A research proposal may be requested for undergraduates as well as for Master and Ph.D. degrees. When the first category of students is just learning, the second two fall under some expectations on the quality of their dissertation. Also, when you seek sponsorship, the prior knowledge about writing study plans will increase your chances for a successful outcome.
Your goal is to defend your ideas in front of a committee of specialists. Based on the knowledge you present, professionals decide whether you hit the level of your degree and if you realize how to conduct your research properly. They want to hear useful suggestions that could perspectively benefit humans and the world around us.
Plus, a proposal saves everyone’s time. It’s much more frustrating to get refusal after toiling over a research paper for a year. When doing pre-research, you can be sure if your project finds support and if anyone needs it. The scheme is similar to a business plan: estimate the value of your concept and brainstorm the best ways to implement it in reality.
How to Write That Academic Paper Plan?
You’ll need to go through all the steps discussed below. Actually, it’s no more difficult than writing a research paper itself. Even easier, because you save time on findings and analysis of results.
Show those who will read your writing that you can talk about complex matters and weigh difficult decisions. They must know you’re a reliable person that will lead the project to realization. Also, the jury wants to have business with manageable ideas. That means you must reckon how you will conduct the research and estimate the time the whole process will take.
Even when your proposal is denied, you can refine it and send it to review again. However, it takes precious time and decreases the confidence of your critics. So, better take the preparations with adequate care.
How Long Will It Take? How Long Will It Be?
Typically, the literature review and recording take from two to six months. It largely depends on the complexity of a paper, i. e. how many issues you must work on and how well a field is explored by a scientific community. If you’re reading this a month before the deadline, you have no choice but grasp your schedule in a steel fist and strongly believe you can do it.
The document’s length is also not formalized. It usually circulates around 3,000 words, or 7 pages, give or take. Don’t be scarce of words, as if everyone has had the same thoughts as you, but keep distance from useless wordy branches of the main track. The size may be stated in your assignment, somewhere on the college website, or learned from your instructor directly. Don’t hesitate to ask them when you feel disoriented.
Where to Find an Interesting Topic?
Firstly, collect the information about the subject of your interest. Start from a broader issue, and then investigate its relevant questions, gaps, hypotheses, and other uncertainties waiting for research. Use scientific journals and trusted web platforms with recent news on studies. Keep noting curious events and phenomenons, tracking the development of an issue, and retrieving new keywords. Then, highlight questions of your highest interest, and see the specifics of their analysis in primary sources.
While reading, you may get insights with various intensities, such as agreement or disagreement, first thoughts, critique, and arguments inspired by the written text. Note down your feelings and opinions on a separate sheet, as they will route you and provide narrowed keywords.
In fact, you rehearse your literature review, but instead of qualifying sources, you focus on your inner response to the kind of techniques, experiments, and investigation required. Most importantly, estimate your level of knowledge in a certain field and the potential it hides within. Think about the issue you’re ready to mess with for a year straight, approve it with your teacher, and start working!
What about Structure of Research Proposal?
A research proposal shares some content with a research paper with several significant deviations. First, your work with sources is limited to literature review. You need a background, and all you can do is theorize about your hypothesis because you can’t provide facts yet.
Your purpose is answering four main questions: What will your research be about? Which information will you rely upon? How will you organize your workflow? And where your findings may meet their use?
If your proposal is solicited, understand the instructions carefully. Highlight imperative features your paper must present on audition. And be in touch with your professor and librarian in case something perplexes you.
If you write on your own will, pull out class notes with paragraphs mentioning a research proposal. Browse your college site, since it must have formatting rules for basic documents. And, of course, consult with professionals in your field because you would want to secure your project from imprudent errors.
The next step, outlining, implies that you have already settled the subject of development and reviewed enough sources to depict its state of affairs. You sure want to contribute to the evolution of the question chosen, and you have some ideas on performance.
To persuade judges, you must believe in your project. And even when odds are not in your favor, you still have a chance to improve and return. Or cooperate with other professionals that can help you to publish.
The title must contain the thesis of your future research. It must be clear enough, so readers will understand the track of your conversation from this first sentence. The quality of the thesis shows your confidence and willingness to give precise answers. An instant bonus to your overall score.
When analyzing references, take a look at their names. You will notice they contain main keywords to make the search simpler: the object of study; the personality, location, item, or event that’s linked directly to your object; the method and purpose.
In the first section, state:
- what you’re going to research,
- what motivated you to go deeper into the topic, and
- what your efforts are going to generate.
That’s exactly what you normally say when writing an academic paper.
