Reference management. Clean and simple.

How to write a research proposal

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

What is a research proposal?

What is the purpose of a research proposal , how long should a research proposal be, what should be included in a research proposal, 1. the title page, 2. introduction, 3. literature review, 4. research design, 5. implications, 6. reference list, frequently asked questions about writing a research proposal, related articles.

If you’re in higher education, the term “research proposal” is something you’re likely to be familiar with. But what is it, exactly? You’ll normally come across the need to prepare a research proposal when you’re looking to secure Ph.D. funding.

When you’re trying to find someone to fund your Ph.D. research, a research proposal is essentially your “pitch.”

A research proposal is a concise and coherent summary of your proposed research.

You’ll need to set out the issues that are central to the topic area and how you intend to address them with your research. To do this, you’ll need to give the following:

  • an outline of the general area of study within which your research falls
  • an overview of how much is currently known about the topic
  • a literature review that covers the recent scholarly debate or conversation around the topic

➡️  What is a literature review? Learn more in our guide.

Essentially, you are trying to persuade your institution that you and your project are worth investing their time and money into.

It is the opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have the aptitude for this level of research by showing that you can articulate complex ideas:

It also helps you to find the right supervisor to oversee your research. When you’re writing your research proposal, you should always have this in the back of your mind.

This is the document that potential supervisors will use in determining the legitimacy of your research and, consequently, whether they will invest in you or not. It is therefore incredibly important that you spend some time on getting it right.

Tip: While there may not always be length requirements for research proposals, you should strive to cover everything you need to in a concise way.

If your research proposal is for a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it may only be a few pages long. For a Ph.D., a proposal could be a pretty long document that spans a few dozen pages.

➡️ Research proposals are similar to grant proposals. Learn how to write a grant proposal in our guide.

When you’re writing your proposal, keep in mind its purpose and why you’re writing it. It, therefore, needs to clearly explain the relevance of your research and its context with other discussions on the topic. You need to then explain what approach you will take and why it is feasible.

Generally, your structure should look something like this:

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Research Design
  • Implications

If you follow this structure, you’ll have a comprehensive and coherent proposal that looks and feels professional, without missing out on anything important. We’ll take a deep dive into each of these areas one by one next.

The title page might vary slightly per your area of study but, as a general point, your title page should contain the following:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • The name of your institution and your particular department

Tip: Keep in mind any departmental or institutional guidelines for a research proposal title page. Also, your supervisor may ask for specific details to be added to the page.

The introduction is crucial   to your research proposal as it is your first opportunity to hook the reader in. A good introduction section will introduce your project and its relevance to the field of study.

You’ll want to use this space to demonstrate that you have carefully thought about how to present your project as interesting, original, and important research. A good place to start is by introducing the context of your research problem.

Think about answering these questions:

  • What is it you want to research and why?
  • How does this research relate to the respective field?
  • How much is already known about this area?
  • Who might find this research interesting?
  • What are the key questions you aim to answer with your research?
  • What will the findings of this project add to the topic area?

Your introduction aims to set yourself off on a great footing and illustrate to the reader that you are an expert in your field and that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge and theory.

The literature review section answers the question who else is talking about your proposed research topic.

You want to demonstrate that your research will contribute to conversations around the topic and that it will sit happily amongst experts in the field.

➡️ Read more about how to write a literature review .

There are lots of ways you can find relevant information for your literature review, including:

  • Research relevant academic sources such as books and journals to find similar conversations around the topic.
  • Read through abstracts and bibliographies of your academic sources to look for relevance and further additional resources without delving too deep into articles that are possibly not relevant to you.
  • Watch out for heavily-cited works . This should help you to identify authoritative work that you need to read and document.
  • Look for any research gaps , trends and patterns, common themes, debates, and contradictions.
  • Consider any seminal studies on the topic area as it is likely anticipated that you will address these in your research proposal.

This is where you get down to the real meat of your research proposal. It should be a discussion about the overall approach you plan on taking, and the practical steps you’ll follow in answering the research questions you’ve posed.

So what should you discuss here? Some of the key things you will need to discuss at this point are:

  • What form will your research take? Is it qualitative/quantitative/mixed? Will your research be primary or secondary?
  • What sources will you use? Who or what will you be studying as part of your research.
  • Document your research method. How are you practically going to carry out your research? What tools will you need? What procedures will you use?
  • Any practicality issues you foresee. Do you think there will be any obstacles to your anticipated timescale? What resources will you require in carrying out your research?

Your research design should also discuss the potential implications of your research. For example, are you looking to confirm an existing theory or develop a new one?

If you intend to create a basis for further research, you should describe this here.

It is important to explain fully what you want the outcome of your research to look like and what you want to achieve by it. This will help those reading your research proposal to decide if it’s something the field  needs  and  wants,  and ultimately whether they will support you with it.

When you reach the end of your research proposal, you’ll have to compile a list of references for everything you’ve cited above. Ideally, you should keep track of everything from the beginning. Otherwise, this could be a mammoth and pretty laborious task to do.

Consider using a reference manager like Paperpile to format and organize your citations. Paperpile allows you to organize and save your citations for later use and cite them in thousands of citation styles directly in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or LaTeX.

Paperpile reference manager

Your project may also require you to have a timeline, depending on the budget you are requesting. If you need one, you should include it here and explain both the timeline and the budget you need, documenting what should be done at each stage of the research and how much of the budget this will use.

This is the final step, but not one to be missed. You should make sure that you edit and proofread your document so that you can be sure there are no mistakes.

A good idea is to have another person proofread the document for you so that you get a fresh pair of eyes on it. You can even have a professional proofreader do this for you.

This is an important document and you don’t want spelling or grammatical mistakes to get in the way of you and your reader.

➡️ Working on a research proposal for a thesis? Take a look at our guide on how to come up with a topic for your thesis .

A research proposal is a concise and coherent summary of your proposed research. Generally, your research proposal will have a title page, introduction, literature review section, a section about research design and explaining the implications of your research, and a reference list.

A good research proposal is concise and coherent. It has a clear purpose, clearly explains the relevance of your research and its context with other discussions on the topic. A good research proposal explains what approach you will take and why it is feasible.

You need a research proposal to persuade your institution that you and your project are worth investing their time and money into. It is your opportunity to demonstrate your aptitude for this level or research by showing that you can articulate complex ideas clearly, concisely, and critically.

A research proposal is essentially your "pitch" when you're trying to find someone to fund your PhD. It is a clear and concise summary of your proposed research. It gives an outline of the general area of study within which your research falls, it elaborates how much is currently known about the topic, and it highlights any recent debate or conversation around the topic by other academics.

The general answer is: as long as it needs to be to cover everything. The length of your research proposal depends on the requirements from the institution that you are applying to. Make sure to carefully read all the instructions given, and if this specific information is not provided, you can always ask.

How to give a good scientific presentation

We use essential cookies to make Venngage work. By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

Manage Cookies

Cookies and similar technologies collect certain information about how you’re using our website. Some of them are essential, and without them you wouldn’t be able to use Venngage. But others are optional, and you get to choose whether we use them or not.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are always on, as they’re essential for making Venngage work, and making it safe. Without these cookies, services you’ve asked for can’t be provided.

Show cookie providers

  • Google Login

Functionality Cookies

These cookies help us provide enhanced functionality and personalisation, and remember your settings. They may be set by us or by third party providers.

Performance Cookies

These cookies help us analyze how many people are using Venngage, where they come from and how they're using it. If you opt out of these cookies, we can’t get feedback to make Venngage better for you and all our users.

  • Google Analytics

Targeting Cookies

These cookies are set by our advertising partners to track your activity and show you relevant Venngage ads on other sites as you browse the internet.

  • Google Tag Manager
  • Infographics
  • Daily Infographics
  • Popular Templates
  • Accessibility
  • Graphic Design
  • Graphs and Charts
  • Data Visualization
  • Human Resources
  • Beginner Guides

Blog Business How to Write a Research Proposal: A Step-by-Step

How to Write a Research Proposal: A Step-by-Step

Written by: Danesh Ramuthi Nov 29, 2023

How to Write a Research Proposal

A research proposal is a structured outline for a planned study on a specific topic. It serves as a roadmap, guiding researchers through the process of converting their research idea into a feasible project. 

The aim of a research proposal is multifold: it articulates the research problem, establishes a theoretical framework, outlines the research methodology and highlights the potential significance of the study. Importantly, it’s a critical tool for scholars seeking grant funding or approval for their research projects.

Crafting a good research proposal requires not only understanding your research topic and methodological approaches but also the ability to present your ideas clearly and persuasively. Explore Venngage’s Proposal Maker and Research Proposals Templates to begin your journey in writing a compelling research proposal.

What to include in a research proposal?

In a research proposal, include a clear statement of your research question or problem, along with an explanation of its significance. This should be followed by a literature review that situates your proposed study within the context of existing research. 

Your proposal should also outline the research methodology, detailing how you plan to conduct your study, including data collection and analysis methods.

Additionally, include a theoretical framework that guides your research approach, a timeline or research schedule, and a budget if applicable. It’s important to also address the anticipated outcomes and potential implications of your study. A well-structured research proposal will clearly communicate your research objectives, methods and significance to the readers.

Light Blue Shape Semiotic Analysis Research Proposal

How to format a research proposal?

Formatting a research proposal involves adhering to a structured outline to ensure clarity and coherence. While specific requirements may vary, a standard research proposal typically includes the following elements:

  • Title Page: Must include the title of your research proposal, your name and affiliations. The title should be concise and descriptive of your proposed research.
  • Abstract: A brief summary of your proposal, usually not exceeding 250 words. It should highlight the research question, methodology and the potential impact of the study.
  • Introduction: Introduces your research question or problem, explains its significance, and states the objectives of your study.
  • Literature review: Here, you contextualize your research within existing scholarship, demonstrating your knowledge of the field and how your research will contribute to it.
  • Methodology: Outline your research methods, including how you will collect and analyze data. This section should be detailed enough to show the feasibility and thoughtfulness of your approach.
  • Timeline: Provide an estimated schedule for your research, breaking down the process into stages with a realistic timeline for each.
  • Budget (if applicable): If your research requires funding, include a detailed budget outlining expected cost.
  • References/Bibliography: List all sources referenced in your proposal in a consistent citation style.

Green And Orange Modern Research Proposal

How to write a research proposal in 11 steps?

Writing a research proposal template in structured steps ensures a comprehensive and coherent presentation of your research project. Let’s look at the explanation for each of the steps here:  

Step 1: Title and Abstract Step 2: Introduction Step 3: Research objectives Step 4: Literature review Step 5: Methodology Step 6: Timeline Step 7: Resources Step 8: Ethical considerations Step 9: Expected outcomes and significance Step 10: References Step 11: Appendices

Step 1: title and abstract.

Select a concise, descriptive title and write an abstract summarizing your research question, objectives, methodology and expected outcomes​​. The abstract should include your research question, the objectives you aim to achieve, the methodology you plan to employ and the anticipated outcomes. 

Step 2: Introduction

In this section, introduce the topic of your research, emphasizing its significance and relevance to the field. Articulate the research problem or question in clear terms and provide background context, which should include an overview of previous research in the field.

Step 3: Research objectives

Here, you’ll need to outline specific, clear and achievable objectives that align with your research problem. These objectives should be well-defined, focused and measurable, serving as the guiding pillars for your study. They help in establishing what you intend to accomplish through your research and provide a clear direction for your investigation.

Step 4: Literature review

In this part, conduct a thorough review of existing literature related to your research topic. This involves a detailed summary of key findings and major contributions from previous research. Identify existing gaps in the literature and articulate how your research aims to fill these gaps. The literature review not only shows your grasp of the subject matter but also how your research will contribute new insights or perspectives to the field.

Step 5: Methodology

Describe the design of your research and the methodologies you will employ. This should include detailed information on data collection methods, instruments to be used and analysis techniques. Justify the appropriateness of these methods for your research​​.

Step 6: Timeline

Construct a detailed timeline that maps out the major milestones and activities of your research project. Break the entire research process into smaller, manageable tasks and assign realistic time frames to each. This timeline should cover everything from the initial research phase to the final submission, including periods for data collection, analysis and report writing. 

It helps in ensuring your project stays on track and demonstrates to reviewers that you have a well-thought-out plan for completing your research efficiently.

Step 7: Resources

Identify all the resources that will be required for your research, such as specific databases, laboratory equipment, software or funding. Provide details on how these resources will be accessed or acquired. 

If your research requires funding, explain how it will be utilized effectively to support various aspects of the project. 

Step 8: Ethical considerations

Address any ethical issues that may arise during your research. This is particularly important for research involving human subjects. Describe the measures you will take to ensure ethical standards are maintained, such as obtaining informed consent, ensuring participant privacy, and adhering to data protection regulations. 

Here, in this section you should reassure reviewers that you are committed to conducting your research responsibly and ethically.

Step 9: Expected outcomes and significance

Articulate the expected outcomes or results of your research. Explain the potential impact and significance of these outcomes, whether in advancing academic knowledge, influencing policy or addressing specific societal or practical issues. 

Step 10: References

Compile a comprehensive list of all the references cited in your proposal. Adhere to a consistent citation style (like APA or MLA) throughout your document. The reference section not only gives credit to the original authors of your sourced information but also strengthens the credibility of your proposal.

Step 11: Appendices

Include additional supporting materials that are pertinent to your research proposal. This can be survey questionnaires, interview guides, detailed data analysis plans or any supplementary information that supports the main text. 

Appendices provide further depth to your proposal, showcasing the thoroughness of your preparation.

Beige And Dark Green Minimalist Research Proposal

Research proposal FAQs

1. how long should a research proposal be.

The length of a research proposal can vary depending on the requirements of the academic institution, funding body or specific guidelines provided. Generally, research proposals range from 500 to 1500 words or about one to a few pages long. It’s important to provide enough detail to clearly convey your research idea, objectives and methodology, while being concise. Always check

2. Why is the research plan pivotal to a research project?

The research plan is pivotal to a research project because it acts as a blueprint, guiding every phase of the study. It outlines the objectives, methodology, timeline and expected outcomes, providing a structured approach and ensuring that the research is systematically conducted. 

