Research Proposal Writing Tips

In order to write an outstanding research proposal, it takes more than just a good idea. A research proposal needs to actually explain your idea/ideas to a panel of reviewers that you have to convince in your work’s future importance and relevance to the academic society and studies. While thinking of an idea, one can go through the list of research proposal topics that can be taken the new idea from. Sure, this sounds rather complicated, and many tend to make a lot of common mistakes when writing the research proposal. For that reason, there are several points one should keep in mind when creating the proposal so that it can be as clear and as convincing as possible. Here are out ten tips and tricks co-authored by Paperell that will help you write the winning research proposal.

Here are the Top Ten Tips that will help you to compose a research proposal:

1. Follow the main instructions if provided by Institute for composing the research proposal

Sometimes you’ll be provided with instructions, and other times you’ll have to find them on the council website. Either way, make sure to read and conform to those instructions because only then will your proposal fit the main criteria used for a competition or other purpose. Your proposal should, according to the standard guidelines, include title, background, and rationale, research question(s), research methodology, research design (explanatory research or descriptive research), plan of work and bibliography. There is also a designated format and number of words that varies between 2,000 and 3,500 words, or 4 to 7 pages.

2. Before writing your research proposal, break plan into point form.

According to McGill, you should decide whether you will have headings/subheadings based on the total length of the proposal. According to the aforementioned must-have points, make sure also to include an introduction and material points, and decide what each point will actually be. Usually, the instruction for the proposal contains a selection of heading, and each one, you should lay out in point form what you will discuss in the proposal.

3. Keep the reviewers in mind.

When writing the research proposal, make sure to write having your reviewers in mind. This means that your argument should be easy to follow, it should be clear, concise and straightforward. It is important not to write around the main topic, but rather get straight to the point early in the proposal. Your research proposal should also contain all the keywords and essential information, that should be presented in an immersive and engaging manner.

4. Make an impact

The reviewers need to be interested in your research proposal from the very first sentence. They are usually very busy people, so you need to grab their attention, the sooner into the proposal, the better. However, the first few sentences cannot just be impactful but make no sense in regards to the proposal; they have to be clear and need to present the main argument of the proposal in a manner that should be easy for the reviewers to understand right away. Make sure to point out that your research is innovative, valuable to the community and deals with a fascinating idea and research question.

5. Be explicit about your proposal.

When writing a research proposal, make sure to state explicitly what the relevance of your research proposal really is. It is important to mention and explain the areas of interest you’re addressing in the proposal, as well as how your proposal will contribute to the designated event you’re presenting it to. Make sure to see into the relevancy of your proposal to the objectives of those who choose it as the winning proposal, and also be explicit about the connection. The ‘contribution to knowledge’ needs to be a clear indication of your proposal, after all.

6. Show that your research is feasible.

When we say ‘show your research is feasible,’ what we mean is you need the research proposal to speak for you in terms of proving you are competent to conduct research in the first place. You also want the proposal to show that you have chosen the best research or scholarly environment that will help you achieve the full potential of your goals. This will surely make an impact on the reviewers and show them that your proposal is to be taken seriously.

7. Keep in mind the plan of work and schedule.

Your research proposal should include an outline of various stages and corresponding timelines for developing and implementing the research and writing your thesis, according to the University of Westminister. This means that for the full-time study your research should be done in three years, and for the part-time study, your research should be completed within six years.

8. Include a discussion regarding limitations and problems

No research goes well all the way through the years of processing and completing. Therefore, it is essential to mentions some possible problems you might encounter in your research. Make sure also to explain in your research proposal the way in which you’ll deal with those problems, the approach and the methodology in which the research will become a problem-solving matter as well. Moreover, point out some of the questions and issues you might not be able to answer or solve during the proposed research.

9. The abstract should summarize the research.

The abstract is one of the most important aspects of a research proposal. It needs to include the background of the research aim or the purpose methods.  Therefore, make sure to use the abstract to summarize your objectives, methods and anticipate possible conclusions briefly. The abstract should not contain technical language, as it needs to be a simple overview of your research, not a direct insight into the technicalities.

10. Top Mistakes to avoid while writing a research proposal

Just in case the tips mentioned above were not clear enough, here’s an overview of the most common mistakes you should avoid when writing a research proposal:

  1. Failure to be concise
  2. Failure to cite landmark works in the literature review
  3. Failure to establish and develop the main argument for the proposed research
  4. Failure to stay focused on the main topic and the research problem
  5. Failure to delimit the contextual boundaries of the research
  6. Imprecise and grammatically incorrect writing
  7. Too much detailing and focus on minor issues, instead of presenting details regarding the main argument

4 thoughts on “Research Proposal Writing Tips”

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