NOTES ON DRAFTING A RESEARCH PROPOSAL
While there is considerable mysticism about research, actually it is nothing more than simply pursuing the
answer to a specific question about a particular topic. In turn, a research proposal is primarily an
to find the answer. Whether your proposal is for a graduate committee, grant funds, a research
permit, or some other purpose, basically you are selling an idea; that is, doing something that is
interesting and important
for others to invest in. It must also demonstrate that you are
successfully conduct the research. Accordingly, everything must be done to communicate as clearly,
concisely, and convincingly as possible.
The entire process is made far easier, and much more efficient and effective, if, at the very outset, you can
identify as clearly and concisely as possible a
to pursue within a particular topic and/or area.
That primary question may in turn be divided into several secondary questions, and those into tertiary
questions. At some stage, one or more of these questions may be formally stated as hypotheses to actually
test with data.
Most research proposals include the following items, whether or not they are explicitly identified by
subheadings. However, some authors, supervisors, granting agencies, and others may have their own
specifications. Depending on the item, about two to four pages (typed, double-spaced) should be
sufficient. About 15-20 pages are necessary for a solid proposal. Remember, the more a busy reviewer
has to read, the less their interest and approbation! You have to strike a balance in providing information
which is sufficient but not excessive.
What is the topic?
Who are the researchers and where are they located?
On a separate title page are usually listed the title and subtitle of the research project; the name,