the time and access to resources to complete the project in a reasonable period. 

301 Recommends:

Our Research Writing workshop will look at some of the main writing challenges associated with writing a large-scale research project and look at strategies to manage your writing on a day-to-day basis. It will identify ways to plan, organise and map out the structure of your writing to allow you to develop an effective writing schedule and make continuous progress on your dissertation project.

Proposal format

The format of a research proposal varies between fields and levels of study but most proposals should contain at least these elements: introduction, literature review, research design and reference list.

Generally, research proposals can range from 500-1500 words or one to a few pages long. Typically, proposals for larger projects such as a PhD dissertation or funding requests, are longer and much more detailed.

Remember, the goal of your research proposal is to outline clearly and concisely exactly what your research will entail and accomplish, how it will do so and why it is important. If you are writing to a strictly enforced word count, a research proposal can be a great test of your ability to express yourself concisely!

Introduction

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project, so make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why. In other words, this is where you answer the reader’s “so what?” It should typically include: introducing the topic , outlining your problem statement and research question(s) and giving background and context. Some important questions to shape your introduction include: 

  • Who has an interest in the topic (e.g. scientists, practitioners, policymakers, particular members of society)?
  • How much is already known about the problem and why is it important?
  • What is missing from current knowledge and why?
  • What new insights will your research contribute?
  • Why is this research worth doing?

If your proposal is very long, you might include separate sections with more detailed information on the background and context, problem statement, aims and objectives, and importance of the research.

Literature Review 

It’s important to show that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review convinces the reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory (i.e. how it relates to established research in the field).

Your literature review will also show that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said. This is also where you explain why your research is necessary. You might want to consider some of the following prompts:

  • Comparing and contrasting: what are the main theories, methods, debates and controversies?
  • Being critical: what are the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches?
  • Showing how your research fits in: how will you build on, challenge or synthesise the work of others? 
  • Filling a gap in the existing body of research: why is your idea innovative? 

Research design and methods

Following the literature review, it is a good idea to restate your main objectives, bringing the focus back to your own project. The research design/ methodology section should describe the overall approach and practical steps you will take to answer your research questions. You also need to demonstrate the feasibility of the project keeping in mind time and other constraints. 

You should definitely include:

  • Qualitative vs quantitative research? Combination? 
  • Will you collect original data or work with primary/secondary sources? 
  • Is your research design descriptive, correlational or experimental? Something completely different?
  • If you are undertaking your own study, when and where will you collect the data? How will you select subjects or sources? Ethics review? Exactly what or who will you study?
  • What tools and procedures will you use (e.g. systematic reviews, surveys, interviews, observation, experiments, bibliographic data) to collect your data? 
  • What tools/methods will you use to analyse your data? 
  • Why are these the best methods to answer your research question(s)? This is where you should justify your choices. 
  • How much time will you need to collect the data? 
  • How will you gain access to participants and sources?
  • Do you foresee any potential obstacles and if so, how will you address them?

Make sure you are not simply compiling a list of methods. Instead, aim to make an argument for why this is the most appropriate, valid and reliable way to approach answering your question. Remember you should always be defending your choices! 

Implications and Contributions to Knowledge

To ensure you finish your proposal on a strong note, it is a good idea to explore and/or emphasise the potential implications of the research. This means: what do you intend to contribute to existing knowledge on the topic?

Although you cannot know the results of your research until you have actually done the work, you should be going into the project with a clear idea of how your work will contribute to your field. This section might even be considered the most critical to your research proposal’s argument because it expresses exactly why your research is necessary. 

You should consider covering at least some of the following topics:

  • Ways in which your work can challenge existing theories and assumptions in your field. 
  • How your work will create the foundation for future research and theory. 
  • The practical value your findings will provide to practitioners, educators and other academics in your field. 
  • The problems or issues your work can potentially help to resolve. 
  • Policies that could be impacted by your findings. 
  • How your findings can be implemented in academia or other settings and how this will improve or otherwise transform these settings. 

This part is not about stating the specific results that you expect to obtain but rather, this is the section where you explicitly state how your findings will be valuable. 

