How to write your research proposal UGC NET

What is a research proposal?

A research proposal is a short piece of academic writing that outlines the research a graduate student intends to carry out. It starts by explaining why the research will be helpful or necessary, then describes the steps of the potential research and how the research project would add further knowledge to the field of study. A student submits this as part of the application process for a graduate degree program.


What is the purpose of a research proposal?

A student writes a research proposal to describe a research area where a question needs to be answered and to show that they can answer that question by adding new information to the field.

A research committee will read the proposals and decide whether each student will qualify for admittance to the graduate degree program.

To ensure that your proposal fulfils its purpose, take care to include all of the key parts.

1. Title page

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your name
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

2. Background or literature review

Now that you’ve finished the introductory parts of your research proposal, you can begin to go into more detail on your research design. The literature review is likely to be the largest portion of your paper.

The purpose of the background or literature review section is to show that you’re familiar with the existing body of knowledge on your topic. By describing the most pertinent studies related to your research questions, you show that there is truly a knowledge gap in the field and that your proposed research will help close it.

3. The Questions

These need to be formulated clearly, giving a slight intro followed by a direct question addressing the information you are looking for. These need to be grammatically correct and in simple language.

4. Research Methods

In the next section, you need to talk about how exactly you’ll conduct the research. That is,
• the theoretical resources that will be used
• the theoretical framework for conducting the research
• proposed research method
• a comparison of advantages and limitations among the available approaches and methods to conducting the research.

5. Working plan and Schedule

Your thesis, with a projected timeline and schedule comes up next, with a projected date of completion. A brownie point here would be possible outcomes.
Alongside this, you will have to write on the execution of the research in detail.

6. Bibliography

The final part of your research proposal is also the most important; it gives credit to all the authors and primary data used in your research proposal, while lending the proposal validity. In case of adopting APA style for your dissertation, the bibliography section doesn’t exist; instead it is a reference section.

Other parts of a research proposal

Besides the standard sections above, some proposals also include the following parts:

  • An abstract to briefly summarize the proposal
  • A research budget section to break down what funding might be needed and where it might come from
  • A research schedule/timeline to show all the steps of the research to be completed and when they will be done
  • A conclusion section


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