We accept Apple Pay Google Pay Quick and secure payment options.

How to Write a Research Proposal: Format, Outline, Example

Author Avatar
Written by
Dr. Alex Freedman
  • Icon Calendar 16 May 2024
  • Icon Page 6384 words
  • Icon Clock 29 min read

This article provides a guideline concerning how to write a good research proposal. It teaches students the most critical elements of this type of scholarly text, including the abstract, introduction, research question and hypothesis, research methodology, limitations, and ethical considerations. Writing a research proposal is an essential activity in academic life, while a research paper helps to show how people understand certain concepts. In this case, students need to understand that a research proposal is not a research paper, and it should give a sense of future work. Moreover, a good research paper begins with a well-organized proposal, being the basis for evaluating the relevance and applicability of a study. By reading this article, one can grasp valuable insights on how to start and write a research proposal, including the most critical; details that can prevent the professor, department, or research committee from rejecting it.

General Aspects on How to Write a Research Proposal With Examples & Templates

Learning and perfecting how to write a research proposal is not only an academic requirement for college students but also a pivotal process of intellectual development. In any academic calendar, students write various types of papers, including different types of essays, reports, and commentaries. Therefore, continually developing one’s knowledge of writing proposals is essential for success in college. Researching is an academic and intellectual activity that helps individuals to explore or investigate phenomena to advance knowledge. Ideally, the students’ main agenda is to identify gaps in the existing knowledge and conduct research to fill study gaps. Practically, any research process begins with a proposal. In particular, this guideline teaches students and anyone interested in understanding how to start and write a research proposal.

How to Write a Research Proposal: Format, Outline, Example

Definition of What a Research Proposal and Its Meaning

A research proposal is a text that explains why researching a topical area is critical because it provides a research question or hypothesis and how writers intend to answer it. From this perspective, this type of paper means providing a logical presentation of the intended study topic and methods to evaluate its relevance and applicability, being the first stage of writing a research paper. The primary purpose of a research proposal is to convince the assessment committee that writers are knowledgeable about a thematic area. They demonstrate this knowledge by addressing specific gaps in the literature, adding new knowledge, or evaluating existing paradigms in a topical area. For example, students establish their research topics and relevant evidence about their studies, determining if there exists enough support for the suggested theme under investigation.

Use of a Research Proposal

In most instances, students write research proposals toward the end of their college education when they must demonstrate a deep understanding of what they have learned through the years. However, a research proposal differs from a research paper in that it lacks the findings category, which is the primary purpose of any research work. Besides, people use their proposals to assess the relevance and scope of studied topics. As a result, proposal writing helps to evaluate the effectiveness of the issue and methods of investigation.

Key Features of Starting a Research Proposal

Any proposal depends on the scope of the research and what authors intend to achieve. In other words, the main sections of essay proposals may vary depending on the goal of the study. For small essays, some sections can be skipped, for example, due to the absence of the sample population or experiment itself. However, for huge projects, all main sections should be included. In turn, all research proposals must have the next elements:

Title and Its Objectives

A good research proposal contains a suitable essay title and objectives of a study. For instance, the title shows what students intend to explore, setting up the scope and purpose of their proposal. As a rule, the title gives a clear indication of the central research question or null hypothesis. Hence, a proposal should show the primary objective of carrying out the study. Along these lines, writers must provide a clear introduction that provides a statement of the problems and research question. Besides, this section includes specific and accurate synopsis of the purpose of the study. Therefore, a proposal must contain a unique title and a clear goal that focuses on addressing a defined problem.

Literature Review in a Research Proposal

A research proposal contains a literature review section, which provides background and context for study objectives. For instance, the literature review established the need for an investigation, showing the knowledge gap in the literature that the study must address at the end. Besides, the literature review should logically lead to study hypotheses and research questions. Hence, a proposal must have a well-organized literature review section that reveals knowledge gaps and substantiates the actual study.

Methods and Plan of Work

A research proposal contains anticipated methods for data collection and planning the work. For instance, this paper reveals the systematic steps that one takes to answer study questions or test hypotheses. As a rule, the method section must contain sufficient details of possible activities in collecting data. In this case, a research or essay proposal should end with a plan of work, which indicates the order of events. Moreover, the plan of work should have deadlines for completing data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Thus, a proposal should contain appropriate methods and timetables for essential activities.

