How to Write a Good Research Proposal / Examples & Templates – Guide 2023

A research proposal describes what you will study, why it is important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies from discipline to discipline, but most proposals include at least these elements:

  • Title Page
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Research design
  • Reference list

Although the individual sections may vary, the overall goal is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you to get organized and be sure of the path you want to take.

What is Purpose of the Research Proposal?

Academics often need to write research proposals to obtain funding for their projects. As an undergraduate, you may need to write a research proposal as part of a graduate school application or before you begin your thesis or dissertation.

A research proposal not only helps you figure out what your research might look like, but it can also be used to show a funder, educational institution, or supervisor why your project is worth pursuing.

What is Length of the research proposal?


The length of a research proposal can vary widely. A proposal for a bachelor’s or master’s thesis may be only a few pages, while proposals for a dissertation or research grant are usually much longer and more detailed. Your advisor can help you determine the best length for your paper.

One trick to get started is to think of the structure of your proposal as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation, only without the Results, Conclusion, and Discussion sections.

How to write a research proposal title?

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

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your name
  • The name of your advisor
  • Your institution and department

Research proposal Template – univ of Texas

Research proposal Template – univ of Bonn Germany

How to write a research proposal introduction?

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

Your introduction should:

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

To guide your introduction, you should include information on the following topics:

  • Who might be interested in the topic (e.g., researchers, policymakers)?
  • How much is already known about the topic?
  • What is missing from that knowledge?
  • What new insights will your research bring?
  • Why you think it is worthwhile to do this research
How to write a strong Literature Review in research proposal?


At the beginning of your paper, it is important to show that you are familiar with the most relevant research on your topic. A strong literature review shows the reader that your project is based on a solid foundation of existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you are not simply repeating what others have already done or said, but that you are using existing research as a starting point for your own work.

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

  • Compare and contrast key theories, methods, and debates
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of various strategies. Explain how you will build on, challenge, or summarize previous scientific findings

How do you write a research design and methodology in a proposal?


After the literature review, restate your main objectives. This will bring the focus back to your own project. In the next section, the research design or methodology, you will describe your general approach and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

Contribution to Knowledge


To end your proposal on a strong note, address the potential impact of your research on your field. Re-emphasize the contribution you plan to make and why it is important.

For example, your results could have implications for:

  • Improving best practices
  • Informing policy decisions
  • Reinforcing a theory or model
  • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
  • Establishing a foundation for future research
  • Reference list
  • Last but not least, your research proposal must include proper citations for each source you use, which will be compiled into a reference list.

Research Timeline


Some institutions or funders will require you to provide a detailed timeline for the project, including information about each phase and how long you expect the project to take. Although it is not always required, you should be clear about the requirements of your project.

Here you can find a sample schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template using the button below.

What is budget in research proposal?


When you apply for research funding, you will likely need to submit a detailed budget. This will show how much each part of your project is expected to cost.

  • Be sure to check what costs the funding agency will cover. Indicate for each item:
  • Cost: Exactly how much money do you need?
    Justification: Why are these costs necessary to conduct the research?
SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations as well as a Master's degree in international security studies, alongside a passion for web development. During my studies, I gained a strong understanding of key political concepts, theories in international relations, security and strategic studies, as well as the tools and research methods used in these fields.

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