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How to Write a Research Paper Proposal

A research proposal is a document that presents a detailed outline of a proposed program. The ultimate goal of the proposal is to validate the proposal and explain how it is realistically feasible. Research proposals may be sponsored by the government, foundations, or businesses, they may also be chosen as an assignment by college professors as a means to advance a student’s research skills, come up with solutions to current problems, and to determine logical steps in solving a problem.


  1. Have a Compelling Argument

    • Make sure that you have a very compelling argument for your case; otherwise the reader may not care for your proposal whatsoever and toss it aside. A compelling argument where you identify a current major problem, explain why it must be fixed, and outline your solution to it keeps your proposal clear, concise and persuasive.

  2. Do Your Homework

    • Be sure to cite previous landmark proposals relating to your new proposal. What previous solutions were attempted and why didn’t they work? If those solutions didn’t work, why doesn’t that mean your solutions won’t work as well? Or, has your solution been attempted in a different country or in a different scenario all together and worked there? Be prepared by doing your homework on the subject matter. Know previous proposals that have been written.

  3. The Paper

    • Include a title page. The title page should include the name of your proposal, your name, and who is sponsoring you.

    • Now you can begin the meat of the paper. Begin with an abstract, which is a brief overview of your proposal. In the Introduction, state the main points of the problem, the purpose of your research, and your thesis statement. Next, talk about the methods and instrumentation to carry out your proposal. Be sure to mention any previous proposals that have been considered. Any data you have collected, any interviews you have conducted, and any resources you might have. Conclude your proposal with the necessary funds required.

  4. As always…

    • ...good writing is key. Make sure you have correct spelling and punctuation. Grammatical errors make your work look sloppy and unprofessional. Proofread your work before submitting. Good luck!

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