Research Proposals: Parts of a Proposal

Updated: Apr 25

A research proposal is meant to inform a reader of everything about the scope of the idea that you are planning to explore in the research project. This, therefore demands that you present the ideas in a well-structured manner. Here are the main parts of a research proposal:

The Problem statement

Research is simply not a summary of the concepts that are available about a certain topic, but the original analysis of a given problem. A research problem is therefore distinct from a regular discussion since it is more specific, and it usually seeks to provide a solution or to thoroughly analyze a concept.

Research questions need to be complex. If you can easily answer the questions at hand, or you can get enough answers by doing a simple inquiry, there that does not qualify to be an adequate research problem. The research problem needs to be something more like a mystery that you intend to solve. It should also involve utilizing multiple sources to come up with a solution. The introduction of a problem in a research proposal involves providing a very succinct or clear statement. This statement should also help you remain focused on the issue that you are addressing so that you can collect as much information as possible.


You need to provide the context of the research project, in a bid to establish a clear understanding of the issues that you are presenting. In the research proposal, this is the section that gives a brief overview of all main concepts and ideas that are related to your research topic. The presentation of these concepts is usually meant to convince the reader of the research project that you are looking forward to analyzing very major social, historical, cultural or scientific issues, and that you will contribute to the creation of a better understanding of related concepts in the underlying field.

Literature review

The inclusion of all current research and past research that is related to your research topic is a very important part of the scholarly conversation in the research proposal. The literature review section of the proposal usually presents an opportunity for you to review the research related to your topic that has been done up to date. This enables you to create a distinction between what has already been done, and what you intend to present in your proposed research. You should, therefore, be in a position to identify the main themes in the current research, as well as to highlight any shortcomings. This is also the section in which you clarify your project’s theoretical orientation, along with the sources from which you will collect your data.


This part of the research proposal entails the presentation of the steps you intend to take so that you can address the problem. The discussion of the research methods is the main thing you are expected to do in this section. You should be clear about how each method you choose will help you collect data to address the problem.

You should also include a schedule or timeline for the research project in this section. As much as most research project supervisors will not demand that you create a schedule, having one will come in handy as you make progress with the project.


The research proposal conclusion is similar to the conclusion usually written in other types of scholarly works. In the conclusion, you should restate the problem, how it is related to the main issues in the research, the information you will utilize to address this issue, as well as what you expect to discover at the end of the research project.

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