This section is where you want to wrap it all up in a nice pretty bow. It is just like the concluding paragraph that you would structure and craft for a typical essay. You should briefly summarise your research proposal and reinforce your research purpose. 

Reference List or Bibliography

Your research proposal MUST include proper citations for every source you have used and full references. Please consult your departmental referencing styles to ensure you are citing and referencing in an appropriate way. 

Common mistakes to avoid 

Try and avoid these common pitfalls when you are writing your research proposal: 

  • Being too wordy: Remember formal does not mean flowery or pretentious. In fact, you should really aim to keep your writing as concise and accessible as possible. The more economically you can express your goals and ideas, the better. 
  • Failing to cite relevant information/sources: You are adding to the existing body of knowledge on the subject you are covering. Therefore, your research proposal should reference the main research pieces in your field (while referencing them correctly!) and connect your proposal to these works in some way. This does not mean just communicating the relevance of your work, it should explicitly demonstrate your familiarity with the field. 
  • Focusing too much on minor issues: Your research is most likely important for so many great reasons. However, they do not all need to be listed in your research proposal. Generally, including too many questions and issues in your research proposal can serve as a red flag and detract from your main purpose(s). This will in turn weaken your proposal. Only involve the main/key issues you plan to address. 
  • Failing to make a strong argument for your research: This is the simplest way to undermine your proposal. Your proposal is a piece of persuasive and critical writing . This means that, although you are presenting your proposal in an academic and hopefully objective manner, the goal is to get the reader to say ‘yes’ to your work. 
  • Not polishing your writing : If your proposal has spelling or grammatical errors, an inconsistent or inappropriate tone or even just awkward phrasing it can undermine your credibility. Check out some of these resources to help guide you in the right direction: Manchester Academic Phrasebank , Proofreading Guide , Essay Checklist and Grammar Guide . Remember to double and triple check your work. 

Links and Resources

You might also need to include a schedule and/or a budget depending on your requirements. Some tools to help include: 

  • Manchester University Academic Phrasebank
  • Leeds Beckett Assignment Calculator
  • Calendarpedia

Related information

Dissertation planning

Writing a literature review

Research methods

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Writing a Project Proposal

Main navigation, a good proposal describes....

  • what you hope to accomplish
  • why those objectives are important to your academic or artistic field
  • how you intend to achieve your objectives

Your original project proposal is the core of your grant application. 

Detailed Proposal Guidelines

  • General guidelines for all grant proposals
  • Additional specific guidelines for  Research, Arts/Design, and Senior Synthesis  project proposals
  • Ways to turn your good proposal into a great one
  • Sample Project Proposals : Check out exemplars of past student project proposals.

Connect with Faculty Mentors and UADs

  • Faculty Mentors should meet required eligibility criteria .
  • Students should  schedule a meeting with their Undergraduate Advising Director (UAD)  as they write their proposal. UADs are well-versed with all VPUE Undergraduate Research Grants!

Watch a 3-minute overview of the VPUE Student Grant application process.

Watch a 2-minute video on how to write the critical dialogue section of a creative arts project proposal.

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Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches

Student resources, research proposal tools and sample student proposals.

Sample research proposals written by doctoral students in each of the key areas covered in Research Design --quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods—are provided as a useful reference. A Research Proposal checklist also serves to help guide your own proposal-writing.

›   Morales Proposal_Qualitative Study

›   Kottich Proposal_Quantitative Study

›   Guetterman Proposal_Mixed Methods Study

›   Research Proposal Checklist  

Utah State University

Search Utah State University:

Types of research proposals.

In all sectors (academe, government, and the private sector), research scientists typically seek and obtain competitive funding for their research projects by writing and submitting research proposals for consideration by the funding source. There are two kinds of research proposals:

Solicited proposals are those that are written and submitted in response to the issuance of a “Request for Proposals” (RFP), a document that identifies a specific research problem of interest to the funding agency for which they are specifically seeking a solution. The interested investigator then submits a “concept” or “white paper” briefly outlining their proposed solution to the problem. If the funding agency or company is interested, they may then request that the investigator submit a full proposal for consideration of funding.

