Best Research Proposal Format 2024

Best Research Proposal Format 2024

Research Proposal Format

A research proposal is a document that presents as well as justifies the need to investigate a particular research problem. This is usually a formal document that describes the plan of your research and its importance. Also, the research proposal shows the processes on how you are going to conduct your research. There are different research problems and areas of study, but writing the research proposal remains the same for all the topics. In this article, I will assist you understand how to handle the different steps of your proposal. The following is a list of the steps necessary to complete a research proposal;

  • The title page
  • Background information/introduction
  • Conducting literature review
  • Research methods
  • Conclusion
  • Reference list

The above sections may vary on the way they are named or divided, but the paper’s objective is always the same. This article will give a complete description of what is required in each section.

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Before I start explaining the above steps, it is good to understand the purpose of the study. This is where you let your reader know why you need to write a research proposal. The primary purpose of a research proposal is to connect your reader to the value of your project. As the researcher, you’re required to prove that you will have a successful research project. This is to ensure that the reader is fully convinced that your research is profound and critical for science. A research proposal must;

  • Show relevance
  • Be within the context
  • Be approachable
  • Be feasible

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Title Page

Your research proposal cover page or title page should have the following element

  • The proposed topic
  • Name of the researcher
  • Name of the institution
  • Name of the instructor
  • Date

Also, regarding the title page, there are many format variations according to various institutions’ departments.

Is an Abstract and a table of contents a must?

Whether to include an abstract and table of contents will be dependent on the length of your research proposal. If your submission is long, you might consider including an abstract and table of contents to help your reader to navigate different pages easily.


Just like in any other paper, an introduction should form the very first part of your proposal. An effective introduction gives an overview of the background information of your proposal. In the introduction section, you allow your reader to capture what is expected of your research projects. In other words, it is the specific focus of your research proposal. A research proposal introduction should;

  • Set the context of your research
  • Demonstrate how your project will contribute to the existing knowledge
  • Include hypothesis that prompted the development of research design

The hypothesis testing is subject to;

  • The central research problem
  • Study topic related to that problem
  • Methods of that research problem
  • The significance of your research.

Literature Review

A literature review allows you to show that you are familiar with previous research by other researchers on the same research topic. As a researcher, you are supposed to place your research within the existing knowledge in this section. There are two key things you must show in this section;

  • You must show how you contribute to the research topic by showing how your research will provide solutions to the gaps you have identified.
  • You must show that you’re familiar with the scholarly context of your research.

Research Methods

This is the section that provides comprehensive details of how you will conduct your research project. This section is divided into two parts.

  1. The study design – These are the methods you’re planning to use.
  2. Your work plan – These are the necessary activities that you will undertake in your research.

Here, all the necessary information and data must be provided. This is done to help another researcher who might want to replicate your research. The methods section is subject to;

  • Whether your study is quantitative or qualitative
  • Your study design
  • Methods used for data collection
  • Study participants
  • procedures involved
  • The research time frame.


A conclusion is paramount in any paper. In the conclusion section of your research paper, you remind your reader that your paper is of significant impact and strength. Basically, it is a summary of the main points of your proposal from the Introduction. A conclusion usually include;

  • Restating the research topic
  • A Summary of the main points
  • Concluding with your thoughts regarding the research topic.


  • Your proposal must have a list of all the sources used and properly cited in the text.
  • The purpose of the reference list is to show all the literature that supports your research project.

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