How to write a Research Proposal

I have created some guidelines using online university resources that clearly outline the structure of a Research Proposal and its key structure.


Content of research proposals:

  • Title and abstract
  • Background information/ brief summary of existing literature
  • The hypothesis and the objectives
  • Methodology
  • Summary and conclusions


The ‘Golden Rules’ of research proposals:

  • Be clear, objective and straight to the point
  • Justify the objectives, “because it is interesting” is not enough
  • Provide a structure and use headings
  • Avoid long solid blocks of text and use smaller paragraphs
  • Write short sentences
  • Insert images, diagrams and/or charts


Research Proposal Introduction guidelines:

  • Introduce the area/topic of research- explain in detail several components of the experiment and provide brief definition of the theories background.
  • Review key publications
  • Identify any gaps in the knowledge or questions which have to be answered
  • Hypothesispredicts the relationship between the variables.
  • Aims and objectives, including a brief description of the methodology



Abstract- is a brief summary of the entire proposal (Usually ranging from 150 to 200 words). The abstract should outline the proposals main headings, research question, theoretical framework, research design, sampling method, data and analysis procedures. The abstract accurately reflects the contents of the proposal.

Hypothesis- is an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved.

Methodology- is the most important section of the entire proposal as it explains each step that the researcher will take to conduct their research. This section discusses what measures the researcher will take in order to test the studies hypothesis.







CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARIES ONLINE. (2016) Hypothesis Definition. [Online] Available from:                               [Accessed: 27th January 2016]

DALAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY. (2016) How to write a Research Proposal: A Formal Template for Preparing a Proposal for Research Methods. [Online] Available from:         [Accessed: 27th January 2016]

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH. (2010) How to Write a Good Post Graduate Research Proposal. [Online] Available from:!/fileManager/HowToWriteProposal.pdf [Accessed: 27th January 2016]

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