For many students and researchers, writing a good scientific research proposal is a stumbling block. A research proposal is the initial step for conducting any research. The students and researchers are at loss in deciding what to include and what not to include in their research proposal. The main purpose of writing a research proposal is to give a brief outline of what you want to do (Objective), why it has to be done (Background/Literature Review), how will you go about doing it (Design/Methodology), and what outcomes you expect from it (Conclusion). For writing a good scientific research proposal, apart from the basic structure (other sections might be included based on the type of research you want to undertake), the following things should be kept in mind:
- A clear and structured proposal always scores higher than a vague one. Present things clearly, concisely and coherently.
- Your proposal should not be very much descriptive. A lengthy proposal does not imply that it is good enough to be approved. Present your key concepts in a brief and coherent manner.
- Ensure that you have stated your objective clearly and early in your proposal. You do not need to write a few pages of introductory text before stating your objective.
- The reader/reviewer will judge a research proposal to a large extent based on the Literature Review section. It shows how much you are aware of the relevant context pertaining to your research objective. With regard to your research objective, cite key existing literature, their limitations, and how your work will further contribute to it.
- Briefly mention how you will conduct the research. What methods you will use and what strategies you will adopt, should be clearly stated.
- The proposal should catch the attention of the reader. Use easily legible fonts and set liberal line spacing and margins.
- Ensure that there are no grammatical and spelling mistakes in your research proposal. These tend to create a negative impression on the reader.
- Proofread your proposal thoroughly before sending it. There might be some silly omissions, improper organization of text, etc. The reviewer will lose interest in your proposal if he has to keep on guessing your intent. You can get your research proposal read by someone to check whether it makes sense to him.
- Make sure that you submit your proposal before the scheduled date. After putting in all the efforts, you do not want your proposal to be rejected just because you submitted after the specified deadline.
While thinking about how to write a research proposal, you need to remember that a research proposal leaves a positive/negative impression on the reader. Whether or not you proceed with your research depends on that first impression. Whether the proposal gets approved or not purely depends on your writing. Therefore, you should devote considerable attention while drafting a research proposal. Your research proposal is the window through which the reader/reviewer can see whether you are justified in and capable of conducting research or not. Writing a good research proposal can open up the doors for further research for you!