Research proposal

How Does Research Proposal Look Like

What Does a Research Proposal Look Like?

Writing a research proposal is easy as long as you understand the following:

  • Why you want to focus on that particular section
  • Why the topic matters and to whom
  • Produce a well-written paper that showcases you intend to add knowledge to that discipline.

The structure to use when writing a proposal often determines whether the information has logic and is organized. So, students who are wondering how does a research proposal look like should use this post to get accurate answers.

Proposal structure

There are crucial elements that must be in a research proposal. Let's consider each section in detail.

Pick a topic

The proposal topic is going to determine your focus area and which scholarly sources to support your argument. So go for a topic that is not too wide or narrow and cross-check that there is enough evidence to back up the case; otherwise, your proposal might be considered to have your opinions only, which increases its rejection rate.

Focusing on a specific topic also prevents you from being overwhelmed by numerous literature.


This is the title of your proposal and what you intend to talk about. Go for a simple topic and clearly. Keep it within a single sentence and avoid stating it in a question form.


It should be between 100-150 words. It should state the question or central idea that you plan to address and why it matters. Keep the abstract interesting as often the instructor might use the section to judge your whole proposal.

Introductory Section

Explain why the topic is important and worth researching, which specific audience stands to gain from the research. To make the proposal engaging, add a hook, and structure it in such a way that the information has flow.

Background Information

This section is also called a literature review whereby you discus what other authors have to say about be topic. Explain any gaps that you intend to cover.

The number of sources to review depends on your instructor. However, go for recent sources that are credible and within your field of study.

You will know a source is reliable if several people have cited it. The more people cite particular literature, the higher its credibility. Let the central issues you want to discuss guide you on which literature to review.

One of the reliable ways in which you can conduct research on the topic is by visiting the library. A librarian can point to which books or journals will support your argument and give it validity.


State the methods you will use to arrive at the answers for that particular question or hypothesis. Clearly state the methods be it qualitative, quantitative, or mixed.

Ethical consideration

Every proposal must showcase that the necessary ethical steps will be taken to ensure data is collected in an appropriate manner. In case data is collected from people, their privacy must be maintained and guaranteed through the research process.


Sources used to write a proposal have to be stated to avoid any plagiarism penalties. This also provided more information on where the reader can get more on the topic if they want to read further than what has been discussed in the literature review.

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