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Writing a Research Paper Proposal in No Time

There are many useful functions a research paper proposal can have, but perhaps the most important is that it helps you think about your project long before starting your research. Your instructor will review your proposal and may offer one or a few suggestions to help you overcome any difficulties you might encounter or may suggest you change or revise your topic entirely: While you should devote a good amount of time writing your paper proposal, simply organizing all of the components of a proposal can help you finish one in no time. Here’s what you need to know:

Title and Statement of Purpose

Start by giving your research a simple but clear working title, then in two or three sentences describe you aim to achieve by writing this research paper. If you have question, or a few questions, you want to answer state them here. This will give your instructor the clearest idea of what you are researching and writing about.

Topic Background

Next write two or three sentences explaining your interest in the topic as well as any experience you may have with it. For instance, state if you have previously conducted research on the same topic and want to further your findings or dig into another aspect of the same topic. Or if you have read research on the topic and feel you can add to the discussion, be sure to mention this in the background.

Significance of Your Research

When writing this section of your proposal, consider the following questions: why should your professor approve this topic? What do you expect to gain from doing this research? What will you add to the greater discussion of this topic to your field? These all help you come up with the significance of conducting this research. The more clear and direct you are the more likely your paper will be approved.

Description and Methodology

Briefly describe the kind of research you will be conduction (e.g., internet, library, observations, interviews, etc.) as well as how will conduct it. What sources or studies will you use? What types of questions will you as your interviewees if there are any? Be as detailed as possible.

Problems You Foresee

This can be a hard section to write because it asks you to think creatively to see any challenges or obstacles you can reasonably expect. The trouble is that when you do identify a problem you may feel the need to adjust your research so that you don’t encounter problems. Don’t get bogged down too much. State your problems and work with your professor to find ways to overcome them.


Make a thorough list of the things you want to consult. Even if some of these works don’t make it into your final paper, you should give your professor an idea of what you want to cover. He or she might come back to you with several suggestions for even more reading.