  • Unsolicited

Unsolicited proposals are those proposals that are submitted by an investigator in response to a “general call” for proposals that is issued by a funding agency or company in a field or area of study. The majority of funding agencies issue calls for proposals which have firmly established deadlines and for which the format of the proposals is fairly well defined. Thus, it is vitally important at the outset after you have identified a funding source that you obtain all of the relevant information on the specific grant program and its requirements. Today most funding agencies have searchable websites where they post detailed information concerning their grant programs.

  • Purpose of a Research Proposal

The purpose of a proposal is to sell your idea to the funding agency. This means that the investigator must convince the funding agency that:

  • The problem is significant and worthy of study
  • The technical approach is novel and likely to yield results
  • The investigator and his/her research team is/are the right group of individuals to carry out and accomplish the work described in the research proposal
  • Typical Proposal Format

The title of your proposal should be short, accurate, and clear. A single sentence containing ten or fewer words is best. Don’t use acronyms and technical jargon as your reviewers may not come from your technical specialty. For example, “Web-GURU: Web-based Guide to Research for Undergraduates.”

As in a technical paper, the proposal abstract should “abstract” the project for the reader. It should be a brief (100 – 200 words), tightly worded summary of the project, its objectives, the problem’s significance, the project’s scope, the methods that will be employed, the identity and relevant technical expertise of the research team, and the results that are expected to result. Be sure to write this section last so that its content indeed abstracts your proposal.

Introduction

The introduction section should introduce the research problem, its significance, and the technical approach your work will take to investigate/solve the problem. It should introduce the research team that will carry out the work.

This section should present a concise review of the primary literature relevant to your proposed research efforts. As such it should:

  • Cite the key literature sources
  • Be up to date
  • Critically appraise the literature
  • Take science in a bold new direction?
  • Build on the prior work of others (whose?) in the field
  • Address flaws in previous work (again, whose?)
  • Develop infrastructure (instrumentation, methodology, collaborations) that will take science in exciting new directions

Preliminary Studies

If the project builds on past studies from your laboratory, then you should include a brief section outlining what you have already accomplished and explain how these results relate to the work outlined in the present proposal. If the ideas you are proposing are novel, then it is especially important to include this section and to present evidence supporting the probable success of your project.

Research Methodology

This section should outline your plan of attack. Specific information that should be contained in this section includes information on the research team and its technical expertise as it relates to the project, a realistic timeline, description of the specific experiments that will be accomplished together with alternate plans in case of potential difficulties/challenges. If more than one person will do the work described in the proposal then a division of labor should be provided together with an explanation of why each person is best qualified to do the work described. The timeline should define the length of the project and provide a schedule of who will do what specific tasks approximately when during the project period. Problems always arise in research. Things never go as anticipated. So, it is important to provide the reviewer with enough information to give them confidence that when problems arise, as they inevitably will, that you will be able to handle them in such a way that meaningful science results.

The budget should identify the anticipated cost for everything (salaries, materials, instrumentation, travel costs, etc.) that will be required in order to accomplish the research project. Usually budgets are prepared and submitted as tables with prescribed format. A budget justification typically accompanies the budget request. The budget justification is simply an explanation, item-by-item, stating why you must spend the money requested in order to carry out the experiments planned.

The most important point in preparing a budget is to make sure that you ask for what you really need. Some people underestimate the importance of working through a budget in advance of writing the actual grant proposal. This is really important because most grant programs provide grants with a certain set monetary value. It is critical to ask for the amount you really need because if you don’t ask for what you need you simply won’t be able to do the work and if you can’t carry out your project, it is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to obtain funding from that funding agency again in the near future. At the same time, it is important not to go overboard in padding your budgetary request. A thoughtful budget demonstrates that your project is well conceived and likely to yield quality results. If the reviewers feel that your budget is naïve or over-inflated, that can work against you – your project could be funded at a lower rate or certain items requested might simply be eliminated from the budget by the funding agency – so be sure to think through your budget requests carefully and make sure that all requests are thoughtfully justified.