Standard Structure of a Research Proposal & Template

Like any term paper or essay, a research proposal has a unique structure that students should adopt. The structure must include an abstract or executive summary, an introduction that emphasizes the study’s significance, a background or literature review, the study’s rationale, the research methodology, ethical considerations, analysis of information, limitations and critical assumptions, the expected findings and conclusion, and references. Each section addresses specific issues that writers cannot ignore. In this respect, short sections have headings only, while long ones often incorporate sub-headings. People must understand that this structure is a standard outline, but professors may provide a different design depending on the topical area.

1️⃣ Abstract Section of a Research Proposal

The abstract is the first section of a research proposal, often limited to between 100 and 200 words, because its primary purpose is to provide a summary of the entire paper. In this respect, the text introduces the topic of the research that the author proposes and its significance, such as filling some gaps in the literature, adding new knowledge, or critiquing existing paradigms. The rest of the information should briefly describe the methodology, ethical considerations, limitations, significance, expected findings, and conclusion. When writing this section, students should aim to inform readers about the critical aspects of their proposal that allow them to grasp key concepts without reading the entire paper. It is also important to note that this section stands on a single page in any writing format, and students should begin the introduction of the paper on the following page.

2️⃣ Introduction Section of a Research Proposal

The introduction is the second section of a proposal but the first part of the work itself because it is where writers introduce research topics, research questions or hypotheses, and the significance of their work. When writing this part of a proposal, students should provide readers with essential information that contextualizes the expected study work. Context establishes the reason why their proposal is critical. In most instances, researchers use this part to set the background of the study by pointing out what is lacking in the existing literature. However, they do not conduct an in-depth analysis of knowledge gaps because that is the purpose of the later literature review section. It makes sense to hint to readers what a research proposal is all about at this point.

A. Research Topic

The crux of every academic paper is the title because it tells readers about the author’s focus. Choosing a good topic is a fundamental aspect of writing any scholarly material. When selecting research topics for a proposal paper or essay, students should provide a general description of the topical area, such as the link between substance use and mental disorders or the role of mentorship in leadership development. Essentially, this component is the most critical because it is the foundation of everything writing the paper. Therefore, students should choose topical areas they are well conversant with because they must demonstrate their understanding through valid arguments. While instructors provide their topics for writing research papers and essays that high school or college learners write as part of ongoing assessments, students of higher educational institutions choose their own topics for writing a term paper, thesis paper, and dissertation.

B. Research Question(s) or Hypothesis(es)

Generally, research proposals, essays, or papers must answer study questions or prove or disapprove hypotheses. A research question is a statement that establishes a first foundation of any thematic area. For example, students may seek to answer the question: “Why is substance use and abuse a pathway to developing mental health disorders?” This question establishes the focus of writing a proposal by informing readers of what they expect to find in a complete research paper or essay, understanding the way how substance use and abuse lead to mental health disorders. A hypothesis is a statement that authors aim to validate or invalidate in a research proposal, such as “There is a strong linkage between substance use and abuse and poor academic performance.” Scholars should prove or disapprove of this statement after conducting an actual study or experiment.

Types of Hypotheses

There are six types of hypotheses. The first is a simple hypothesis that suggests a dependent and an independent variable relate in some way. The second is a complex hypothesis that suggests several dependent and independent variables relate in some way. The third type is a directional hypothesis, which reflects the researcher’s focus on a particular outcome using the relationship between different variables as the pathway. Then, there is a non-directional hypothesis, which applies when scholars have no theory to base their proposal paper or essay on and instead justify a relationship between two variables without predicting its exact. The last types are null and alternative hypotheses, where authors state that a relationship does not exist between independent and dependent variables or there is a link between these elements.

