Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Research Proposal

A proposal is a document used to persuade a reader to act on a proposed plan. In other words, a proposal is simply an idea that is usually in a written form used to convince the reader of a particular plan of action.

Very often, students are required to write a research proposal for college. It is necessary to learn how to accurately write a research proposal to excel academically. This article will provide you with information on how to write a proposal for research paper.

What is proposal writing?

Proposal writing is the act of creating a pitch in a written form on a particular subject. In academics, it is the first stage in producing a project. It is used to convince an academic board that a topic is viable for research. In addition to stating the research plan and topic, the appropriate means to execute and investigate it should be made known as well.

Types of research proposals

There are two main types of research proposals, which are known as:

  • Approval Proposal
  • Funding Proposal

The Approval Proposal is used before the commencement of the project or thesis and it is usually given to a supervisor or an examiner for approval. On the other hand, a funding proposal is oftentimes sent to an external organization to seek funds or financial assistance for the intending research.

Why are proposals written?

Academic research proposals are made basically to convince a committee/board/supervisor that the subject is sound to gain approval for the advancement of the intended research. It could also be used to solicit funds to aid the research.

Tips for writing research proposal topics

Choosing a relatable and interesting topic for your research proposal could be cumbersome and tiring. However, here are some tips to guide you:

  • Choose topics that interest you. This will make the whole research process fascinating.
  • Make sure the topic selected meets the stipulated requirements. Background research will prove valuable.
  • Consider the scope of the topic and narrow it down to a particular segment if it is too broad. Brainstorming will help choose an important sector to discuss rather than discussing the entire scope.
  • Research more on the topic selected and discover new aspects of it. Create an outline for ease.

Resources to help develop your topic

  • Library resources related to specific areas of research
  • Research Guides
  • Google, Wikipedia, notes, and so on

Research proposal outline

A research proposal template follows the same outline. The concise outline for a research proposal would be highlighted below:

  1. Title

The title should be clear and concise. It should provide adequate information on the intended research to be carried out.

  1. Introduction

This should provide the background and framework of the research. Here, the attention of the reader should be piqued and captured by the topic to arouse interest. A piece of brief background information and past research should be explored and documented. It should be well provided with information about the subject.

  1. Research problems

In this section, the question “why is the research intended to be carried out” will be answered. The problems related to the subject should be described and evaluated.

  1. Purpose of study

This aspect should provide a well-informed discussion on the kind of research to be performed; either qualitative or quantitative research. Instruments of research that would be used should also be mentioned and described

  1. Literature review

Here, past information related to the subject that is already known should be discussed. It should also review any past research and outcomes related to the subject in question.

  1. Research questions

Valid hypotheses should be tested and discussed in detail.

  1. Methodology

It should disclose the methods which are intended to be used to prove the hypothesis. Test samples would be run with control samples to further prove hypotheses.

  1. Limitation

Limitations that may arise in the course of the research should be duly mentioned.

  1. Significance

Here, discussions on how the research would be relevant to the targeted audience should be emphasized. The role the research is intended to play in society should be mentioned as well.

  1. References

It will have a lot of all referees used in the course of the proposal in a format that has been stipulated or recommended for use.


Writing a research proposal could be exciting when the right format is adhered to. The above research proposal format will help you improve your writing skills.