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12 Best Research Proposal Templates

As part of fulfilling your master’s and doctorate course requirements, you will no doubt have to draft and submit a research proposal. In pursuance of this, you no doubt have to know how to draft one, particularly, the steps involved and the factors to incorporate.

In this article, we have provided the contents of a research proposal along with professionally crafted research proposal examples, but first, let us get introduced to the importance of the research proposal.

For one, a research proposal offers a description of the subject matter that you will investigate, why you have chosen it, why it is important, and the steps you intend to follow to bring the research to fruition. There is no universal format for the research papers as that varies from field to field.

Importance of Research Proposal

A research proposal is used to establish and showcase the expertise you purportedly have to pursue your proposed area of research. It also doubles up as part and parcel of the assessment of your applications. Most importantly, it gives the coordinators and supervisors a rough picture of what you intend to study as part of fulfilling your coursework.

The Length of your Research Proposal

A typical research proposal ideally is 2,000–3,500 words that come to 4-7 pages long.

Contents of the Research Proposal Template

As we have already noted above, there is no universal format for the research papers as that varies from field to field. All proposals nonetheless have some standard contents of a research proposal template regardless of the fields they are contained. Some of these contents include:


It is a one-statement summary of the overall goal and aim of the research proposal. The title should be clear and straightforward enough to give an accurate picture of what the proposed research is supposed to be or pursue. Needless to say, the title of the research proposal template should be short and concise to make it catchy.

Background and rationale

The background of the research proposal template basically expounds on the research title. It aims at explaining the title further while at the same time summarizing the entire scope and contents of the proposed research. Further to that, it also justifies why the study may be necessary and beneficial to the field of knowledge.

In light of this, it should include:

  • The background issues of your research proposal
  • Your area of discipline
  • Short and concise literature review
  • A summary of key debates and the latest developments in the field of study

Research proposal questions

In the course of rolling out the contents of the proposal, you will no doubt have to ask and answer some relevant questions. To do this, you should formulate the questions clearly and offer vivid explanations as to the exact problems and issues that the questions touch on and why they are worthy of your exploration.

Research methodology

The research methodology is the steps you intend to take to carry out the research. It aims at answering the questions that follow:

  • Research type
  • Is your research bound to be quantitative or qualitative?
    • What sources of data will you use, secondary or primary?
    • Is the research going to be experimental, correlational, or descriptive?
  • Sources
  • Exactly what or who do you plan to study as part of garnering the raw data or research outcomes?
    • How will you narrow to those sources?
    • Where, how, and when will you collect the necessary data?
  • Research Methods
  • What tools, approaches, and procedures will you use to conduct the research? Could these be experiments, observations, interviews, or surveys?
    • What about the data analysis and presentations?
    • Why do you deem these to be the best methods to answer your research questions?
  • Practicalities
  • How much time will you require to collect the necessary data?
    • What methods will you use to gain access to the sources or participants?
    • Do you anticipate any possible obstacles, and if yes, how do you plan to address them?

Plan of work and the time schedule

To save yourself some but of time and effort, it is imperative that you clearly outline your tasks way in advance. This breakdown should explain the outline of the stages involved and the corresponding timelines where each activity is to be tackled at each stage.

As a general rule, the full-time study of your research has to take no more than 3 years, whereas the corresponding write-up is to be completed strictly within the fourth year of the registration.

In the case of the part-time studies, the research proposal has to be completed within 6 years, whereas the write-up has to be concluded in the 8th year from commencement.

Implications and contribution to knowledge

The ultimate end of the research proposal is to contribute to the advancement of knowledge. Thus, a portion of the proposal has to be devoted to how the findings of the proposal are likely to contribute to the increase of knowledge.

You have to state the proposed contribution vividly. This could take the forms of the following:

  • Boosting the processes within the specific field or location of study
  • Informing the policy objectives
  • Strengthening the models or theories
  • Challenging popular scientific assumptions or standpoints
  • Generating a basis for further research, and so on…


In the course of your research, you will no doubt have to refer extensively to come pre-existing literature. It is only a matter of courtesy and professionalism that you detail these sources below the literature. This is where the bibliography comes in.

It is basically a list of the references that showcase the articles, journals, books, and other documentation that are cited extensively within the body of the research proposal. This listing is arranged alphabetically and explains every detail of the source.

Related: How to Format Research Papers

Research Proposal Examples

Following are free editable research proposal examples and templates that can be customized after downloading:





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    free research proposal samples doc

    phd research proposal template word

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    free research proposal samples pdf

    undergraduate research proposal sample

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      Alright! You now have the preparedness you need to draft your research proposal template pretty fine. Don’t you? Why not now go ahead and implement the insights we have generously furnished? There is never the right time to do so. Now is the time to take the necessary action. As a bonus, we ask you to practice repeatedly to be able to hone your skills considerably. When are you planning to make the first move?

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