If you are doing academic research or any research for the company you work for, you will need to present the material in a professional fashion. A research proposal will help explain the intention behind the research you plan to conduct. It will also highlight the research techniques you plan to use. Making clear your intentions and methods is imperative if you want your proposal to impress those who must approve the project. This is where a research proposal template serves as a valuable and helpful resource.

A research paper proposal template breaks down all the necessary sections of the proposal into segments. You can use a research proposal example to help in designing your own template. But, you also have the choice of using a ready-made research paper outline template to make things easier for you.

When filling out the research proposal template you will still need to take considerable care in developing the proposal’s presentation. The proposal needs to be exact, easy to understand, and concise. Academic or business-oriented writing and language are essential. You will need to fill the template in such a way that your ideas still be in linear order. The most basic of formats must be the final shape of the presentation. In other words, your writing is fluid and move from the introduction to the body of the proposal. It must then continue with a fluid presentation into the conclusion of the document.

Research Proposal Templates

Who should use a research proposal?

If you are writing a paper for an independent study or you are writing a dissertation in college, you will need to write a research proposal. The document must express the subject of your research. It must also include how you plan to go forth with the research. This document is of tremendous importance since it is the precursor to a larger body of work. The research paper proposal template is ideal for the following people:

  • Students conducting independent studies.
  • Students preparing for a dissertation.
  • Students practice writing for future research papers.
  • Employees looking to write a research paper for their employer.
  • Faculty members at universities looking to write research papers.
  • People writing a proposal to get a grant for research.

What are the research proposal template requirements?

Every research paper differs and is dependent upon the subject matter. You should talk with the supervisor of your project to find out about project expectations and deadlines. You can verify proposal deadlines and if the research you are interested in pursuing is acceptable.

The academic level and the purpose of the paper, whether a dissertation or some other type of assignment, plays a role in what goes into the initial proposal. However, there are some general elements one can expect to find in a proposal.

A quality research proposal example will reveal a document offering a clear, well-written outline describing your project’s undertaking. The plans you have for completing the research is something to include in the proposal. The goal of the proposal is so you can sway project funders to provide you with the monies needed to complete the necessary research. Or, it might be that your goal is to impress your professor by proving the knowledge you’ve accumulated will contribute to a successful research project.

No matter what you decide to research, the proposal will have some basic requirements to meet. The proposal must include the following:

  • Your name and course name (if applicable).
  • Your student identification number (if applicable).
  • The Governing Education Department and the Supervisor/Professor.
  • The Course Code (if applicable).
  • The date of the paper’s submission.
  • Paper Title.
  • An introduction to the longer body of work. This introduction needs to present your argument and what you are setting out to prove with your research.
  • An explanation of your planned research methods.
  • A timetable revealing the length of time for the completion of research (if applicable).
  • A mention of any ethical considerations.
  • A paragraph or more describing anything that might limit the scope of the research you plan to conduct.
  • A bibliography and citations with the correct citation format (Of works you plan to work with; the list is something you can expand upon and edit as you conduct your research).

Research Proposal Examples

What is the proper length for a research proposal?

It’s imperative that the abstract stays brief. The expectation is about 250 to 300 words in length. That’s about 10 percent of the total length of the research proposal. Longer than that, and it might deter the reader’s interest. It will also give you less room to discuss the goals and aims of the research project.

The length of the research proposal template is not long. You’ll find most writing requirements demand a word count of 2500 to 3000 words. Depending on spacing requirements, this might be three to five pages of information. This ensures concise writing. Of course, the study supervisor makes the final call on proposal length and necessary inclusions.

Research Paper Title

The research proposal template will have an area where you can put the title of the document. This title needs to be short, concise, and to the point. It should not take up more space than necessary. You’ll need to have a title that is absent of acronyms or abbreviations. The title needs to have a hook or stimulating words that will stir up the reader’s interest in what the research paper is about; you can use a research proposal example to get an idea about excellent title writing.

Within the title, if it is possible for you to do so, you need to give reference to the independent and dependent variables. If it is possible, the title needs to still be under 15 words. It should not be shorter than five words. There will be room for the catchy title on a research paper proposal template; it is here you will win the attentions of that all-important reader.

The title should be on a separate page and set apart from the rest of the template. Here, the author’s name, the class or course name, and the date of the work is necessary. The page numbers begin on the next page, but do not appear on the first page of the template.

