Why Do You Need a Research Proposal?
If you are applying for a higher studies programme, such as a business degree, or you intend to write an academic paper that requires extensive research, then you will need to submit a research proposal. This is the first stage in proving your credentials, demonstrating your knowledge of the academic field and showing how you would contribute to it. It is a necessary step because educational institutions are keen to have high-quality students and teachers. They also need to prove their value or they risk losing funding and damaging their reputations.
Research proposals have a standard format that varies depending on what subject you are dealing with. For example, if you are in the physical sciences and need to conduct in-depth quantitative research, then you must include a budget or financial plan. No matter what sort of research you will be doing, it is important to demonstrate your ability to plan and organize your work.
Sponsorship of a research paper or project is not exclusively financial. It is often a matter of expertise in your topic area, access to research facilities and regular input into your work. If you are sending your research proposal to a different educational institution to the one you attend, then it is advisable to check what their fields of expertise and interest are. You can usually do this online.
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Basic Parts of a Research Proposal
- Working title – this is perhaps more valuable than a student assumes. Make sure the title says something about your thesis and topic area.
- Abstract – a very concise look at the topic background and context. You can also bring in details of your credentials to carry out your project.
- Literature review – to demonstrate your knowledge of current developments in the subject area, and identify your particular contribution. Give specific references to your sources, and show how you will fill knowledge gap(s).
- Essential research questions – to identify the specific problem or issue you will be looking at. This shows you have chosen a doable project that will not overrun on time and costs, and that will be of some value.
- Methodology – to show you know which are the appropriate methods (qualitative or quantitative or both) for your proposed research, and how to apply them.
- Planning – to give an idea of your organizational, financial and time management skills in regards to this particular project.
- Bibliography – to credit your sources
Important Things to Include or Avoid in Your Research Proposal
Remember that many other students will be applying for some sort of sponsorship, so make sure you demonstrate throughout that you have a clear idea of your topic. Show that the topic you have chosen is limited and can be studied in a measurable period of time. Do not choose a broad topic or one that has been written about already.