Research proposal definition
According to wikipedia, a research proposal is “a document written by a researcher that provides a detailed description of the proposed program. It is like an outline of the entire research process that gives a reader a summary of the information discussed in a project.”
Types of research proposals
Research proposals can serve a wide range of purposes. Just a couple of examples:
- PhD application proposal – if you apply for a PhD, you usually have to outline what you are up to and what your research would be about.
- PhD research proposal – once you are accepted to a doctoral program, you have to make a detailed plan of your proposed research activities, at least for the first year, if not for the entire length of your scholarship.
- Science project proposal – In most scientific fields, a projects can be started only if there is a proper project proposal which all participants agreed upon.
- Project funding proposals and grant proposals – Projects need funding, because the humans who do them, need funding; and funding doesn’t come without a proper proposal.
- Dissertation proposal – once you get to the point of writing a dissertation (also called ‘thesis’ in some countries), you will already have written a couple of research proposals, so it won’t be the problem to write one more, even though it might be for a much bigger research project than all previous ones. This is probably true if you do a PhD by coursework.
If you do a PhD by research, the dissertation proposal is most probably the same as the research proposal you initially had to submit along with your application.
There is no single best research proposal format or research proposal example that would work for everyone, because each research project is different. However, you can always recognize similarities and patterns among successful research proposals.
Check out the research proposal writing section for a couple of research proposal writing tips.