As a university student, you may have noticed that the majority of writing assignments you are given tend to fall under a similar pattern. Moreover, they do seem to resemble those you were given at high school. The research proposal is a totally different assignment. It requires more than just a skill to use words very well. If you are faced with writing a research proposal and this somewhat puzzles you, then we are here to assist you. We want to provide you with a simple clear-cut guide to writing a successful research proposal and equip you with general academic skills which will be further beneficial on your future research path

Defining a research proposal

Defining a research proposal

Before we go into any specifics, let’s define a research proposal first.

A research proposal is an academic piece of writing that offers a particular topic and substantiates the necessity to study it. The proposal also outlines the methodology and approaches to studying the problem stated. Whereas the choice of topic and methods for a research proposal largely depends on the specific requirements for the assignment, the research proposal has a specific pattern which has to be followed precisely.

Irrespective of the area of your specialization, the methodology and specific format requirements, any research proposal has to meet the following requirements:

  • It should clearly describe what you are going to research. This is a central requirement as it will result in the ultimate decision whether your research should be pursued.
  • It should formulate the goal of your paper and provide ample evidence as to the topicality of your research. In order to achieve the clarity of the goal, try a simple exercise. Explain the goal of your research to your friends in simple words and be prepared to answer all their questions and defend the importance of your paper if necessary. Thus, you will be well equipped with necessary arguments to substantiate your research.
  • It should provide an explanation as to how you will achieve your goal. You may as well ask yourself if you have enough resources and background knowledge to accomplish the research work and obtain the desired outcome.

Although a research proposal is a necessary step leading you towards academic work, it can also benefit your overall academic proficiency. Below are some of the reasons:

  • A research proposal enhances your writing skills.
  • It teaches you how to organize your study process stage by stage.
  • It improves your overall research skills. You will be required to review quite a lot of related literature, so you need to be able to find the necessary information quickly and efficiently.
  • It helps you make up a coherent plan of your research work in order to conduct it efficiently and accomplish it timely.
  • It exercises your critical thinking abilities as you collect and analyze the necessary information.

A research proposal comprises several components which provide you with an excellent opportunity to achieve the above goals. Let’s look at these components in details.

Writing a research proposal

Writing a research proposal

We want to provide you with a clear outline of your research proposal and describe each part in detail to make sure your paper follows the necessary academic format.

1.Title page.

This is the first component of your research proposal, that’s why it has to be concise and descriptive. This section of your study needs to be highly persuasive. Therefore, you have to formulate the title of your proposal as clearly as possible to make sure it catches attention.

2.Abstract (summary of the research).

In this section, you are to briefly summarize your major research points. Here, you need to write about the essential issues raised and describe the methods you are going to use. Remember to keep this section concise with no more than 300 words maximum.


This section is one of the most significant parts of your research proposal. Here, you will state the background for your research, questions and how you will answer these questions. This information should be presented in the most detailed manner. The introduction should encompass your whole research so there will be no blank spots or unanswered questions.

4.Literature review.

In this section, you will point out the most salient publications you used in your research work. You will also demonstrate the link between your paper and the previous research pursued in your field.


Here, you will describe how you will achieve the goals set. You should also prove that the methods you have chosen are the most appropriate ones for your research field.


The ultimate results will surely appear once your paper has been accomplished. However, it is always a good practice to try and foresee what you expect to gain at the end of the study based on the available information and methods you have selected. Thinking about possible results will also determine whether your research is actually worth pursuing in the first place.


In this part, you will state the sources you used to write your research proposal. This section may also be arranged in the form of bibliography which will make the understanding of your paper easier.

Finally and most importantly, you need to remember that before embarking on writing your research proposal, you should carry out sufficient research work in order to write a truly successful paper. There are numerous resources available to equip you with the sufficient amount of expertise in this area. Additionally, many university websites provide guidelines to writing research proposals. You may have to double check with your university if your paper meets its specific requirements.
As you get down to your paper, please remember that it may not seem such an easy task to accomplish, yet as you gain more and more knowledge and experience, writing further academic papers won’t be a big issue for you.