How to Write a College Research Proposal - 6 Easy Steps

How to Write a College Research Proposal


How to Write a College Research Proposal

Are you wondering what is a college research proposal or how to write it? Then, you have come to the right place. In a snapshot, a research proposal is an academic paper you prepare before a research project (such as a dissertation or thesis) and shows what you will deal with in the project.

The guidelines for writing a college research proposal depend on the institution. Nonetheless, this paper has fundamental sections, as we will see in step 2.

Without much do, let’s look into how to write a research proposal step by step.

Are you in need of a high-quality, 100% plagiarism free essay or online class help?
Place your order and get 100% original work.

  1. Understand what a research proposal is.
  2. Know how to structure a college research proposal.
  3. Read the essay prompt.
  4. Do thorough research.
  5. Create an outline and draft the proposal.
  6. Edit and proofread.

Keep in mind that we are here for you if you want to nail the proposal. Our team consists of native and experienced Ph.D. experts that can give you a hand in any section of the academic field, even college research proposal writing help. Just place an order with us to get assistance. 

1. Understand What a Research Proposal Is

The first step for writing a college research proposal for beginners is to know what this paper is all about. It includes details like:

  • The definition of a research proposal.
  • Reasons for writing this paper.
  • The benefits of a research proposal to the scientific community.

As we explained above, a research proposal discusses what you will examine, its significance, and the techniques you will use to perform the research.

Your institution or lecturer wants you to write the proposal because it is part of your assessment for the program. The specific (or secondary) reasons are:

  • To develop your skills regarding research thinking and designing.
  • To improve your writing and overall research skills.
  • To familiarize yourself with the steps for achieving research.
  • To embrace the natural curiosity within you.

By now, you know this guide will show you how to write a college research proposal. If you want to become better at crafting a research paper, check out our guide on how to write a research paper.

2. Know How to Structure a College Research Proposal

Once you understand, or if you already know, the purpose and goals of a college research proposal, the next step is to familiarize yourself with its structure.

Mind you, the proposal’s structure will differ from one college to another. For instance, in many colleges, it is not a must for a short research proposal to have a table of content, abstract, or even an appendix. Others may require you to put the “objectives” and “literature review” inside the “introduction” section, while other colleges/lecturers may want these sections to stand on their own.

With this being said, this section will look at the key sections of a college research proposal. Which section you will include and how you will order them depends on your institution.

Title Page

A research proposal will have a title page like the one you place in a thesis or dissertation. It should have the following elements:

  • The proposed title of your research.
  • Your name.
  • Your institution.
  • Your supervisor’s name.

Table of Content

The rule of thumb is to put a table of reference to your proposal if it's very long. It is because it will assist readers in navigating through it easily.


Your abstract needs to consist of the following:

  • A snapshot of your project.
  • The first one or two sentences should be about the issue.
  • Mention the objectives.
  • End by stating the methodology.

Click on this link to view a detailed proposal abstract.


In the introduction, you’ll talk more about the research. Some key details to go through are:

  • Indicating the problem.
  • The significance of the research.
  • Determining the gaps your research will fill.

You can go through our guide on how to write attention grabbing essay hook to understand how to start the introduction amazingly.

Objectives or Research Questions

Remember that this section can stand on its own or be a subsection of the introduction. Other elements to note are that:

  • Be specific when stating the objectives or questions.
  • You can use numbering or bulletins to make it stand out.

Literature Review

Why must you have a literature review section in your proposal (or thesis or dissertation)? The two main reasons are:

  • It shows that you are conversant with relevant studies on your topic. This improves the credibility or authority of your paper, as readers will know you have a solid foundation in the current theory and knowledge.
  • It indicates the gap that exists and the angle you are taking. Readers will know you are not restating what others have done.

Here are the steps to craft a good literature review.


You will go to the methodology after the literature review. Here, you will do the following:

  • You restate the objectives to remind your readers about the project’s focus.
  • Then, you discuss the general approach of your methodology.
  • Then the practical techniques you will use to work on each objective.

By the end of the college research proposal methodology, you will have touched on the following:

Type of Research

  • Is it qualitative or quantitative?
  • Did you do an original data collection, or did you obtain it from pieces of literature?

Sample and Sampling

  • What or who will you examine?
  • Which sampling technique will you use?
  • Where and when will you get your data?

Research methods

  • Which technique will use to collect the data? (interviews, surveys, observation)
  • Why will you use this technique?

Preview our guide on how to write an amazing research methodology to become a master at crafting your research proposal methodology.


Another key section of a college research proposal is the conclusion. This section may be labeled using other names, such as “Suppositions and Implications.”

Here, you will restate the value of the research: why is it necessary? So, you can mention details such as:

  • Problems your work will solve.
  • Policies that it will affect.
  • Its relationship with other models and theories. Does it support or is it against them?
  • Does it offer a foundation for future research?

Timetable/Research Schedule

Remember that it’s not a must to have a timetable unless stated. You can use a chart to indicate how long each task will take. Be realistic, as your institution or funders will examine if the project is feasible under the timeframe offered.


