Easy guidelines on how to write a proposal for a research paper


Research paper proposals can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. Many students over think the process and they experience anxiety over whether or not their proposal will be accepted. There’s no reason to let the process of writing a research paper proposal become such a major stressor, however. By understanding the different elements that make up the proposal and taking it one step at a time, students can easily write a high quality research proposal that is sure to be accepted the first time it is presented.

The Eight Parts of a Research Paper Proposal

  1. Introduction
  2. The introduction of the research paper proposal should be the student’s “pitch” for their research idea. There are some basic questions the introduction should answer:

    • What is the central idea of the research being proposed?
    • Why is the research important?
    • By what methods can it be accomplished?
    • Why are the outcomes important
  3. Background
  4. Here, the student will go more in depth into the background of the topic with a clear statement of the research problem and the purpose of the study. More information should be included about the problem and why it requires further research.

  5. Literature Review
  6. The student should read up on classic and current research papers about the issue and detail their findings here. For best results, the student should be able to clearly identify how these papers affect the need for further research in their specific topic.

  7. Research Methods and Design
  8. Here, the student will describe how they plan to research the topic. If they are doing original research, they will include the experimental design. If they are researching via primary or secondary sources, they should include how they will access these sources and how they will collect data and come to conclusions.

  9. Suppositions and Implications
  10. This is an in depth look at the implications of the research and the potential results the student expects to get while conducting the research. They should discuss what different possible results could imply about the topic.

  11. Conclusion
  12. Reiterate the importance of the research being proposed and restate the research problem. Give a summary of the entire study being proposed and the reasons the student has chosen the topic for their research paper proposal.

  13. Citations
  14. The student should include a list of citations, including the texts used in the literature review.