33+ Sample Research Project Proposal

What Is a Research Project Proposal?

A research project proposal is a document that represents a coherent and concise summary of the intended research. The proposal pinpoints the prominent issues or problems that a researcher plans to address. It prepares an outline of the field of study that revolves around the research topic and refers to current research discoveries and knowledge, along with existing debates about the subject. The research project proposal allows the researcher to showcase the ingenuity of the research project. The research proposal is one of the essential documents that a researcher submits for the research application procedure. It provides the opportunity to demonstrate that the individual or group is fully capable of producing graduate-level research. For example, students exhibit their capabilities through showcasing effective communication of complex ideas in a clear, concise, and critical manner. Writing the research project proposal also allows the management to match the research topic with the appropriate research supervisor to acquire accurate and meaningful results.

According to the facts and figures from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in their UNESCO Science Report, Towards 2030, between the years 2008 to 2014, the scientific articles presented on catalog in the Science Citation Index of Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science has an increase of 23 percent from 1.03 million to 1.27 million.

Components of a Research Project Proposal

A research project proposal serves as the backbone of the entire research paper. It defines what the researcher needs to investigate, its significance, and the process of performing the research. There are different variations when writing the research proposal. Most research project proposals follow the same format as it needs to describe the critical areas of research. Below are the components of a research project proposal and their definitions.

Introduction: The introduction section is the first part of the research project proposal. It is also called the abstract or the need for the study. It represents the initial pitch of the researcher that gives an overview of the research topic and sets it in context. In writing the introduction, the researcher must create interest in the reader to continue reading about the subject and the proposal itself. It must also introduce the problem statement and the research question or questions the researcher needs to answer. It must identify the individuals or groups that can show interest in the study, the depth and amount of studies in the related field, the gaps in the literature, possible contributions, and the relevance of research. The introduction must also include the hypothesis if there is no presence of research questions available.Review of literature: The literature review refers to all the sources of scientific evidence and readings that pertain to the research topic. At present, there are numerous ways for researchers to obtain valuable information through digitalization and ease of access. Sometimes it proves difficult for them to indicate all the research materials and literature in the review. Structuring this section of the research project proposal must involve systematic and intelligible planning for the reader to digest the information and argument present. It must also correlate with previous studies while demonstrating that the current research is relevant and innovative to the field. Summarize each article into paragraphs that highlight the research topic. When structuring the literature review, the researchers can start with a generalized idea or through historical progression. It must indicate supporting information, arguments, and controversies.Aims and objectives: This section of the research project proposal identifies the research goals and indicates what the researcher aims to accomplish after the research. The defined hypothesis can be the aim of the study. These objectives must be related to the parameters or tools that the researcher utilizes to achieve the purpose that can have categories or sub-categories moving forward.Research design and methods: The objective of this section is to convince the readers that the proposed research design and analysis process is the most practical manner to investigate, produce, and address a probable solution to the problem. It must also instill in the reader that the methodology or the resources the researcher presents are the most appropriate for the research topic. It must always correlate with the specific aims and goals of the research. The methods and sources for conducting the research must undergo thorough discussion, including the precise references to multiple sites, databases, texts, and authors that are indispensable with the research project. It must clearly state the processes and procedures that the researcher performs to gather valuable information about the approaches to analyze them and the tests to validate them. When describing the methods of research, the researcher must establish the research process, as well as the procedure to interpret the results relating to the research problem statement. The researcher must also describe how to utilize the timeframe in performing the research techniques. It must also indicate the possible obstacles or drawbacks that the research might encounter along with an emergency plan to solve or mitigate them. Implications and contribution to knowledge: In this section of the research project proposal, the researcher details how the proposed study enhance, change, or expand present knowledge in the field of study. It must contain an explanation of how the research outcomes affect future research, theory, practice, technique, and policy and procedures and state whether it has methodological, theoretical, or substantive significance. The researcher reflects on the gaps and limitations of current materials and provides a comprehensive explanation of its contribution to new knowledge in support of the proposed research.Ethical considerations: When it comes to research projects, there are special and moral concerns that researchers must show awareness to in the data collection process. The researcher must guarantee that they meet the necessary ethical standards. These ethical considerations describe the rights of participants to self-determination, privacy, autonomy, confidentiality, fair treatment, and protection. Researchers must obtain informed consent, ethical reviews, and approval process that they provide to satisfy essential information. The informed consent must come from the participants, including the research location and appropriate authorities. Budget: If the researcher aims for archival or academic research, there is little need for writing detailed budget allocations. However, if the researcher needs to apply for research funding, they must indicate a comprehensive budget quotation or report that details major project costs. Be aware of the funding requirements that an agency or institution requests for in the budget. For each item, indicate the actual cost, justification, and source. When preparing the budget, predict and cost all aspects of the research project, including allowances for unpredictable delays, disasters, and rising costs.Timetable: Research schedules must be realistic. The turnaround time for research must be complete within the allowable period of submission. The research timeline must include information about the objectives to achieve as a part of the research requirements, from preliminary research procedures to the final revision of the research project. It is also necessary to indicate the expected fulfillment date. Conclusion: An ideal way to end the research project proposal is to indicate anticipated outcomes. Readers will recognize that these results are the expectation of the researcher stemming from the research investigations and materials and that these are prone to changes upon the completion of the study. The conclusion informs audiences that the researcher considers all possible outcomes and implications of the research.Appendices: The section lists all documents that are relevant to the proposal. Appendices are specific for each research project proposal, and these documents range from informed consent forms from participants, supporting documents, research questionnaires, measurement tools, and participant information forms.Citations: The citations section holds the sources the researcher uses in the research project proposal. Another term for this section is references list or bibliography.