There are two major components in a budget:

Direct costs are the costs that you incur that are directly attributable to the project. Examples of direct costs include personnel salary, fringe benefits, materials and supplies, major instrumentation, and travel costs. We will briefly examine each of these:

Direct Costs

  • Personnel Salary. An important budget request in most grants is the salary for the personnel who will carry out the research on the project. Salary is usually requested for the principal investigator, postdoctoral students, graduate and undergraduate students. Some funding agencies will provide secretarial support. Academic faculty, who usually receive academic year ( 9-mos typically) salary from their institutions, often supplement their salary (summer salary) by carrying out external research programs.
  • Fringe benefits refers to the costs incurred by your institution/employer in providing group health insurance, retirement, unemployment, workers compensation, FICA (Medicare), etc. Undergraduate salaries are not normally assessed fringe benefits when the student is supported during the academic year.
  • Materials and supplies include a wide range of items such as laboratory supplies, chemical reagents, research animals, computer software and supplies, etc.
  • Major Instrumentation. A purchase is typically identified as major instrumentation rather than materials and supplies when the cost of the instrument exceeds a thousand dollars and when the device has an anticipated lifespan of more than a year. Examples of major instrumentation purchases include laptops (cost typically $2k), UV-vis instruments, desktop centrifuges, etc. When requesting major instrumentation it is important to specify the manufacturer and model of the specific instrument that you wish to purchase and to indicate what if any features this model has that make it uniquely required in order to accomplish your proposed work. If you do require a specific instrument, it is wise to obtain a quotation from the manufacturer. Since it may be six months or more before you begin your project be sure to inquire what the anticipated cost of the instrument will be at the time you anticipate purchasing it (i.e., allow for inflation).
  • Travel Costs. If you intend to attend a professional meeting in order to present the results of your research, you may include the anticipated cost of traveling to and attending the meeting in your budget request. You may include the cost of a round-trip coach class fare airplane ticket, meeting registration, hotel, ground transportation (taxi, car rental, etc.), and food. Many funding sources place strict limitations on travel so be sure to research this carefully before making your request.
  • Subcontractor Costs. If you are working on a collaborative project with an investigator at another institution, then you will need to include the costs that they will incur in carrying out the proposed work. Your collaborator is viewed as a subcontractor in terms of the grant proposal. Their institution may assess its own indirect costs and those will also need to be included in your budget request to the funding agency.

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs are the facilities and administrative costs that are incurred by your institution/employer in support of your research activities. These are typically assessed as a percentage of the direct costs for the project. Indirect costs are often assessed on either a modified total direct costs basis (MTDC) or a total direct costs basis (TDC). MTDC rates do not include the costs of major instrumentation, student tuition, or subcontractors in the total for the direct costs on which the indirect costs are assessed while TDC includes all costs when assessing the indirect costs for the project. The MTDC and TDC rates are set by your institution so be sure to check with them to determine what the current rates are.

Cirriculum Vitae for Principal Investigators

Most funding agencies require the principal investigator(s) to include some form of curriculum vitae. Curriculum vitae are the academic-version (extended) of a resume. They provide useful information on the education, technical expertise, and research productivity of the principal investigator. In an effort to ensure the brevity and uniformity of the information provided, many funding agencies require that this information be provided according to a specific format. Be sure to include only the information requested. Do not embellish your accomplishments.

This ancillary section should be used only to provide secondary information that is relevant to the research project. For example, if you are collaborating with another investigator, it is appropriate to obtain a letter from him/her indicating his/her willingness to collaborate and detailing what specific support (personnel, equipment, research materials, results, etc.) they are willing to provide for the research project. Some funding programs do not allow investigators to submit appendices so be sure to find out in advance whether or not you can submit supporting materials and what if any limitations there may be concerning these materials (content, page limits, etc.).

Human and Animal Subjects

If your project involves experimentation on either animals or people, you will need to obtain approval for your project through your institution’s office of Institutional Compliance.

