Last Updated on December 24, 2022 by Tabraiz


A research plan is a written document prepared by a researcher that describes the intended research. It summarises the material discussed in the research and serves as an outline for the reader. Students prepare research proposals for admission into a Master’s degree program or enrolling in a PhD. Research proposals are also necessary for seeking grants from an institution. Academics frequently write proposals for gaining research grants or applying for a research opportunity in a research institute. You might not be aware of important parts of a proposal and not drafting it properly. This article will tell you about the most important parts of a research proposal that you may not know.

What is a research proposal?

A research proposal is essentially a blueprint of your research. It informs the supervisor or the grant review manager about your research topic. It is essential to inform the readers about the necessity of your research (justification) and the research methodologies. A research plan aims to persuade the academic committee or a university that your research is appropriate and necessary. It is just like a business plan where you plan it in such a way to sell a product. Although in a research paper, you are selling your research ideas to a team of experts who must be convinced by reviewing your plan. You can get dissertation proposal writing service in case of any issue.

What are the most important parts of a research proposal?

Following are the most important parts of a proposal:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Background of the Study
  • Literature Review
  • Research designs and methods


An abstract is the first thing that a reader will read and make a judgement of you. Abstract provides a concise summary of your entire research in not more than 250 words. An abstract should have the following things:

  • Provide a synopsis of the entire research to the reader
  • Summarize the research’s significance
  • Specify the hypothesis and primary objectives of the research
  • Briefly shed light on research design or research methodology

As a general rule of thumb, it is advisable to write the abstract in the end when you have a clear idea of your research.


The introduction is the preamble to your entire research. It sets the foundation for your research. You will have to inform the reader about the following things:

  • What is the aim of your research?
  • What do you intend to achieve?
  • What is the thesis statement of your research?
  • What is the relevance of your thesis statement with the research topic?
  • Which methods will you use to examine the research problem?
  • What is the importance of your research problem?
  • What will be the potential benefits of your proposed research?
  • What will be the importance of your research findings?

Background of the Study

In this section, you will have to establish the context of your research. You will have to write it from a perspective that your readers know nothing about the subject. But, remember it is a research proposal, so you do not have to mention everything about the subject. You must include only the material relevant to your research problem.

Literature Review

A literature review is essentially an exercise to demonstrate the significance of your research paper. It requires a critical review and synthesis of relevant literature on your topic. You will have to identify the gaps in the previous studies and justify your research problem. Do not get entangled in writing too much information. It will confuse you and your readers as well. The best strategy is to divide your literature review according to the concepts and themes. Remember the following things:

  • Critically analyse the previous research and identify gaps in the research
  • Question everything but appreciate the work as well
  • Ascertain how does your research fit in the larger body of knowledge

Research Designs & Methods

This portion of the research proposal aims to persuade the reader about the methodology you will use. It demonstrates that your overarching study design and evaluation methodologies will allow you to address the research problem. It also informs the readers that the methodology will accurately interpret your research findings.

What are the essential features of the research proposal?

Following are the essential features of a research proposal:

Follow the formatting guidelines

It is essential to use margins, proper spacing and fonts

Structure the paragraphs and indents as per academic standards

Follow the submission instructions provided by the university or institute

Keep it Logical

Properly structure and organize your research proposal

Logical connectivity between paragraphs and ideas

Keep one idea per paragraph with supporting evidence

Keep the language simple

Avoid using unnecessary jargon and acronyms

If you use any technical terms, create a separate list of abbreviations and define the terms

Emphasize the significance and relevance of your research

Highlight the importance of your research

What will be the contribution of your research?

What should not be included in a research proposal?

A proposal must not include the following things:

Too Much Information

Too much information reflects badly on your research proposal. If you write too much information in the proposal, your readers will lose attention. Focus on the key points of your researchand avoid getting entangled in the minor details.

Avoid Plagiarism

Avoid plagiarism at all costs and beware of intentional and unintentional plagiarism. Cite everything properly as per the academic guidelines. It is essential to give due credit to the work of others.

Avoid sloppy writing

Nobody wants to read a piece of writing that has poor grammar. You should avoid word repetitions and wordy sentences. It is essential to write in a precise manner.

Do not write on Broad Topics

Research topics should be specific. So, you should avoid writing on broad topics. A proposal that has no specific focus is a poor research plan.


A research proposal has an important role in getting postgraduate admissions. It is also essential in getting research grants and funding for research. So, it is essential to write a research plan carefully by following all the necessary guidelines.

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