How to Write a Research Proposal: Steps, Outline, Example, and More!

research proposal template
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A research proposal is a strategic tool for a world of uncharted discoveries. It is the entrance to the world of scientific inquiry, where the bounds of human knowledge are pushed, and new perspectives are unveiled. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of how to write a research proposal:

  • Pick a clear and focused topic. What specific question are you trying to answer?
  • Show its importance. Why is your research relevant to your field?
  • Research the gap. What do we already know? What are the knowledge gaps you'll address?
  • Plan your methods. How will you collect and analyze your data (surveys, interviews, experiments)?
  • Be realistic. Can you complete the research within your timeframe?
  • Cite your sources! Show you've reviewed existing research.
  • Keep it concise. Aim for a clear and focused document, typically 5-10 pages.

Definition of What Is a Research Proposal

Research proposals accomplished two things at once: 1) persuade the academics that the proposed study deserves funding and 2) lead the researcher on an exciting intellectual quest. 

The proposal combines a call to action, a request for financial support, and a mission statement. It's a creative work that unites the brilliance of creation with the powerful ability to persuade, opening up a whole new range of alternatives.

Research Proposal Purpose

Its main goal is to persuade a funding organization or other interested parties that the suggested project is worth the investment and that the scholar has the competence and assets necessary to complete it adequately.

The proposal has to be crystal clear, direct to the point, and persuasive, making a strong argument for the significance of the study, its future contribution, and the original strategy the scholar would employ. Each ambitious researcher should have a strong study proposal, which may lead to funding possibilities, team projects, and even brand-new insights.

We bet you'd fancy a guide on how to write a proposal for a research paper with detailed information and explaining steps required to complete your work successfully. Then, let's delve into the following sections right away!

Research Proposal Length 

The length of a research proposal can vary depending on several factors, but here's a quick guide:

  • Typical Range: 1,500 - 3,000 words (excluding references and appendices).
  • Ballpark Pages: 5-10 pages (assuming standard formatting).
  • Focus on Quality, Not Quantity: Aim for a concise and well-structured document that effectively conveys your research plan.


  • Check with your specific program or funding agency for any word or page limit requirements.

How to Write a Research Proposal Step-by-Step

There is no research proposal template that is universally applicable to all types of papers. However, no matter how extensive and in-depth your study is, you will discover that the majority of research paper proposal example templates contain the following information:

How to Write a Research Proposal Step-by-Step

Research Paper Title

So, how to start a research proposal? The logical answer is to first come up with a proper title. A well-written title can greatly increase the likelihood of a research article being read and referenced. For instance, a study titled 'The Effect of Media Platforms on Social Development: A Systematic Review' effectively communicates the study's focus while clarifying how it was conducted. The reader will find it simpler to comprehend the study's goal and any potential ramifications owing to the title's precision and informational nature.


An abstract provides a 150-300 word summary of a research paper and its primary objectives, methods, results, and conclusions. As it is frequently the first thing readers see and can influence whether they continue reading the complete article, the abstract is an important part of a research study. An effective abstract should summarize the paper's ideas, be simple to read, and emphasize the importance and possible influence of the work. It should give readers a thorough understanding of the paper's scope and purpose while piquing their interest in learning more.


If you're wondering how to write a research proposal context, remember that here you should provide your paper's structure and background information. Typically, you should discuss related literature reviews and any research gaps you'll explore throughout the study. It's also suggested that you stress the importance of undertaking the research and mentioning related theoretical and conceptual frameworks employed. Considering these, providing the context in your proposal is crucial since it helps your audience comprehend the study's relevance and how it fits into a broader perspective.

Research Question

The research question is the foundation of your proposal that shapes your study design and defines its main goal. It demonstrates your desire to learn more while furthering your academic career. Suppose you're writing a proposal about comparing the US and UK healthcare systems. In that case, you can come up with the following research question: 'How do low-income citizens with severe diseases do in terms of their physical well-being in the US and the UK?'

Research Method

In the research proposal, you should go into depth about how you conducted your study. Explain your key research tools and the techniques you employed to get your results. If you conducted interviews, tell the reader about the subjects of your questions. Lastly, provide your analysis of the results.

Research Significance

Afterward, you should describe the significance of your work. Every research proposal sample will briefly explain how your research is unique and contributes to the topic of study. You might wish to provide reasoning for the necessity of your study at this given moment. For example: 'The study's findings connect Psycho with other contemporary movies that share the same shock-factor traits. The startling aspect is more difficult to create today, as seen by the rise of low-budget, badly made horror movies that rely on shock rather than suspense to keep viewers' interest.'


