Key Sections of the Research Proposal

Components of a Good Research Proposal

Research proposals are different from other academic documents because they have specific formats and details. They are not your ordinary essays. Instructors and tutors have specific expectations when they ask students to write a research proposal. Knowing which components to include in your research proposal is meeting the trainer’s expectations.

Elements of a Research Proposal

Your research proposal should have the following components if it is to be considered complete.

  • Cover page
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Research design
  • Reference list

Each of these parts should be written clearly, without missing any aspect. There may be various variations of the same, but the bottom line still remains that they should be captured in one way or another in the proposal.

Cover page

This is the first mandatory page that appears on the proposal paper since some people may decide to include the research page's optional purpose. It should contain several things, including the title of the research proposal, your name, the course code, the supervisor's name, and the department you are from. The formatting of this section will depend on the department's instructions you are applying to get funding from. Always confirm with them before making any significant moves.

Table of Content

Together with the abstract, this will need to be included in the proposal if it is a long one. They can be omitted if you are writing a short proposal. The table of content outlines the content in the write-up, capturing the specific pages that the various content can be found. The abstract is a short description of what to expect in the proposal and is usually written on its page. It is short and serves as a sneak pick into the content.


Regardless of the length of the proposal, an introduction is a mandatory requirement for the proposal. It introduces the context of the proposal as well as laying the topic bare. It also captures the problem statement tackling issues such as the interest, knowledge, incites, and value of the research. A reader can easily tell if the research proposal is worth it by reading the introduction first.

Literature Review

Your research is not new, even though you are supposed to include a lot of new information since your goal is to fill a gap left by previous researchers. To do this successfully, there is a need to review work already done in your study area. Make sure you can make comparisons, contrast the different findings with your own, and clarify how your research fits into existing research. This will help you chose the right methods to conduct your research correctly.


Different research methods are used to achieve different results. Before settling on a method to use in your research, you have to find out your research needs. Determine if you need new or existing data and if your study needs to quantitative or qualitative.

Whatever you do, make sure that the basics are covered. Alternatively, hire an expert to assist.


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