Methods To Write A Convincing Research Proposal

Written By: Elaine Vanessa

Posted on: November 13, 2019

The need for studying a research problem can be justified as the ultimate goal of a proposal that has to be presented in practical ways in which a proposed study has to be conducted. The study design, elements, and procedures for conducting research are facilitated and governed by standards within a pre-dominant discipline in which the problem has to be solved. Also, the proposed guidelines have to be less formal and more exacting than the usual project proposal.

Research Proposal

Research Proposal

Since research proposals contain extensive literature reviews, they must include persuasive evidence of needs to conduct the proposed research. Additionally, a research proposal must provide a detailed methodology with a rationale to conduct research in consistence with requirements of academics and professionalism. Hence, the study should drive an anticipated statement, benefits, and outcomes derived from the completion of the research.

How to Approach Writing a Research Proposal?

The need to submit a research proposal may come into existence for the following reasons:

  • Develop skills in organizing and structuring a comprehensive research study
  • Learning how to conduct an extensive literature review to make sure a problem get an updated solution that has not been addressed yet
  • Improving general writing and research skill
  • Assure critical review and analysis while considering the use of a variety of available methods for gathering and compiling data related to a proposed research
  • Practicing identification methods with logical steps that have to be taken to achieve research goals
  • Nurturing a sense of curiosity with an active participation for a scholarly study

Hence, a proposed study should contain all the critical elements involved in designing and conducting successful with sufficient data. This allows readers to assess the authenticity and usefulness of a proposal. Moreover, the only missing component must be the critical findings of the analysis for concluding results. That is why an active research proposal is judged on the basis of the quality of writing, and it is essential for a writer to be clear, compelling, and coherent.
In addition to the problem, research will address by investigating with the proposed methodology, and an ideal research proposal must answer the three questions below to enhance the chances to convince the board:

1) Why do you want to conduct the research?

The literature review must provide convincing evidence that the topic of study is worthy; hence, you need to answer “SO WHAT?”

2) What are you planning to accomplish with the research?

Try to be as clear and succinct in elaborating on the issue and the outcomes you are expecting to achieve after conducting the research.

3) How will you be going to conduct the study?

Make sure your research proposal is doable. Be concise and to the point in discussing research steps and formatting the problem to propose investigation.

Structure and Writing Style


In the world of high education, a research proposal is often written by a scholar seeking funding or grants for conducting a research project. The first step to get approval is to write a perfect dissertation. This serves as an initial pitch of your idea to establish the significance of a research problem. After reading your introduction, your readers will have an understanding of what you want to do, along with a sense of your passion for the topic and excitation regarding possible outcomes.
An ideal introduction should address the following five questions:

  • What is the problem to be researched?
  • How is the topic of research related to the problem?
  • What methods will be used to analyze the problem and get outcomes?
  • What is the significance of the research?
  • Why should someone bother to read the proposal and care about the outcomes of the study?

Background & Significance

Background and significance can be melded into the introduction, or it can be written under a separate section. Here you can elaborate on the context for the importance of the proposal. There are no hard and fast rules, still; a writer should attempt to address the below points:

  • Clearly, state the problem with a detailed explanation regarding the purpose of the study as it is an integral element for multifaceted and complex topics.
  • Present the rationale and worth of doing the study.
  • Describe significant issues to be addressed and the way your study builds on previous assumptions.
  • Identify key sources to be used and demonstrate their contribution to your topic analysis.
  • Set boundaries to provide the reader with a clear focus.
  • Elaborate on what will be included and what will be excluded in your research.
  • Provide a proposal with definitions of critical terms and concepts.

Literature Review

Since the literature review is highly dense with previous data and findings, it is essential to structure the section smartly to grasp the argument. Try to convince your reader here that your work is innovative. Also, don’t be afraid to challenge the conclusions of previous studies. Instead of describing groups systemically, an ideal strategy is to break the section into conceptual categories. In doing so, you should have confidence that every significant conceptual category has been identified, and if you see repetition, the recommendations are being made.
To craft an ideal literature review for your proposal, below are the five C’s to follow:

  • Cite: citations help you to focus on literature relevant to your problem.
  • Compare: comparing theories, arguments, methodologies, and findings to add authenticity to your statement.
  • Contrast: after comparison, contrast various arguments, methodologies, themes, controversies, and approaches express with significant disagreements and debates.
  • Critique: explain which arguments are more persuasive with reasoning. Elaborate on those findings that seem to be more valid and reliable. Pay attention assets, argues, and demonstrations.
  • Connect: make a bridge between literature and your investigation. Differentiate your work with the addition of a new perspective that has not been said and done before.