  • General Suggestions
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your advisor or other scientists if you can read copies of their successfully funded proposals.
  • There is no substitute for a good idea. This means the idea should be important and technically sound. If the idea is of interest to you, it is likely going to be of interest to others. Your job is to clearly make the case that this is work worth funding by the particular funding agency and program to which you have applied. In terms of the work being technically sound, make sure that you research it before you begin writing. This may mean doing some preliminary experiments in order to obtain data that clearly demonstrate that your ideas will work. This is particularly important if your ideas are truly novel.
  • Before you begin writing, map out your project. Identify the key experiments you will need to do. Determine who and what you will need in order to carry out these experiments and figure out how much it will cost to do the actual work (i.e., work out the budget). Be sure that the anticipated cost of your project fits the scope of the funding agency’s program.
  • Read the application instructions thoroughly and follow them carefully. If you have any questions telephone or e-mail and ask. Don’t make any implicit assumptions about your reviewers including their technical expertise, what they know about you and your work, the conditions under which they will read your proposal, etc. If you don’t follow the directions, don’t be surprised if your proposal is returned to you un-reviewed.
  • Write your proposal to address all of the review criteria of the grant program.
  • Start writing your proposal well in advance of the deadline for submission.
  • Presentation and written expression count. Think about the reviewer’s workload (see “The Review Process”). Don’t use a lot of technical jargon. Write simply and clearly. Use the spell checker and grammar checker. Don’t fault the reviewers for equating a poorly written and poorly proofed proposal with evidence of a sloppy scientist likely incapable of carrying out a quality project if funded.
  • Ask your advisor, a friend, and/or colleague to review your proposal (be sure to provide them with a copy of the funding agency’s review criteria) before submitting it and when you receive their feedback modify your proposal accordingly.
  • If your proposal is not funded, seek feedback. Don’t take the rejection of your proposal personally. Learn from it! Modify your proposal accordingly, and resubmit it. Perseverance is everything when it comes to research funding – just about everyone has submitted a proposal that didn’t get funded.

Source: WebGuru

Research Proposals

UCI Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

UROP Sample Proposals

These samples are proposals that have received funding from UROP in the past, either through the fall Calls for Proposals or through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). Identifying information removed or redacted. There are samples from each academic school. Click the links to open the PDF files of each proposal.

Sample Proposals by School

Interdisciplinary research teams.

Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry (fall)

Biomedical Engineering and Physical Therapy (fall)

Biomedical Engineering and Urology (fall)

Developmental Cell Biology and Pharmaceutical Sciences (fall)

Education and Mathematics (fall)

Education and Spanish (fall)

Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Dance (fall)

Music (fall)

School of Biological Sciences

Neurobiology and Behavior (fall)

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (fall)

Human Biology (SURP)

Paul Merage School of Business

Organization and Management 1 (fall)

Organization and Management 2 (fall)

School of Education

Education Sciences 1(fall)

Education Sciences 2(fall)

Education Sciences (SURP)

Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Mechanical And Aerospace Engineering (fall)

Mechanical Engineering (fall)

Chemical Engineering (SURP)

School of Humanities

Asian American Studies 1(fall)

Asian American Studies 2(fall)

African American Studies (fall)

Gender and Sexuality Studies (SURP)

Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences

Computer Sciences 1 (fall)

Informatics (fall)

Information & Computer Sciences (SURP)

School of Medicine

Neurobiology (fall)

Physiology & Biophysics (fall)

Edpidemiology (SURP)

School of Nursing

Nursing Science (fall)

PerioperativeCare (fall)

Nursing Science (SURP)

School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmaceutical Sciences 1 (fall)

Pharmaceutical Sciences 2 (fall)

Pharmaceutical Sciences (SURP)

School of Physical Sciences

Chemistry 1(fall)

Chemistry 2 (fall)

Chemistry (SURP)

Program in Public Health

Population Health & Disease Prevention 1(fall)

Population Health & Disease Prevention 2 (fall)

Public Health Policy (SURP)

School of Social Ecology

Psychological Science 1 (fall)

Gender Studies (fall)

Social Ecology (fall)

Psychological Science (SURP)

School of Social Sciences

Language Science (fall)

Cognitive Sciences (fall)

Chicano/Chicana Studies (fall)

Economics (fall)

Political Science (fall)

Social Policy and Public Service (fall)

Language Science (SURP)

  • UC Berkeley
  • Letters & Science

Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Haas scholars program, proposal format, haas scholars program: guidelines for your project proposal.

