Writing the Research Proposal

A research proposal is similar in a number of ways to a project proposal; however, a research proposal addresses a particular project: academic or scientific research.  The forms and procedures for such research are well defined by the field of study, so guidelines for research proposals are generally more exacting than less formal project proposals.  Research proposals contain extensive literature reviews and must offer convincing support of need for the research study being proposed.  Doctoral dissertations begin with research proposal; the proposal must be accepted by a panel of experts (usually professors) before the actual research can begin.  In addition to providing rationale for the proposed research, the proposal must described a detailed methodology for conducting the research--a methodology consistent with requirements of the professional or academic field.  The links below offer explanations and examples of research proposals.




The Elements of a Proposal

Frank Pajares, Emory University


Beginners Guide to the Research Proposal

University of Calgary, Manitoba, Canada, The Centre for Advancement of Health


Some Thoughts on Dissertation Proposal Writing

Professor Chris M. Gold, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation

S. Joseph Levine, Ph.D., Michigan State University


Conceptualizing, Writing, and Revising a Social Science Research Proposal

Institute of International Studies, University of California-Berkeley


SUNY Institute of Technology

State University of New York

This is a PDF and may take several seconds to load.  It's worth the wait.


The Proposal in Qualitative Research

Anthony W. Heath, PhD,  Division of Behavioral Sciences, McNeal Family Practice Residency


How To Write A Dissertation: or Bedtime Reading For People Who Do Not Have Time To Sleep

Douglas E. Comer, Purdue University

Note: Even if you're not writing a dissertation, you'll find some excellent writing tips in this source.


Resources for Graduate Student Writers

Sweetland Writing Center, University of Michigan


Writing Theses and Dissertations

Claremont Graduate University Writing Center


Teaching the Research Proposal: A Brief Process-Oriented Overview

Writing Center, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


Dissertation Proposal Writing Tutorial

Elys Ben Salem, University of Kansas


Guidelines & Requirements for NEJS Dissertation Proposals

Brandeis University


The Art of Writing Proposals

Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, Social Science Research Council


How to Write a Research Proposal



Resources for Proposal Writers

The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison




TEMPLATE for an APA-Style Proposal

Nelson L. Eby, in  collaboration with Dr. Douglas Degelman, Professor of Psychology,

Vanguard University of Southern California

Template may need modification for your program.




APA-Style Proposal #1: Intercessory Prayer and Task Performance

Douglas Degelman, Ph.D., and Martin Lorenzo Harris, Ph.D.
Vanguard University of Southern California


APA-Style Proposal #2: Infants' Perceived Gender and Adolescents' Ratings

Douglas Degelman, Ph.D., and Martin Lorenzo Harris, Ph.D.
Vanguard University of Southern California


Dissertation Proposals

University of Maryland, Department of Computer Science


Dissertations in Instructional Systems Technology 

Indiana University School of Education

Note: Not in APA style, but content is useful

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