C. Significance of the Study

Every academic text has some significance that writers should determine during preparation. When students understand why addressing a particular issue is essential, they can develop a mindset focused on a high-quality product. When writing a research proposal, people should explain why their proposal paper or essay is critical. In this respect, they must demonstrate gaps in existing knowledge they intend to close, new knowledge to add, or existing paradigms, like arguments and concepts to appraise or critique. Besides, students should write this component bearing in mind research questions or hypotheses. However, the significance of a research proposal should not divert readers to an issue different from the paper’s primary focus: answering study questions or validating or invalidating hypotheses.

3️⃣ Background or Literature Review for Writing a Research Proposal

In this second part of a research proposal, authors provide readers with an in-depth background of a study area by reviewing the existing literature using credible sources. Although this section aims to contextualize the proposed research and its theoretical framework, the general description is a review of the literature. Writers use this part of their papers to expound on the hint they gave readers in the introduction part, which means evaluating existing knowledge on the topical area to identify gaps, the need for new knowledge, or popular paradigms. When writing this part of their proposal, students should consider research questions or hypotheses since they directly affect the field of the existing literature under analysis and its content. This section tends to be extended because writers must review reliable sources by explaining their purpose, often the findings. A critical feature of this section is citations based on the applicable style, like APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian, among others.

4️⃣ Research Methodology in Proposals

Research methodology is the third section of writing a research proposal, where authors describe how they will conduct their studies. In this respect, students tell readers how they intend to collect data, answer research questions or test their hypotheses, and analyze the data. Critical features of this section include the research design, research methods, study participants, procedure, and data analysis. Research methods are components that address data collection. Therefore, when writing a research proposal, students should view research methodology as the crux of the entire paper because it outlines how they will answer the research or essay question or prove or disapprove of the hypothesis.

A. Research Design

Research design emphasizes research methods and techniques that scholars employ to conduct scientific studies. There are two main research designs, such as qualitative and quantitative. Each design has several study types that students can consider for their proposal. For example, the qualitative approach includes case studies and ethnographies, while the quantitative approach incorporates correlational, descriptive, and experimental studies. Therefore, authors need to know when each design applies and the specific type of a proposal paper or essay that fits their objective. A research design is the overall description of a research study because it gives readers a hint of what to expect.

Qualitative Research Design

Qualitative research design is flexible and inductive and allows writers to adjust their approach depending on various factors during the research process, such as the characteristics of study respondents. This format applies to studies that seek to answer a specific question or questions, systematically use predefined procedures to get answers, collect evidence, and interpret the findings to address an existing literature gap, add new knowledge, or appraise or critique common paradigms. Moreover, qualitative research methodology is most appropriate for studies investigating the impact of social phenomena, such as the influence of parental divorce on adolescents’ social and mental health. This design is subjective because it describes a social phenomenon from the point of view of those who experience it. Common examples of qualitative research are case studies, participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups.

Quantitative Research Design

Quantitative research design is the dominant study framework in the social sciences because it incorporates assumptions and techniques in investigating economic, social, and psychological phenomena. For example, writers may seek to investigate why students from low-income backgrounds score poorly on a depression scale. The most critical elements in quantitative studies are numerical data, such as household income, statistical analyses that aggregate the numbers, relationships among the information, or comparisons across different data sets. Unlike the subjective qualitative design, this study framework is more objective because people aim to interpret data related to a phenomenon. Research types that apply this design include correlational and descriptive studies and experiments.

B. Research Methods

In a simple definition, research methods are specific strategies that scholars use to collect and analyze data, and they are an integral part of any study design. Concerning data collection methods, authors should decide on what information can help to answer research questions or validate or invalidate hypotheses. This data can be words for qualitative research and numbers for quantitative research, primary or secondary, depending on whether scholars will collect it or use what others have gathered. About data analysis in a quantitative study, students should state statistical techniques they use to test relationships between variables. For qualitative studies, they should communicate their approaches to interpret the data’s patterns and meanings. However, people should use the data analysis component to indicate how they will comprehensively analyze information for writing a proposal.

C. Sample Population

Most qualitative and quantitative studies involve study participants as the primary sample for observation. Students need to define the population and explain why they want to study this segment. Doing so requires one to describe the population by stating its characteristics, such as age, gender, occupation, or socioeconomic profile. Then, scholars should note whether there are participants who would be excluded and why and whether there would be a control group. It is standard practice in research for students to incorporate these components in their proposals. The inclusion and exclusion criteria help readers to understand the complexity of the study process or experiment. While research work may seem straightforward in theory, one must be prepared to face multiple hurdles when executing actual research in the field. In turn, students should explain how they will choose the final sample from the target population when writing their proposal.

