Dissertation Research Proposal Writing Guide

Research proposals are a very important document that will help you to build your candidature. It is a summary of your research project.

A research proposal is typically written as part your dissertation or research paper. It can be submitted separately or before your dissertation. Here are some reasons why you need to know how to write research proposals.

Why is a research proposal important?

Your success in academia and the outside world depends on your research proposal. Why? Well, it may be necessary to include it in your grant application.

It is important to learn how to create a grant proposal for research grants. There will be fierce competition from students working towards the same goal as you. The sooner you learn how to write a research proposal, then the better your chances of succeeding. A good research proposal should:

  • Show how the proposed project will result in a significant wealth of knowledge once implemented.
  • Be inclusive of a plan which includes the methodological and theoretical framework you will use to implement it.
  • Convince the stakeholders the research will be completed within the required timeframe as well as using the available resources.
  • Prove that you have adequate knowledge and experience on the project.

How to write a proposal for a research paper

Let’s now discuss the essence of a research proposal. No matter if you’re applying for a PhD or Master’s program, your proposal should follow these guidelines:

Title Page

Your research proposal, just like your dissertation should, have a concise and clear title that describes your project. Your name, your supervisor’s name, and your institution or department should be included on the title page. You can always modify the title of your proposed research after you have been accepted.


An abstract is a brief description of your project. This is an essential part of your proposal. It gives your audience a brief overview of the project. Your audience will decide if this project is right for them. If they like the idea, they will review the method and the time period to determine if it is feasible to achieve the goals.

The abstract, in other words is your first chance to show the feasibility of your project. You must ensure that your abstract is well-written. Here are some tips for writing an abstract for your research proposal.

  • Briefly include a statement of your intended research or research question in no more than 100 words.
  • Briefly outline how your research is related and will benefit the department you are applying to.
  • Summarize the academic, social, cultural as well as political significance of your project.

You are required to give all the above information in 300 words. For a winning abstract, you should be as concise as possible.


The introduction to a research proposal provides context for the problem being considered. The introduction should provide a brief overview of your research process and summarise the current knowledge about the topic. The introduction should convey the importance of the project in a succinct manner. Ensure that you:

  • State the purpose of the study
  • Prove the significance of your research
  • Describe the main as well as sub-issues addressed by your research
  • Point out the key independent as well as the dependent variables
  • State your hypotheses
  • Define key concepts

Literature Review

Sometimes, you might be permitted to combine the literature review and the introduction. Writing it in a separate section will allow you to critically review all of the literature. Make sure you’re well-organized and cite relevant papers to write a great review. Avoid being redundant or repetitive and don’t rely too heavily on secondary sources.


This section explains to the committee how you intend to approach the problem of the research proposal. This section is where you can demonstrate your expertise by presenting both the main and alternative solutions to the problem.


You may not have any results at this stage. Proving your expertise is key to writing a compelling research project proposal. Show that you know what data you will collect after the project is completed. Include the discussion after the results section.

Create a research paper outline

Although the outline of a research paper may seem daunting, it can be a great help. You should already be familiar with the parts of a proposal so it shouldn’t be too difficult to write. The format will remain the same, but the draft will differ. A great outline is the recipe for a great project because it:

  • Allows you to categorize the main points appropriately
  • Make sure you can maximize each idea, so it is fully developed
  • Organize the paragraphs in a way that they flow into each other well as soon as you start writing

The outline is a guideline that helps you avoid getting stuck when you begin writing. The outline is like a map, guiding you to the right place for each point.

Research proposals are a crucial part of your candidature. Even if you haven’t been given one, it is important to learn how to create one. It is essential to understand what a research proposition is, how it works, and what each part does.

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