How to Write a Research Proposal?


A research proposal is essentially a brief statement of a question or issue and a synopsis of how the question or issue is to be answered or addressed. This paper discusses how to write a research proposal for a regular college paper, a dissertation and for the purposes of funding, institutional review or ethics approval. For a regular college paper the research paper consists of the title, question, and a summary of the research performed or research leads. For a dissertation, the research proposal is constituted by the title, statement of the problem, review of the literature and defining of research methodology. A custom research proposal to obtain funding or for the purposes of institutional review or ethics approval consists of the title, literature review, methods and ethics, budget and work plan. Following is a detailed discussion on the aforementioned types of research proposals.

For a college paper, the research proposal presents a problem and the research already conducted or needed to answer it. Essentially, it lets the professor know that you have chosen a paper topic and have spent some time and effort on its research. The problem can be chosen by either the professor or the student and should be reasonably broad enough to encompass the issues and themes covered in the paper and reasonably narrow enough to warrant discussion with a specific direction. In addition, the student should have already formulated a thesis, a statement that defines the problem. The second part of the research proposal consists of thoughts on how one is to go about answering the question. The student may or may not have already conducted research on his/her topic. This section could include a summary of sources consulted or analytical arguments that support the thesis. Sometimes, a student is allowed the option of including an annotated bibliography. Thus, a research proposal for a college paper presents a question and the steps taken to answer it.

A research proposal for a dissertation is similar to a research proposal for a college paper; however it is more in-depth and requires a higher level of analysis. The statement of the problem includes the research question. The review of literature includes a summary and analysis of related research and indicates that the PhD student is well versed in research conducted in his/her field of inquiry. It is intended to set the stage for his/her own research. Finally, it includes a defining of research methodology. This section is devoted to discussing how one obtained the research necessary to answer the problem presented. This can include a discussion on research design, subjects, instruments and procedure. The subject sub-category refers to the "who" of the research and includes a discussion of the sampling procedure, if applicable. The instruments sub-category refers to the methods of measurement and answers the "why" element of the research and discusses whether the instruments are reliable and valid. The procedure sub-category answers the questions: "how long did it take to carry out the study?, "what activities were performed?". Thus, custom written research proposals presents a synopsis on the research conducted to answer the problem presented in the dissertation.

To obtain funding or for the purposes of institutional review or ethics approval, a research proposal is required. The first part of the proposal consists of the title, literature review and research question. The literature review summarizes and analyzes related research. The research question includes the objective and hypothesis. The second part is constituted by a discussion of methods. The sub-categories of the method section are: design, subjects, instruments/measure, sample size and analysis. The subject sub-category answers the questions "who?," "how were subjects recruited?," "how were study groups formed?." The instruments refer to the objective, concept and measuring model, reliability, validity, sensitivity, and interpretability. The data analysis sub-category refers to the shape, central tendency, variability, analytical/inferential statistics, and hypothesis test. The section on ethics, budget, and work plan refer to the respect, beneficence and justice of the research and the budget. The ethics part of the section refers to the recruitment process and participation, harms and benefits and the issue of informed consents. The budget part of the section refers to itemization of costs, costs of consultants and equipment and indirect costs. This is one possible model of a research proposal for funding, institutional review or ethics approval.

In essence, the research proposal aims to define a problem and summarize research findings related to answering it. For a college paper, it can include a brief discussion on the problem and sources consulted. For a dissertation, it can include a discussion of the problem, review of literature and methodology. For funding, institutional review or ethics approval, it can include a statement of the problem, literature review, methods and ethics, budget and workplan. Each of these proposals is similar in that they present a problem and research necessary to address it. They also each have their specific differences. This paper is meant to provide possible models for research proposals for custom college essays, term papers, research papers, dissertations, and for the purposes of funding, institutional review and ethics approval.

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