Please review these guidelines and policies before beginning to write your Haas Scholars proposal.  We recommended using this research proposal worksheet to prepare your proposal. For more suggestions on how to approach each section, visit the proposal-writing resources page on the OURS website and/or attend a “How to Write a Proposal” workshop (times/dates here ). You may also review a video recording of the Research Proposal Workshop linked here . Note: you will need to be signed into you BMail account (@berkeley.edu) in order to access the linked resources above.

Your proposal should contain the following five sections:

  • Research Statement (Project Summary)
  • Background and Rationale
  • Research Plan (Methodologies and Timeline)
  • Qualifications and Affiliations
  • Bibliography

Note : You will need to number any supplementary materials (graphics, images, charts) that you refer to in your application and upload them as a single PDF.

Research Statement (Project Summary) (max. 1,000 characters, approx. 175 words)

Provide an overview of your project, addressing the following questions:

  • What specific question does your research ask. and why is it important?
  • How will your project potentially contribute new knowledge to the field?

A good research statement acts as an abstract of your project – it is your sales pitch. It should:

  • Provide a hook or snapshot of your specific topic
  • Introduce a hypothesis or intervention in the field, stating your research question
  • Briefly contextualize your proposal in current conversations in the field
  • Describe the potential impact or implication(s) of the project
  • Make a claim about how this project is relevant
  • Convince the reader that this project is exciting, innovative, and meaningful!

Background and Rationale (max. 4,000 characters, approx. 750 words)

Contextualize your research project within existing literature and make a case for why this research matters. Although you may use in-text citations to refer to sources that have informed your research, full citations of these sources should be included in the bibliography section. Be sure to address the following questions:

  • What is already known about the research topic you will be working on?
  • How does your project align with or depart from the existing scholarship?
  • How will this research contribute to the wider field?

This section builds on the project overview you provided in the Research Statement section. In it, you will situate your research project within existing literature. This is where you will cite the sources included in the bibliography!

  • Situate your research question within the broader field, summarizing the key findings of scholarship that shaped your thinking
  • Indicate how your project will contribute new knowledge
  • Identify questions your research will answer

Research Plan (Methodologies and Timeline) (max. 3,000 characters, approx. 500 words)

Describe your research plan. Provide an account of the methodologies that will inform your process and outline the timeline of your project. Be sure to address the following questions:

  • Describe your summer research plan in chronological order, using either a week-by-week timeline or phases approach. Each week/phase should specify goals, action items, and methods.
  • How are your chosen research methods appropriate for addressing these issues?
  • Are there constraints or anticipated challenges associated with any particular elements of your research process?

This section details the how, when, where, and what of your project, describing how you will tackle the research objectives. It should identify the components of this research and your organizational approach. Be clear about the nature of your research (e.g., bibliographic, labwork, experiments, interviews, documentation). Describe your project as a process that can be broken down into rational, discrete phases:

  • What will your first step be?  What is entailed in this step? What will your questioning look like? How long will it take?
  • How does step 1 prepare you for step 2? How does step 2 prepare you for step 3? etc.
  • Are there benchmarks that will define your process?

Qualifications and Affiliations (max. 1,200 characters, approx. 200 words)

Describe your qualifications to conduct this research. Reference not only any relevant coursework and germane research experience but also personal experiences that make the project meaningful to you. If your research requires an external affiliation or permission to access particular resources, provide evidence that you have secured these. Be sure to address the following:

  • What academic and personal experiences have prepared you to carry out this research project?
  • Does your project depend on access to people and/or institutions or particular resources (i.e., interviewing subjects, partnering with institutions, traveling to archives or museums)? If so, please describe the affiliations, permissions, and agreements you have established.