D. Study Procedure

Like other processes, writing is procedural, and students must understand the dynamics involved in producing a research proposal. The study procedure describes the steps or processes researchers will use to actualize their studies. Firstly, they state the research population and how they will select the study sample. Secondly, students describe how they will collect data, such as observing or interviewing the sample. They should also mention how they will analyze the study data for further interpretation. The section should provide exact details of how authors will execute the study. From this perspective, concluding that a wrong procedure can produce flawed results and invalidate the whole work is valid. Professors, departments, and research committees can reject a research proposal if the procedure is questionable.

E. Data Analysis

Often the last component in the methodology section, being data analysis, stipulates how students will analyze the data collected. Data analysis is critical because it enables authors to make the collected data sensical and interpret it to answer research questions or validate or invalidate hypotheses. When describing data analysis for a proposal, students should mention analytical tools they will use, such as regression analysis, to indicate the logical reasoning that uses the collected data to point out patterns, relationships, and trends. While writers can get the right data, they can make it useless using the wrong analytical tool. Therefore, students must be familiar with various analytical tools and how they relate to qualitative and quantitative research approaches.

5️⃣ Preliminary Data for Writing a Research Proposal

It is standard for students to gather preliminary data when outlining a research proposal. Ideally, this data gives the audience a sneak peek into research methods, instrumentations, and expected findings. Researchers gather this data through survey questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, mail correspondence, telephone calls, or online. Therefore, preliminary data enables authors to give readers an idea about what to expect when reading through a research paper or essay. Most importantly, it motivates writers by giving readers a proper perspective. When authors understand critical details about the work they intend to undertake, they can develop the right attitude, including proactive engagement with existing knowledge materials, like books and research findings. While preliminary data can form part of the actual information that students use in their research papers, it is not mandatory. One can choose a new set of data to conduct any study.

6️⃣ Statement of Limitations in Research Proposals

Limitations are issues that complicate one’s agenda to produce a perfect proposal. In this section, authors inform readers about possible limitations of the proposed work. The essence of this component is the understanding that nothing is always perfect, especially if it is subject to external factors or influences. Scientific research falls under this category because it is subject to different external factors, such as people’s willingness to participate and the relevance of the collected data to the study topic. Various limitations that researchers face include the generalizability of the data, where the findings can only apply to a section of the population for various reasons. Some of these reasons include the method of sample selection, size, and representation.

7️⃣ Ethical Considerations

This section of a research proposal states how authors intend to address ethical considerations that often apply to scientific research. One consideration is the permission by relevant authorities to conduct the investigation. Typically, scholars receive this permission from universities’ ethical committees. Another ethical consideration is the consent of study participants. A research proposal must explain how students will seek this consent, such as sending a consent form to the study sample and requiring participants to fill and sign the document if they believe the researcher’s explanation about the study is satisfactory. Parents and guardians give consent if the study sample comprises underage individuals. Some guarantees that researchers provide to get the participants’ consent include the privacy and confidentiality of their data and personal safety throughout the study period.

8️⃣ Expected Findings

In this section of a research proposal, authors predict the findings of the proposed study based on the preliminary data. This part addresses the readers’ curiosity about a proposal paper or essay and what it will uncover. Although not the exact findings of the research, the predicted results show that authors are conversant with the topical area and can use the preliminary data to formulate expectations in the actual research. A key feature of this section is the implications of the investigation, where students reemphasize the study’s significance and how the findings will affect or influence the discipline within the study topic falls under, such as psychology. As a result, writers mention how the expected results will address existing literature gaps, add new knowledge, or appraise or critique popular paradigms.

9️⃣ Conclusion Section of a Research Proposal

The conclusion paragraph is the last section of a research proposal where writers sum up their paper or essay. As such, most of the information reiterates the content in the preceding paragraphs, with the introduction taking the most significant chunk. Ideally, authors remind readers about the aim they set out to achieve at the beginning of a proposal. Students can also mention other sections briefly to emphasize the document’s purpose. When concluding a research proposal, one should focus on convincing readers of the necessity of the study.