A well-crafted plan helps in identifying potential challenges, allocating resources efficiently and maintaining focus on the research goals. It is also essential for communicating the project’s feasibility and importance to stakeholders, such as funding bodies or academic supervisors.

Simple Minimalist White Research Proposal

Mastering how to write a research proposal is an essential skill for any scholar, whether in social and behavioral sciences, academic writing or any field requiring scholarly research. From this article, you have learned key components, from the literature review to the research design, helping you develop a persuasive and well-structured proposal.

Remember, a good research proposal not only highlights your proposed research and methodology but also demonstrates its relevance and potential impact.

For additional support, consider utilizing Venngage’s Proposal Maker and Research Proposals Templates , valuable tools in crafting a compelling proposal that stands out.

Whether it’s for grant funding, a research paper or a dissertation proposal, these resources can assist in transforming your research idea into a successful submission.

Discover popular designs

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Infographic maker

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Brochure maker

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

White paper online

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Newsletter creator

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Flyer maker

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Timeline maker

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Letterhead maker

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Mind map maker

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Ebook maker

  • Privacy Policy

Research Method

Home » How To Write A Proposal – Step By Step Guide [With Template]

How To Write A Proposal – Step By Step Guide [With Template]

Table of Contents

How To Write A Proposal

How To Write A Proposal

Writing a Proposal involves several key steps to effectively communicate your ideas and intentions to a target audience. Here’s a detailed breakdown of each step:

Identify the Purpose and Audience

  • Clearly define the purpose of your proposal: What problem are you addressing, what solution are you proposing, or what goal are you aiming to achieve?
  • Identify your target audience: Who will be reading your proposal? Consider their background, interests, and any specific requirements they may have.

Conduct Research

  • Gather relevant information: Conduct thorough research to support your proposal. This may involve studying existing literature, analyzing data, or conducting surveys/interviews to gather necessary facts and evidence.
  • Understand the context: Familiarize yourself with the current situation or problem you’re addressing. Identify any relevant trends, challenges, or opportunities that may impact your proposal.

Develop an Outline

  • Create a clear and logical structure: Divide your proposal into sections or headings that will guide your readers through the content.
  • Introduction: Provide a concise overview of the problem, its significance, and the proposed solution.
  • Background/Context: Offer relevant background information and context to help the readers understand the situation.
  • Objectives/Goals: Clearly state the objectives or goals of your proposal.
  • Methodology/Approach: Describe the approach or methodology you will use to address the problem.
  • Timeline/Schedule: Present a detailed timeline or schedule outlining the key milestones or activities.
  • Budget/Resources: Specify the financial and other resources required to implement your proposal.
  • Evaluation/Success Metrics: Explain how you will measure the success or effectiveness of your proposal.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main points and restate the benefits of your proposal.

Write the Proposal

  • Grab attention: Start with a compelling opening statement or a brief story that hooks the reader.
  • Clearly state the problem: Clearly define the problem or issue you are addressing and explain its significance.
  • Present your proposal: Introduce your proposed solution, project, or idea and explain why it is the best approach.
  • State the objectives/goals: Clearly articulate the specific objectives or goals your proposal aims to achieve.
  • Provide supporting information: Present evidence, data, or examples to support your claims and justify your proposal.
  • Explain the methodology: Describe in detail the approach, methods, or strategies you will use to implement your proposal.
  • Address potential concerns: Anticipate and address any potential objections or challenges the readers may have and provide counterarguments or mitigation strategies.
  • Recap the main points: Summarize the key points you’ve discussed in the proposal.
  • Reinforce the benefits: Emphasize the positive outcomes, benefits, or impact your proposal will have.
  • Call to action: Clearly state what action you want the readers to take, such as approving the proposal, providing funding, or collaborating with you.

Review and Revise

  • Proofread for clarity and coherence: Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
  • Ensure a logical flow: Read through your proposal to ensure the ideas are presented in a logical order and are easy to follow.
  • Revise and refine: Fine-tune your proposal to make it concise, persuasive, and compelling.

Add Supplementary Materials

  • Attach relevant documents: Include any supporting materials that strengthen your proposal, such as research findings, charts, graphs, or testimonials.
  • Appendices: Add any additional information that might be useful but not essential to the main body of the proposal.

Formatting and Presentation

  • Follow the guidelines: Adhere to any specific formatting guidelines provided by the organization or institution to which you are submitting the proposal.
  • Use a professional tone and language: Ensure that your proposal is written in a clear, concise, and professional manner.
  • Use headings and subheadings: Organize your proposal with clear headings and subheadings to improve readability.
  • Pay attention to design: Use appropriate fonts, font sizes, and formatting styles to make your proposal visually appealing.
  • Include a cover page: Create a cover page that includes the title of your proposal, your name or organization, the date, and any other required information.

Seek Feedback

  • Share your proposal with trusted colleagues or mentors and ask for their feedback. Consider their suggestions for improvement and incorporate them into your proposal if necessary.

Finalize and Submit

  • Make any final revisions based on the feedback received.
  • Ensure that all required sections, attachments, and documentation are included.
  • Double-check for any formatting, grammar, or spelling errors.
  • Submit your proposal within the designated deadline and according to the submission guidelines provided.

Proposal Format

The format of a proposal can vary depending on the specific requirements of the organization or institution you are submitting it to. However, here is a general proposal format that you can follow:

1. Title Page:

  • Include the title of your proposal, your name or organization’s name, the date, and any other relevant information specified by the guidelines.

2. Executive Summary:

  •  Provide a concise overview of your proposal, highlighting the key points and objectives.
  • Summarize the problem, proposed solution, and anticipated benefits.
  • Keep it brief and engaging, as this section is often read first and should capture the reader’s attention.

3. Introduction:

  • State the problem or issue you are addressing and its significance.
  • Provide background information to help the reader understand the context and importance of the problem.
  • Clearly state the purpose and objectives of your proposal.

4. Problem Statement:

  • Describe the problem in detail, highlighting its impact and consequences.
  • Use data, statistics, or examples to support your claims and demonstrate the need for a solution.

5. Proposed Solution or Project Description:

  • Explain your proposed solution or project in a clear and detailed manner.
  • Describe how your solution addresses the problem and why it is the most effective approach.
  • Include information on the methods, strategies, or activities you will undertake to implement your solution.
  • Highlight any unique features, innovations, or advantages of your proposal.

6. Methodology:

  • Provide a step-by-step explanation of the methodology or approach you will use to implement your proposal.
  • Include a timeline or schedule that outlines the key milestones, tasks, and deliverables.
  • Clearly describe the resources, personnel, or expertise required for each phase of the project.

7. Evaluation and Success Metrics:

  • Explain how you will measure the success or effectiveness of your proposal.
  • Identify specific metrics, indicators, or evaluation methods that will be used.
  • Describe how you will track progress, gather feedback, and make adjustments as needed.
  • Present a detailed budget that outlines the financial resources required for your proposal.
  • Include all relevant costs, such as personnel, materials, equipment, and any other expenses.
  • Provide a justification for each item in the budget.

9. Conclusion:

  •  Summarize the main points of your proposal.
  •  Reiterate the benefits and positive outcomes of implementing your proposal.
  • Emphasize the value and impact it will have on the organization or community.

10. Appendices:

  • Include any additional supporting materials, such as research findings, charts, graphs, or testimonials.
  •  Attach any relevant documents that provide further information but are not essential to the main body of the proposal.

Proposal Template

Here’s a basic proposal template that you can use as a starting point for creating your own proposal:

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I am writing to submit a proposal for [briefly state the purpose of the proposal and its significance]. This proposal outlines a comprehensive solution to address [describe the problem or issue] and presents an actionable plan to achieve the desired objectives.

Thank you for considering this proposal. I believe that implementing this solution will significantly contribute to [organization’s or community’s goals]. I am available to discuss the proposal in more detail at your convenience. Please feel free to contact me at [your email address or phone number].

Yours sincerely,

Note: This template is a starting point and should be customized to meet the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the organization or institution to which you are submitting the proposal.

Proposal Sample

Here’s a sample proposal to give you an idea of how it could be structured and written:

Subject : Proposal for Implementation of Environmental Education Program

I am pleased to submit this proposal for your consideration, outlining a comprehensive plan for the implementation of an Environmental Education Program. This program aims to address the critical need for environmental awareness and education among the community, with the objective of fostering a sense of responsibility and sustainability.

Executive Summary: Our proposed Environmental Education Program is designed to provide engaging and interactive educational opportunities for individuals of all ages. By combining classroom learning, hands-on activities, and community engagement, we aim to create a long-lasting impact on environmental conservation practices and attitudes.

Introduction: The state of our environment is facing significant challenges, including climate change, habitat loss, and pollution. It is essential to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to understand these issues and take action. This proposal seeks to bridge the gap in environmental education and inspire a sense of environmental stewardship among the community.

Problem Statement: The lack of environmental education programs has resulted in limited awareness and understanding of environmental issues. As a result, individuals are less likely to adopt sustainable practices or actively contribute to conservation efforts. Our program aims to address this gap and empower individuals to become environmentally conscious and responsible citizens.

Proposed Solution or Project Description: Our Environmental Education Program will comprise a range of activities, including workshops, field trips, and community initiatives. We will collaborate with local schools, community centers, and environmental organizations to ensure broad participation and maximum impact. By incorporating interactive learning experiences, such as nature walks, recycling drives, and eco-craft sessions, we aim to make environmental education engaging and enjoyable.

Methodology: Our program will be structured into modules that cover key environmental themes, such as biodiversity, climate change, waste management, and sustainable living. Each module will include a mix of classroom sessions, hands-on activities, and practical field experiences. We will also leverage technology, such as educational apps and online resources, to enhance learning outcomes.

Evaluation and Success Metrics: We will employ a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Pre- and post-assessments will gauge knowledge gain, while surveys and feedback forms will assess participant satisfaction and behavior change. We will also track the number of community engagement activities and the adoption of sustainable practices as indicators of success.

Budget: Please find attached a detailed budget breakdown for the implementation of the Environmental Education Program. The budget covers personnel costs, materials and supplies, transportation, and outreach expenses. We have ensured cost-effectiveness while maintaining the quality and impact of the program.

Conclusion: By implementing this Environmental Education Program, we have the opportunity to make a significant difference in our community’s environmental consciousness and practices. We are confident that this program will foster a generation of individuals who are passionate about protecting our environment and taking sustainable actions. We look forward to discussing the proposal further and working together to make a positive impact.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Should you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at [your email address or phone number].

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

How To Write A Business Proposal

How To Write A Business Proposal – Step-by-Step...


Proposal – Types, Examples, and Writing Guide

Grant Proposal

Grant Proposal – Example, Template and Guide

Research Proposal

Research Proposal – Types, Template and Example

Business Proposal

Business Proposal – Templates, Examples and Guide

How To Write a Research Proposal

How To Write A Research Proposal – Step-by-Step...

Logo for M Libraries Publishing

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

11.2 Steps in Developing a Research Proposal

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the steps in developing a research proposal.
  • Choose a topic and formulate a research question and working thesis.
  • Develop a research proposal.

Writing a good research paper takes time, thought, and effort. Although this assignment is challenging, it is manageable. Focusing on one step at a time will help you develop a thoughtful, informative, well-supported research paper.

Your first step is to choose a topic and then to develop research questions, a working thesis, and a written research proposal. Set aside adequate time for this part of the process. Fully exploring ideas will help you build a solid foundation for your paper.

Choosing a Topic

When you choose a topic for a research paper, you are making a major commitment. Your choice will help determine whether you enjoy the lengthy process of research and writing—and whether your final paper fulfills the assignment requirements. If you choose your topic hastily, you may later find it difficult to work with your topic. By taking your time and choosing carefully, you can ensure that this assignment is not only challenging but also rewarding.

Writers understand the importance of choosing a topic that fulfills the assignment requirements and fits the assignment’s purpose and audience. (For more information about purpose and audience, see Chapter 6 “Writing Paragraphs: Separating Ideas and Shaping Content” .) Choosing a topic that interests you is also crucial. You instructor may provide a list of suggested topics or ask that you develop a topic on your own. In either case, try to identify topics that genuinely interest you.

After identifying potential topic ideas, you will need to evaluate your ideas and choose one topic to pursue. Will you be able to find enough information about the topic? Can you develop a paper about this topic that presents and supports your original ideas? Is the topic too broad or too narrow for the scope of the assignment? If so, can you modify it so it is more manageable? You will ask these questions during this preliminary phase of the research process.

Identifying Potential Topics

Sometimes, your instructor may provide a list of suggested topics. If so, you may benefit from identifying several possibilities before committing to one idea. It is important to know how to narrow down your ideas into a concise, manageable thesis. You may also use the list as a starting point to help you identify additional, related topics. Discussing your ideas with your instructor will help ensure that you choose a manageable topic that fits the requirements of the assignment.

In this chapter, you will follow a writer named Jorge, who is studying health care administration, as he prepares a research paper. You will also plan, research, and draft your own research paper.

Jorge was assigned to write a research paper on health and the media for an introductory course in health care. Although a general topic was selected for the students, Jorge had to decide which specific issues interested him. He brainstormed a list of possibilities.

If you are writing a research paper for a specialized course, look back through your notes and course activities. Identify reading assignments and class discussions that especially engaged you. Doing so can help you identify topics to pursue.

  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in the news
  • Sexual education programs
  • Hollywood and eating disorders
  • Americans’ access to public health information
  • Media portrayal of health care reform bill
  • Depictions of drugs on television
  • The effect of the Internet on mental health
  • Popularized diets (such as low-carbohydrate diets)
  • Fear of pandemics (bird flu, HINI, SARS)
  • Electronic entertainment and obesity
  • Advertisements for prescription drugs
  • Public education and disease prevention

Set a timer for five minutes. Use brainstorming or idea mapping to create a list of topics you would be interested in researching for a paper about the influence of the Internet on social networking. Do you closely follow the media coverage of a particular website, such as Twitter? Would you like to learn more about a certain industry, such as online dating? Which social networking sites do you and your friends use? List as many ideas related to this topic as you can.