In this section, you are convincing the committee that you are prepared to undertake this research. You are providing a personal statement about why this research matters to you. Here’s what to include:  

  • A narrative account of what you learned
  • Previous research experience
  • Planned training in the coming semester or early summer
  • Any external affiliations secured (archives, labs, community groups)
  • Relevant leadership or extracurricular activities
  • Demonstration of passion for the proposed project

Bibliography (max. 4,000 characters)

Provide a short bibliography that has informed your thinking. Include full citations of any sources you mentioned elsewhere in this proposal.

  • Ten most important sources
  • e.g., Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.

Previously Successful Research Proposals

To view examples of research proposals, you can visit the SURF L&S Resources page linked here .

Note: The proposals will be listed by Major(s), Fellow, and Title of Project. To access the files linked, you must be logged into a valid UC Berkeley email address.

IMAGES

  1. 9 Free Research Proposal Templates (with Examples)

    research proposal undergraduate sample

  2. 49+ Project Proposal Examples

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  3. FREE 10+ Bachelor Thesis Proposal Samples in PDF

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  4. Choose from 40 Research Proposal Templates & Examples. 100% Free

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  5. 30+ SAMPLE Undergraduate Research Proposal in PDF

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  6. 30+ SAMPLE Undergraduate Research Proposal in PDF

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VIDEO

  1. How to write a Research Proposal for Funding Sample @DST #funding

  2. Writing a research proposal

  3. Proposal 101: What Is A Research Topic?

  4. How to Write a Good Research Proposal ?

  5. How to write a Research Proposal (Free sample with step by step explanation)

  6. How to write a research Proposal

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Research proposal examples. 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".

  2. Sample Project Proposals

    Check out a few sample grant proposals below. Read ones annotated with reviewer notes (even if the topic is outside your area of interest) to learn what reviewers look for. You can also see also how resubmitted proposals respond to reviewer comments. Please note that these proposals serve as exemplars for students applying for VPUE Student Grants.

  3. How to Write a Research Proposal as an Undergrad

    A research proposal at the undergraduate level is an engaging exercise on coming up with your own questions on your chosen field. There is much leeway as an undergraduate to experiment within your field and think out of the box. In many ways, you will learn how to learn and how to formulate questions for any task you encounter in the future. ...

  4. PDF Annotated Sample Research Proposal: Process and Product

    The basic purposes of all research proposals are to. convince. the reader that: (a) the research project has clear objectives; (b) the research project is worth doing (it is significant. / important in some sense and will make an original. contribution to knowledge / understanding in the. field)

  5. Research Proposal Example (PDF + Template)

    Proposal template (Fully editable) If you're working on a research proposal for a dissertation or thesis, you may also find the following useful: Research Proposal Bootcamp: Learn how to write a research proposal as efficiently and effectively as possible. 1:1 Proposal Coaching: Get hands-on help with your research proposal.

  6. PDF A Sample Research Proposal with Comments

    A Sample Research Proposal with Comments A research project or thesis will take at least two semesters to complete. Prior to starting a research, i.e. enrolling in the first semester research course, students must go through the proposal stage, during which students will develop their proposal and have it reviewed by his/her research advisor. ...

  7. Writing Research Proposals

    Writing Research Proposals. The research proposal is your opportunity to show that you—and only you!—are the perfect person to take on your specific project. After reading your research proposal, readers should be confident that…. You have thoughtfully crafted and designed this project; You have the necessary background to complete this ...

  8. ANNOTATED SAMPLE GRANT PROPOSALS

    Do not submit a first draft: These sample proposals went through multiple rounds of revisions with feedback from both Office of Undergraduate Research advisors and the student's faculty mentor.First, it helps to learn about grant structure and proposal writing techniques before you get started. Then, when you begin drafting, it's normal to make lots of changes as the grant evolves.

  9. PDF Research Proposals

    1 of 5. Research Proposals. Writing a research proposal is the first step for a research project. Before you can work on your research, it must be approved, whether that is by a professor, thesis advisor, or supervisor. It is essential to make your proposal as strong as possible; if your proposal is denied, you may not get the funding you need ...