🔟 References

Like the abstract, the references section does not often feature as a typical research proposal or paper component. Nonetheless, it is a critical section that students should incorporate into their proposal paper or essay as it provides readers with a list of scholarly materials used in the literature review. Notably, this part of the paper demonstrates that authors have widely consulted the literature to justify a proposal. The more the sources, the more vigorous the activity of researching for information to answer research questions or prove or disapprove of study hypotheses. When constructing this last part of a research proposal, students should consider the applicable styles, such as APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian.

Formatting Template for a Research Proposal

When writing a research proposal, students should ensure that the relevant style applies from the beginning to the end. Academic writing rules stipulate that writers can only use one style — APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian —  in their proposal paper or essay. As such, one cannot structure the paper according to the APA style and provide citations according to the MLA style. In turn, each style is unique and has characteristics that writers should adopt and demonstrate when producing a research proposal. The most critical elements in these styles are the author, the year of publication, the title of the work, and the publisher’s name and location.

📕 APA Style

The APA (American Psychological Association) writing style is the most common in research work. In this case, students should understand the basic rules of this referencing approach. In-text citations allow authors to indicate the source of information they have used in their proposal to support an argument or contextualize an observation. Students can use two approaches when doing these citations, such as naming the source in the sentence or indicating it at the end of the sentence in parenthesis, such as (Stevenson, 2018). At the end of the paper, one should create references listing all the sources. For example, a reference entry for a scholarly source should follow the structure:

Surname (full), first initial (shortened), second initial (shortened). (Year of publication). Title of the work in the sentence case. Name of the Journal in Title Case in Italics, volume in italics (number in brackets), page numbers, and doi link.

📕 MLA Style

The MLA (Modern Language Association) is not commonly used in research proposals. However, instructors may require students to use it when writing a research proposal. As such, one needs to know how to use it correctly. The most important thing to know is that when citing sources in the body of the text, students should mention the author’s surname and the page where the information is located in parentheses at the end of a sentence: (Stevenson 19). At the end of a research paper proposal, they should create a works cited page listing all the sources used, like:

Surname, first and second names. “Title of the Work in Title Case in Double Quotations.” Name of the Journal in Title Case Italics, volume, number, year of publication, year of publication, page numbers, and doi identifier.

📕 Harvard Style

The Harvard style has greater similarities with the APA format. One similarity is citing the author’s name and the year of publication in in-text citations. However, unlike the APA style, Harvard referencing does not require writers to use a comma after the author’s surname. Therefore, an in-text citation in Harvard appears (Stevenson 2018). At the end of a research proposal, students should create a reference list where they capture all the sources they have used in their literature review. For example, a reference entry for a scholarly article should have the following information:

Surname, first and second names (shortened and with no coma) year of publication, ‘Title of the work in sentence case in single quotation marks,’ Name of the Journal in Title Case in Italics, volume, number, page numbers, and doi identifier.

📕 Chicago/Turabian Style

Chicago/Turabian referencing format is similar to the MLA style. However, the most significant difference is that students should use footnotes to capture in-text citations when writing their proposals. Such citations should indicate the author’s surname and the page number where they got the cited information. For a scholarly source, the first footnote should capture the next information:

Author’s first name with second name and surname, “Title of the Work in the Topic Sentence in Double Quotation,” The Name of the Journal in the Topic Case in Italics, volume, number (year of publication): the exact page number where the writer got the cited information, and doi link.

Ultimately, students should create a bibliography page to note all the sources. The above source should appear as it is, except that the surname followed by the first and second names and the page numbers will indicate all the pages of the source document.

Author’s surname, first name with second name, “Title of the Work in the Topic Sentence in Double Quotation,” The Name of the Journal in the Topic Case in Italics, volume, number (year of publication): page numbers, and doi link.

