Writing Research Proposal

Research Proposal is a complete description of the intended research, that inform others of a proposed piece of research. The research proposal is usually a Masters or Doctorate by thesis, but it can also be work for a corporate purpose.

A research proposal is a roadmap that can save you time in long run. A research proposal is intended to convince others that you have a worthwhile research project and that you have the competence and the work-plan to complete it. In general, a research proposal needs to contain all the key elements involved in the research process and include sufficient information for the readers to evaluate the proposed study.

Research proposal needs to convince your readers about the research topics. The proposal should have sufficient information to convince your readers that you have an important research idea, that you have a good grasp of the relevant literature and the major issues, and that your methodology is sound.


A research proposal generally has the following key parts: introduction, Literature review, Research methodology, Theoretical framework, Research plan and outline etc. There may be other areas you can add such as limitation of the research, resources needed etc. However, It is important to include all key parts.

Research Proposal Introduction

When writing your research proposal, you need to keep it simple. The main purpose of the introduction is to provide the necessary background or context for your research problem. In your introduction part, you may describes the broader context and issues and links the broader context to your topic. You then need to narrow to the specific area of your concern. This should lead logically to the gap in the research that you intend to fill. When the gap is identified, a research question can then be raised. The answer to this question is called the thesis statement. The ability to present the issues and your intended contribution is the key for convincing the readers about your intended topic.

Research Proposal Literature Review

Research literature review is to demonstrates your understanding of the theoretical and research issues related to your research question. This part is where you provide more detail about what others have done in the area, and what you propose to do. The key purpose of the literature review is to inform the reader that have found issues or gap and your proposed research will make a significant and substantial contribution to the literature. The topics you can cover in the research methodology part:

  • The major issues or schools of thought
  • Research gaps in the literature
  • Research questions and/or hypotheses which are connected carefully to the literature being reviewed

Research Methodology

The research methodology is to inform your supervisor how you plan to tackle your research problem. It will provide your work plan and describe the activities necessary for the completion of your project. The key objective of the part is to demonstrate you have a sound research methodology and approach to tackle the problem. You need to demonstrate your knowledge of alternative methods and make the case that your approach is the most appropriate and most valid way to address your research question.

Research Plan and Outline

After you have presented your case for your research proposal, you may give a plan for your research project. The research plan or outline can be discussed in conjunction with a research timetable. The key objective of the part is to show the reader that you the project is well-organised and achievable in the time available.