There is no such thing as the “best research proposal format“. There are, however, a couple of good examples of research proposals that you can adapt to your own needs, whichever format your university requests from you. Here is a reviewed selection of research proposal format guidelines. The Editor’s Advice: go through them and take at least one good idea of each one of them!
i) A Format for Research Proposals – by Jeffrey Stern, Graduate Student, Program in Social Networks, School of Social Sciences, University of California Irvine.
ii) UWA Research Proposal Format – some well-structured guidance on the right research proposal format from the Graduate Research School at University of Western Australia (UWA), explaining how and why your research proposal should be formatted and divided into sections, tips on language use (plain English only!), optimal length (max. 15 pages), etc.
iii) The Elements and Structure of a Research Proposal – a great “beginner’s guide to research proposal writing”, taking you through all the steps of the research proposal writing process – from the initial research question and the hypothesis statement to the literature review; by Robert Gerber, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
iv) PhD research proposal format requirements – a simple 8-step proposal writing guideline, explaining the PhD research proposal format requirements at the Department of Management Science and Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece
v) Suggested Format for a Research Proposal in Biology and Medicine – a simple research proposal format guideline for undergraduate research projects in Biology and Medicine; from the Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
vi) Research Proposal Format and Presentation Guidelines in Biotechnology (PDF) – a 7-page Guidance on Formats for Research Proposal and Oral Presentations of Research Proposals and Research Papers, with sample proposal cover sheets and general comments on the oral presentation of research project proposals; University of Kentucky
vii) The top 33 aspects of a successful research proposal – a thorough list of the most important research proposal formatting aspects, grouped into four areas: topic, content, proposal format and writing; from the Research Methods class taught by Prof. Anderson at Iowa State University (2000) – you will get more ideas (to format your own research proposal) from these 3 pages than from any other guideline!
viii) Research Proposal and Research Progress Report Guidelines – Guidelines for the Preparation of Research Proposal, Research Progress Reports, Presynopsis Reports, and Synopsis; from the Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (2003)