Table of Contents

Part of presenting a well-documented and researched paper is to make it available with ease of access. The table of contents follows the title page. The main chapters or sections of the paper must appear neat and orderly. Sub-headings are something you can add to make it easy to find the detailed portions of each section or chapter as well. If you can create a mock table of contents, it can serve as an outline for the paper’s structure. You can always edit the table later as you develop your research and expand on the subject matter.


The abstract is the next section you will see on a well-constructed research proposal template. This area has information about what the paper holds. The abstract is a summary so the reader gets an immediate understanding about the arguments or discoveries in the paper.  The abstract should be in active voice if it is possible to do so.

The proper use of grammar and sentence style is also necessary when you are writing the abstract. You might benefit from writing the abstract portion of the paper last. This gives you an opportunity to work your way through the rest of the research paper outline template.  It allows for the opportunity to develop a clear description of all the essential information the paper holds.

The abstract of the research proposal template needs to be short. You do not mention your references or research material at this point. All sentences should be complete and you should not use ellipses. Terms, jargon, and related abbreviations should appear the body of the paper. Do not reference your images at this point either. It is a clear and unambiguous explanation of the paper’s purpose only.

Background and Rationale

Depending on the research proposal template and assignment specifications, you might see a section where you must present some background information and the rationale for the paper. This is a section allowing you to describe how you decided to examine the subject of the paper.

You can help draw the interest of the reader if you explain how you became interested in what the paper explores. The answer needs to be brief, but by explaining the development of your interests, it will help the reader understand the point of you view you take when examining your subject matter. Here, a bit of your background and experience can also prove both beneficial and revealing.

In this section, you can touch on some of the supporting literature you will use to back your arguments. Your familiarity with the subject matter will become clear as you make mention of the types of work you’ve explored during the process of your planned research. The information of most value, however, will be the reason the project is a worthwhile expedition or endeavor; it’s your job to tell the reader the knowledge you expect to gain through the study.

Research Questions or Introduction

As you examine one research proposal example after another, you will see the style of the paper differs on the type of coursework relating to the paper in question. You’ll also see differences in a research proposal template design when you are proposing diverse types of research. Some papers need an area where explore one or more research questions. Others might want a cut and dry introduction revealing the questions you plan to explore. The subject of your investigation and the questions you plan to answer need to have a clear definition. You need to know in advance what you plan to focus on with the work you are developing. Here you need to convince the reader you have a solid understanding of the subject and how you will approach it.

Literary Review

Some research paper proposal template selections will include an area where you can include a literary review. This section allows you to make a list of the literature you have explored to support your research. It can also list the literature you plan to examine to find evidence supporting your theories or position. The literature review is a place to give the reader with a summary of existing literature, and your interpretation of that literature. Emphasis is on your interpretation here; you don’t want to regurgitate someone else’s work. You want to interpret what you’ve found and enhance it by adding your own opinion to it. In this section, you’ll also need to find any gaps that might be in existing research. If your theory or presentation plans to address this gap in knowledge, you can identify that fact in this section by explaining how it will supply the missing knowledge.

The Framework or Methodology of the Proposal

This is the part of the research proposal template that needs information in relation to the methods you plan to use to research and support your argument. Are there special methods or procedures you must use? Here, you’ll have to source your information and data. The reader can internalize the information and consider whether it is valid or not. Your means of analysis will also undergo the reader’s scrutiny. The inclusion of the method section of is imperative. No matter what subject you are covering, if the information you are using is outdated, outmoded, spurious, or if your focus is too rigid, you can end up with a research project featuring weak or refutable arguments.

Since there are many methods for conducting research, you’ll need to clarify your research techniques. This section of the research template proposal gives you the chance to reveal the reasons why you choose one method of research over others. For example, did you use an observational method when you conducted your research? Did you interact with any subjects in the study? If so, how did you interact? Did you offer a questionnaire for students to answer? What size was the representative sample for the questionnaire? Clarifying your method will allow the reader to understand how you approached the research.

Research Proposal Samples

Final Thoughts

A research proposal template can help simplify the task of proposing research for a dissertation, job, or research grant approval. While the template helps in designing a proposal that helps a supervisor or governing body understand your theories and methods, it is also a paper that helps you in developing an understanding of how to continue with writing the longer dissertation. It will serve as a documented outline of the literary pieces you’ll need to review for project completion. The proposal also defines your theory in concrete terms, so you can compare your findings with the initial assertions you set forth in the proposal. You may find your argument and findings evolve during the course of the research.

Research Proposal Format

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TemplateLab April 29th, 2021