Research proposal

Research proposal step by step guide

A Title Page – based on the formatting technique you have learned so far create your final title page according to APA format.  Be sure the title of your paper is the accurate, descriptive title of your research project.

An Abstract – based on the principles of a good abstract, write a concise summary of your research paper.  This summary should not exceed 120 words.  Upon completion of reading this one paragraph “Abstract”, the reader should have a good overview of the entire paper.  The abstract describes the basic fundamentals of the overall proposal.

NOTE:  Be sure to give it the section heading “Abstract”

Introduction Section – based on your previous development of your “Introduction
Draft,” refine your “Introduction” based on instructor feedback and student comments.  Suggestions for revisions gaps in development, etc. from the first draft must be addressed in the final version.  It is also expected that your “Literature Review” will have been enhanced and expanded upon from the previous submission.

Methods Section – based on your previous draft, refine your “Methods” section based on instructor feedback and student comments.  Suggestions for revisions gaps in development, etc. from the first draft must be addressed in the final version.

NOTE:  Be sure to give it the section heading “Methods”

Discussion Section – Given that you will not actually be collecting your data of interest in your research project, you will construct a variation on a “traditional” discussion section (The elements of a standard “Discussion” section will be discussed in Week Eight).  For the purposes of submitting a Research Proposal, you will address the following questions in your Discussion Section:

  • What challenges exist in conducting this research?
  • In anticipation of conducting the research outlined in the previous sections, what challenges or difficulties await the researcher?  No research design is without its difficulties.  It demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of the topic and the research process when a researcher can anticipate the challenges that the proposed field of research provides.
    • What limitations exist in the proposed question and methodology?
    • Again, no research is perfect.  A good, empirically-grounded researcher understands the limitations embedded within not only the research design, but just how much can really be known about this topic or question.
      • What are the potential ethical challenges involved in the proposed study?  How have those potential ethical issues been addressed in the design and proposed execution of the study?
      • As you may remember from our section on Ethics, when human subjects are involved, every effort must be made to approach the research in a way that demonstrates the utmost attention to ethical practices.  The researcher is responsible for proactively identifying these ethical challenges and designing research adhering to principles of ethical research.
        • What are potential future applications of this research or additional directions research in this area might explore?
        • Similar to a traditional discussion section, a proposal should continue to generate questions about the research and the field.  The researcher should identify specific applications of the research and communicate the importance of the research to the overall field and body of knowledge.

NOTE:  Be sure to give it the section heading “Discussion”

References Section – finalize the References section you have been building over the course of the project.  Be sure to:

  • have a MINIMUM of several empirical citations.
  • have 80% of these citations from empirically-based, peer-reviewed journals.
  • parenthetically cite each item listed on the References page somewhere within the paper.
  • list the references alphabetically by author’s last name.
  • follow the guidelines of proper citation structure.

NOTE:  Be sure to give it the section heading  “Reference”

Appendices – If you are including any tables, graphs, interview questions, or sample surveys be sure to include the appropriate Appendices and cite those appendices in your paper.  Include copies of these elements in the Appendix section.