Narrowing Your Topic

Once you have a list of potential topics, you will need to choose one as the focus of your essay. You will also need to narrow your topic. Most writers find that the topics they listed during brainstorming or idea mapping are broad—too broad for the scope of the assignment. Working with an overly broad topic, such as sexual education programs or popularized diets, can be frustrating and overwhelming. Each topic has so many facets that it would be impossible to cover them all in a college research paper. However, more specific choices, such as the pros and cons of sexual education in kids’ television programs or the physical effects of the South Beach diet, are specific enough to write about without being too narrow to sustain an entire research paper.

A good research paper provides focused, in-depth information and analysis. If your topic is too broad, you will find it difficult to do more than skim the surface when you research it and write about it. Narrowing your focus is essential to making your topic manageable. To narrow your focus, explore your topic in writing, conduct preliminary research, and discuss both the topic and the research with others.

Exploring Your Topic in Writing

“How am I supposed to narrow my topic when I haven’t even begun researching yet?” In fact, you may already know more than you realize. Review your list and identify your top two or three topics. Set aside some time to explore each one through freewriting. (For more information about freewriting, see Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” .) Simply taking the time to focus on your topic may yield fresh angles.

Jorge knew that he was especially interested in the topic of diet fads, but he also knew that it was much too broad for his assignment. He used freewriting to explore his thoughts so he could narrow his topic. Read Jorge’s ideas.

Conducting Preliminary Research

Another way writers may focus a topic is to conduct preliminary research . Like freewriting, exploratory reading can help you identify interesting angles. Surfing the web and browsing through newspaper and magazine articles are good ways to start. Find out what people are saying about your topic on blogs and online discussion groups. Discussing your topic with others can also inspire you. Talk about your ideas with your classmates, your friends, or your instructor.

Jorge’s freewriting exercise helped him realize that the assigned topic of health and the media intersected with a few of his interests—diet, nutrition, and obesity. Preliminary online research and discussions with his classmates strengthened his impression that many people are confused or misled by media coverage of these subjects.

Jorge decided to focus his paper on a topic that had garnered a great deal of media attention—low-carbohydrate diets. He wanted to find out whether low-carbohydrate diets were as effective as their proponents claimed.

Writing at Work

At work, you may need to research a topic quickly to find general information. This information can be useful in understanding trends in a given industry or generating competition. For example, a company may research a competitor’s prices and use the information when pricing their own product. You may find it useful to skim a variety of reliable sources and take notes on your findings.

The reliability of online sources varies greatly. In this exploratory phase of your research, you do not need to evaluate sources as closely as you will later. However, use common sense as you refine your paper topic. If you read a fascinating blog comment that gives you a new idea for your paper, be sure to check out other, more reliable sources as well to make sure the idea is worth pursuing.

Review the list of topics you created in Note 11.18 “Exercise 1” and identify two or three topics you would like to explore further. For each of these topics, spend five to ten minutes writing about the topic without stopping. Then review your writing to identify possible areas of focus.

Set aside time to conduct preliminary research about your potential topics. Then choose a topic to pursue for your research paper.


Please share your topic list with a classmate. Select one or two topics on his or her list that you would like to learn more about and return it to him or her. Discuss why you found the topics interesting, and learn which of your topics your classmate selected and why.

A Plan for Research

Your freewriting and preliminary research have helped you choose a focused, manageable topic for your research paper. To work with your topic successfully, you will need to determine what exactly you want to learn about it—and later, what you want to say about it. Before you begin conducting in-depth research, you will further define your focus by developing a research question , a working thesis, and a research proposal.

Formulating a Research Question

In forming a research question, you are setting a goal for your research. Your main research question should be substantial enough to form the guiding principle of your paper—but focused enough to guide your research. A strong research question requires you not only to find information but also to put together different pieces of information, interpret and analyze them, and figure out what you think. As you consider potential research questions, ask yourself whether they would be too hard or too easy to answer.

To determine your research question, review the freewriting you completed earlier. Skim through books, articles, and websites and list the questions you have. (You may wish to use the 5WH strategy to help you formulate questions. See Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” for more information about 5WH questions.) Include simple, factual questions and more complex questions that would require analysis and interpretation. Determine your main question—the primary focus of your paper—and several subquestions that you will need to research to answer your main question.

Here are the research questions Jorge will use to focus his research. Notice that his main research question has no obvious, straightforward answer. Jorge will need to research his subquestions, which address narrower topics, to answer his main question.

Using the topic you selected in Note 11.24 “Exercise 2” , write your main research question and at least four to five subquestions. Check that your main research question is appropriately complex for your assignment.

Constructing a Working ThesIs

A working thesis concisely states a writer’s initial answer to the main research question. It does not merely state a fact or present a subjective opinion. Instead, it expresses a debatable idea or claim that you hope to prove through additional research. Your working thesis is called a working thesis for a reason—it is subject to change. As you learn more about your topic, you may change your thinking in light of your research findings. Let your working thesis serve as a guide to your research, but do not be afraid to modify it based on what you learn.

Jorge began his research with a strong point of view based on his preliminary writing and research. Read his working thesis statement, which presents the point he will argue. Notice how it states Jorge’s tentative answer to his research question.

One way to determine your working thesis is to consider how you would complete sentences such as I believe or My opinion is . However, keep in mind that academic writing generally does not use first-person pronouns. These statements are useful starting points, but formal research papers use an objective voice.

Write a working thesis statement that presents your preliminary answer to the research question you wrote in Note 11.27 “Exercise 3” . Check that your working thesis statement presents an idea or claim that could be supported or refuted by evidence from research.

Creating a Research Proposal

A research proposal is a brief document—no more than one typed page—that summarizes the preliminary work you have completed. Your purpose in writing it is to formalize your plan for research and present it to your instructor for feedback. In your research proposal, you will present your main research question, related subquestions, and working thesis. You will also briefly discuss the value of researching this topic and indicate how you plan to gather information.

When Jorge began drafting his research proposal, he realized that he had already created most of the pieces he needed. However, he knew he also had to explain how his research would be relevant to other future health care professionals. In addition, he wanted to form a general plan for doing the research and identifying potentially useful sources. Read Jorge’s research proposal.

Read Jorge's research proposal

Before you begin a new project at work, you may have to develop a project summary document that states the purpose of the project, explains why it would be a wise use of company resources, and briefly outlines the steps involved in completing the project. This type of document is similar to a research proposal. Both documents define and limit a project, explain its value, discuss how to proceed, and identify what resources you will use.

Writing Your Own Research Proposal

Now you may write your own research proposal, if you have not done so already. Follow the guidelines provided in this lesson.

Key Takeaways

  • Developing a research proposal involves the following preliminary steps: identifying potential ideas, choosing ideas to explore further, choosing and narrowing a topic, formulating a research question, and developing a working thesis.
  • A good topic for a research paper interests the writer and fulfills the requirements of the assignment.
  • Defining and narrowing a topic helps writers conduct focused, in-depth research.
  • Writers conduct preliminary research to identify possible topics and research questions and to develop a working thesis.
  • A good research question interests readers, is neither too broad nor too narrow, and has no obvious answer.
  • A good working thesis expresses a debatable idea or claim that can be supported with evidence from research.
  • Writers create a research proposal to present their topic, main research question, subquestions, and working thesis to an instructor for approval or feedback.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Project Writers in Nigeria BSc. MSc. PhD

Project Writers in Nigeria BSc. MSc. PhD

Research Project Writing Website


A practical guide to research writing – chapter one.

The outline of a well written Chapter One is supposed to include all or some of the following:



1.1 Background to the Study

1.2 Statement of the Problem

1.3 Objectives or Purpose of the Study

1.4 Research Questions and /or Hypotheses

1.5 Significance of the Study

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

1.7 Basic Assumptions

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

As can be seen above, the project outline constitutes a huge part of the project proposal and the student researcher just needs to perfect the approved research proposal with the view of using it as the Chapter One. The fact remains that all the other parts that as had been written for the project proposal would still stand, with the inclusion of Operational Definition of Terms. At this stage, it is important to understand and know what is contained under each of the subheadings in the first chapter and these are described thoroughly in this article: –

1.1     Background to the Study

Just as the name means, this section outlines the history of the subject matter under investigation; the evolution of the research problem; how the researcher became fascinated with the problem. He goes on to describe the specific situation surrounding the research problem, using facts from the literature to support various arguments. In this section also, the student researcher tries to ascertain the suitability and feasibility of the study, concluding from the sufficient evidences drawn from the previous literature.

In a nutshell, this is where the student researcher initiates the subject of his investigation using all obtainable evidences and figures to establish its groundwork. Note that even if there is no standard number of pages that this should take, the lengthier and well focused the Background to the Study, the better for a good and solid groundwork for that research being conducted.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The Problem Statement, as it is otherwise described, is the reasonable conclusion of the problems/issues raised in the Background to the Study. The idea is that while the Background to the Study offers a wider or global perspective/standpoint to the subject matter of the research, the Problem Statement makes assumptions from there and concludes on the specifics as they relate to the specific investigation being conducted.

That is the reason Problem Statement is expected to flow, rather logically, from the Background to the Study; and it is not a good Problem Statement, one that deviates from this; given that they are not expected to be two unconnected entities, as it were. It is nevertheless different from Background to the Study in that it must be stated reasonably briefly and very clearly. All the descriptive components of the Background to the Study would have assisted to allow one go straight for the specifics under the Problem Statement.

This is why experienced project supervisors would maintain that the Problem Statement should be in the range of one to three paragraphs only. The idea is that the shorter, the clearer; and the clearer the better for the whole process of investigation. In a nutshell, one cannot overstate the need to state the research problem very clearly and accurately, since the entire course of the investigation depends on it.

Therefore, there is no doubt that a satisfactory statement of the research problem is the most important component of a research process. The plain reason for this claim is that the whole process of investigation centers on it and it is typically related to some of the following issues:

  • A missing link
  • One-sidedness
  • An unanswered question.
  • An unsatisfactory state of arrangements

Consequently, the Problem Statement offers direction to the rest of the project; signifying and highlighting the major variables of concern to the researcher as well as the exact relationship that exist between them.



Best Research Writing eBook

Academic project or thesis or dissertation writing is not an easy academic endeavor. To reach your goal, you must invest time, effort, and a strong desire to succeed. Writing a thesis while also juggling other course work is challenging, but it doesn't have to be an unpleasant process. A dissertation or thesis is one of the most important requirements for any degree, and this book will show you how to create a good research write-up from a high level of abstraction, making your research writing journey much easier. It also includes examples of how and what the contents of each sub-headings should look like for easy research writing. This book will also constitute a step-by-step research writing guide to scholars in all research fields.

1.3     Objectives {Purpose} of the Study

Simply similar to every other component in a research project, the Objectives of the Study is strongly connected to the Research Problem. The former is derived directly from the latter. The Objectives of the Study, which is sometimes described as Purpose, stand for the aims of carrying out the investigation and could be categorized into general and specific.

The general objective describes the overall aim of a research project whereas the specific objective is concerned with the comprehensive list of intentions concerning what the research stands to accomplish at the end of the project. Typically, the specific objectives are stated in the form of declarative statements for example, the statement should start with “to examine”, “to analyze”, “to determine”, “to assess”, “to find out” etc. The Research Questions usually take the form of interrogative statement, the Objectives present the same thing, but in the statement form.

1.4. Research Questions and/or Hypotheses

Typically, these come immediately after the Research objectives because of their strong relationship. They do not just seek to convert the declarative statement of the objectives into interrogative form, but further break down the major problems compressed in the research objectives. As its name implies, Research Questions is presented just like interrogations seeking to create specific relations among the main variables of investigation.

As well, the Research Questions usually serve as the foundation from where the questionnaire items/questions would ultimately be derived. The difference between the two is that the items in the questionnaire offer a further breakdown of each of the research questions to a greater specification. This is to the level that a single research question can turn out the range of between three to five questionnaire items/questions. But the Research Questions are wide in nature, the questionnaire items are typically directed towards the details thereby getting down to more specifics.

In the case of Hypotheses, they are not the same as Research Questions even though they are sometimes used to substitute each other. In other words, it is not unusual to find projects which have both as well as others which have only one of them. Since they are not the same, they are not expected to replace each other. If they stand to do that, then one should be retained and the other disposed of. By this piece of information, one can easily know that it is not necessary that a project should have both; particularly at the elementary level, where in most of the times, the research questions would be okay.

By meaning, a Research Hypothesis is a clear, specific statement whose validity and workability can be tested by means of scientific method. Being a declarative statement of prediction, it tries to determine the relationship or difference that exists between one variable and the other; and to what degree. It is a form of clever guess or supposition regularly derived from the results of previous studies and/or theories originating from the literature. Hypotheses are formulated on the core of any of the areas and objectives listed below:

  • To merely describe a occurrence or a statement of fact
  • To compare two or more concepts, individuals and places
  • To reveal the relationship between variable
  • To reveal a cause/ effect situation between variables.

Usually, there are two kinds of hypotheses; basically referring to the way they are stated. They are the Null and the Alternative. While the former is frequently stated in the negative form of “No Significant Relationship” or “No Significant Difference” etc., the latter takes the positive form of statement; such as “There is a Significant Relationship”, “There is a Significant Difference” etc.

The Research Hypotheses specify the fundamental issues relating to the data to be gathered in the process of conducting the study. They serve as a theoretical conceptualization of what the researcher anticipated with respect to his research outcomes. These help him to test and verify his concepts on the basis of which he makes very tangible and reliable conclusions and generalizations. They also assist in sharpening researcher’s focus on the research problem with a view to determining the direction where to find the solution.

Therefore, some of the qualities of a good hypothesis must include that:

  • It should be sensible {i.e. clever guesses}.
  • It should be in line with known facts or theories.
  • It should be constructed in such a manner that it is testable and found to be probably true or false.
  • It should be in very simple, unambiguous terms.
  • It should be directly connected to the problem of research.
  • It should involve very few variables at a time.
  • It should be quantifiable {i.e. operationally formulated}.

1.5.    Significance of the Study

It is anticipated that every research project must have something new to contribute to knowledge in that research field, no matter how small. In point of fact, no research should take place if it will not contribute anything to knowledge; as this represents the major feature of all research endeavors.

