The Basic Format for a Research Paper Proposal
If you thought you would be able to get through college without much writing, you may find yourself asking, “Isn’t writing a research paper enough?” No. In many cases, you will need to write a research paper proposal before you write your actual paper. Ultimately, your professors will grade your final paper on your ability to interpret and intelligently discuss your topic and be able backup your findings with solid evidence. To be able to achieve this goal, you need to provide evidence that you are on the right path with a well thought out research paper proposal.
Below is a research paper proposal template for you to use. You will need to fill your information into the [ ] brackets where I have instructions and tips for you. Keep in mind that your professor may have some different requirements based upon their preferences. However, the following fields should suffice for most of your needs.
Date: [Add in the date you submit the proposal.]
To: [Add in your professor’s name.]
From: [Add in your name and your email address.]
Subject of my paper: [Provide the broad topic for your paper.]
My Major and why writing about this topic will be beneficial to me: Write why you are specifically interested in this topic and how it will benefit advancing your education. As I state in another post, “Steps to Writing a Winning Term Paper Using Reference Software” you must have an active interest in your subject (amongst other things) otherwise you will struggle writing your paper and your statements will lack conviction.
My thesis: Keep in mind that your thesis should only be a sentence or two long and it is an answer to a specific relevant question; it isn’t a question. Often your thesis will be more effective if it answers a how or why question instead of a who, what, when or where query.
Approach to the subject of my paper: There are several ways you can present material in your paper in support of your thesis statement. Will you have to define certain terms? Will you include anecdotal evidence? Will you include opposing views and comparing and contrasting them to your views? You want to think of a logical, orderly fashion in which you will lay out your research paper so it transitions well from thesis to conclusion. Your choice of target audience should influence your approach.
Intended audience: Selecting a specific intended audience will define the level of education and biases of your readers. It will alter the information you include in your research paper and how you present your viewpoints. When selecting an audience, target a demographic that has your level of education, but doesn’t necessarily have your background or major. While organizing your thoughts, think to yourself, “What do I need to explain to this audience to help them understand this topic?”
Graphs or charts: Graphs and charts are a way to visually support your written analysis and data. They are not intended to be filler to help you reach your page count requirement. Most professors do not count them towards meeting that goal. Make sure you cite your charts and graphs from other sources using the proper formatting style.
Documentation Style: Your professor will usually assign the APA, MLA or other formatting style to you. If you are unsure what style you should be using, ask them. If they don’t assign a style, the type of class you are preparing your research paper for usually will. Don’t forget; when it’s time to write your paper, there are MLA and APA format software products that can greatly diminish your time formatting the document.
Kinds of sources I will use and why they will benefit my paper: Professors like to see a balanced approach to selecting types of sources for your paper. If you are struggling finding good sources for your research paper while creating your proposal, it’s a good indication you should pick another topic. When you state the types of sources you will be using, include how these sources will strengthen your paper.
Tentative List of References: Your professor will often give you a minimum number of references for you to include as a tentative list of references for your research paper proposal. This will be higher than the actual number of references you include in your final paper since you likely will not use all of those on your tentative list. Your professor wants to see if you know how to select appropriate sources within your field. Check with your professor if you need to get their approval to use sources in your final paper that you did not include on your tentative list.
David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. For more information, log onto http://www.referencepointsoftware.com/ or write to:
info @ referencepointsoftware.com
Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).
Guidelines on Writing a Research Proposal
Writing a research proposal is rightfully considered as one of the most complex tasks and requires mastery of multiple skills. It is a paper, which aims to deliver a brief information on the research you want to conduct, explaining the main reasons why it will be useful for the reader and for the society. A correct research proposal should contain:
- the main idea of the paper;
- reasons why the research should be conducted;
- used methodology.
You should give an overview of your studies and interest others to go on reading. A research paper is usually the first step for students to get funding for their project, so it is crucial to create a thoughtful and deep paper.
You should pay attention to the common mistakes and use a research proposal template if needed in order to avoid them. First, you need to be precise and perform a clear vision of what you are going to describe (provide a clear idea, time, place and so on). You should always stay focused on the problem, avoiding too many details on minor issues. You shouldn’t forget about correcting any grammar or lexical mistakes, which will definitely spoil the overall impression. Finally, you should pay careful attention to citing other works in your study to show that you have conducted a thoughtful research and know the subject perfectly.
In this article, we will give you an overview of how to write a proposal for a research paper and make it stand out from the rest.
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Research Proposal Example and Sample
Most of the students struggle to find information on how to write a research proposal and spend lots of money when hiring others to complete the task. Using a proposal sample can be of a great help for those, who want to create a research paper on their own but don’t know where to start.
A previously downloaded template can greatly help any student and give an overall information on such aspects like:
- Format of the paper. You will be able to get information on the structure not to miss any important section;
- Learn more about the most important parts, which can be easily skipped when not knowing about the most catchy sections;
- Avoid the mistakes that were previously made.
Using proposal examples is a great way to learn from someone else’s experience and create an outstanding powerful proposal.
Research Proposal Outline
It is impossible to conduct a thorough paper without using a sample research proposal. It will greatly help you to shape your research and give its readers the best impression.
Research Proposal Examples
Research Proposal Format
Research Proposal Outline
Research Proposal Sample
Research Proposal Template
A research proposal format consists of six main parts:
- Introduction. It is should be both brief and catchy. You need to grab reader’s interest and make him go on reading. In this section you should describe the main problem you are going to work on, the methodology and the importance of your research to persuade the reader that the results of the study may be useful;
- Background. In this section, you should give a more detailed overview of the problem. It is not an essay, so you should follow a clear structure and use a research paper example if needed. In this part you should give more details about the aim of your study, explain why it is worth completing, enumerate the main problems you want to face and offer a brief plan of your future research;
- Review of the sources. This section is usually very difficult to complete, as it contains lots of information and you need to structure it thoughtfully. A research proposal outline can be of a great use to see how you need to process the literature in order to make the whole structure clear and simple. Here you need to show that there are researches, based on your field of interest but they lack the data you are going to perform;
- Research methods. This section is very important, because you need to provide effective methods that will be used in your research study. Try to list methods that were not previously used by other researches and order new research design, based on literature overview;
- Assumptions and consequences. Even though it is a proposal and not a research proposal sample, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid describing the results of the project. In this section you need to clarify what impact will your study have, what are the suggestions and potential changes in the field. You should also give information how it will influence the lives of others and how the results will be used;
- Conclusion. This section should be brief and straight to the point. You need to emphasize why your research is important and why it should be done. You should also write a few sentences on the potential field of its implementation and why people will benefit from it.
We hope, that with the help of this data you will be able to interest the reader and be able to create a deep and thoughtful research paper.