Examples and Suggestions for Writing a Research Paper Proposal

Your research paper proposal is important for two reasons: First, it’s an important step in getting your research project approved. Second, a well written proposal is a great foundation for an actual research project. It’ll give you a good head start on the project itself, once it’s approved. The following tips and examples will help you get off to a good start.

  1. Your thesis is your top priority.

    Yes, a research project proposal has many different important parts. Each part is important—but none will be as important as the thesis because none can be completed properly without a great thesis. Too many students prefer to try and be vague with their thesis statement because preparing a thesis before their research is finished can be intimidating. That’s a mistake. A well-crafted thesis will, of course, evolve as the student researches and writes. However, a well-crafted thesis—even one that changes over time—will direct the student’s research far better than a poorly designed one, even if the poorly designed one leaves more room for error.

  2. Communicate with your professor early on.

    Research proposals aren’t due over night, and there should be ample time for consultation with your professor or their assistants during the development process. Check in with topics, when you think your thesis is in its final form, and so on. Not only will this save you from a nasty surprise if the professor thinks something you’ve planned is flawed, but your professor can actually be extremely helpful during this stage. Believe it or not, they are very, very familiar with how a research paper should be written.

  3. Enthusiasm counts for a lot.

    Choose a topic, a thesis, or a method of research you can get excited about. Lots of students just try to pick something that will impress their teacher. Your instructor will be far more impressed with your topic if you’re actually passionate about it, so choose something that gets your curiosity piqued. Plus, if you choose something just because it’s in your professor’s field of study, you’re already hamstringing yourself in the sense that they’ll have a good idea of where your paper is going and can be even more critical of it. If you choose a topic that’s fresh for both of you, you can both enjoy learning about something new, which will result in a better grade.

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