How to write Academic Research Proposal

In this post I will be explaining how to write academic research proposal in simple words. In most of the acadimic institution student have to perform research in his final year or semester to complete his /her degree in the particular academic field. For doing some research student may not have sufficient balance to carry out research. Student should submit a nice proposal for conducting research in his/her topic from someone else support. However, the proposal to be submitted to different organization varies depends on the format of proposal the organization willing to accept. Here, I will be discussing most general and mostly acceptable proposal. This is very general and for those who don't have idea how to write Academic Research Proposal before.
How to write Academic Research Proposal -- Proposal

Academic Research Proposal is your first step in producing a thesis of your research or your project.Before you start writing an Academic Research Proposal you have to

  • Declare your topic on which you like do research on. 
  • Do literature review from the latest journal and topic related to that topic.  

After doing this you are now ready to prepare your academic research. Here in this article I particularly focused on research proposal submitted in your academic institution. There are various kind of proposal type. The format may vary depending on your institution. The proposal should address the project. Proposal intent to convienced academic committee to get approval to proceed to actual research. Here, the general proposal format mention below in step wise.

Steps of Research Proposal

How to write Academic Research Proposal -- simple steps in proposal
General Steps in Research Proposal

  1. Title : It should be short and Catchy. 
  2. Abstract : It should be about 300 words (may vary). It should include background, research problem, overall objective, Methodology, Independent variables, Data, data collection, Data analysis, Impact, Expected Output, etc. in summary. The abstract alone should able to give a clear idea about the research.
  3. Introduction : About 1 & 1/2 page used for introducing main subject area and setting the research problem. A typical way of starting :
    1. Introduce and document the existence of the overall subject area, then
    2. The particular niche, and 
    3. Possibley the geographical focus area.
    4. Apply funnel - like approach: going from the overall to the specific. The research problem can be introduced in the background section following the description of the niche, where the knowledge gap is emphasized. Most of statement are normally supported by reference - existing studies (evidence).
  4. Problem (analysis and) statement (1 and 1/2 page) : Justification (knowledge gap) should also be included in problem statement. A scientific problem must be of relevance to others than researcher and scientific community.
  5. Objectives (1/2 page) : On the basis of problem analysis/literature review objectives are identified. It should be clear whether the objectives is relevant and justified. The overall objective should be something that the study will contribute towards but not solve/finish. It should not be the compilation of the specific objectives.
  6. Literature Review ( 3 page ) : It should introduced knowledge gap and variables that are relevant to your research. It try to keep the track of the literature searched along the way you can use for your research. Literature review could also add to the justification of choice of subject mentioned in background section. Recent literature that critically synthesises knowledege within subject need to be considers in literature review. Relevant literature should be identify through systematic literature search. The literature must be critically read, approach and conclusion must be evaluated. Literature are presented in an argument logically leading to the objectives.
  7. Limitations (brief) : Although the specific objective may be quite narrow and may required more data collection and analysis than possible for a thesis. Thus, to demonstrate a good overview of general subject area it should be specified what aspect will not be addressed and how this will limit the conclusions. 
  8. Research Methods ( 3 page) : It should include: Study Area, Sampling design, variables, data collection method and data analysis.
  9. Expected Outcome (brief) : Specified which parameter would be analysed and specify what kind of output is expected from your research. Specifying the expected output ihelp to test the coheraence of the research design. How conclusion are made baded on the data collected with reagard to the research objectives.
  10. References : Reference list is provided so that the reader should able to find the reference used. Full reference should be written in reference list. Scientific referencing system should be used and that should be consistent. All the reference in the text should be in the list of reference and vice versa.
Appendix A : Time schedule (Implementation plan): Clearly shows what would be done when. The implementation should be realistic in given time and money available.

Appendix B : Research Matrix : A visual representation of the research matrix help to ensure coherence and smooth movement toward achieving the research objectives. Formats may vary with the specifics of the research project.

Appendix C : List of Data Collection Instrumants : For a good research proposal translated into good results when prepared throughly data collection. For measurements and observations this means preparation of data entry form, while for surveys and interviews questionaires and interview guidea are necessary. This includes a list of required data collection instruments only, not the instruments themselves in detail.

Appendix D : Budget (if relevant): It may be relevant to include a budget with the heading such as for example: transport, permits, local assistants, accommodation, stationary, meeting expenses (covering what you might serve participants in group meeting etc.). that would figure out estimated cost to carry out the research. This would help to fund to the researcher by an institution to carry out the research.


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Hi everyone, I am Amrit Devkota. Studying B.Sc. Forestry at IOF, Pokhara Campus. Complete +2 from SOS Hermann Gmeiner Higher Secondary School. I am interested in writing and helping other people through writing. I love natural monuments. Promise to conserve them. I believe in Truth and Hard Working. Simple Living High Thinking.

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