Finally, you should compile a list of the articles and books most helpful to your research. You may need to do so according to the guidelines set forth by your instructor for research papers (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). You could also develop an annotated bibliography in which you explain how each resource aided your inquiry.

How to Create a Research Proposal Outline with a Research Proposal Template

Your outline format should look like the research proposal example provided above. Ensure you have a well-defined research topic and a clear plan for organizing your approach before starting the proposal writing process. Our history essay writer suggests that the following be included in your research proposal outline:

How to Write a Research Proposal outline

I. Introduction

  • Background information and context
  • Research problem statement
  • Research question(s) or hypothesis

II. Literature Review

  • Review of relevant literature
  • Identification of gaps in existing research
  • Explanation of how the proposed research will address those gaps

III. Methodology

  • Research design
  • Participants or population
  • Sampling method
  • Data collection methods
  • Data analysis methods

IV. Expected Results

  • Discussion of expected outcomes
  • Significance of expected outcomes

V. Timeline

  • Project timeline with major milestones

VI. Budget

  • Itemized budget with justification for expenses

VII. Conclusion

  • Recap of the research problem and proposed solution
  • Potential contributions to the field of study

VIII. References

  • List of references cited in the proposal
outline research

This research paper outline should give you a clear idea of how to write a research proposal example effortlessly. Now, let our research proposal writing service tells out more about the formatting details.


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How to Format a Research Proposal Properly: APA Research Proposal

A research proposal format might be as short as a few paragraphs or as extensive as up to ten pages for dissertations. When unsure how to format a research proposal, first discuss details with your teacher, such as length, content, style, etc.

However, one of the most demanded styles is the APA research proposal format, which follows a specific format as given in the American Psychological Association guidelines. As it guides the project and helps guarantee that the study is thorough, ethical, and evidence-based, a research proposal example APA is usually generated before the study is conducted. 

Here is the general APA format:

  • 12-point font Times New Roman.
  • Double-spaced.
  • 1-inch margins.
  • An APA running head (limited to 50 characters).
  • A title page with the paper's title (no more than 12 words in length), your name, and the name of your institution.
  • An abstract (150-200 words).
  • In-text citations.
  • References page.

Effective Research Proposal Topics

Research proposals are the foundation of scholarly investigation. Therefore, thinking of fresh and distinctive research proposal ideas might be difficult. Due to this, our paper writers have supplied some excellent research proposal topics that will add excitement and enthusiasm to your academic endeavor:

  1. Social Media and Teen Anxiety
  2. E-Learning vs. Traditional Classrooms in STEM Fields
  3. Bilingual Education and Math Performance
  4. Music and Focus: Classical vs. Electronic
  5. Subscription Boxes vs. Traditional Shopping
  6. Meditation vs. Exercise for Stress Relief
  7. Pocket Parks and Mental Health in Dense Cities
  8. Mobile Games and Problem-Solving in Adults
  9. AI and Automation in Healthcare
  10. Leadership Styles in Family Businesses
  11. Power Napping for Shift Workers
  12. Blue Light Filters and Sleep Quality
  13. Napping vs. Extended Sleep for Memory Consolidation
  14. Language Learning Apps for Travelers
  15. Light Pollution and Bird Migration Patterns
  16. Solar Energy Adoption in Rural Communities
  17. Social Media and Political Polarization
  18. Parental Involvement and Standardized Test Scores
  19. Volunteer Work and Social Responsibility in Young Adults
  20. Mentorship Programs for Women in STEM

Research Proposal Example

Here is a research proposal example APA. Notice the structure of a short research paper (around 15 pages) and the APA formatting.

Space Exploration and Innovation: Competition or Cooperation?
Space Exploration and Innovation: Competition or Cooperation?

If you enjoyed our sample, feel free to drop us your 'write an essay for me' request for any kind of assignment.

To Sum Up

To wrap up, we hope our article assisted you in writing a research proposal. In addition to providing a thorough analysis of all the crucial elements of a research project, we provided guidance on how to write a research paper proposal that stands out.

And if you're already prepared to start producing a scholarly research paper, you can always rely on us! Contact us with your 'write my research paper' request to place an order for a quality custom term paper that will easily impress your professor!


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Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

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