Research Proposal Examples

Are you planning to work on a new research project as you want to show something that other researchers are unable to see? It is integral for all kinds of researchers to write clear and comprehensive research plans and proposals in order to fully convince their prospective clients, funders, investors, and organizations that they have the intense commitment, energy and expertise to take the risk of giving their resource investments in support of their research projects. In this post, we discuss the main purpose of research proposals, different types of research proposals, steps on how to effectively write a research project proposal, the research proposal format and research proposal examples.


Research Proposal Definition

Research proposals are compelling and well-structured documents that clearly explain the main intention of the researchers while laying out the major concerns and questions they are planning to resolve in their proposed research work either in the academic or scientific field. 


What Is a Research Proposal?

Generally used by people in wide-ranging fields and sectors, a research proposal is a clear, enticing, and well-detailed written document for establishing one’s expertise and professionalism in their proposed area of research. This is a significant form of writing included in a comprehensive assessment of your proposal application. This is the beginning phase of your research work as you set your goals, objectives, desired outcomes, methods and financial budget of your research project, especially you are outlining in this part the purpose of your research. 


Main Purpose of Research Proposals

The main purpose of research proposals is to allow you clearly define and interpret the importance of your research projects to your prospective clients. These formal written research project proposals will point out and justify the quality and significance of your research projects, as well as your ability and competence to perform the intended research work. Academic researchers, biological researchers, market industry researchers, student researchers and other kinds of researchers use these proposals to contemplate through their research projects, to improve their focus, and to envision any challenges and issues that may exist.


Types of Research Proposals

  • Student Research Proposal

A student research proposal is a type of research project proposal typically written by students in order to accomplish their research project or thesis work. Commonly, students in their undergraduate or graduate studies need to be successful in the proposal stage, during which they will develop their research proposals and have them reviewed by their research advisors. 

  • Dissertation Research Proposal

Dissertations are lengthy academic writing pieces made by students for their academic research work. A research proposal for dissertation is an essential written document which covers the research question that the student is going to analyze and how he or she plans to conduct the primary and secondary research work. 

  • Topic Research Proposal

A topic research proposal can explore a myriad of disciplines, which can include how to inspire students to choose teaching as a career, defining the impact of emotional abuse, parent tips for difficult child aggressive behaviors, and more. It is fundamental for all student researchers to work effectively on a suitable topic research proposal because being successful in their topic research and their overall research project will help them to receive excellent marks during their postgraduate studies. 

  • Market Research Proposal

A market research proposal is a well-structured written document that provides all of the fundamental information that is necessary when it comes to the approach, process and the cost of a certain market research project. This research proposal tells you the crucial points about a certain market research business firm. If you need to structure an effective market research project proposal, it is essential that you fully understand the estimated project timeline so that you can know the priority level of your project to the market research firm.

  • Clinical Research Proposal

Clinical researchers conduct research so that they are able to measure the effectiveness and safety of medical devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. To start their clinical research endeavor, they need to write a compelling clinical research proposal. In A clinical research proposal is a written document which outlines the major goals, objectives, clinical methods and other strategies involved in a clinical research project. 

  • Gantt Chart Research Proposal

Project managers and researchers use Gantt charts in their work so that they can facilitate high-level planning and set sufficient work activity to accomplish their projects and to demonstrate their competence when it comes to predicting project risks ahead of time. Structuring an impressive Gantt chart research proposal is a useful way to encourage major decision makers in a company or an organization that is worthwhile to utilize Gantt charts in their research projects because Gantt charts are effective project management tools which are used to monitor the progress of their research work properly.

  • Psychology Research Proposal

A psychology research proposal is a type of research proposal that provides the major goals, objectives, purpose, mission and vision of a certain psychology research project. Usually, psychologists are the ones who write this research proposal as they conduct several studies and research in various fields in psychology such as clinical psychology , behavioral psychology, and biopsychology. 