Reasons for Rejection of Research Proposals

Rejection of academic texts happens for various reasons, the most common being the author’s failure to satisfy basic requirements, like the referencing style and deadline for submission. Other reasons include proposing a topic irrelevant to the discipline and proposing questionable research questions, hypotheses, research design, and methods. Submitting an incomplete proposal, a poorly written literature review, and presenting a research methodology beyond the principal investigator’s capacity can also lead to the rejection of a research paper proposal. Therefore, it is paramount that students acquaint themselves with the basic requirements of proposals and the expectations of professors, departments, and research committees.

Error Elimination

While students must format their research paper proposals according to the applicable style, they should also ensure that their work is error-free. Basically, authors make many mistakes when producing academic texts: wrong and missing citations, punctuation, and inconsistent arguments and ideas. In turn, students should eliminate such flaws when writing a proposal to avoid the professor, department, or research committee rejecting their papers or essays. It is paramount for one to read and reread their proposal to identify any errors. While it is easier to fix grammatical and formatting mistakes, it can be challenging to identify inconsistencies in thought. As such, students can give their research paper proposals or essays to colleagues or peers to peruse because authors may be biased to critique their own work.

Academic Writing Conventions

Students should observe academic writing conventions when writing a research paper proposal or essay. The first rule is to use formal language. All authors must use third-person pronouns, such as ‘they,’ and avoid first- and second-person pronouns, such as ‘I’ and ‘we.’ Another convention is citing all information from outside sources using the applicable style described above. Other rules include writing in the active voice, observing the 80/20 rule, avoiding slang and emotive and exaggerated language, and following a well-organized researh paper outline template. The 80/20 rule suggests that writers should spend 80 percent of their time researching material and 20 percent composing it into a logical proposal paper or essay. Observing these rules can make a high-quality research paper proposal or essay and prevent rejection by relevant authorities.

Examples of Topics for Research Proposal

When writing research paper proposals or essays, students should choose topics carefully because it will significantly determine the quality of their work. Ideally, it is easier to research an issue people are excited about and confident they can write about because they have studied it in class or during personal study in the library or at home. In other words, a research topic is important because it directs what students intend to do, including researching information in multiple databases. The following list provides possible research paper topics that students can choose because each indicates an aspect of examination, exploration, or investigation:

  • Potential Impact of Autonomous Vehicles on Urban Planning
  • Examining the Influence of Peer Pressure on Adolescents’ Behaviors
  • How Parental Divorce Impairs Teenagers’ Socioemotional Development
  • Examining Leadership Through Employees’ Attitudes, Behaviors, and Performance
  • Investigating the Relationship Between Education and Economic and Social Mobility
  • How Morale Impacts Cohesion in the Workplace

Outline Example for Writing a Research Paper Proposal & Template


Provide a summary of the whole paper in 100-200 words, including a few keywords.

I. Introduction

  • Research topic: ___ .
  • Research question: ___ .
  • Significance of the study: ___ .

II. Literature Review

Review all sources that correspond to a research proposal topic and question and cite them according to the rules of the selected reference style.

III. Research Methodology

  • Research design: ___ .
  • Research methods: ___ .
  • Sample population: ___ .
  • Study procedure: ___ .
  • Data analysis: ___ .

IV. Preliminary Data

Talk about preliminary data.

V. Statement of Limitations

In a proposal paper or essay, analyze limitations.

VI. Ethical Considerations

Include ethical aspects of conducting the study.

VII. Expected Findings

Explain what is expected from doing research.

VIII. Conclusion

Sum up key aspects of a proposal paper or essay.


Provide reference entries for all sources used in a proposal paper or essay.

Research Paper Proposal Example

Topic: How Parental Divorce Impairs Teenagers’ Socioemotional Development

Abstract Sample for Writing a Research Proposal

This paper outlines a research paper proposal for a study examining how parental divorce impairs teenagers’ socioemotional development. The paper highlights the research question and the study’s significance. It also reviews the literature and outlines the research methodology. Other sections of this proposal include preliminary data, study limitations, ethical considerations, expected findings, and conclusion.