You need to create a detailed budget if you want research funding or compensation from your college (some colleges compensate students for doing projects in specific courses). Go through the funding entity to understand how much they can offer.

Some typical items included in the budget are:

  • Materials bought or loaned, such as technologies, tools, laboratory space, etc.
  • Costs incurred while traveling: This is rampant when one travels to collect data.
  • Professional help: In certain cases, you may enlist help from an expert you need to pay.

Remember to do the following when creating the budget:

  • Give a justification for each item listed.
  • Indicate how you calculated the amount.

References or Bibliography

Your proposal should have a list of the references for the resources you have used to discuss your research proposal. Note that the resource you use can be a primary or secondary source (read our guide on what is the difference between primary and secondary sources to comprehend more about these resources).

Also, there are many ways of formatting references. Go through the prompt to see how you have been instructed.


First of all, what is an appendix? An appendix is the final section of a professional paper that comes after the conclusion and list of references and contains supplemental material. This material is not the core element of the paper. An appendix section is not a must, but it is good to have it as it offers valuable information that enhances your arguments and views. Some common material to put in the appendix are tables, forms, data collection techniques, research/clinical protocols, informed consent, etc.

3. Thoroughly Read the Prompt

Now that you know what a proposal is and its structure, the next step in how to write a college research proposal is to review the prompt critically. Read every detail in the college research proposal.

Highlight or note down all the questions in the prompt, understand its purpose, and the technical dynamics like formatting and word count. Once you have read the prompt severally and comprehended the nitty-gritty of it, you can proceed to the next step.

4. Perform Detailed Research

The next step is to conduct detailed research and come up with an outstanding college research proposal. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself to do effective research are:

  • What do you wish to study, and what are the reasons for doing it?
  • How does your study relate to what you have covered in a class?
  • What will the research solve or how does it build on existing scientific knowledge?
  • What will I do, and will I be able to achieve it in the timeframe provided?

5. Create an Outline and Draft

Have you done profound research and have you selected a topic that is significant in your field? If yes, now it’s time to put pen to paper. Before you can write the draft for the college research proposal, you need to create an outline for it (this should be the rule when you are writing any academic paper or essay: start with an outline, then do the drafting).

The first step of writing a college research proposal outline is highlighting the broad sections of the paper, for instance, the intro, literature review, methodology, conclusion, references, etc. Then, fill out the key points you will discuss in each section, together with the resources you will use.

You can place an order with us if you need someone to assist you in creating the outline or even writing the whole proposal for you. All of our academic experts have advanced degrees, ensuring you score the best.

6. Proofread and Edit

The final step of writing a college research proposal is proofreading and editing. Many tips exist that you can use when proofreading. The general one that is key in all academic papers is that you should take a break after finishing a draft to cool off. It will be easier to detect mistakes once you return with fresh eyes.

What are the Typical Mistakes in A College Research Proposal?

When offering editing and proofreading services, most students make the mistakes provided below when writing their research proposals. Keep in mind that you can, too, get this service from us. All you need to do is to get in touch with us.

The mistakes are:

  • The poorly framed argument that is not sufficiently coherent or persuasive: A college research proposal should persuade your audience. Make sure you have a strong reason for performing the research, which must be far-reaching.
  • Excessive focus on minor issues and minimal focus on pressing matters: Your study should have a few research questions focusing on the major issues. You can mention minor issues in the paper, but don’t add them to the key research questions.
  • Using unnecessary words: Eliminate words with little value from your proposal. Be concise and straight to the point.
  • Not citing sources used: Proposals should be founded on landmark studies. You should state what has been done about your proposal’s topic. And due to this, you need to provide some references.
  • Meager writing: Ensure you don’t have grammatical or spelling mistakes, awkward phrasing, or inconsistencies, as they will undermine your credibility.

Additional Tip

  • You can use personal anecdotes: Although you need to be objective in your research proposal, there is a time you can use personal anecdotes. This is common when stating how you got an interest in the research question.

In Brief

Writing a research question involves a lot of dynamics. For starters, you need to come up with a research question that is super important and coherently form an argument for it. You need to know how you will collect and analyze the data under the time allocated to you, among other challenges. Luckily, this guide has you covered. Go through it to learn how to write a college research proposal quickly. If you are still doubting yourself even after reading it, just place an order with us to get college research proposal writing services. We’ll write for you a research proposal that shines.

Share this:

Do you need any homework, essay writing or online class help?

How to Write a College Research Proposal - Homeworkmarket

author Melaine

Meet the author


Melanie is a seasoned writer with more than 8 years of experience. She is passionate about academia and works off the clock to ensure she write the topnotch content for her readers.

Get Homework Help Now

Related Posts

Why Choose Us

  1. Confidentiality and Privacy
  2. 100% Original Work
  3. 24/7 Customer Support
  4. Unlimited Free Revisions
  5. Experienced Writers
  6. Real-time Communication
  7. Affordable Prices
  8. Deadline Guaranteed