A research proposal is an important part of the research process. The proposal is presented to the committee who judges the topic of the research and the methodology. The committee suggests any recommendations, improvements and amendments to improve the proposed research. The committee can reject the research if the proposal does not fulfills the requirement of an appropriate research.
The research proposal is an outline of the research that the researcher is going to conduct. The basic design of the research proposal is same for different universities and research fields. Some universities provide their own layout and guidelines to make a research proposal. The researcher should follow the guidelines provided by the university. Here a general outline and parts of the research proposal are mentioned.
The title page is an important part of the research proposal, the title says itself for what the reader will read inside. The title should have to be simple to understand, catchy yet very descriptive. Do not elaborate too much in the title but do not make it too brief. Describe the important point first in the title. For example, describe the independent variable first and then the dependent variable in the title.
A small and precise abstract can explain about your study and what you want to find in this study. Abstract can be very helpful in understanding the basic theme of the study. You will provide another abstract in the thesis after collecting and analyzing the data.
Table of contents
There should have to be a table of contents, but that part of your research proposal should have to be very simple. The purpose is only to let the readers know what you have provided in the research proposal. Sometimes researchers make a table of content for figures and tables as well.
The introduction provides the reader an understanding of the different concepts and variables that you are using in the research. Be precise and concise as it will be more helpful in knowing the topic. The introduction of the research proposal should have a catchy start so that the reader can get motivated to read more. In case you are giving some definitions or explanations using some source like a book or journal, give proper citation and end-reference.
Statement of the problem
The statement of the problem is a single sentence about the problem that you want to study in your research. It is a brief statement, but it clearly defines the problem that the research or the study will focus on. By reading and reviewing the statement of the problem, the committee can make a decision that whether there is an actual need to conduct this study or not. The statement of the problem also defines the significance of the study to some extent.
Review of the literature viewed
The review of literature should be provided after the introduction in the research proposal. The reviews should be closely related to the topic of the study. The reviews should not be written like a summary, but they should provide a complete overview of the writers opinion as well as your comments on it. It will help the reader understand your point of the study.
Statement of the hypothesis
The hypothesis is a proposed answer that you provide for your research question. The statement of the hypothesis should be definitive about your direction to find the solution of this research. The statement of the hypothesis is present in many studies, but a well-executed study can be conducted without a research hypothesis. In descriptive studies, there is no hypothesis. In correlational and cause and effect studies you need to formulate a well-researched hypothesis.
Significance of the study
One of the most important aspects on which a research is assessed is its significance. Applied researches have greater significance as they solve problems. Pure research has wider notion, ut they do not have broad scope for the general people and society. They will indirectly provide benefit to an ordinary person, by bringing new ideas and new research tools, techniques and methodologies. The researcher should provide the significance of the study, again it should be concise but it should precisely explains why this study should be conducted. The committee who reviews the research proposal will ask questions relevant to the significance of the study. The researcher should have a clear mind why he wants to conduct this study and what benefit his study will provide? Who will get benefit?
The target population and the sample size have to be decided in the research proposal. The sample size has to be well documented in the research proposal. Often the committee provides guidelines on this aspect of the research, if any member of the committee thinks that the sample size is small or large the researcher can think of changing the number. The researcher should provide the details of the sample size calculation and why he has selected it. A novice researcher might not have an idea of the cumbersome task that the data collection is. Having a large sample means too much work. Data collection is one step but data analysis also takes too much time. Large sample size needs much time to collect, edit, and analyze data.
Data collection instruments
The data collection instrument can be primary or secondary. For a novice researcher the advisor can help in deciding about the instrument that is best suitable. In research proposal the researcher should only provide the type of instrument that he is going to use. In thesis he will further explain how to use that data collection instrument.
The research design needs also be decided now. In research proposal the researcher should write about the study design, whether it is a descriptive, explanatory, exploratory or correlational. He should also explain whether it is qualitative or quantitative. To decide about this he has to look at his research question, hypothesis and research variables.
Your plan to analyze data
The data analysis tools should also be explained in the research proposal. There are various tools online that can help make your data analysis easier and accurate. You can use any statistical tools like chi-square, z-test, t-distribution or f-distribution. You can consult a statistician if you are not sure about the right statistical tool to use in your research. Most of the new researchers get help from expert statisticians before deciding about this step.
The references as well as in-text citation should be provided very vigilantly, as it might be useful for the research committee. Use the citation method that is accepted and approved in your university or institution.