Consequently, this section is expected to clarify the possible benefits of the research and to whom such anticipated benefits would be meant. All these should be clearly stated. In any way, there is no standard detail as to the number of benefits that a research project should have or its length. It can be arranged sequentially or itemized or paraphrased depending on the person’s method of writing.

1.6.    Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study basically refers to the level of coverage of the research subject being investigated and the good statement of the problem will act as a helpful guide to doing this. That means, if the problem had been properly stated at the beginning, it helps, certainly, in defining the scope of the research. That is why the scope of the study is partially dependent on the title of the research project. If well formulated, the phrase of the title only does define the scope of the study and possibly, needs a little rider to make it clearer. The limitation of the study represents the things and issues that constituted challenges in the process of investigations.

Consequently, if the scope was concerned with the level of the research’s coverage, then, limitation implies building a fence around the subject of research. This is with a view to creating a foundation for the non-inclusion of certain things in the study for understandable reasons.

1.7.    Basic Assumptions

Even though many student researchers tend to mistake Assumptions with Hypotheses, it is important to state very clearly that they are not the same. We have already discussed about hypotheses; its meaning and significance in a research project. However, Assumptions are only mere statements, which are frequently, not subjected to any testing. They are, more or less, ordinary statements that are taken for granted. They cannot replace the Hypotheses; yet, they tend to duplicate the Hypotheses, because they are fairly similar.

It is because of these reasons that a lot of research experts have suggested that if the study has hypotheses, then assumptions would no longer be needed. For a study with Research Questions only nevertheless, it is suitable to have assumptions, to act as a guide towards the achievement of the research objectives.

Assumptions are typically itemized while the number varies.

1.9     Operational Definition of Terms

This section of the Chapter one (introduction) is used to offer a kind of working definition to all the concepts, which would be operationally used in the course of the research. The notion is that there are some terminologies, which have been “adapted” and so utilized restrictively for the purpose of the research project.

This implies that such terminologies would mean something somewhat different from the one adapted under a different circumstances; therefore the name Operational Definition of Terms. In defining terms operationally, individual concepts/words to be so defined are recognized and then itemized. Thus, operational definitions are typically given in such a manner that will imply that they are not the usually accepted as standard definitions but those peculiar to the study in specifically. This section typically comes last in the introductory chapter.

Click  here  to get an expert project writer for your project topic on



excellent write up, this should help me in writing my chapter one

Excellent write up. Great job, really helped me with my chapter one in my MBA project write up.

However I would like to know if I can add justification of study to my chapter one since you didn’t mention it in your post?

Great write up nevertheless!

Well thank you for the special guardian for my first chapter write up, however I wish if you break up background of the study into theoretical background, conceptual background and contextual background to make me have better analysis on how they are framed

Thanks a lot

This really helped me out to have an approach to good chapter one of my project. Thank you very much.

I realy apreciate your work here. This article helped me alot.

Do you have another one on chapter 2 (literature review)

Thanks. “how to write chapter two”, an article that will guide researcher on how to write the literature review will soon be published.

tanx,tanx,tanx this really help me when I wrotte my exam on research topic on my N.C.E program

Nice one, I haven’t started but I think this is really a nice guide for a start.

This is a great light to me. Thanks for the post

This is a well analysed research procedure….

Good work , well articulated, unambiguous, simply & logically stated.

Thanks for the write up… This should help me writing my project… Thanks once again.


I am so glad with your work,l have gone through.l think what I benefited from it, will definitely guide me in my project l am so grateful to you for making me to discover what I am looking for.

Thaaaaanks A good guide i’ll do a study on chapter one

Truth be told, I wish I had come across this write up before now. This is the clearest article I’ve read about contents of the chapters of a research project, especially chapter two. I’ve sent the link to my colleague PG Students.

Thanks so much.

it will great if you can add examples of what these when properly written will look like.

good guidance, keep doing so to help us learn better, together we stand

God bless you ?

Omo thanks a bunch

Good work done keep it up, i think your write up have helped me alot

Thank you,I do really appreciate and I learned more about.

Thanks very much, I have found this piece to he very educative and resourceful to any researcher.

This is the best foundation of Researchers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chat With A professional Writer

Grad Coach

How To Write A Dissertation Introduction

A Simple Explainer With Examples + Free Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By Dr Eunice Rautenbach (D. Tech) | March 2020

If you’re reading this, you’re probably at the daunting early phases of writing up the introduction chapter of your dissertation or thesis. It can be intimidating, I know. 

In this post, we’ll look at the 7 essential ingredients of a strong dissertation or thesis introduction chapter, as well as the essential things you need to keep in mind as you craft each section. We’ll also share some useful tips to help you optimize your approach.

Overview: Writing An Introduction Chapter

  • The purpose and function of the intro chapter
  • Craft an enticing and engaging opening section
  • Provide a background and context to the study
  • Clearly define the research problem
  • State your research aims, objectives and questions
  • Explain the significance of your study
  • Identify the limitations of your research
  • Outline the structure of your dissertation or thesis

A quick sidenote:

You’ll notice that I’ve used the words dissertation and thesis interchangeably. While these terms reflect different levels of research – for example, Masters vs PhD-level research – the introduction chapter generally contains the same 7 essential ingredients regardless of level. So, in this post, dissertation introduction equals thesis introduction.

Free template for a dissertation or thesis introduction

Start with why.

To craft a high-quality dissertation or thesis introduction chapter, you need to understand exactly what this chapter needs to achieve. In other words, what’s its purpose ? As the name suggests, the introduction chapter needs to introduce the reader to your research so that they understand what you’re trying to figure out, or what problem you’re trying to solve. More specifically, you need to answer four important questions in your introduction chapter.

These questions are:

  • What will you be researching? (in other words, your research topic)
  • Why is that worthwhile? (in other words, your justification)
  • What will the scope of your research be? (in other words, what will you cover and what won’t you cover)
  • What will the limitations of your research be? (in other words, what will the potential shortcomings of your research be?)

Simply put, your dissertation’s introduction chapter needs to provide an overview of your planned research , as well as a clear rationale for it. In other words, this chapter has to explain the “what” and the “why” of your research – what’s it all about and why’s that important.

Simple enough, right?

Well, the trick is finding the appropriate depth of information. As the researcher, you’ll be extremely close to your topic and this makes it easy to get caught up in the minor details. While these intricate details might be interesting, you need to write your introduction chapter on more of a “need-to-know” type basis, or it will end up way too lengthy and dense. You need to balance painting a clear picture with keeping things concise. Don’t worry though – you’ll be able to explore all the intricate details in later chapters.

The core ingredients of a dissertation introduction chapter

Now that you understand what you need to achieve from your introduction chapter, we can get into the details. While the exact requirements for this chapter can vary from university to university, there are seven core components that most universities will require. We call these the seven essential ingredients . 

The 7 Essential Ingredients

  • The opening section – where you’ll introduce the reader to your research in high-level terms
  • The background to the study – where you’ll explain the context of your project
  • The research problem – where you’ll explain the “gap” that exists in the current research
  • The research aims , objectives and questions – where you’ll clearly state what your research will aim to achieve
  • The significance (or justification) – where you’ll explain why your research is worth doing and the value it will provide to the world
  • The limitations – where you’ll acknowledge the potential limitations of your project and approach
  • The structure – where you’ll briefly outline the structure of your dissertation or thesis to help orient the reader

By incorporating these seven essential ingredients into your introduction chapter, you’ll comprehensively cover both the “ what ” and the “ why ” I mentioned earlier – in other words, you’ll achieve the purpose of the chapter.

Side note – you can also use these 7 ingredients in this order as the structure for your chapter to ensure a smooth, logical flow. This isn’t essential, but, generally speaking, it helps create an engaging narrative that’s easy for your reader to understand. If you’d like, you can also download our free introduction chapter template here.

Alright – let’s look at each of the ingredients now.

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

#1 – The Opening Section

The very first essential ingredient for your dissertation introduction is, well, an introduction or opening section. Just like every other chapter, your introduction chapter needs to start by providing a brief overview of what you’ll be covering in the chapter.

This section needs to engage the reader with clear, concise language that can be easily understood and digested. If the reader (your marker!) has to struggle through it, they’ll lose interest, which will make it harder for you to earn marks. Just because you’re writing an academic paper doesn’t mean you can ignore the basic principles of engaging writing used by marketers, bloggers, and journalists. At the end of the day, you’re all trying to sell an idea – yours is just a research idea.

So, what goes into this opening section?

Well, while there’s no set formula, it’s a good idea to include the following four foundational sentences in your opening section:

1 – A sentence or two introducing the overall field of your research.

For example:

“Organisational skills development involves identifying current or potential skills gaps within a business and developing programs to resolve these gaps. Management research, including X, Y and Z, has clearly established that organisational skills development is an essential contributor to business growth.”

2 – A sentence introducing your specific research problem.

“However, there are conflicting views and an overall lack of research regarding how best to manage skills development initiatives in highly dynamic environments where subject knowledge is rapidly and continuously evolving – for example, in the website development industry.”

3 – A sentence stating your research aims and objectives.

“This research aims to identify and evaluate skills development approaches and strategies for highly dynamic industries in which subject knowledge is continuously evolving.”.

4 – A sentence outlining the layout of the chapter.

“This chapter will provide an introduction to the study by first discussing the background and context, followed by the research problem, the research aims, objectives and questions, the significance and finally, the limitations.”

As I mentioned, this opening section of your introduction chapter shouldn’t be lengthy . Typically, these four sentences should fit neatly into one or two paragraphs, max. What you’re aiming for here is a clear, concise introduction to your research – not a detailed account.

PS – If some of this terminology sounds unfamiliar, don’t stress – I’ll explain each of the concepts later in this post.

#2 – Background to the study

Now that you’ve provided a high-level overview of your dissertation or thesis, it’s time to go a little deeper and lay a foundation for your research topic. This foundation is what the second ingredient is all about – the background to your study.

So, what is the background section all about?

Well, this section of your introduction chapter should provide a broad overview of the topic area that you’ll be researching, as well as the current contextual factors . This could include, for example, a brief history of the topic, recent developments in the area, key pieces of research in the area and so on. In other words, in this section, you need to provide the relevant background information to give the reader a decent foundational understanding of your research area.

Let’s look at an example to make this a little more concrete.

If we stick with the skills development topic I mentioned earlier, the background to the study section would start by providing an overview of the skills development area and outline the key existing research. Then, it would go on to discuss how the modern-day context has created a new challenge for traditional skills development strategies and approaches. Specifically, that in many industries, technical knowledge is constantly and rapidly evolving, and traditional education providers struggle to keep up with the pace of new technologies.

Importantly, you need to write this section with the assumption that the reader is not an expert in your topic area. So, if there are industry-specific jargon and complex terminology, you should briefly explain that here , so that the reader can understand the rest of your document.

Don’t make assumptions about the reader’s knowledge – in most cases, your markers will not be able to ask you questions if they don’t understand something. So, always err on the safe side and explain anything that’s not common knowledge.

Dissertation Coaching

#3 – The research problem

Now that you’ve given your reader an overview of your research area, it’s time to get specific about the research problem that you’ll address in your dissertation or thesis. While the background section would have alluded to a potential research problem (or even multiple research problems), the purpose of this section is to narrow the focus and highlight the specific research problem you’ll focus on.

But, what exactly is a research problem, you ask?

Well, a research problem can be any issue or question for which there isn’t already a well-established and agreed-upon answer in the existing research. In other words, a research problem exists when there’s a need to answer a question (or set of questions), but there’s a gap in the existing literature , or the existing research is conflicting and/or inconsistent.

So, to present your research problem, you need to make it clear what exactly is missing in the current literature and why this is a problem . It’s usually a good idea to structure this discussion into three sections – specifically:

  • What’s already well-established in the literature (in other words, the current state of research)
  • What’s missing in the literature (in other words, the literature gap)
  • Why this is a problem (in other words, why it’s important to fill this gap)

Let’s look at an example of this structure using the skills development topic.

Organisational skills development is critically important for employee satisfaction and company performance (reference). Numerous studies have investigated strategies and approaches to manage skills development programs within organisations (reference).

(this paragraph explains what’s already well-established in the literature)

However, these studies have traditionally focused on relatively slow-paced industries where key skills and knowledge do not change particularly often. This body of theory presents a problem for industries that face a rapidly changing skills landscape – for example, the website development industry – where new platforms, languages and best practices emerge on an extremely frequent basis.

(this paragraph explains what’s missing from the literature)

As a result, the existing research is inadequate for industries in which essential knowledge and skills are constantly and rapidly evolving, as it assumes a slow pace of knowledge development. Industries in such environments, therefore, find themselves ill-equipped in terms of skills development strategies and approaches.

(this paragraph explains why the research gap is problematic)

As you can see in this example, in a few lines, we’ve explained (1) the current state of research, (2) the literature gap and (3) why that gap is problematic. By doing this, the research problem is made crystal clear, which lays the foundation for the next ingredient.

#4 – The research aims, objectives and questions

Now that you’ve clearly identified your research problem, it’s time to identify your research aims and objectives , as well as your research questions . In other words, it’s time to explain what you’re going to do about the research problem.

So, what do you need to do here?

Well, the starting point is to clearly state your research aim (or aims) . The research aim is the main goal or the overarching purpose of your dissertation or thesis. In other words, it’s a high-level statement of what you’re aiming to achieve.

Let’s look at an example, sticking with the skills development topic:

“Given the lack of research regarding organisational skills development in fast-moving industries, this study will aim to identify and evaluate the skills development approaches utilised by web development companies in the UK”.

As you can see in this example, the research aim is clearly outlined, as well as the specific context in which the research will be undertaken (in other words, web development companies in the UK).

Next up is the research objective (or objectives) . While the research aims cover the high-level “what”, the research objectives are a bit more practically oriented, looking at specific things you’ll be doing to achieve those research aims.

Let’s take a look at an example of some research objectives (ROs) to fit the research aim.

  • RO1 – To identify common skills development strategies and approaches utilised by web development companies in the UK.
  • RO2 – To evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies and approaches.
  • RO3 – To compare and contrast these strategies and approaches in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.