  10. How To Write A Research Proposal (With Examples)

    Make sure you can ask the critical what, who, and how questions of your research before you put pen to paper. Your research proposal should include (at least) 5 essential components : Title - provides the first taste of your research, in broad terms. Introduction - explains what you'll be researching in more detail.

  11. PROPOSAL WRITING

    Our core proposal writing advice is connected to the Undergraduate Research Grant programs, where students apply to do independent research and/or creative projects in the summer or academic year. What follows is a brief rundown of a basic research grant proposal, and we encourage you to use our URG Proposal Writing Guide for a fuller ...

  12. 17 Research Proposal Examples (2024)

    Research Proposal Examples. Research proposals often extend anywhere between 2,000 and 15,000 words in length. The following snippets are samples designed to briefly demonstrate what might be discussed in each section. 1. Education Studies Research Proposals.

  13. How To Write A Research Proposal

    Research Proposal Sample. Title: The Impact of Online Education on Student Learning Outcomes: A Comparative Study. 1. Introduction ... The research will involve undergraduate students from two universities, one offering online education and the other providing face-to-face instruction. A total of 500 students (250 from each university) will be ...

  14. 30+ SAMPLE Undergraduate Research Proposal in PDF

    Step 1: Determine the Research Topic and Perform Literature Reviews. Identify the general topic of your research to investigate. The research proposal centers around the student or students' chosen research topic that the rest of the content follows. The research topics are either assigned by professors or advisers.

  15. What Is A Research Proposal? Examples + Template

    Research Proposal Examples/Samples. ... and the level of the degree (e.g. undergraduate, Masters or PhD) - so it's always best to check with your university what their specific requirements are before you start planning your proposal. As a rough guide, a formal research proposal at Masters-level often ranges between 2000-3000 words, while a ...

  16. Tips For Writing Undergraduate Research Proposal Sample

    An undergraduate research proposal sample is among the building blocks of a university program. The document engages a student to identify a problem, understand the associated events, gather relevant resources, demonstrate the conceptual application, and form questions that are not explored before.

  17. How to write a research proposal

    Your research proposal aims should be centred on: Relevance - You want to convince the reader how and why your research is relevant and significant to your field and how it is original. This is typically done in parts of the introduction and the literature review. Context - You should demonstrate that you are familiar with the field, you ...

  18. Writing a Project Proposal

    VPUE Project Proposal Writing Guide. (link is external) : Read this document carefully and follow the guidelines based on the project you envision to pursue. In this guide, you will find: General guidelines for all grant proposals. Additional specific guidelines for Research, Arts/Design, and Senior Synthesis project proposals.

  19. Research Proposal Tools and Sample Student Proposals

    Sample research proposals written by doctoral students in each of the key areas covered in Research Design--quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods—are provided as a useful reference. A Research Proposal checklist also serves to help guide your own proposal-writing.› Morales Proposal_Qualitative Study› Kottich Proposal_Quantitative Study

  20. Past Project Examples

    Sample Proposal #1 Sample Proposal #2. Child Development. Shared Reading: Black and White vs. Color Book ... The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is a unit within the Office of Undergraduate Education that connects undergraduate students with research opportunities throughout the University of Minnesota.

  21. Proposals

    The purpose of a proposal is to sell your idea to the funding agency. This means that the investigator must convince the funding agency that: The problem is significant and worthy of study. The technical approach is novel and likely to yield results. The investigator and his/her research team is/are the right group of individuals to carry out ...

  22. Sample Proposals

    These samples are proposals that have received funding from UROP in the past, either through the fall Calls for Proposals or through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). Identifying information removed or redacted. There are samples from each academic school.

  23. Proposal Format

    Your proposal should contain the following five sections: Research Statement (Project Summary) Background and Rationale. Research Plan (Methodologies and Timeline) Qualifications and Affiliations. Bibliography. Budget. Note: You will need to number any supplementary materials (graphics, images, charts) that you refer to in your application and ...