What Makes a Good Research Proposal?

One of the most effective ways of learning to write a research proposal is to look up examples of research proposals. This allows you to study the proper research proposal format and examine how each part of the research proposal ought to be written. Of course, many of the research proposal examples you’ll find on the Internet might not be what you are looking for. Because just about anybody can put up documents on the Internet, you risk the chance of finding a research proposal example that is not of the quality you are looking for. Therefore, it is still important that you hold standards, even just for the examples you find on the Internet. After all, if this is going to serve as your guide, then it had better be a good guide.

Research Proposal Sample
1. It provides sufficient background information.

The research proposal format begins with an introduction, where an adequate background of the study is established. It is in this part of the proposal where the reader, one who is generally sophisticated but relatively uninformed in the field where you choose to do research, should understand why he should continue to read your study. The topic of the research is introduced within the context of a theoretical or conceptual framework and this is hoped to arouse reader interest.

2. It has a clear and specific statement of the problem and a detailed set of objectives.

Sometimes, a statement of the problem can become so convoluted that the reader loses track of it. It is advised that the problem statement should be articulated within the context of a broader framework already introduced in the first part of the research proposal example. However, any research paper writer should define clear boundaries that separate the problem statement distinctly from the rest of the proposal. A sentence that begins with “This research aims to…” should be specific enough. Moreover, the general problem statement has to be followed by objectives that pertain to the particulars of the problem. They usually come in bulleted form so they are hardly missed.

3. The implications must be defined as well as foreshadow a hypothesis.

These are achieved as the writer presents the significance of the study, where the reader should be convinced that the research to be done is important. Think about what the study will contribute to the present body of existing knowledge in your field. Researchers are not simply satisfied with the theoretical implications; potential practical applications of your research are desired. This part of the research proposal sample takes into account the researcher’s hypothesis and what might happen should the hypothesis be proved true.

4. The review of literature must contain relevant and up-to-date literature.

Research committees like the literature review short and to-the-point because its only purpose is to show the readers what research has already been done in the researcher’s proposed subject of study. It is for this reason that you must select the literature judiciously and must include studies that are relevant to your research and incorporate current findings in your field.

5. The proposed methodology should be established in the most detailed way possible.

Inarguably, this portion of the research proposal sample is the most important and should be given the most attention. The methodology should be as detailed as possible. There are four main components of the methodology that should be presented: sampling, instrumentation, data collection and data analysis.

  • The subjects of your study should be, in a word, representative. Subjects must be chosen at random to ensure that conclusions derived from them can be considered as generalizations for the whole sample. Research committees require a description of the samples characteristics, such as age, gender, race and socio economic status.
  • The instrument for gathering data (i.e. survey, interview, scales, etc.) call for operational definitions. This is the part of the proposal where the term “excellence in school” is defined as “scores in Math, Science and English in the National Achievement Test.”
  • In the data collection is the exact procedure that you plan to follow when you start to gather data for your study.
  • Analysis programs are often used in large-scale research projects. It is in this section of the proposal that you mention any of these programs if you will use them. If no program is to be used, you should outline the procedure for analyzing data here.

6. It is written in a clear and concise manner.

There is no room for stylistic prose in the research proposal. The writing style should be clear and straightforward and should aim to help the reader understand what the study is all about. The use of formal yet simple language is the norm. It is also helpful to use headings and/or bullets to divide subsections within the major sections of the proposal.

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