As you can see from this example, these objectives describe the actions you’ll take and the specific things you’ll investigate in order to achieve your research aims. They break down the research aims into more specific, actionable objectives.

The final step is to state your research questions . Your research questions bring the aims and objectives another level “down to earth”. These are the specific questions that your dissertation or theses will seek to answer. They’re not fluffy, ambiguous or conceptual – they’re very specific and you’ll need to directly answer them in your conclusions chapter .

The research questions typically relate directly to the research objectives and sometimes can look a bit obvious, but they are still extremely important. Let’s take a look at an example of the research questions (RQs) that would flow from the research objectives I mentioned earlier.

  • RQ1 – What skills development strategies and approaches are currently being used by web development companies in the UK?
  • RQ2 – How effective are each of these strategies and approaches?
  • RQ3 – What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these strategies and approaches?

As you can see, the research questions mimic the research objectives , but they are presented in question format. These questions will act as the driving force throughout your dissertation or thesis – from the literature review to the methodology and onward – so they’re really important.

A final note about this section – it’s really important to be clear about the scope of your study (more technically, the delimitations ). In other words, what you WILL cover and what you WON’T cover. If your research aims, objectives and questions are too broad, you’ll risk losing focus or investigating a problem that is too big to solve within a single dissertation.

Simply put, you need to establish clear boundaries in your research. You can do this, for example, by limiting it to a specific industry, country or time period. That way, you’ll ringfence your research, which will allow you to investigate your topic deeply and thoroughly – which is what earns marks!

Need a helping hand?

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

#5 – Significance

Now that you’ve made it clear what you’ll be researching, it’s time to make a strong argument regarding your study’s importance and significance . In other words, now that you’ve covered the what, it’s time to cover the why – enter essential ingredient number 5 – significance.

Of course, by this stage, you’ve already briefly alluded to the importance of your study in your background and research problem sections, but you haven’t explicitly stated how your research findings will benefit the world . So, now’s your chance to clearly state how your study will benefit either industry , academia , or – ideally – both . In other words, you need to explain how your research will make a difference and what implications it will have .

Let’s take a look at an example.

“This study will contribute to the body of knowledge on skills development by incorporating skills development strategies and approaches for industries in which knowledge and skills are rapidly and constantly changing. This will help address the current shortage of research in this area and provide real-world value to organisations operating in such dynamic environments.”

As you can see in this example, the paragraph clearly explains how the research will help fill a gap in the literature and also provide practical real-world value to organisations.

This section doesn’t need to be particularly lengthy, but it does need to be convincing . You need to “sell” the value of your research here so that the reader understands why it’s worth committing an entire dissertation or thesis to it. This section needs to be the salesman of your research. So, spend some time thinking about the ways in which your research will make a unique contribution to the world and how the knowledge you create could benefit both academia and industry – and then “sell it” in this section.

studying and prep for henley exams

#6 – The limitations

Now that you’ve “sold” your research to the reader and hopefully got them excited about what’s coming up in the rest of your dissertation, it’s time to briefly discuss the potential limitations of your research.

But you’re probably thinking, hold up – what limitations? My research is well thought out and carefully designed – why would there be limitations?

Well, no piece of research is perfect . This is especially true for a dissertation or thesis – which typically has a very low or zero budget, tight time constraints and limited researcher experience. Generally, your dissertation will be the first or second formal research project you’ve ever undertaken, so it’s unlikely to win any research awards…

Simply put, your research will invariably have limitations. Don’t stress yourself out though – this is completely acceptable (and expected). Even “professional” research has limitations – as I said, no piece of research is perfect. The key is to recognise the limitations upfront and be completely transparent about them, so that future researchers are aware of them and can improve the study’s design to minimise the limitations and strengthen the findings.

Generally, you’ll want to consider at least the following four common limitations. These are:

  • Your scope – for example, perhaps your focus is very narrow and doesn’t consider how certain variables interact with each other.
  • Your research methodology – for example, a qualitative methodology could be criticised for being overly subjective, or a quantitative methodology could be criticised for oversimplifying the situation (learn more about methodologies here ).
  • Your resources – for example, a lack of time, money, equipment and your own research experience.
  • The generalisability of your findings – for example, the findings from the study of a specific industry or country can’t necessarily be generalised to other industries or countries.

Don’t be shy here. There’s no use trying to hide the limitations or weaknesses of your research. In fact, the more critical you can be of your study, the better. The markers want to see that you are aware of the limitations as this demonstrates your understanding of research design – so be brutal.

#7 – The structural outline

Now that you’ve clearly communicated what your research is going to be about, why it’s important and what the limitations of your research will be, the final ingredient is the structural outline.The purpose of this section is simply to provide your reader with a roadmap of what to expect in terms of the structure of your dissertation or thesis.

In this section, you’ll need to provide a brief summary of each chapter’s purpose and contents (including the introduction chapter). A sentence or two explaining what you’ll do in each chapter is generally enough to orient the reader. You don’t want to get too detailed here – it’s purely an outline, not a summary of your research.

Let’s look at an example:

In Chapter One, the context of the study has been introduced. The research objectives and questions have been identified, and the value of such research argued. The limitations of the study have also been discussed.

In Chapter Two, the existing literature will be reviewed and a foundation of theory will be laid out to identify key skills development approaches and strategies within the context of fast-moving industries, especially technology-intensive industries.

In Chapter Three, the methodological choices will be explored. Specifically, the adoption of a qualitative, inductive research approach will be justified, and the broader research design will be discussed, including the limitations thereof.

So, as you can see from the example, this section is simply an outline of the chapter structure, allocating a short paragraph to each chapter. Done correctly, the outline will help your reader understand what to expect and reassure them that you’ll address the multiple facets of the study.

By the way – if you’re unsure of how to structure your dissertation or thesis, be sure to check out our video post which explains dissertation structure .

Keep calm and carry on.

Hopefully you feel a bit more prepared for this challenge of crafting your dissertation or thesis introduction chapter now. Take a deep breath and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day – conquer one ingredient at a time and you’ll be firmly on the path to success.

Let’s quickly recap – the 7 ingredients are:

  • The opening section – where you give a brief, high-level overview of what your research will be about.
  • The study background – where you introduce the reader to key theory, concepts and terminology, as well as the context of your study.
  • The research problem – where you explain what the problem with the current research is. In other words, the research gap.
  • The research aims , objectives and questions – where you clearly state what your dissertation will investigate.
  • The significance – where you explain what value your research will provide to the world.
  • The limitations – where you explain what the potential shortcomings and limitations of your research may be.
  • The structural outline – where you provide a high-level overview of the structure of your document

If you bake these ingredients into your dissertation introduction chapter, you’ll be well on your way to building an engaging introduction chapter that lays a rock-solid foundation for the rest of your document.

Remember, while we’ve covered the essential ingredients here, there may be some additional components that your university requires, so be sure to double-check your project brief!

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

You Might Also Like:

How to write the conclusion chapter of a dissertation



Thanks very much for such an insight. I feel confident enough in undertaking my thesis on the survey;The future of facial recognition and learning non verbal interaction

Derek Jansen

Glad to hear that. Good luck with your thesis!

Thanks very much for such an insight. I feel confident now undertaking my thesis; The future of facial recognition and learning non verbal interaction.

Emmanuel Chukwuebuka Okoli

Thanks so much for this article. I found myself struggling and wasting a lot of time in my thesis writing but after reading this article and watching some of your youtube videos, I now have a clear understanding of what is required for a thesis.

Saima Kashif

Thank you Derek, i find your each post so useful. Keep it up.


Thank you so much Derek ,for shedding the light and making it easier for me to handle the daunting task of academic writing .

Alice kasaka

Thanks do much Dereck for the comprehensive guide. It will assist me queit a lot in my thesis.


thanks a lot for helping

SALly henderson

i LOVE the gifs, such a fun way to engage readers. thanks for the advice, much appreciated


Thanks a lot Derek! It will be really useful to the beginner in research!

Derek Jansen

You’re welcome


This is a well written, easily comprehensible, simple introduction to the basics of a Research Dissertation../the need to keep the reader in mind while writing the dissertation is an important point that is covered../ I appreciate the efforts of the author../

Laxmi kanta Sharma

The instruction given are perfect and clear. I was supposed to take the course , unfortunately in Nepal the service is not avaialble.However, I am much more hopeful that you will provide require documents whatever you have produced so far.

Halima Ringim

Thank you very much

Shamim Nabankema

Thanks so much ❤️😘 I feel am ready to start writing my research methodology

Sapphire Kellichan

This is genuinely the most effective advice I have ever been given regarding academia. Thank you so much!


This is one of the best write up I have seen in my road to PhD thesis. regards, this write up update my knowledge of research


I was looking for some good blogs related to Education hopefully your article will help. Thanks for sharing.


This is an awesome masterpiece. It is one of the most comprehensive guides to writing a Dissertation/Thesis I have seen and read.

You just saved me from going astray in writing a Dissertation for my undergraduate studies. I could not be more grateful for such a relevant guide like this. Thank you so much.


Thank you so much Derek, this has been extremely helpful!!

I do have one question though, in the limitations part do you refer to the scope as the focus of the research on a specific industry/country/chronological period? I assume that in order to talk about whether or not the research could be generalized, the above would need to be already presented and described in the introduction.

Thank you again!

Jackson Lubari Wani

Phew! You have genuinely rescued me. I was stuck how to go about my thesis. Now l have started. Thank you.

Valmont Dain

This is the very best guide in anything that has to do with thesis or dissertation writing. The numerous blends of examples and detailed insights make it worth a read and in fact, a treasure that is worthy to be bookmarked.

Thanks a lot for this masterpiece!


Powerful insight. I can now take a step


Thank you very much for these valuable introductions to thesis chapters. I saw all your videos about writing the introduction, discussion, and conclusion chapter. Then, I am wondering if we need to explain our research limitations in all three chapters, introduction, discussion, and conclusion? Isn’t it a bit redundant? If not, could you please explain how can we write in different ways? Thank you.

Md. Abdullah-Al-mahbub

Excellent!!! Thank you…


Thanks for this informative content. I have a question. The research gap is mentioned in both the introduction and literature section. I would like to know how can I demonstrate the research gap in both sections without repeating the contents?


I’m incredibly grateful for this invaluable content. I’ve been dreading compiling my postgrad thesis but breaking each chapter down into sections has made it so much easier for me to engage with the material without feeling overwhelmed. After relying on your guidance, I’m really happy with how I’ve laid out my introduction.


Thank you for the informative content you provided


Hi Derrick and Team, thank you so much for the comprehensive guide on how to write a dissertation or a thesis introduction section. For some of us first-timers, it is a daunting task. However, the instruction with relevant examples makes it clear and easy to follow through. Much appreciated.

Raza Bukhari

It was so helpful. God Bless you. Thanks very much


I thank you Grad coach for your priceless help. I have two questions I have learned from your video the limitations of the research presented in chapter one. but in another video also presented in chapter five. which chapter limitation should be included? If possible, I need your answer since I am doing my thesis. how can I explain If I am asked what is my motivation for this research?


You explain what moment in life caused you to have a peaked interest in the thesis topic. Personal experiences? Or something that had an impact on your life, or others. Something would have caused your drive of topic. Dig deep inside, the answer is within you!

Simon Musa Wuranjiya

Thank you guys for the great work you are doing. Honestly, you have made the research to be interesting and simplified. Even a novice will easily grasp the ideas you put forward, Thank you once again.


Excellent piece!


I feel like just settling for a good topic is usually the hardest part.


Thank you so much. My confidence has been completely destroyed during my first year of PhD and you have helped me pull myself together again

Happy to help 🙂

Linda Adhoch

I am so glad I ran into your resources and did not waste time doing the wrong this. Research is now making so much sense now.

Danyal Ahmad

Gratitude to Derrick and the team I was looking for a solid article that would aid me in drafting the thesis’ introduction. I felt quite happy when I came across the piece you wrote because it was so well-written and insightful. I wish you success in the future.

ria M

thank you so much. God Bless you

Arnold C

Thank you so much Grad Coach for these helpful insights. Now I can get started, with a great deal of confidence.


It’s ‘alluded to’ not ‘eluded to’.

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Print Friendly

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings

Preview improvements coming to the PMC website in October 2024. Learn More or Try it out now .

  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • Indian J Anaesth
  • v.60(9); 2016 Sep

How to write a research proposal?

Department of Anaesthesiology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Devika Rani Duggappa

Writing the proposal of a research work in the present era is a challenging task due to the constantly evolving trends in the qualitative research design and the need to incorporate medical advances into the methodology. The proposal is a detailed plan or ‘blueprint’ for the intended study, and once it is completed, the research project should flow smoothly. Even today, many of the proposals at post-graduate evaluation committees and application proposals for funding are substandard. A search was conducted with keywords such as research proposal, writing proposal and qualitative using search engines, namely, PubMed and Google Scholar, and an attempt has been made to provide broad guidelines for writing a scientifically appropriate research proposal.


A clean, well-thought-out proposal forms the backbone for the research itself and hence becomes the most important step in the process of conduct of research.[ 1 ] The objective of preparing a research proposal would be to obtain approvals from various committees including ethics committee [details under ‘Research methodology II’ section [ Table 1 ] in this issue of IJA) and to request for grants. However, there are very few universally accepted guidelines for preparation of a good quality research proposal. A search was performed with keywords such as research proposal, funding, qualitative and writing proposals using search engines, namely, PubMed, Google Scholar and Scopus.

Five ‘C’s while writing a literature review

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is IJA-60-631-g001.jpg


A proposal needs to show how your work fits into what is already known about the topic and what new paradigm will it add to the literature, while specifying the question that the research will answer, establishing its significance, and the implications of the answer.[ 2 ] The proposal must be capable of convincing the evaluation committee about the credibility, achievability, practicality and reproducibility (repeatability) of the research design.[ 3 ] Four categories of audience with different expectations may be present in the evaluation committees, namely academic colleagues, policy-makers, practitioners and lay audiences who evaluate the research proposal. Tips for preparation of a good research proposal include; ‘be practical, be persuasive, make broader links, aim for crystal clarity and plan before you write’. A researcher must be balanced, with a realistic understanding of what can be achieved. Being persuasive implies that researcher must be able to convince other researchers, research funding agencies, educational institutions and supervisors that the research is worth getting approval. The aim of the researcher should be clearly stated in simple language that describes the research in a way that non-specialists can comprehend, without use of jargons. The proposal must not only demonstrate that it is based on an intelligent understanding of the existing literature but also show that the writer has thought about the time needed to conduct each stage of the research.[ 4 , 5 ]


The contents or formats of a research proposal vary depending on the requirements of evaluation committee and are generally provided by the evaluation committee or the institution.

