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successful writing tips for researchers

 

How to write a research paper proposal: learning the essentials


A research paper proposal is a request for support for your project. Your research paper proposal should answer the following questions:

  • It should tell what you are going to do in your research and how much it will cost
  • It should explain how much time you need to complete your research
  • It should discuss how the project relates to the interests of those who sponsor you
  • It should explain why your project is different
  • It should discuss what progress has already been made in this area
  • It should talk about what you plan on doing
  • It should discuss how to plan to evaluate your results
  • It should explain why you should work on the project rather than someone else

There are different parts to a proposal based on whether you are looking for a research grant or a training grant. But the content below covers the primary pieces you will need to include:

  1. Title page. This should be comprehensive enough that it indicates the nature of your proposal.
  2. Abstract. This should summarize the problem you plan to address as well as the methods and objectives of your project. It should summarize how you are going to solve the problem as well. It should outline your expertise and what funding requirements you need.
  3. Table of contents. There are few sections in a proposal but you should have a table of contents nonetheless. This is there for the convenience of the reader. List all major parts and divisions here.
  4. Introduction. This is where you state the problem and the purpose of your research. It is also where you state the significance of your research. You can refer to other case studies as necessary.
  5. Background. This is where you include your literature survey and show what you need to do to accomplish your research problem. You should provide evidence of your competency and show what work still needs to be done. Be selective and highly critical of the literature review. Explain how your findings will differ from what exists.
  6. Description of the Methods. This is where you lay out your research design. Explicitly state your hypothesis and your focus as well as your schedule for the work.
  7. Description of the Institutional Resources. This is where you talk about why the sponsor should select your university/you for this project.
  8. List of references. This should be a bibliography and remain consistent with the content in your body.
  9. Personnel. This is where you explain the personnel arrangements and list the biographical data information for every contributor to the project. Explain to what degree they will each participate.
  10. Budget Explain how much the budget should be.

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