  • Action Research Proposal

Practitioners who perform action research are the ones who are planning to improve their working conditions or efficacy as they carefully investigate phenomena they noticed in the course of their working lives and solve those issues. In order to initiate their action research work, they should create a convincing action research proposal by writing a brief and cohesive introduction to the general area to be addressed by the study, the problems to solve or condition to improve and their urgency to deal with, and other crucial reasons for their action research project. 

  • Master Thesis Research Proposal

A master thesis research proposal is a type of research proposal written by graduate students taking up their Master’s degree. It is an essential document that brings forth what is to be studied as a thesis project while explaining the major reasons and specific methods on how the thesis project will be carried out.  Some examples of master thesis proposal titles are quality standards of online higher education in a specific country or region, predicting birds’ flight range, and mental health services for empowering youth. Various universities have their own guidelines on writing an effective master thesis proposal.

  • Mechanical Engineering Research Proposal

Aerodynamics and fluid mechanics, biomechanics, combustion energy systems, mechanical design and manufacturing, dynamics and control, and vibrations, acoustics and fluid-structure interaction are some common research areas in mechanical engineering. To start a mechanical engineering research and development project, mechanical engineers need to write a clear and concise mechanical engineering research proposal as they define their goals, objectives, and anticipated results when they work on their research in order to continue their creation, design, and project improvements for products/services.

  • Academic Research Proposal

An academic research proposal is a concise and well-organized written document which is composed of primary goals, objectives and methods for an academic research project. Generally, academic researchers retrieve and use scholarly sources for their research project. Doing this method allows them to draw on current research. So, an enticing proposal for academic research is integral to initiate a systematic investigation into a certain issue or situation. Academic research is done by identifying facts and/or opinions that will significantly guide academic researchers in assessing the problem or dealing with the situation. 

  • Marketing Research Proposal

Marketing research projects aim on defining problems and issues in the market, designing an effective marketing approach or strategy to the problem, formulating a research design, collecting reliable data, preparing and analyzing data, and creating a marketing research report and presentation.  In order for marketing researchers to proceed with their projects, they need to be skilled in writing a marketing research proposal as they outline their priorities, objectives, and marketing research plans and get the attention of their prospective clients and organizations. 

  • Social Economic Research Proposal

A social economic research proposal is a type of research proposal that provides the major goals, objectives, purpose, research questions, methods and strategies of the researchers working in a social economic research work. Socio-economists and their researchers focus on studying the relationship between economic and social life while determining the social impact of a certain kind of economic change and development. 

  • Biological Research Proposal

Biochemistry, bioinformatics, biotechnology, cell biology, chemical biology, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, genomics, immunology, and many others are some of the diverse fields that biological researchers work on in their research work. To initiate their biological research projects, they need to write a compelling biological research proposal to convince their management, funders and investors to allow and support them in their biological research endeavors. Preparing this document will help biological researchers to have the opportunity in bringing potential significant contributions and advancements in agriculture, biotechnology, medicine and other areas of biology. 

  • Social Media Research Proposal

A social media research proposal is a type of research proposal that helps social media researchers to persuade a company or an organization to allow and support them when it comes to analyzing social media data, and conducting quantitative research so that they gain a clear understanding on how audiences relate to topics. Usually, social media researchers use different tools and data extraction techniques and help businesses to understand and improve their perception of their brand online, as well as to discern their market for new products, make a comparison of their presence to a competitor, or to attract new audiences by market trends analysis.

  • Conceptual Research Proposal

Conceptual research deals with the development of new concepts or reinterpretation of existing concepts in an abstract form which involves the application of logic, intelligence, reasoning and intuition. Developing a convincing and systematic research proposal is important to encourage the management, or an organization to conduct and manage an effective conceptual research through making observations and comprehensive analysis of current information on a provided topic. So, researchers can delve into investigating a wide array of abstract concepts or ideas. 


  • Grant Research Proposal

Research scientists write grant research proposals as they need funds for their research projects on a yearly basis. A grant research proposal is a written document which demonstrates a research scientist’s clear understanding of the need in their community and their solid programmatic response. In this way, they can persuade their potential funders to financially support their proposed research projects. If you will write a grant research proposal, you need to include a cover letter with your proposal application, answer the necessary questions, be specific and honest, and be realistic about your research project.