In general, a cover page should contain the (i) title of the proposal, (ii) name and affiliation of the researcher (principal investigator) and co-investigators, (iii) institutional affiliation (degree of the investigator and the name of institution where the study will be performed), details of contact such as phone numbers, E-mail id's and lines for signatures of investigators.

The main contents of the proposal may be presented under the following headings: (i) introduction, (ii) review of literature, (iii) aims and objectives, (iv) research design and methods, (v) ethical considerations, (vi) budget, (vii) appendices and (viii) citations.[ 4 ]


It is also sometimes termed as ‘need for study’ or ‘abstract’. Introduction is an initial pitch of an idea; it sets the scene and puts the research in context.[ 6 ] The introduction should be designed to create interest in the reader about the topic and proposal. It should convey to the reader, what you want to do, what necessitates the study and your passion for the topic.[ 7 ] Some questions that can be used to assess the significance of the study are: (i) Who has an interest in the domain of inquiry? (ii) What do we already know about the topic? (iii) What has not been answered adequately in previous research and practice? (iv) How will this research add to knowledge, practice and policy in this area? Some of the evaluation committees, expect the last two questions, elaborated under a separate heading of ‘background and significance’.[ 8 ] Introduction should also contain the hypothesis behind the research design. If hypothesis cannot be constructed, the line of inquiry to be used in the research must be indicated.

Review of literature

It refers to all sources of scientific evidence pertaining to the topic in interest. In the present era of digitalisation and easy accessibility, there is an enormous amount of relevant data available, making it a challenge for the researcher to include all of it in his/her review.[ 9 ] It is crucial to structure this section intelligently so that the reader can grasp the argument related to your study in relation to that of other researchers, while still demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and innovative. It is preferable to summarise each article in a paragraph, highlighting the details pertinent to the topic of interest. The progression of review can move from the more general to the more focused studies, or a historical progression can be used to develop the story, without making it exhaustive.[ 1 ] Literature should include supporting data, disagreements and controversies. Five ‘C's may be kept in mind while writing a literature review[ 10 ] [ Table 1 ].

Aims and objectives

The research purpose (or goal or aim) gives a broad indication of what the researcher wishes to achieve in the research. The hypothesis to be tested can be the aim of the study. The objectives related to parameters or tools used to achieve the aim are generally categorised as primary and secondary objectives.

Research design and method

The objective here is to convince the reader that the overall research design and methods of analysis will correctly address the research problem and to impress upon the reader that the methodology/sources chosen are appropriate for the specific topic. It should be unmistakably tied to the specific aims of your study.

In this section, the methods and sources used to conduct the research must be discussed, including specific references to sites, databases, key texts or authors that will be indispensable to the project. There should be specific mention about the methodological approaches to be undertaken to gather information, about the techniques to be used to analyse it and about the tests of external validity to which researcher is committed.[ 10 , 11 ]

The components of this section include the following:[ 4 ]

Population and sample

Population refers to all the elements (individuals, objects or substances) that meet certain criteria for inclusion in a given universe,[ 12 ] and sample refers to subset of population which meets the inclusion criteria for enrolment into the study. The inclusion and exclusion criteria should be clearly defined. The details pertaining to sample size are discussed in the article “Sample size calculation: Basic priniciples” published in this issue of IJA.

Data collection

The researcher is expected to give a detailed account of the methodology adopted for collection of data, which include the time frame required for the research. The methodology should be tested for its validity and ensure that, in pursuit of achieving the results, the participant's life is not jeopardised. The author should anticipate and acknowledge any potential barrier and pitfall in carrying out the research design and explain plans to address them, thereby avoiding lacunae due to incomplete data collection. If the researcher is planning to acquire data through interviews or questionnaires, copy of the questions used for the same should be attached as an annexure with the proposal.

Rigor (soundness of the research)

This addresses the strength of the research with respect to its neutrality, consistency and applicability. Rigor must be reflected throughout the proposal.

It refers to the robustness of a research method against bias. The author should convey the measures taken to avoid bias, viz. blinding and randomisation, in an elaborate way, thus ensuring that the result obtained from the adopted method is purely as chance and not influenced by other confounding variables.


Consistency considers whether the findings will be consistent if the inquiry was replicated with the same participants and in a similar context. This can be achieved by adopting standard and universally accepted methods and scales.


Applicability refers to the degree to which the findings can be applied to different contexts and groups.[ 13 ]

Data analysis

This section deals with the reduction and reconstruction of data and its analysis including sample size calculation. The researcher is expected to explain the steps adopted for coding and sorting the data obtained. Various tests to be used to analyse the data for its robustness, significance should be clearly stated. Author should also mention the names of statistician and suitable software which will be used in due course of data analysis and their contribution to data analysis and sample calculation.[ 9 ]

Ethical considerations

Medical research introduces special moral and ethical problems that are not usually encountered by other researchers during data collection, and hence, the researcher should take special care in ensuring that ethical standards are met. Ethical considerations refer to the protection of the participants' rights (right to self-determination, right to privacy, right to autonomy and confidentiality, right to fair treatment and right to protection from discomfort and harm), obtaining informed consent and the institutional review process (ethical approval). The researcher needs to provide adequate information on each of these aspects.

Informed consent needs to be obtained from the participants (details discussed in further chapters), as well as the research site and the relevant authorities.

When the researcher prepares a research budget, he/she should predict and cost all aspects of the research and then add an additional allowance for unpredictable disasters, delays and rising costs. All items in the budget should be justified.

Appendices are documents that support the proposal and application. The appendices will be specific for each proposal but documents that are usually required include informed consent form, supporting documents, questionnaires, measurement tools and patient information of the study in layman's language.

As with any scholarly research paper, you must cite the sources you used in composing your proposal. Although the words ‘references and bibliography’ are different, they are used interchangeably. It refers to all references cited in the research proposal.

Successful, qualitative research proposals should communicate the researcher's knowledge of the field and method and convey the emergent nature of the qualitative design. The proposal should follow a discernible logic from the introduction to presentation of the appendices.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.

Writing Proposals

  • First Online: 07 June 2024

Cite this chapter

how to write chapter one of a research proposal

  • George P. Moschis 2  

A research proposal is a formal document that outlines a plan for a research project. It serves as a blueprint or roadmap for conducting a research study and is typically submitted to funding agencies, academic institutions, or research review committees for approval and financial support. Proposals are in different formats depending on their intended targets and agency formal requirements. They can be broadly classified into (a) proposals used within institutions for approval and financial support and (b) those used for external funding of research projects or other services. Common proposals in the first category include the following: proposals submitted by doctoral students for approval of their research project as partial fulfillment of their program requirements and proposals submitted by faculty to their institutions for research support, which is usually in the form of reduced teaching load in order to devote extra time to research. The structure of both types of internal proposals, including research goals, is predominantly driven by the policies of the proposer’s institution and the proposer’s needs, research skills, and interests.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

George P. Moschis

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Appendix 14.1: Suggested Outline and Length of Dissertation Proposal


(6–10 pages, about 2–3 pages per section below)

A write up on the importance of the topic and its relevance to various audiences.

Identify gaps in knowledge and needed research

Purpose and objectives

(10–12 pages, should contain at least 1–2 pages on each of the following sections below). It includes literature review.

Brief discussion of your concept (a condensed version of your concept explication—see Chap. 4 )

Conceptual or theoretical framework and how/why it is relevant to your proposed study; and it should relate to your concept and purpose of your study (for quantitative proposals). Literature review related to your topic may serve as a source for theory development and data interpretation (in proposed qualitative studies).

Focus on select variables derived from theory as potential explanatory factors for your topic (concept) of interest (for quantitative proposals).

Statement of some key hypotheses (for quantitative proposals). If possible, state your hypotheses in the context of a graphic figure/model.

(12–15 pages)

Research approach and design (see Chap. 6 )

Methods and procedures: Sampling/informants, data collection methods used, designing experiments, manipulation checks, pre-tests, etc. (see Chap. 7 ).

Variable measures (cite sources for using existing measures)—validity & reliability; and coding procedures (see Chap. 7 )

Analyses and results or data interpretation (analytic tools, such as regression, ANCOVA, MANOVA).

Statistical tests of significance to be used for hypothesis testing (for quantitative studies, tests such as F-test).

Method of data integration (for mixed method research design (see Chap. 7 ).

Expected contribution

(about 4–5 pages should summarize what is to be learned from this study that is not already known). Identify your proposed study’s intended contribution, if it is going to be (see Chap. 10 ):

Theoretical (like offering new or competing explanation to existing problem, specify the conditions an existing theory explains a phenomenon—e.g., the role of mediating or moderating variables?).

Conceptual (would it be an improved conceptual definition, which usually involves the development of a new measure?)

Empirical (Are you going to offer answer to a research question?)

Methodological (Are you proposing a new method/approach to address a new or existing problem, if so, how do you propose to show the superiority of your proposed method?).

Research ethics.

The proposal should include details on steps the proposer will take to ensure s/he will follow the institution’s required procedures (e.g., receiving permission to use students as subjects) and professional standards for conducting the prosed study and writing articles for publication in academic journals (e.g., proper citation).

References, figures, tables., appendixes

(about 10-12 pages)

Ensure that your dissertation proposal is well-structured, free of grammatical errors, and aligned with the guidelines provided by your academic institution. Seek feedback from your advisor or committee members to refine your proposal before submission.

Appendix 14.2: Sample of Unsolicited Research Proposal

14.1.1 social sustainability: preserving and enhancing the well-being of present and future generations.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels —Albert Einstein

Dr. Randall Shannon, Assistant Professor of Marketing, CMMU, Mahidol University.

Dr. George P. Moschis, Adjunct Professor and director of the Consumer Life-course Studies Group, CMMU, Mahidol University; and Alfred Bernhardt Research Professor, Georgia State University, USA.

14.1.2 Research Rationale

Since the 1980s, the concept of sustainability has shifted towards a focus on human sustainability on Earth. The most widely cited definition of sustainability, proposed by the United Nations’ Brundtland Commission on March 20, 1987, emphasizes that sustainable development meets the present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A concise interpretation suggests that sustainability involves enhancing “the quality of human life while staying within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.” Beyond this, sustainability entails responsible and proactive decision-making and innovation to minimize negative impacts and maintain a balance between ecological resilience, economic prosperity, political justice, and cultural vibrancy, ensuring a desirable planet for all species both now and in the future. This concept is encapsulated by three dimensions: environmental sustainability, focusing on the capacity to sustain rates of renewable resource harvest, pollution creation, and non-renewable resource depletion indefinitely; economic sustainability, addressing the ability to support a defined level of economic production indefinitely; and social sustainability, concerning the ability of a social system, such as a country, to function at a defined level of social well-being indefinitely.

Challenges like sustainability have persistently eluded resolution across generations. The inability of problem solvers to address issues of this nature stems from a lack of root cause analysis. This oversight has resulted in solutions that may seem plausible intuitively but, in practice, prove ineffective as they do not tackle the fundamental causes of a problem. Despite the dedicated efforts of numerous activists, the global ecological footprint continues to escalate year after year, decade after decade. The prospect of achieving environmental sustainability is continually questioned in the face of environmental degradation, climate change, and excessive consumption.

Intuitively, the three dimensions of sustainability are interconnected and mutually influential. For instance, economic development contributes to societal overconsumption, which in turn impacts the environment. Consequently, to effectively address sustainability issues, attention must be directed towards all three dimensions. However, the predominant focus of previous endeavors aimed at addressing sustainability has been limited.

In this proposed research, we take a more comprehensive approach to tackling sustainability challenges. Rather than viewing the problem solely as a matter for corporations or governments, we recognize it as a societal issue. Human beings, acting as consumers and decision-makers in various capacities, bear significant responsibility for their behaviors, which impact not only their present and future well-being but also that of future generations. Moreover, these individual actions influence the actions of governments and corporations, thereby having implications for sustainability. Our perspective aligns with others who address sustainability issues, although we go beyond by proposing concrete actions. For instance, contends that the objective of Homo sapiens is, or should be, to optimize the quality of life for current and future generations. Implicit in this perspective is the idea that individuals should take responsibility for their own welfare and that of their descendants. This raises two important questions:

What actions should humans take to accomplish this goal?

How do we instill, or go about changing, behaviors that optimize the quality of life of present and future generations?

The need for every country to address these questions is pressing and timely, especially considering the Earth’s population growth. The current global population of 7.3 billion is projected to increase to 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100, as per the United Nations report, World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. It is crucial that we comprehend the anticipated demographic changes in the coming years and recognize the challenges and opportunities they pose for achieving sustainable development, utilizing our planet’s resources efficiently, and preserving or enhancing the quality of life.

These challenges are gaining significance due to the Earth’s aging population—the most significant demographic shift in human history. Currently, around 650 million people are over the age of 60 globally, a number expected to nearly quadruple to over 2 billion by 2050. The older age brackets will experience an even more rapid increase. While the rise in the percentage of older individuals over the next decades is a global trend, developing countries are anticipated to undergo more pronounced changes in age composition. The older population in developing nations is predicted to grow by 200–300% over the next 30 years. For instance, in China, the older population (aged 60 and over) is expected to double to nearly 400 million in about 30 years. In certain developing countries like Thailand, the rate of increase in the older population is projected to be seven to eight times higher than in industrialized nations like the United Kingdom and Sweden, according to United Nations estimates. In Asia, the population is expected to shift from having 11% to 12% of people over 60 years old today to more than 25% by 2050. Asia, with greater declines in fertility, has smaller percentages of children (24%) and youth (16%).