How To Develop a Research Project Proposal

Planning enables better research and writing procedures, and research project proposal provides the researcher just that. The document supplies a coherent structure for the research project and convinces the reader of its significance to the field of study. The section below provides a step-by-step guide to developing a research project proposal.

  • 1. Develop and Define a Research Topic

    The choice of research topic determines its length, involved processes, and the possibility of fulfilling the research requirements. Take the time to select the subject to ensure quality and satisfaction when developing the research paper. Choose a topic that is interesting to you as a researcher. Identify the possible subjects that affect personal concerns and interests that drive you to investigate related studies. Remember that the research study also concerns readers, and it is critical for it to be current and relevant to them. It is necessary to know how to narrow down ideas into more concise and manageable content and share them with instructors provides you with relevant feedback that fits research requirements. A good research paper contains in-depth yet specific information that gives readers digestible details.

  • 2. Explore the Purpose and Audience of Research

    A research project proposal discusses the research purpose and its audience to pinpoint who the researcher aims to reach, inform, and persuade about the study. In this step of developing a research project proposal, you must explore different possibilities to address the audience. The most effective way to do this is through free writing.

  • 3. Conduct Preliminary Research

    Before writing the research proposal, you must prepare by doing preliminary research. The step guarantees that you have the appropriate resources and materials to work with when writing the proposal. It gives the necessary information to define the research topic and develop research questions. Conducting preliminary research also supplies the researcher with crucial concepts, history, and terminology about the chosen topic.

  • 4. Formulate the Research Question

    The research question serves as the statement that keeps you on track throughout the research process. When you identify the research question, you are also setting up the objective of the research. It must be substantial and serve as the guiding element towards the completion of the study. A well-constructed research question allows the researcher to correlate different information through data analysis and interpretation. To help you construct the research question, refer to the preliminary research material and list possible questions surrounding it. The research question must be complex that requires extensive research, interpretation, and analysis.

  • 5. Create a Research Plan

    For a researcher to work on the research topic intensively, determine the objective for research. Take the time to plan out secondary research by identifying resources for answering the research question, including where to find them, their availability, and search words. Plan for primary research procedures by selecting the method to utilize in the research, whether it is through survey questionnaires or individual interviews. You must also identify the necessary materials to use. There must also be a clear timeline for processing and conducting the entire research process, identifying milestones and due dates as accurately as possible.


What are the four essential elements of a research proposal?

Instead of four, there are six critical elements in a research proposal. The introduction, background, literature review, research design and methods, suppositions and implications, and conclusion.

What are the reasons for having a research proposal?

The primary purpose of creating a research proposal is to convince a sponsor that the research project is worth the investment. It must persuade the reader that the study is relevant, original, and interesting.

What are types of research proposals?

There are two types of research proposals, the solicited and unsolicited research proposal. Solicited proposals are submitted as a response to a request for proposal. Unsolicited proposals are responses to a general call for researchers to conduct a study.

Writing a research project proposal helps a researcher to have a guideline to write the final research paper. It also allows them to check with the instructor about research requirements. Completing a research project proposal gives a researcher the advantage of having the necessary materials and resources to conduct different procedures to accomplish the study. It also provides backup plans when the research process experiences obstacles or drawbacks. Create a research project proposal for future research by downloading the sample documents available above.