How to Make a Research Proposal ? | Research Design Methods

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How to Make a Research Proposal ?


Reasearch Design Methods Most of the students or beginners many people and researchers do not fully understand what a research proposal means , nor do they understand its importance. To put it bluntly , one’s research is only as good as the one proposed . An ill-conceived proposal condemning the project, even if it somehow gets through the Thesis Supervisory Committee . A high quality proposal , on the other hand , not only promises success of the project, but also impresses your Thesis Committee about your potential as a researcher.

A research proposal is intended to convince others that you have a research project worth and has the ability and work plan for its realization. Generally , a research proposal should contain all the elements involved in the research process and include sufficient information for readers to evaluate the proposed study.

Regardless of your research area and the methodology you choose, all research proposals must address the following questions : What is going to achieve what you want to do and how you do it .

The proposal should have sufficient information to convince your readers that you have an important research idea , that has a good knowledge of the literature and the major issues, and that its methodology is sound.

The quality of your research proposal depends not only on the quality of your proposed project, but also on the quality of drafting of proposals. A good research project may run the risk of rejection simply because the proposal is poorly written . Therefore , it pays if your writing is coherent, clear and compelling.

This paper focuses on proposal writing rather than on the development of research ideas .

Title :

It should be concise and descriptive. For example , the phrase, ” An investigation of … ” could be omitted. Often titles are stated in terms of a functional relationship , because such titles clearly indicate the independent and dependent variables . However, if possible , think of an informative title , but catchy. An effective title not only click the reader’s interest , but also he / she predisposes favorably to the proposal .

Summary :

This is a brief summary of approximately 300 words . It should include the research question , the rationale of the study, the hypothesis (if any ) , the method and the main findings . Descriptions of the method may include the design , procedures, the sample and the instruments to be used.

Introduction :

The main purpose of the introduction is to provide the background or context for research problem necessary . How to frame the research problem is perhaps the biggest problem in proposal writing .

If the research problem is framed in the context of a general review of the literature hiking , then the research question may appear trivial and uninteresting. However, if the same question is placed in the context of a focused research area and present , its meaning will be clear .

Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rules on how to frame your research question just as there is a recipe on how to write an interesting and informative opening paragraph . Much depends on your creativity , your ability to think clearly and the depth of your understanding of problem areas.

However, try to place your research question in the context of either a current area “hot” , or an older area that remains viable . Second, it is necessary to make a brief but appropriate historical backdrop . Third, provide the current context in which the proposed research question occupies the central stage . Finally , identify ” key players ” and refer to the most relevant and representative publications . In short , try to paint your research question big brushes while highlighting its importance.

The introduction typically begins with a general statement of the problem, with special attention to a specific research problem , to be followed by the rational or justification for the proposed study . The introduction generally covers the following elements:

  1. State the research problem , which is known as the study’s purpose often.
  2. Provide the context and set the stage for your research question in such a way as to show its necessity and importance .
  3. Present the rationale for the proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing .
  4. Briefly describe the major issues and sub ​​- issues to be addressed in your research.
  5. Identify the key independent and dependent variables of your experiment . Alternatively , specify the phenomenon you want to study .
  6. State your hypothesis or theory , if any. For exploratory or phenomenological research , you may not have any hypotheses. ( Please do not confuse with the hypothesis of statistical null hypothesis . )
  7. Set the delimitation or boundaries of the proposed research in order to provide a clear focus.
  8. Provide definitions of key concepts. (This is optional . )

Literature Review :

Sometimes the literature review is incorporated into the introduction section . However, most professors prefer a separate section , which allows a more comprehensive review of the literature.

The literature review serves several important functions :

  1. Ensures that it is not ” reinventing the wheel” .
  2. Gives credit to those who have laid the foundation for investigation.
  3. Demonstrate your knowledge about the research problem .
  4. Demonstrates understanding of the theoretical and research issues related to your research question.
  5. Shows your ability to critically evaluate relevant literature information .
  6. Indicates the ability to integrate and synthesize the existing literature.
  7. It offers new theoretical insights or develops a new conceptual model for research .
  8. Convince the reader that your proposed research will make a significant and substantial contribution to the literature (eg , solving a major theoretical problem or fill an important gap in the literature ) .

Most students literature reviews suffer from the following problems:

  • A lack of organization and structure
  • A lack of focus , unity and coherence
  • Being repetitive and verbose
  • Failing to cite influential papers
  • Failing to keep up with the latest developments
  • Failing to critically evaluate cited papers
  • Citing irrelevant or trivial references
  • Depending too much on secondary sources

Your scholarship and research competence will be questioned if any of the above applies to your proposal .

There are different ways to organize your literature review . Make use of subheadings to bring order and coherence to your review. For example , having established the importance of your research area and its current state of development , you may devote several paragraphs on issues as: theoretical models , measuring instruments , cross-cultural differences and gender , etc.

It is also helpful to keep in mind that you are telling a story to an audience. Try telling a stimulating and engaging manner . It took them , as it may lead to rejection of your worthy proposal . (Remember : Professors and scientists are human beings too.)

Methods :

The Method section is very important because it tells your Research Committee how you will deal with your research problem. It will provide your work plan and describe the activities necessary for the completion of your project.

The guiding principle for writing the Method section is that it should contain sufficient information to allow the reader to determine whether methodology is sound. Some even argue that a good proposal should contain sufficient details for another qualified researcher to implement the study .

You need to demonstrate your knowledge of alternative methods and make the case that your approach is the most appropriate and most valid to address the research question .

Please note that your research question may be best answered by qualitative research. However, since most mainstream psychologists are still biased against qualitative research , especially the phenomenological variety , you may need to justify the qualitative method .

Moreover, since there is no well-established canons and widely accepted in qualitative analysis , the method of the section has to be more complicated than is required for traditional quantitative research . More importantly, the data collection process in qualitative research has a far greater impact on the results as compared to quantitative research. That’s another reason for greater care in describing how you will collect and analyze data. ( How to write the Method section for qualitative research is a topic for another article . )

For quantitative studies , the method section typically consists of the following sections:

  1.  Design – Is it a questionnaire study or a laboratory experiment ? What kind of design do you choose?
  2. Subjects or participants – who will participate in the study? What kind of sampling procedure do you use?
  3. Instruments – What kind of measuring instruments or questionnaires do you use? Why choose them? Are they valid and reliable?
  4. Procedure – How will you carry out your study? What activities are involved ? How long does it take?


Obviously , you do not have the results in the proposal stage . However, you need to have an idea of ​​what type of data you are collecting, and what statistical procedures will be used in order to answer your research question or hypothesis test .

Discussion :

It is important to convince the reader of the potential impact of the proposed research . You need to communicate a sense of enthusiasm and confidence without exaggerating the merits of your proposal. So we must also mention the limitations and weaknesses of the proposed research , which can be justified by time and financial constraints as well as by the early developmental stage of your research area .

Common errors in the preparation of proposals

  1. Failure to provide the proper context to frame the research question .
  2. Failure to delimit the boundary conditions for your research.
  3. If no reference cites studies .
  4. Failure to provide accurate theoretical and empirical contributions by other researchers .
  5. He did not stay focused on the research question .
  6. Inability to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research.
  7. Too much detail on minor issues , but not enough detail on major issues.
  8. Excess hiking – going ” all over the map ” without a clear sense of direction. ( The best proposals move forward with ease and grace like a seamless river . )
  9. Too many errors and incorrect references dating .
  10. Too long or too short .
  11. Do not follow the APA style .
  12. Slopping writing.

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