Research Proposal: Examples and Methodology

Do not worry too much about following a research proposal template. Simply use one of the research proposal examples given in this article, and then create your own. A research proposal template is not really a guide, it is something to inspire you. Once you get the gist of what is needed, you will often be able to create your own research proposal off the top of your head. The same is true with business plans. People start with a template for their plan, but after a while, the plan runs away with itself. Let the Tips and research proposal examples in this article inspire you into creating yours.

What is a Research Proposal?

A research proposal is a written document that outlines the proposed research project. It serves as a blueprint for the entire research process and provides a framework for conducting the study. The proposal should include the research problem, research question(s), literature review, research design, methods, data analysis plan, and expected outcomes.

A research proposal typically includes the following sections:

  1. Introduction. This paper will conduct a comprehensive examination of the research problem, examining its importance and contribution to our understanding.
  2. Literature Review. By examining the previous research, we are able to clearly understand the proposed study and any areas that need improvement. The purpose of this endeavor is then to close those gaps in understanding.
  3. Research Questions or Hypotheses. This research endeavor is designed to provide answers to specific queries and hypotheses through rigorous investigation.
  4. Research Design and Methods. Your research will provide extensive insight into the data collection and analysis methods we’ll utilize, along with a thorough explanation of the specific techniques we plan to employ.
  5. Data Analysis Plan. The paper presents the statistical methods and procedures used to examine the data collected.
  6. Expected Outcomes. Our findings have been carefully studied to gauge the possible outcomes and assess any potential consequences.

what is a research proposal

To create an effective research proposal, it is essential to display that you comprehend the subject matter inside and out, have thoroughly reviewed existing materials on the topic, and present a feasible yet detailed plan for conducting your study.

3 Basic Research Proposal Examples

Example 1. The Impact of Social Media on Adolescent Mental Health

Introduction. In contemporary society, social media has fused into our daily lives, and its sway over young adults is a rising worry. The goal of this study is to scrutinize the correlation between social media usage and the mental well-being of adolescents.

Literature Review. Prior research suggests that social media utilization may lead to adverse psychological consequences such as despondency, unease, and diminished self-worth. Conversely, some research indicates no significant association or even affirmative impacts on mental health. These contradictions within the literature emphasize the requirement for more extensive examination.

Research Questions:

  1. How does social media usage affect the mental health of adolescents?
  2. Could the manner in which we use social media (such as aimlessly scrolling vs. actively engaging) influence our mental wellbeing?
  3. Is there an individual influence (e.g., age, gender, social assistance) that modulates the relationship between social media usage and mental health results?

Methodology. In this upcoming research, we will employ a cross-sectional methodology, gathering data from a cohort of five hundred adolescents, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, through an online questionnaire. The questionnaire will comprise questions that will allow us to examine the relationship between social media use, mental health outcomes, and individual characteristics. To better understand the relationship between social media use and mental health outcomes, we will utilize regression analysis and explore potential moderating factors.

Expected Outcomes. Our initial hypothesis is that there exists a negative association between social media use and adolescent mental health outcomes, with passive browsing having a more profound negative impact than active engagement. Additionally, we expect certain individual factors, such as social support, to moderate the relationship between social media use and mental health outcomes.

Conclusion. This study will uncover the mechanisms that ultimately shape how social media utilization impacts adolescent mental health, building on existing evidence. Moreover, it will identify potential protective factors- which may lead to more effective mental health interventions and targeted policies for adolescents concerning social media use.

Example 2. Exploring the Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to Alleviate Anxiety and Enhance Wellbeing for Cancer Patients

Introduction. The affliction of cancer and its treatment can induce profound psychological anguish and diminish one’s overall quality of existence. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program of structured mindfulness meditation that exhibits promising potential in mitigating stress and enhancing well-being among diverse groups. The purpose of this investigation is to scrutinize the efficacy of MBSR in reducing stress and promoting well-being in individuals with cancer.

Literature Review. Prior investigations have revealed that MBSR can lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression, augment quality of life, and bolster resilience in individuals with cancer. Nonetheless, further exploration is imperative to determine the most effective implementation of MBSR and its efficacy in specific populations afflicted by cancer.

Research Questions:

  1. How successful is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in alleviating stress and enhancing the well-being of cancer patients?
  2. Does MBSR yield different results for cancer patients depending on the delivery format, whether it is group-based or individual?
  3. Does MBSR have different levels of effectiveness among cancer patients that depend on individual factors such as age, gender, type of cancer, and baseline stress?


