Chapter 14: The Research Proposal
As with writing any academic paper, research proposals are generally organized in the same manner across most social science disciplines. The length of a research proposal depends upon the audience for whom the research proposal is being prepared. For example, research proposals being prepared for a doctoral degree will have higher expectations and will likely run approximately 25 pages, excluding appendices and references. On the other hand, a research proposal being prepared for undergraduate level research might run approximately 10 pages, excluding appendices and references.
Before starting the writing process, a good place to start is to ask yourself a series of questions:
- What do I want to study?
- Why is the topic important?
- In what ways is this topic significant within my particular field of study?
- What problems will this research help to solve (i.e., social, cultural, safety, environmental, economic, business, and/or governance issues)?
- How does it build upon and go beyond previous research on this topic?
- What exactly should I plan to do?
- Can I get it done in the time and with the resources available to me?