How to Compose a Research Proposal for an Essay

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Research Proposal for an Essay

In colleges and universities, students often need to write research papers, complex written assignments that require thorough research and interpretation of a specific topic. In most cases, this task is preceded by another kind of work called research proposal, which may be viewed as the preparation stage for the research paper. If you choose to seek help with your home tasks on a cheap research paper writing service, be sure to get assistance with both of the mentioned tasks. Still, we recommend making a try and writing your research proposal yourself following our simple and very useful guidelines.

Research Proposal versus Research Paper

If you are assigned to write a research proposal, be sure to get the task of writing a research paper after it. The two are inseparable, and the latter should be viewed as the logical continuation of the former.

A research paper is a kind of academic writing grounded on your own research of a specific question and interpretation of the findings. It is assigned to evaluate your skills in academic research of a topic not covered in class but based on the course material. Thus, as it has already become clear from the name, the research paper is a result of the in-depth research, which is written after all the data has been collected and relevant conclusions have been made.

A research proposal is literally the first stage of research composed before you start collecting data. Actually, it sets the basis and offers a step-by-step road map for the research process. In other words, it can be said that the research proposal is the skeleton of the future research paper.

Purposes of a Research Proposal

A research proposal is meant to fulfill three main purposes:

  • Introduce. In this document, you should introduce the specific question you are going to answer and what you aim to prove in this study.
  • Persuade. You need to provide convincing evidence to prove the need for such research.
  • Set the basis. In a proposal, you should also offer a detailed and in-depth record of all the theories and methodological tools that will be used to prove your hypothesis.

Suggested Structure

Of course, much depends on your professor’s specific requirements and instructions in terms of the structure of your research proposal. However, the fullest list of conventional components looks like this:

  • Table of contents (optional)
  • Abstract (optional)
  • Introduction
  • Background information
  • Problem statement
  • Significance of the research
  • Research questions
  • Aims and objectives
  • Conceptual framework (optional)
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Limitations (optional)
  • Ethical considerations (optional)
  • Timetable (optional)
  • Budget (optional)
  • Discussion
  • References

Bellow, we will discuss only the main sections of a research proposal.


In this section, you need to introduce your proposed topic, discuss the central problem related to it, and explain its importance. It may be a bit longer than a traditional introduction of an essay and take up to three paragraphs.


Generally speaking, this section may also be optional if you choose to combine it with the Introduction. Naturally, its aim is to set the context for the project. Try to explain what has caused you to propose the given topic and set the specific aims.

Problem Statement

The purpose of the study is explained in this section. This is where you need to provide your hypothesis (or hypotheses) to be tested. Besides, it is good to discuss the tools that will be used in the research.

Significance of the Research

Why is the study significant for the academic community? What contribution will it make to the issue? These are the questions that need to be answered in this section.

Research Question

As the name suggests, in this section, you must provide the specific question, which is the focus of the entire study, as well as all the possible accompanying questions.

Aims and Objectives

Nothing to add about the section whose name is more than expressive. Discuss the aims and objectives you plan to achieve in the course of this research.

Literature Review

Normally, this section will constitute the bulk of your research proposal. It serves to examine what has already been studied about the problem, uncover the possible gaps stressing the need for further research, and define a new way of interpreting the existing studies. Apart from a mere introduction of the main issues of each work, you need to describe their relations, compare and contrast them, and resolve any possible conflicts in contradictions. In this section, you set your own proposed research in the context of other literary works.


Discuss your research design in this section. The aim is to explain the means of achieving the set objective, outline the procedure of the research, and specify the sources of data to be collected. Indicate the exact methods and techniques you are going to use to obtain the needed information, justify your choice, and predict the realizability of the research. Besides, discuss the tools that you will need for data collection and analysis.


This section performs the function of a concluding paragraph. Sum everything up and provide the final say in the proposal for your future actual research paper.


Normally, the list of references in the research proposal provides the basic collection of works that you will use in the research project.

Dos and Don’ts

In the proposal for the future research paper, you need to set very specific objectives that you are sure to achieve. While choosing the topic, identify the main questions and distinguish between central and not so important issues. Omit everything that will not help you to answer this question. Follow all the professor’s instructions and guidelines to the letter and provide a very detailed description of the future research process. This will help you to cope with the actual project with no problem.

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