Research proposal

Research proposal

The purpose of a research proposal is to ensure you are on track for developing an appropriate, well justified, well thought out research project. Preparing a proposal outlining the major aspects of your project is an excellent way to get started, and a valuable document for starting discussions about a more detailed plan of action with your educator or research supervisor.

Content
A research proposal is underpinned by three fundamental questions which must be addressed: 

  1. What are you trying to find out? (i.e. the research question and problem your project will address)
  2. Why is this worth doing? (i.e. the significance or contribution to knowledge)
  3. How are you going to do it? (i.e. the research design including the methods you will use to gather, analyse and interpret your data)

Structure
A research proposal typically includes the following sections: 

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Aim of the study
  • Methodology 
  • Ethical considerations
  • Significance of the study
  • Project timeline

More information about what should be included in each of these sections can be found in the "Research proposal writing guide" PDF below. 

Style
Different sections of your proposal will be written in different tenses. For example, the methods section of your proposal should be written in future tense as the study has not yet been conducted (e.g., Participants will complete an online survey…..).  

Also, avoid the use of first person pronouns. For example, instead of saying I will…. and My study aims to….,  say something like The researcher will …. and This study aims to…..