These demographic shifts are impacting the governments, institutions, and individuals of every country. They are placing strain on pension funds and healthcare systems and are resulting in economic ramifications that influence economic growth, savings, and investments. Furthermore, they are influencing families and giving rise to concerns such as elderly caregiving, family structure, living arrangements, and the quality of life in old age.

In summarizing our argument and rationale for the proposed research, addressing issues related to the quality of life for present and future generations within the confines of limited resources necessitates considering human agency. People must take greater responsibility for their own well-being and that of future generations. Successfully tackling such a formidable challenge involves understanding individuals as consumers of increasingly scarce resources, educating and motivating them to adopt behaviors that discourage overconsumption, and enhancing their well-being as well as that of future generations over an extended lifespan. This argument forms the fundamental theme of the recent research orientation in academia known as “transformative consumer research.”

14.1.3 Research Objectives

To propose corporate and public policies fostering values and habits promoting sustainability across generations with longer lifespans, it is essential to comprehend the development and transformation of behaviors.

Consequently, the primary goal of the suggested research is to address two key questions:

How do consumers cultivate socially responsible consumption habits that sustain and enhance well-being throughout their lives?

What factors contribute to the transition from undesirable consumer habits at various life stages to socially desirable ones that enhance well-being over a lifetime?

Given the multitude of socially desirable habits pertinent to sustainability and well-being, ranging from general lifestyles (e.g., preventive healthcare) to socially responsible consumption activities (e.g., recycling), it is impractical for a single study to cover all relevant behaviors. Initially, we propose two studies concentrating on areas pertinent to personal well-being: one on preventive healthcare and another on financial habits. This choice is grounded in the following reasons:

Health and financial independence are pivotal contributors to an individual’s sense of well-being, particularly in later life stages.

With the increasing life expectancy of people, a larger percentage will contend with chronic conditions that impede physical independence. Adopting preventive healthcare habits enables an older person to function independently, especially given the declining numbers of caregivers due to changing demographics and social values (e.g., a decrease in multi-generational living arrangements).

The diminishing availability of future caregivers for aging individuals, rising healthcare costs due to increased life expectancy, and the desire for a well-lived later life (e.g., recreation) necessitate financial habits throughout one’s life to enhance overall quality of life.

In contrast to values and behaviors established early in life that change little over time (e.g., overconsumption, materialism), the adoption and alteration of preventive healthcare behaviors and financial habits can occur at any stage during adulthood, facilitating their study across multiple generations.

Because similar studies are being planned concurrently on these topics in 10 other countries around the globe, the results from the proposed study in Thailand would allow comparison with those in other countries and allow for validation of the study findings.

14.1.4 Methodology

To accomplish our objective, the study of a wide range of consumers would be necessary. The study of younger respondents would be necessary in order to uncover the reasons for the onset of socially desirable habits (preventive healthcare and financial habits) in early life that promote wellbeing in later life. The study of older respondents would allow us to assess the wellbeing (life satisfaction) of those who engaged in socially-desirable behaviors over a longer time in their lives, and validate our assumptions that these habits enhance quality of life in later years. The study of middle-aged would allow us to examine reasons that lead to the onset or change in preventive healthcare and financial habits. Such information would be useful in designing programs that promote the onset and continuity in such behaviors.

To achieve these objectives, we suggest adopting the life-course approach, offering a unified methodological framework for individual country research projects. The life-course approach presents a sophisticated framework for empirical research without imposing specific substantive queries on researchers whose regional and national contexts may differ significantly. Consequently, individual researchers can formulate specific questions tailored to their local circumstances while still sharing a common and broader perspective on the relationship among key variables. The life-course approach also promotes the utilization of diverse data collection techniques and analyses, spanning from traditional life-history and qualitative approaches to some of the most advanced and newly developed methods of longitudinal data gathering and statistical analysis.

14.1.5 Scope of the Project/Study Population/Study Site

We are proposing 2 (two) large-scale surveys in Thailand, surveying adult respondents, ages 20 and older.

Online Survey 1:

The onset and changes in preventive healthcare habits of three generations/cohorts: Cohort A, ages 20–40; cohort B, ages 41–60; and cohort C, ages 61 and over. A total of 900 adults will be surveyed, 300 from each age cohort.

Online Survey 2:

The onset and changes in financial habits of three generations/cohorts: Cohort A, ages 20–40; cohort B, ages 41–60, and cohort C, ages 61 and over. A total of nine hundred (900) adults will be surveyed, 300 from each age cohort.

14.1.6 Name of Researchers

Randall Shannon, CMMU ( [email protected]

George Moschis, CMMU & GSU, [email protected]

14.1.7 Benefits/Indicators

The proposed project would have several tangible benefits:

The findings of the proposed research will be used to provide the bases—i.e., a blueprint or prototype of methods—for developing of a research program in Thailand that would begin to generate information on a continuous basis and serve as a source for novel corporate and public policy. Such information could provide the foundation for developing educational materials (e.g., courses, curricula) at schools and universities to help instil values and behaviors in young people; and it could help companies in developing strategies for rewarding socially-desirable behaviors of employees and customers, as well as for promoting the importance of consumer behaviors that enhance social sustainability and the quality of life of present and future generations.

The results would allow cross-country validations of our theories about the onset, continuity, and changes in socially-desirable behaviors that promote and enhance social sustainability. They will be compared with the results of similar surveys that are presently at the planning or implementation stage in other Asian countries (China, Korea, and Malaysia), as well as in other countries (USA, Holland, and Brazil).

Based on cross-country validation of the results of the proposed study of Thai adults, a blueprint for further studies will be made available (published in the form of modules) through CMMU’s based Consumer Life-course Studies Group, to guide future studies by Thai educational institutions, government, and other interested parties on a variety of social sustainability issues or topics using similar populations as well as younger age groups.

14.1.8 Duration of the Project

We propose a duration of eight months from the date the project is funded. We can either run the project’s surveys back to back, or we can run them concurrently.

14.1.9 Plan (Per Study)

Three focus groups, one from each cohort—three weeks in total

Questionnaire development, translation, back-translation, pilot testing—three weeks

Data collection, coding and data entry, data cleaning—three months

Data analysis—two months

Report and module—one month

Total: roughly eight months

14.1.10 Budget (Per Study)

We plan to hire a company to help facilitate data collection by providing email addresses. This involves helping find the potential respondents, facilitating the interviews, data collection, coding, data editing and processing. We will also need to translate and back translate the questionnaires into Thai and test for meaning equivalence, including pilot testing.

For each study, with a sample size of 900, we anticipate requiring a budget of approximately 600,000 baht, including incentive to participants.

Suggested fee for translation and back translation: 10,000 baht.

Focus groups among three cohorts, 20,000 baht for each, times three: 60,000 baht.

We propose hiring at least two research assistants to help with these projects, and would very much like to conduct focus groups before kicking off the large scale surveys. 15,000 per month for each assistant, times eight months. Total: 240,000 baht.

Ethics approval, anticipated 10,000 baht.

Development and printing of modules (1000 copies × 300 baht): 30,000.

Total budget requested: 955,000 baht per study.

Appendix 14.3: A Sample of Articles Based on Data from Corporate-Funded Studies

*Bellenger, D. N., Kennett, P., & Moschis, G. P. (1995). Marketing Financial Services to Mature Consumers. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 9 (2), 62–72.

*Foreman, J., Moschis, G., & Burkhalter, J. (2010). Gerontographics and Mass Media Preferences of Mature Consumers. In 4th International Conference Proceedings . American Institute of Higher Education, Williamsburg, VA, March 17–19, 745–754.

Goldstucker, J. L., Moschis, G. P., & Stanley, T. J. (1986). Possible Effects of Electronic Shopping on Restructuring of Distribution Channels. International Journal of Retailing, 1 (1), 20–32.

Goldstucker, J. L., Stanley, T. J., & Moschis, G. P. (1984). Will Consumer Acceptance of Videotex Services Affect Marketing? In Proceedings of the Annual Educators’ Conference . Chicago: American Marketing Association, 200–204.

*Guillory, M., & Moschis, G. P. (2008). Marketing Apartments, Townhouses, and Condominiums to Seniors. Senior Housing & Care Journal, 16 (1), 31–51.

*Kennett, P., Moschis, G. P., & Bellenger, D. N. (1995). Marketing Financial Services to Mature Consumers. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 9 (2), 62–72.

Korgaonkar, P., & Moschis, G. P. (1987). Consumer Adoption of Videotext Services. Journal of Direct Marketing, 1 (4), 63–71.

Lumpkin, J. R., Gibler, K. M., & Moschis, G. P. (1992). Perceptions and Preferences of the Aged. Australian Health and Aged Care Journal , October, 66–68.

*Mathur, A., & Moschis, G. P. (1999). Exploring the Intergenerational Caregiver Market: A Study of Family Care Providers for the Elderly. Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 7 (3), 76–86.

*Mathur, A., & Moschis, G. P. (1999). Socialization Influences on Preparation for Later Life. Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science , 163–167.

*Moschis, G. P. (2003). Marketing to Older Adults: An Updated Overview of Present Knowledge and Practice. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 20 (6), 516–525.

*Moschis, G. P., Bellenger, D. N., & Curasi, C. (2005). Marketing Retirement Communities to Older Consumers. Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education, 8 (1), 99–114.

*Moschis, G. P., Bellenger, D. N., & Curasi, C. (2003). Financial-Service Preferences and Patronage Motives of Older Consumers. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 7 (4), 331–340.

*Moschis, G. P., Bovell, L. (2013). Marketing Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Products to the Mature Market. International Journal of Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Marketing, 7 (4), 357–373.

*Moschis, G. P., Burkhalter, J. (2007). Making Ends Meet: How Will the Elderly Manage their Finances and Post-Retirement Expenses? Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 12 (3), 235–241.

*Moschis, G. P., Curasi, C., & Bellenger, D. (2003). Restaurant Selection Preferences of the Mature Market. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 44 (4), 51–60.

*Moschis, G. P., Curasi, C. F., & Bellenger, D. N. (2004). Patronage Motives of Mature Consumers in the Selection of Food and Grocery Stores. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 21 (2), 123–133.

*Moschis, G. P., Curasi, C. F., & Bellenger, D. N. (2003). What Influences the Mature Consumers? Marketing Health Services , 17–21.

*Moschis, G. P., Ferguson, J., & Zhu, M. (2011). Mature Consumers’ Selection of Apparel and Footwear Brands and Department Stores. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 35 (10), 785–801.

*Moschis, G. P., Friend, S. (2008). Segmenting the Preferences and Usage Patterns of the Mature Consumer Health-Care Market. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, 2 (1), 7–21.

*Moschis, G. P., Nguyen, H. V. (2008). Affluent Mature Consumers: Preferences and Patronization for Financial Services. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 13 (3), 259–267.

Moschis, G. P., Stanley, T. J. (1983). The ATM-Prone Consumer: Profile and Implications. Journal of Retail Banking, 5 , 45–51.

Moschis, G. P., Stanley, T. J. (1984). Home Information Systems: Recent Developments and Implications. In Proceedings of the Winter Educators’ Conference . Chicago: American Marketing Association.

Moschis, G. P., Stanley, T. J. (1984). America’s Affluent. American Demographics , Spring 1984.

Moschis, G. P., Stanley, T. J. (1985). Will Consumers Let Computers Do the Walking? Business Horizons, 28 (2), 22–29.

*Moschis, G. P., Unal, B. (2008). Travel and Leisure Services Preferences and Patronage Motives of Older Consumers. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 24 (4), 259–269.

*Moschis, G. P., Weaver, T. (2010). Segmenting Demand for Long-term Care Services among Mature Consumers. Services Marketing Quarterly, 31 (1), 106–115.

Stanley, T. J., Moschis, G. P. (1983). Flawed Surveys, Field Trials May Overstate Positive Consumer Acceptance of Videotex. Marketing News, November 25, 1983 , 18–19.

Stanley, T. J & Moschis, G. P. (1984). America’s affluent. American Demographics , 6(3), 28–33.

Stanley, T. J., Moschis, G. P., & Danko, W. D. (1987). Financial service segments: The seven faces of the affluent market. Journal of Advertising Research , 27 (4), 52–67.

Asterisk (*) denotes articles based on CMCS data.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2024 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Moschis, G.P. (2024). Writing Proposals. In: Academic Research in Business and the Social Sciences. Springer, Cham.

Download citation


Published : 07 June 2024

Publisher Name : Springer, Cham

Print ISBN : 978-3-031-56547-2

Online ISBN : 978-3-031-56548-9

eBook Packages : Business and Management Business and Management (R0)

Share this chapter

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Publish with us

Policies and ethics

  • Find a journal
  • Track your research

U.S. flag

Federal Acquisition Regulation

Full far download in various formats, browse far part/subpart and download in various formats.

  • Data Initiatives
  • Regulations
  • Smart Matrix
  • Regulations Search
  • Acquisition Regulation Comparator (ARC)
  • Large Agencies
  • Small Agencies
  • CAOC History
  • CAOC Charter
  • Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC)
  • Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council
  • Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee (ISDC)

GSA logo


An official website of the General Services Administration

  • How to write a sponsorship letter


How to write a sponsorship letter + a free customizable sample.

Use a sponsorship letter sample to gather the resources you need.

Explore Adobe Acrobat for business

A laptop displays a sponsorship letter template.


What is a sponsorship letter?

1. Research

2. Be specific

3. Highlight the benefits

4. Format professionally

5. Follow up

Sponsorship letter sample.

FAQs about sponsorship letters

It takes a village to run a successful small business, especially if you’re planning a big event. Handling everything on your own is tricky, but fortunately, you don’t have to. Sponsors can offer funding, materials, and time to share the work and help you plan a world-class experience. The right partnerships and business tools make all the difference — all you have to do is figure out how to connect with the right people.

But not just any business proposal will do. Whether you’re reaching out to potential sponsors for a local event, community project, or business initiative, crafting a compelling sponsorship letter can make all the difference. Like most business communications, effective sponsorship letters follow a specific formula to get the point across and build goodwill between your brand and a potential sponsor.

If you’ve never written a sponsorship letter before, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll explain what a sponsorship letter is and why it’s so important, as well as share expert tips to help you write letters that resonate with potential sponsors. By using a template for your business letter and other important documents, you can customize with confidence.