To conduct this research, a randomized controlled trial design will be employed. In total, 100 cancer patients will be randomly assigned to one of three groups: the group-based MBSR intervention, individual-based MBSR intervention or control group receiving standard care.

At baseline, post-intervention, and 3-month follow up points, the study will assess stress levels, anxiety scores, depression severity ratings as well as quality of life indicators and mindfulness results using standardized measurement. After collecting this data it will be analyzed utilizing ANOVA & regression analysis to analyze MBSR’s efficacy depending on delivery format along with individual factors influencing its success rate.

Expected Outcomes. It is postulated that MBSR will be efficacious in reducing stress and promoting well-being among cancer patients, with no notable distinction between group-based and individual-based delivery formats. Furthermore, individual factors like cancer type and stress levels at baseline may influence the effectiveness of MBSR.

Conclusion. This research will offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of MBSR for cancer patients and identify the best delivery formats and individual factors that may impact its success. The research furnishes a remarkable opportunity to create mindfulness-based interventions for cancer patients, ultimately elevating the delivery of psychosocial support and better their treatment.

Example 3. Investigating the Influence of Physical Activity on Cognitive Performance in Older Adults Experiencing Mild Memory Difficulties

Introduction. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a condition that commonly arises with aging, and it can have a negative impact on cognitive abilities, including memory, attention, and executive function. While physical activity has demonstrated benefits for cognitive function in older adults, its specific effects on those with MCI are not yet fully understood. This investigation seeks to shed light on the impact of a physical activity intervention on cognitive function in older adults with MCI.

Literature Review. Numerous studies have proposed that physical activity can improve cognitive functioning in seniors, yet it remains unclear which type, amount, and duration of exercise could be most beneficial for this demographic.

Research Questions:

  1. What tangible outcomes can an exercise intervention bring to older adults with Minor Cognitive Impairment in terms of their cognitive abilities?
  2. Does engaging in aerobic exercise or resistance training produce different effects on cognitive function among this group of people?
  3. Does the age, gender, baseline cognitive function or adherence to a physical activity intervention of an individual impact their response to exercising for improved cognition?

Methodology. In accordance with a randomized controlled trial design, this study will enroll 60 individuals aged 65 years or older with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). The participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: a physical activity intervention or a control group receiving standard care. The physical activity intervention will include supervised exercise sessions twice a week for 12 weeks, incorporating both aerobic and resistance training. Cognitive function will be measured at baseline, post-intervention, and 3-month follow-up using standardized assessments of memory, attention, and executive function. ANOVA and regression analysis will be utilized to analyze the data and identify the effects of physical activity, as well as the influence of individual factors and types.

Expected Outcomes. It is expected that the physical activity intervention will lead to enhancements in cognitive function among older adults with MCI, with aerobic and resistance training eliciting distinct effects on various cognitive domains. Furthermore, the effects of physical activity are anticipated to be moderated by individual factors such as baseline cognitive function and adherence to the intervention.

Conclusion. This inquiry will contribute to the burgeoning compendium of insights on the impact of bodily exertion on the cognitive faculties of senior citizens afflicted with Mild Cognitive Impairment. The findings will be immensely beneficial for developing exercise interventions to aid cognition and also provide preventive as well as therapeutic strategies against declining mental faculties during aging.

5 Purposes of the Research Proposal

  1. Clearly defines the research problem or question: A research proposal outlines a clear research problem or question and explains why it is important to investigate.
  2. Demonstrates the feasibility of the research: A research proposal outlines the research design, methodology, data collection, analysis methods, and timelines, which demonstrate the feasibility of the research.
  3. Shows the originality and significance of the research: A research proposal should demonstrate how the proposed research contributes to the existing body of knowledge in the field and its potential to generate new insights or practical applications.
  4. Helps secure funding and support: A research proposal is often required when applying for research funding, as it helps to persuade funders and other stakeholders that the research project is worth supporting.
  5. Provides a roadmap for the research project: A research proposal provides a clear roadmap for the research project, outlining the steps that will be taken, the resources required, and the expected outcomes.

Overall, a research proposal is an important tool for researchers, as it helps to ensure that their research is well-designed, feasible, and likely to generate valuable insights or practical applications.