  • Scientific Research Proposal

A scientific research proposal is a form of professional writing which is composed of a brief and cohesive explanation of proposed research, research methods and techniques to be utilized, and novelty or significance of the scientific research study. When writing a scientific research proposal, it is important to include a simple yet persuasive introduction, background and significance, literature review, research design and methods, preliminary suppositions and implications, conclusion, and citations and references.


Research Proposal Writing

As you’ve seen above, there are multiple types of research proposal, each with its own purpose. Due to the importance of such a document, knowing how to write a proposal is a highly-valued skill that many researchers and professionals need to master. Among the most common elements of research proposal writing will include the following: 

  • Think About Your Intended Audience

You need to define the topic of your research and provide your audience with fundamental details about the subject matter. Explain what your research is trying to achieve. Precisely and succinctly detail your research methodology, time, and resources to complete your research work.

  • Clarify the New and Most Crucial Information

Doing this becomes useful for pinpointing the type of components that need to be studied to shed light on the topic and factors such as indicators, relationships, variables and many others. Doing this will convince your readers if your proposed research is to generate research findings which are relevant in starting anything new or useful.

  • Don’t Forget Information Regarding the Budget and Timeline

Adding some important information about the budget or financial cost, and project timeline of your proposed research is important because these aspects will be of concern to your readers in terms of the feasibility of your proposed research project. So, explain your resources that are necessary for the successful completion of your research work. Set a basic timeline in order to inform them that you have planned the research accordingly.

  • Assure Your Readers of Your Research Standards

Let your readers feel assured that your proposed research project will be conducted in a manner that meets socially acceptable research standards, and research ethics. You need to justify your research project by addressing the research questions about the outcomes of your proposed research and the end-products or simply, the benefits of your work.


How to Write a Research Proposal

There are various types of research proposal formats and styles such as APA and MLA formats. What are APA and MLA writing formats? APA (American Psychological Association) format is a type of writing format applied in technical and scientific works as it uses the last name of the author and the year of publication, while the MLA (Modern Language Association) is typically used for humanities and literature works as it includes the last name of the author, as well as the page number of the literature as reference. Here are some steps that you need to follow while writing a research project proposal:

1. Select the Type of Research Proposal to Write About

 There are numerous types of research proposals that you can write based on your research work. Select the right type of research proposal according to the aim and purpose of your proposed research project. 

2. Designate a Title for the Research Proposal 

Make sure that you designate a compelling title in your proposal. It must provide a clear definition of your proposed research approach.

3: Identify the Major Goals, Objectives, and Vision 

You need to identify the fundamental goals, key objectives and the vision of your proposed research work in your proposal document.

4. Describe Your Methods and Techniques

Explain clearly the specific research methods and techniques that you will carry out throughout your research project.

5. Highlight its Significance and Value

Point out the significance and value that your project will bring after its completion.

6. Add References and Citations

Cite a list of references and citations like key articles, texts, and other sources related to your research project.

7. Proofread, Edit, and Revise Your Research Proposal 

Go back to your proposal document as you proofread, edit and revise your research proposal. Check if there are spelling, grammatical and typographical errors.


Research Proposal Format

Title Page: One of the most essential components of a research proposal is the title page. It contains the title and theme of your research proposal. 

Purpose Statement: State the purpose of your proposed research project. Include the research questions, issues or other general problems that you will be exploring and investigating throughout your research.

Background/Literature Review: Create a concise summary of what has already known about this area of research and briefly discuss why the background research studies are not adequate. Include details from the book and class, discuss several critical studies that have already been accomplished in this area as you cite them based on APA style.

Significance and Value: Emphasize the importance  and value of your research project, especially the worthwhile benefits that it will provide for your intended audience and the public. 

Research Methodology and Design: Outline specific research methods, design and procedures that will be used in your proposed research project. Describe the types of manipulations or variations you will execute in order to test your hypothesis. Explain how you will present your research work.

Bibliography: List the articles or books that you have cited in your research proposal by alphabetical order based on the last name of the author. Ask your mentor on what specific style to use.

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