9 Components of a Research Proposal

A research proposal can be divided into many different steps but all of these configurations serve to demonstrate two qualities to your reader: that (1) there is an important question which needs answering; and (2) you have the capacity to answer that question. All the steps of a proposal must serve either or both of these goals (Wong, n.d.).

Before we delve into the substantive details of the research proposal, we want to briefly discuss two often overlooked components: title page and abstract. The first component of presenting a topic is developing a title page that accurately reflects your topic. Make sure that your title highlights the focus of your study and the expected outcomes (e.g., do you expect to discover lessons, insights, implementation strategies, improved understandings etc.). It is best to keep your title short (usually no more than two lines) and specific to your research concerns. For more tips on writing effective titles, see Hartley (2017). Apart from the actual words in your title, you should ensure that your title page aligns with the referencing style used in the rest of the proposal (e.g., check out APA convention on title pages). Regardless of the referencing style used, a good title page usually has the following information: title of the proposal, author’s name, institution and/department, program/course and the date. Including a running header and page number are optional.


Hartley, J. (2007). There‘s more to the title than meets the eye: Exploring the possibilities. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 37(1), 95-101. https://doi.org/10.2190/BJ16-8385-7Q73-1162

Wong, Paul T. P. (n.d.). How to Write a Research Proposal. Meaning.ca. http://www.meaning.ca/archives/archive/art_how_to_write_P_Wong.htm


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Practicing and Presenting Social Research Copyright © 2022 by Oral Robinson and Alexander Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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