The intro is intended to encourage readers to proceed with reading. Of course, it’s not an advertisement, and instructors shouldn’t jump from burning desire to start your campaign as fast as possible (though it would be an excellent outcome). In reality, your research must be motivated, controlled, and anticipated. As the introduction is a scope of your knowledge and ideas described in the paper, you might want to write it after everything’s done.
Note also that research paper plans usually don’t have abstracts and summaries. Your introduction must provide the maximum of information, so the reader understands the purpose of the talk.
Here, you will address particular questions to solve in your paper. Think about knowledge your field lacks for a comprehensive picture and what troubles it causes or limits casts. In the next section, you will set up your project to address these issues.
In other words, problems are your motivation. Let the judges see them through the prism of your mind: as opportunities for growth, consequences of outdated theories, indicators of hidden processes escaping our frame of vision. It requires a good analysis of trends from old to modern times.
But limit your field of investigation to a specific area. You can’t cover all gaps with a single paper, even when you’re desperate to do so.
Imagine your project is done, shining, and is taken into account by your target audience. Which changes will your findings run? Will it clear a road for brand new discoveries? Will it ease the life of particular workers? Will it fix ecological, ethical, or healthcare breaches? Strive to address even the smallest benefits of your work.
They must be unique and valuable. For instance, you will contribute nothing by summarizing the history of research or repeating someone’s experiment using the same algorithm. Don’t be afraid of unknown, untouched areas. Don’t be afraid to go against the current and criticize doubtful opinions. Because your voice is the key to truth and original content.
Focus more on the practical use of your findings. For example, it could increase the speed and quality of manufacturing, introduce an innovative product to the market, discover properties of cells and organisms, or deduce a new economical theory. Commercial, informative, constructive—a valuable paper is fuel for a scientific machine and the source of someone’s inspiration.
It’s the usual analysis of existing studies to show evolutionary tendencies and quality of research. You may have written it for your previous papers.
You must draw connection lines between studies in the elaborative cluster of knowledge. Compare theories, polarize and unite the main arguments you’ve collected, and objectively converse with each prominent founder about the strengths and weaknesses of their methodology. At the same time, notice efficient tactics to use in your research.
By defining your allies and opponents, you place your project among the works of other scientists. With this symbolic act, you limit the research and translate the courage to work in one particular direction.
Juries are curious to hear how you’re planning to prove your hypotheses. Give special attention to this chapter because if you screw it up, your previous achievements won’t make any sense.
Where are you going in the search for evidence? Aside from journals and studies, you can request historical documents in an archive, interview specialists, attend a gallery or museum, conduct a survey, cooperate with a laboratory for analysis, etc. Define how you want to estimate the quality of sources. Along with that, count the flaws of your methods and think if you can soften them.
Ease your job by taking good and poor examples from the literature review. Develop your own strategy on the basis of other scientists’ experience.
Estimate how long the whole project and each milestone will last. Gather a team if your work is too complex to handle it alone. Put an effort into describing your methodology because it’s your best chance to prove that you’re serious about the task.
Summarize the most important points a reader should take a closer look to:
- questions you’re going to develop,
- theories you accept and want to prove,
- terms and methods of research, and
- the contribution you hope to make.
You should keep it succinct and avoid mentioning information that’s not available in your proposal.
Write down all sources you’ve used while investigating your issue. Thus, you message professors that you didn’t copy-paste someone’s work and the research has your authorship.
You must operate references as tools for developing your point of view. The axis of your plan is you and your study in the making.
Advice in Conclusion
Remember four principles of a research proposal:
- determine what you want to research,
- why you have stopped on this topic,
- how you’re going to fulfill your aspirations, and
- which outcome you’re striving to achieve.
It’s great when you’re filled with confidence when rereading your plan, it means you’ll have more chances to receive good feedback. If you’re hesitating, then you must reconsider some confusing points. After all, playing pretend to make an impression is a losing strategy in a long-term perspective
Assume people don’t know any of the details you’re including in the proposal. It will secure you from cutting your thoughts, which could lead to ill misinterpretation and an unjust denial.
As usual, check grammar and consistency and apply the best fitting format. Make sure you mentioned everything you planned and that you stayed on track. Your paper may contain inconsistencies you’re too tired to spot, so give the paper to your friend or field specialist for a preliminary check.
Before you start working on this document, analyze samples with or without explanations, just to understand what your plan should look like.
The research proposal makes things easier for both the scientist and reviewer. The author fully prepares for long months of research and stays completely sure his work is anticipated by the community. On the other hand, sponsors and instructors have an opportunity to give good advice to students, estimate their potential, and encourage investigation of the most important issues of the field.