Research Design and Methods

This is the most critical section of an entire proposal, and it has to be logically organized and well written. It will help to convince decision-makers that you have confidence in your approach, and the work is worth pursuing. Don’t make your readers think that if the overall research design will provide the correct analysis of the problem and will interpret possible results effectively. Define every technique and methodology you will follow. Include road maps and charts to define the process smoothly. While describing research design and methods, you should cover the following points:

  • Specify operations that you will undertake and your ways of interpreting results. Correlate these operations with the research problem.
  • Along with the description of your intention to achieve outcomes by applying decided methods, add every statement which can impact your hypothesis.
  • Don’t take methodology just a list of tasks and a process chart to follow, make it a strong argument of how and why those tasks can add up the best way to investigate the problem.
  • Anticipate and acknowledge potential pitfalls and barriers to your research.
  • Explain and design how you are going to address them. Remember, no method is perfect; hence, you need to get prepared for any existing or possible challenge in collecting information or accessing data.

Preliminary Suppositions and Implications

The purpose of this section is to elaborate on how your research is going to revise, refine, and extend existing knowledge in the topic under investigation. The style of writing of suppositions and implications solely depends upon the aims and objectives of your study. It is essential to elaborate on the anticipated results and its impacts on future theories, scholarly academics, practices, policy-making, and forms of interventions. Such discussions are either theoretical to make a new understanding, substantive to create a new policy or methodological to develop a new way of analysis for significance. Make sure your writing section address the questions below:

  • What suggestions could arise from the outcomes of the research?
  • What might the results mean for a theoretical framework of study?
  • What do the results mean to practitioners in their field of work as practical implementation?
  • How will the outcomes influence the methods, programs, and forms of interventions?
  • How will the results influence policies and decisions on a small and large scale?
  • How will the outcomes of the study contribute as a solution to economic, social, or other types of issues?
  • How is the study going to benefit individuals, the community, or society?
  • What will be improved or modified after the research?
  • How the results will be implemented and what innovations will come out?


The discussion of your proposal reiterates the significance and importance of your research proposal and provides a summary of your entire project. The section should not be extended and limited to one or two paragraphs. It emphasizes the worth of investigation and elaborates on the uniqueness of how the study will advance the existing knowledge. The section should need to have an understanding of the following:

  • Why did the research need to be done?
  • The specific purpose of research questions that a proposal attempts to answer?
  • Potential implications emerging from the proposal?
  • The reasoning of chosen design and methodology over other available options?
  • A sense of providing a broader scholarship about the proposed study?


Just like other academic papers, the writer has to cite every source used twice. As a standard proposal, citations can be presented in the below two forms depending upon the preference:

  • References:

It includes lists of literature that have been used or cited in a research proposal.

  • Bibliography:

It includes listing everything, including literature, papers, articles, news, with additional citations of every key resource relevant to have a better understanding of the study.
Therefore, the entire section has to testify the fact that you have done enough homework to make sure the research will not duplicate but complement the efforts of other researchers. In the end of the proposal, include a page of References or Bibliography centered as the top heading. Citations must be written by following a standard format recommended by the discipline of the proposed course. For example, APA style can be used for education, and Chicago style is preferred for Historical papers. Lastly, the section is not counted towards page length or word count of the proposal, so the inclusion should be taken care of.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Research Proposal Writing

  • Not developing a persuasive and coherent argument for the proposed study.
  • Not being concise with writing and rotating all over the map without a clear and a focused sense of purpose.
  • Failure to include citation of landmark words in the literature review.
  • Writing with poor grammar, sloppy or imprecise structuring of sentences, errors in punctuations, or including lots of passive voice.
  • Including excessive details on minor issues and not highlighting and dedicating deserved importance to significant problems.
  • Not delimiting the contextual boundaries of the proposal, including; place, time, number of subjects, and other demographics.
  • Not staying focused on the evaluated issue and going off track on unrelated tangents.


Hence, the above sections are mandatory in every method of writing a convincing research proposal. Although specifications are dependable; however, the tone is almost the same for every pitch to get the approvals. Good luck!