A sponsorship letter is a formal request for support from an individual or organization. Most sponsorship letters request either financial support, usually through a donation, or material support, like the provision of food, a venue, or event staff. Sponsorship letters are popular in the non-profit space, which relies on donations to create successful events. However, local businesses also utilize sponsorship letters and write them for events, educational programs, or collaborative community projects.

This formal proposal explains why prospective sponsors should support your cause or event. While you’re free to wing it, following a sponsorship letter template will help you:

  • Position yourself professionally. A well-crafted letter shows you’re professional and serious about the request.
  • Communicate clearly. A sponsorship letter helps you clearly state what you’re asking for and offering to the sponsor in return, ensuring everyone understands the benefits of the arrangement.
  • Connect with sponsors on a deeper level. Ideally, you want to work with sponsors that align with your mission, vision, or purpose. For example, a small business hosting a women’s networking event might connect with sponsors that also support female entrepreneurship. Using a template will speed things up, but you’ll still need to write a unique sponsorship letter for each request that connects your request with the sponsor’s mission.

A sponsorship letter will help you forge beneficial relationships that lighten the burden of planning or financing as long as you can identify a potential sponsor’s interest and align that with your project’s objectives. A template is a great starting point, but crafting an effective sponsorship letter requires more than clever wording. The following tips will help you learn how to write an effective sponsorship letter and garner more support for your proposal.

1. Research prospective sponsors.

Nothing turns off potential sponsors as much as an irrelevant request. Sponsorship requests are similar to formatting a business proposal — you should know exactly who will read it. Understand the potential sponsor’s business, values, and previous sponsorship ventures. This knowledge will help you tailor your letter to align with their interests. Nobody wants to receive a form letter or generic message, so put in the effort to customize a letter for each recipient.

2. Be specific when crafting your sponsorship letter.

What would you like to receive from this sponsor? If you need funding, let the recipient know and attach sponsorship information to the letter. If you need food, a venue, marketing, or other in-kind services, ask specifically for that item. Vague requests will only confuse potential sponsors and could complicate the process.

3. Highlight the benefits for the sponsors.

Many businesses will reject sponsorship requests. However, you can increase your odds of acceptance by clarifying what they have to gain from the arrangement. Try to make this as irresistible as possible. Brand exposure, association with a good cause, or access to a new audience could benefit interested sponsors, for example. If you have hard metrics or quantitative data, like total attendee figures or past event engagement data, add that to your sponsorship letter to make an even stronger case for sponsorship.

4. Format your sponsorship letter professionally.

PDFs are the gold standard for digital sponsorship request letters. Even if you write your content in Microsoft Word, you can use the Acrobat Word to PDF tool to convert each sponsorship letter into a PDF before sending it to its recipient. Read over your letter before sending it to ensure the content is grammatically correct and conveys the point clearly and concisely. Choose an easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman or another serif font and never format text smaller than size 12. Include your name, address, contact information, and the potential sponsor’s information at the top of the letter. Add your name, position, and organization, and then sign your name.

5. Follow up.

If you haven’t heard back within two weeks, send a follow-up email or call the prospective sponsor to see if they’re interested. If they still don’t respond, you can assume they aren’t interested, so refocus your attention on other potential sponsors. With a sponsorship letter, you aren’t just asking for assistance — you’re trying to forge a valuable partnership that benefits both parties. The success of your request hinges on how well you connect with potential sponsors and convey the value they receive in exchange for their support. Use a template to better understand how to write a sponsorship letter, save time writing your requests, and jump-start the relationship-building process. Word processing tools can kick-start the sponsorship letter-writing process, but what happens next? Format everything with Adobe Acrobat for business tools to make the best impression with potential sponsors. Add your signature in a few clicks, edit PDFs, compress files, and more.

Sponsors handle a lot of the heavy lifting for you, but you’ll need to put in the hard work of sourcing them. Not everyone will agree, so send more sponsorship requests than you actually need. Each letter needs to be customized for every recipient, reflecting their interests and aligning with your project’s objectives. Save time by using a sponsorship letter template and plugging in your details.

Screenshot of a sponsorship letter template.

Not sure what these guidelines sound like in practice? No problem. Check out this sponsorship letter sample.

Acme Coworking

123 Acme Lane

Acme, PA 12345

[email protected]

(123) 456-7890

June 1, 2024

John’s Catering

150 Acme Lane

Dear Mr. Doe,

I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Jane Doe, and I am the owner of Acme Coworking. I am writing to you regarding a unique sponsorship opportunity with John’s Catering. Your support and partnership would be crucial to the success of our initiative, and we greatly appreciate your consideration.

Acme Coworking is a community space that brings together local business owners, entrepreneurs, and visionaries to collaborate, share space, and foster close connections. Just two years after our founding, we have over 100 members and are excited to continue growing.

On August 1, 2024, we are planning to host Acme Coworking Power Hour, which aims to bring all of our members and people from the community together for a night of networking. This initiative is in line with our commitment to encourage local connections and business relationships.

We believe that John’s Catering shares similar values, particularly in bringing people together over food. Therefore, we are excited to offer you the opportunity to be one of our esteemed sponsors for this endeavor.

In exchange for your support, we’ll offer professionally printed banners around the venue advertising your company, as well as multiple email promotions with your company logo to our email list of more than 100 local contacts.

We have various sponsorship levels detailed in the attached sponsorship package. Each level offers different benefits and exposure opportunities, allowing you to choose one that aligns best with your company’s marketing and community outreach goals.

Your support would be instrumental in the success of Power Hour and can significantly impact attendees’ desire to connect and return to future events at the coworking space. We look forward to the possibility of partnering with John’s Catering and building a mutually beneficial relationship.

I would be happy to discuss this sponsorship opportunity further with you at your earliest convenience. Please feel free to contact me directly at (123) 456-7890 or [email protected]

Thank you for considering this proposal, and I look forward to the possibility of working together for a successful Power Hour.

Warm regards,

Frequently asked questions about sponsorship letters.

How do you write a letter for sponsorship.

Begin with a sponsorship letter template to speed things up. Start by introducing yourself and your organization. Explain the purpose of the letter and provide details about the project for which you’re requesting sponsorship. Highlight how sponsorship benefits the sponsor and make specific asks, such as financial or material support. Always end the letter with your contact information for further discussion.

How do you politely ask for sponsorship?

The best way to ask for sponsorship is with a professional letter via mail or email. Keep things friendly by expressing appreciation for the sponsor’s consideration. Emphasize the mutual benefits of sponsorship and always express gratitude for any support they might offer, regardless of their decision.

How do you write a letter requesting sponsorship for a sports team?

Start by introducing your team and sharing your achievements and future goals. Explain the reason for seeking sponsorship, such as paying for uniforms, equipment, or travel costs. Highlight the exposure and promotional opportunities for the sponsor, like their logo on team apparel or acknowledgment at events. Be clear about what you need, and thank them for considering supporting your team.

How do you write a sponsorship proposal example?

A sponsorship proposal should start with an introduction to your organization or event. Clearly outline the opportunities for the sponsor, including specific benefits like branding, media exposure, or engagement with a particular audience. Detail the sponsorship levels or packages and provide concrete examples of how the sponsor’s contribution will be used and recognized. End with a call to action inviting them to discuss the proposal further.

Keep exploring

how to write chapter one of a research proposal


  1. Research Proposal

    how to write chapter one of a research proposal

  2. 9 Free Research Proposal Templates (with Examples)

    how to write chapter one of a research proposal

  3. 11 Research Proposal Examples to Make a Great Paper

    how to write chapter one of a research proposal

  4. Choose from 40 Research Proposal Templates & Examples. 100% Free

    how to write chapter one of a research proposal

  5. Writing the Research Proposal in Word and Pdf formats

    how to write chapter one of a research proposal


    how to write chapter one of a research proposal


  1. How to write chapter 1 for a dissertation project?

  2. How to Write Chapter 1 of a Thesis: The Problem and Its Setting


  4. How to write a Research Proposal? I I Scholarship I Study Abroad

  5. chapter one Research Questions #chapterone #ResearchQuestions #projectwriting #english

  6. How to Write a Research Proposal


  1. Q: What do I include in chapter one of my research project?

    Since you have used the word "chapter," I assume that you are referring to a project proposal/report or thesis. Typically, chapter one of a research project proposal or thesis includes the following components: Study background. Statement of the problem. Purpose of the study. Research question (s)

  2. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Research proposal examples. Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We've included a few for you below. Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management".

  3. How To Write A Research Proposal

    Here is an explanation of each step: 1. Title and Abstract. Choose a concise and descriptive title that reflects the essence of your research. Write an abstract summarizing your research question, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. It should provide a brief overview of your proposal. 2.

  4. How To Write A Research Proposal (With Examples)

    Make sure you can ask the critical what, who, and how questions of your research before you put pen to paper. Your research proposal should include (at least) 5 essential components : Title - provides the first taste of your research, in broad terms. Introduction - explains what you'll be researching in more detail.


    In this episode of the series, A Basic Guide to Doing Research, Dr. Sarah Chidiebere Joe shares relevant information on how to write our first three chapters...

  6. What Is A Research Proposal? Examples + Template

    As you write up your research proposal, remember the all-important core purpose: to convince. Your research proposal needs to sell your study in terms of suitability and viability. So, focus on crafting a convincing narrative to ensure a strong proposal. At the same time, pay close attention to your university's requirements.

  7. PDF Research Proposal Format Example

    1. Research Proposal Format Example. Following is a general outline of the material that should be included in your project proposal. I. Title Page II. Introduction and Literature Review (Chapters 2 and 3) A. Identification of specific problem area (e.g., what is it, why it is important). B. Prevalence, scope of problem.

  8. How to write a research proposal

    Look for any research gaps, trends and patterns, common themes, debates, and contradictions. Consider any seminal studies on the topic area as it is likely anticipated that you will address these in your research proposal. 4. Research Design. This is where you get down to the real meat of your research proposal.

  9. How to Write a Research Proposal: A Step-by-Step

    Writing a research proposal template in structured steps ensures a comprehensive and coherent presentation of your research project. Let's look at the explanation for each of the steps here: Step 1: Title and Abstract. Step 2: Introduction. Step 3: Research objectives. Step 4: Literature review.

  10. PDF Guidelines for Writing Research Proposals and Dissertations

    A typical dissertation/research proposal consists of three chapters or parts: the Introduction (Chapter 1), the Review of Related Literature and/or Research (Chapter 2), and the Methodology (Chapter 3). The completed dissertation begins with the same three chapters and concludes with two

  11. How To Write A Proposal

    1. Title Page: Include the title of your proposal, your name or organization's name, the date, and any other relevant information specified by the guidelines. 2. Executive Summary: Provide a concise overview of your proposal, highlighting the key points and objectives.

  12. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  13. How to Write a Research Proposal in 2024: Structure, Examples & Common

    A quality example of a research proposal shows one's above-average analytical skills, including the ability to coherently synthesize ideas and integrate lateral and vertical thinking. Communication skills. The proposal also demonstrates your proficiency to communicate your thoughts in concise and precise language.

  14. 11.2 Steps in Developing a Research Proposal

    Key Takeaways. Developing a research proposal involves the following preliminary steps: identifying potential ideas, choosing ideas to explore further, choosing and narrowing a topic, formulating a research question, and developing a working thesis. A good topic for a research paper interests the writer and fulfills the requirements of the ...

  15. How to Write Chapter One of Research Projects

    A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO RESEARCH WRITING - CHAPTER ONE. The outline of a well written Chapter One is supposed to include all or some of the following: CHAPTER ONE. INTRODUCTION. 1.1 Background to the Study. 1.2 Statement of the Problem. 1.3 Objectives or Purpose of the Study. 1.4 Research Questions and /or Hypotheses. 1.5 Significance of the Study

  16. How To Write A Dissertation Introduction Chapter

    Craft an enticing and engaging opening section. Provide a background and context to the study. Clearly define the research problem. State your research aims, objectives and questions. Explain the significance of your study. Identify the limitations of your research. Outline the structure of your dissertation or thesis.


    a research proposal. 1. ACADEMIC MERIT The academic merit of a research project is the only aspect of the proposal that should be considered for approval by the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee. Correcting poor grammar, spelling mistakes, and attending to the layout and format ... Sometimes authors write more than one article in the same year ...

  18. How to write a research proposal?

    A proposal needs to show how your work fits into what is already known about the topic and what new paradigm will it add to the literature, while specifying the question that the research will answer, establishing its significance, and the implications of the answer. [ 2] The proposal must be capable of convincing the evaluation committee about ...

  19. What Is a Research Methodology?

    Step 1: Explain your methodological approach. Step 2: Describe your data collection methods. Step 3: Describe your analysis method. Step 4: Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made. Tips for writing a strong methodology chapter. Other interesting articles.

  20. Writing Proposals

    Abstract. A research proposal is a formal document that outlines a plan for a research project. It serves as a blueprint or roadmap for conducting a research study and is typically submitted to funding agencies, academic institutions, or research review committees for approval and financial support. Proposals are in different formats depending ...

  21. How to write a research proposal (Chapter 2)

    How to write a research proposal Jack P. Hailman , University of Wisconsin, Madison , Karen B. Strier , University of Wisconsin, Madison Book: Planning, Proposing, and Presenting Science Effectively

  22. How to Write a Literature Review

    Examples of literature reviews. Step 1 - Search for relevant literature. Step 2 - Evaluate and select sources. Step 3 - Identify themes, debates, and gaps. Step 4 - Outline your literature review's structure. Step 5 - Write your literature review.

  23. FAR

    Part 1 - Federal Acquisition Regulations System. Part 2 - Definitions of Words and Terms. Part 3 - Improper Business Practices and Personal Conflicts of Interest. Part 4 - Administrative and Information Matters. Part 5 - Publicizing Contract Actions.

  24. How to write a sponsorship letter

    Choose an easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman or another serif font and never format text smaller than size 12. Include your name, address, contact information, and the potential sponsor's information at the top of the letter. Add your name, position, and organization, and then sign your name. 5. Follow up.