10 TIPS on How to Write a Research Proposal

Start with Your Objectives

Our research proposal example starts with objectives. Even if you scrap the objectives section later, it helps to set the tone for the rest of your proposal. Objectives sections make it clear what you want. There is no need to sugarcoat what you are proposing, and you do not need to sell it as hard as you think.

Some people do not like an objectives proposal because they often feel it puts the reader off. For example, if a research proposal seems outlandish or big, such as “Our objective is to put a cheese waffle on the moon,” then they fear it will scare off the reader. However, there is no point in trying to sell an idea before you have presented it. You can sugarcoat it all you like, but the reader will simply skim-read down to the part where you give your objective, so why not give your objective right away?

Give a Brief Justification for Your Proposed Research

Your strongest point here needs to be that the research has not been done before, or that it has been done by the results were inconclusive or incomplete. Obviously, just because a piece of research has not been done before doesn’t mean it will be approved, but it is the sort of thing that universities and colleges love to approve. They are always being presented with research proposals for things that are already discovered and/or known, so they love it when students offer a genuinely untapped area of research.

Outline a Sample Group

Who will participate? Why? How will you achieve it? Will you be working with other people? How will you gather your subjects, and so forth?

Describe How the Sample Group Will Be Formed

Be it the collection of materials, people, staff, or elements, you need to show how you will gather the resources you need for your research proposal. This is especially important if you are looking to do research with other people. It is all well and good saying that you will hand out questionnaires, but who will read them, who will complete them, and why would it matter what they think?

Outline your Methodology and Procedures

Explain how you will use double-blind tests and things of that nature, and obviously source your methods. Your professor should be able to point you in the right direction for literature you can use as sources for your scientific methods.

Indicate Any Risks

Colleges and universities love it when students correctly outline the risks involved. In many ways, it covers them if you do something stupid like cause damage or injury. In such cases, they can prove you knew the risks and did it anyway.

Describe Your Procedures

Just like describing your methodology, you may also like to give a step-by-step rundown of what you are doing, why, how, when, and what for.

Justify Your Research and Its Potential Results

Any good research proposal example should feature a section where you justify your research again, but where you focus on the results and the impact of the results. Maybe the results of your waffle on the moon will help determine how people can store food in space.

Again, justify your by mentioning the work of others, but in this section, push the idea of what will be achieved and how this will help the scientific community or humanity as a whole.

Finding the Perfect Example of Methodology in a Research Proposal

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Consent Forms, Licenses, and Written Permission

Guess which element in a research proposal often causes the first rejection? It is consent forms, licenses, and written permission. Some people complete the legal section in their research proposal template, and they think that is the end of it, but many times you need consent forms filled out and returned from the people who will be part of your research study. There are times when ordering certain quantities of materials means you need licenses, professional consultancy services, and even government permission.

There are government rules for some of the most unexpected things. For example, one student found himself 6 weeks behind in his project when he asked for help from some professional writing service, and it was all because he couldn’t find a company that could legally transport more than six fire alarms at a time, and his study demanded that he placed 72 in the same warehouse. The law stopped his project cold.

Get written permission for as much as possible when you write your proposal. For example, even if you have a verbal contract to use a pub’s garden area for your study, make sure you have written permission before you submit your proposal.

How Long Should a Research Proposal Be?

The length of a research proposal can vary depending on the specific requirements of the research project and the expectations of the institution or funding agency to which the proposal is being submitted. Generally, a research proposal should be long enough to provide a comprehensive overview of the proposed study, while also being concise enough to keep the reader engaged.

A typical research proposal can range from 5-20 pages, not including references or appendices. However, some proposals may be longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the research problem and the detail required to outline the research design, methods, and data analysis plan.

It is important to follow any specific guidelines or instructions provided by the institution or funding agency, including page limits or formatting requirements, to ensure that the proposal meets the necessary criteria for consideration.

What Tense Should a Research Proposal be Written in?

In general, a research proposal should be written in the future tense because it outlines what the researcher plans to do and what they hope to find. However, some sections of the proposal, such as the literature review, may use the present tense when discussing previous research findings. It is important to be consistent in your use of tense throughout the proposal and to follow any specific guidelines or requirements provided by your institution or funding agency.

What is the Purpose of Writing a Research Proposal?

The purpose of writing a research proposal is to outline a research project that you intend to undertake and to persuade others that your research idea is worth pursuing.