I. Example of an Introduction

Divorce is an event with considerable effect on children, mainly if they are still in the early developmental phases. Adolescence qualifies for this categorization because it is a period when youth experience significant physical and emotional development. As such, parental divorce can have adverse effects on this population. This proposal aims to examine how parental divorce impairs teenagers’ socioemotional development by answering the question: How does divorce affect teenagers’ social and emotional functioning? The proposed study is significant because it aims to provide insights into how parental divorce exposes youth to circumstances that impair their social and emotional functioning. Such knowledge is vital for parents, counselors, educators, and youth who may need to provide guidance and other assistance to young people experiencing difficulty accepting their parents’ divorce.

II. Literature Review

Multiple studies have examined how family events, particularly divorce, exert immense pressure on children. Research evidence suggests that parental divorce is a pathway for social and emotional disorders in children. According to researchers, divorce exposes children to ugly incidences, such as court cases, which make parents bitter and unable to connect emotionally with their children. Under such a context, children find it easier to internalize their anger and pain and eventually develop externalizing behavior, including physically assaulting peers and using drugs.

III. Research Methodology

The proposed research will be a qualitative study utilizing observation and in-depth interviews as research methods. Researchers will target youth who have experienced parental divorce within the last five years, focusing on 20 participants. The proposed research methodology will include observing the study sample and interviewing each participant individually over three weeks. The study will utilize content analysis to determine themes and patterns that indicate problematic socioemotional functioning.

IV. Preliminary Data

Preliminary data suggests parental divorce is a present reality across the United States and consumes considerable time for district courts countrywide. Consequently, evidence shows that most adolescents who have experienced parental divorce have undergone counseling during both pre- and post-divorce periods. In this respect, the proposed study is essential to determine how parental divorce impairs teenagers’ socioemotional development.

V. Statement of Limitations

The proposed study has several limitations. The first one is that the study sample is small, which might affect the generalizability of the findings. Secondly, the study focuses on participants who have experienced divorce in the last five years. As such, there is a high probability that factors other than divorce, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, may account for participants’ socioemotional deficiencies.

VI. Ethical Considerations

Researchers will write to the University Ethical Committee seeking permission to conduct the proposed study. Consequently, they will seek the participants’ consent by requiring each participant to sign a consent form. The form will explain the purpose of the research and emphasize that participation is voluntary, while participants’ data will be strictly confidential.

VII. Expected Findings of a Proposal

Researchers expect the proposed work to confirm that parental divorce impairs teenagers’ socioemotional development. One expected finding is that, when parents divorce, teenagers become vulnerable to problematic behavior because of influence by those who seek to fill the gap that develops. In turn, the proposed work is essential to demonstrate that teenagers are affected significantly when parents seek to divorce because the new reality predisposes them to internalizing and externalizing behaviors.

VIII. Example of a Research Proposal Conclusion

Understanding how divorce affects adolescents is vital for parents, educators, and counselors because they are the ones who deal with the aftermath of this emotionally draining family experience. As such, this proposal is timely and provides an opportunity to investigate parental divorce’s impairments on teenagers’ socioemotional development and functioning.

References of Used Sources

For this example, only general knowledge is used to show how to write a research proposal in brief. Therefore, there is no need to cite anything since it serves only for educational purposes. However, when writing any paper and using any source, everything that people took from articles must be cited within the text and at the end of a proposal paper or essay to avoid plagiarism.

Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect Research Paper Proposal

A research proposal is a logical statement that helps to evaluate the relevance and applicability of any scholarly work. Basically, this type of paper must have a well-organized introduction that presents the main study objectives. The literature review reveals the knowledge gap that the investigation must address, substantiating the work or essay. Moreover, a good proposal must contain the anticipated methods and plan of work. In turn, the method section includes a detailed procedure for gathering the relevant data for the study. As a result, students need several tips for writing a high-standard proposal that the professor or research committee cannot reject, which include:

  • When writing a research proposal, the first thing to do is choose a thematic area one is acquainted with because it creates excitement and enthusiasm.
  • Then, students should develop their research question(s) or hypothesis(es).
  • The third agenda is to research sources in online databases for the literature review to identify knowledge gaps and popular paradigms.
  • The fourth aspect is to pick a specific type of research methodology, considering the differences between qualitative and quantitative research designs, such as correlational, descriptive, experimental, observational case studies, and ethnographies.
  • Lastly, students should review their work to address every critical detail of a research proposal.