See How to Write a Good Research Proposal for International Scholarships and other Grants.
The ability to write a standard research proposal will determines the potential of candidates to be considered for international admission and scholarships. The way it is presented in relation to the applied programme is one of the major yardsticks to the fate of any applicant.
A good research proposal will serve as great working tool through which the institution will use to match the applicants’ admissions to the different postgraduate research programmes that they have applied for.
This is what most applicant find very difficult to organize on the course of their application for International admission and scholarships. This is because they have not understood the standard and simple procedures for writing good research proposals.
I have noticed the kind of worries and stresses that most applicants pass through I they try to put research proposal that will meet international standard together. That is the reason why I deemed it right to publish this article here for the benefit of the general public.
As you read this article, I am going to unveil to you the secret behind writing a good research proposal for any purpose, especially for you International admission and scholarships.
Are you a prospective postgraduate student who is seeking admission into universities in your country of origin or internationally recognised institutions? Have you tried it and you did not get positive outcome?
This could be probably because of your poor presentation of your research proposal. If you have any case related to this, you should be happy that you finally come to the website where all your questions shall be sorted out.
If you seriously in need of writing one and you are getting confused, make sure that you follow this hand on guides to meet the internal standard for writing a research proposal.
What Is A Research Proposal?
Research proposals are documents that provide detailed information on a proposed programme of research. They are written, for example, for the purposes of applying for a research degree or requesting funds for a postgraduate research project.
When writing a research proposal it is therefore important to consider the purpose of the proposal and the requirements of the application process, in addition to the contents and the structure of the proposal itself.
Importance of a Good Research Proposal
Often times, I have seen many persons asking questions like “What is a Research Proposal used for?”, “Why must I write a Research proposal before I would be offered a scholarship or grant?”
After reading this section of the article you would get correct answers to your different questions about the usefulness of Research Proposal.
The major importance of good research proposal include the following:
- It is used to establish whether there is expertise to support your proposed area of research
- It forms part of the assessment of your application
- The research proposal you submit as part of your application is just the starting point, as your ideas evolve your proposed research is likely to change
The principles of a good research proposal
For simplicity, this page will address the organisation to whom you are applying as the “funder”, be that a university, grant-funding body etc.
The exact requirements of research proposals will vary with the funder, but the underlying principles of a good research proposal are as follows:
- Be aware of your subject area – you will need to demonstrate up-to-date knowledge of your area of interest.
- If you are applying for a research degree you should try to identify prospective supervisors in advance. Don’t be afraid to discuss your ideas with them and seek their feedback – and be prepared to take their comments on board!
- Check the funder’s guidelines very carefully and make sure you address all their requirements. A common reason for applications being rejected is the failure of the proposal to meet the funder’s specifications.
If you are unclear about the guidelines don’t be afraid to contact the funder for clarification.
- Clarity in your writing is very important. If you are applying to an external funding agency, for example, reviewers may not be experts in your field of research.
Structure of a Research Proposal
The content of a good research proposal is of paramount importance, but the structure and presentation are important factors in making your proposal accessible to reviewers.
You should carefully follow the funder’s suggested guidelines for structuring your proposal. If you are not given much structural guidance you should consider including the following sections in your proposal:
- Title and abstract.
You title should be able to provide a clear indication of your proposed research approach.
- Introduction (background information) and literature review. Demonstrate that your research will make a worthy contribution to an existing body of literature, and that it has not been done before.
Research proposals are often of limited length so only choose key research articles in your field. You should grab the reader’s attention by keeping your writing succinct and relevant.
- Statement of hypotheses and/or research questions. What key areas of research will your proposal test (hypotheses) or address (research questions)?
- Aim and objectives.
These must be justified. Consider the requirements of your funding body – are you meeting these and not just addressing your own intellectual curiosity? The funder’s website usually provides the criteria against which your proposal will be judged.
You should justify the methodology you intend to use, and if space permits you could explain what alternatives you disregarded (this demonstrates that you have considered alternative approaches).
You need to explain why the methodology you have chosen is the most appropriate means of addressing your research questions.
- Plan of Work & Time Schedule
You should include an outline of the various stages and corresponding time lines for developing and implementing the research, including writing up your thesis.
For full-time study your research should be completed within three years, with writing up completed in the fourth year of registration.
For part-time study your research should be completed within six years, with writing up completed by the eighth year.
You should include:
- a list of references to key articles and texts discussed within your research proposal
- a selection of sources appropriate to the proposed research
- Ethical considerations.
Many funders will explicitly ask you to consider the ethical implications of your research; if not then you should still demonstrate that you have considered them (particularly if your research involves people or animals).
- Resources required.
This section is particularly important if you have been asked to quantify any potential expenditure.
- Proposals for the dissemination of research findings and expected outputs (e.g. journal articles). Be aware of your funder’s requirements for how any research outputs should be disseminated.
If appropriate (check the guidelines) a summary could be included – it is not unusual, for example, for a funder to ask for a summary of the proposal addressed to a lay audience.
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How Long Should A Research Proposal Be?
A good research proposal should have word count of 2,000–3,500 (that is about 4-7 pages) long.
Writing Style For A Research Proposal
A research proposal is a piece of academic writing, and as such you should follow the guidelines for academic writing style found elsewhere on this site. In particular you should:
- Be clear and objective in your writing style.
- Avoid ambiguity.
- Structure your text using headings and subheadings (if allowed – check the guidelines).
- Use smaller paragraphs and write in short sentences – avoid long blocks of text.
- Use images, tables etc. if appropriate, relevant, and if allowed by the funding body. This helps break up the text.
How to Write A Good Research Proposal
Research proposals, like all other kinds of academic writing, are written in a formal, objective tone. Keep in mind that being concise is a key component of academic writing; formal does not mean flowery.
Adhere to the structure outlined above. Your reader knows how a research proposal is supposed to read and expects it to fit this template. It’s crucial that you present your research proposal in a clear, logical way.
Every question the reader has while reading your proposal should be answered by the final section.
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