In this video, we are going to explain what a research proposal is in the context of a typical dissertation, thesis or academic a research proposal project. We will unpack the key contents of the proposal with clear practical examples so you can craft a convincing proposal. Now if you are new to the oftentimes intimidating world of academic a research proposal be sure to hit that subscribe button for loads of plain language, actionable advice. Also if you are working on a dissertation or thesis proposal grab our free proposal template along with chapter templates for the rest of your project. You can find the links to those down in the description. So what exactly is a research proposal? Well, a research proposal is simply a structured, formal document that explains what you plan to a research proposal. In other words a research proposal topic tells us why it is worth researching and how you plan to investigate it. So basically your methodological approach. As with all things a research proposal related it is useful to first understand the purpose the proposal serves its job so to speak. The purpose of the a research proposal is to convince a research proposal supervisor or university that your study is suitable given the requirements of the degree programme and manageable given the time and resource constraints you will face. The most important word here is convince. Your proposal needs to sell a research proposal idea to whoever is going to approve it. If it does not convince them you will need to revise and resubmit. That will cost you valuable time which will either delay the start of your project or eat into its time allowance. Either way, it is bad news so you want to aim for a rock-solid proposal that gets approved the first time around. So what exactly goes into the proposal? Well, as I mentioned you need to cover the what, the why and the how of your planned a research proposal. So let us dig into each of those a little deeper. Number one the what. First up your proposal research needs to clearly articulate a research proposal topic.
This needs to be specific and unambiguous stating exactly what you plan to a research proposal and in what context. Here is an example of a well-articulated topic. An investigation in proposal research into the factors which impact female gen Y consumers’ likelihood to promote a makeup brand to their peers, a British context. As you can probably see this topic is extremely specific. From one line we can see exactly what is being investigated, factors that make people promote a brand of makeup, who it involves, female gen Y consumers and in what context, the United Kingdom. So make sure that a research proposal provides a clear explanation of a research proposal topic. Ideally, you should express your topic in the form of a research proposal aims, objectives and a research proposal questions but in some cases, these will only be finalised following a comprehensive literature review so check with your university what their expectations and norms are. Also, be sure to check out our video explaining a research proposal aims and objectives if you are unsure how to craft these. Number two the why? Clearly articulating your a research proposal topic is the first step but justifying that topic is just as important. Specifically, you need to explain how a research proposal will be unique and how it will contribute something new to the existing literature, what gap in the current literature will it fill? If it is just a lazy rehash of existing a research proposal it is probably not going to get approval it needs to be fresh. But originality alone is not enough you also need to justify why your proposed topic is valuable or important. In other words what value will it add to the world if you manage to find the answers to a research proposal questions? For example, sticking with the topic we mentioned earlier factors impacting makeup brand advocacy in this case identifying the relevant factors would be really useful to marketers in the cosmetics industry and would therefore have commercial value.
So when you are crafting a research proposal remember that it is not enough for a topic to simply be unique it needs to be useful and value-creating and you need to convey that value in your proposal. By the way, if you are struggling to find a a research proposal topic that meets these criteria check out our video covering how to find a high-quality a research proposal topic. Right, let us look at the final essential ingredient for a winning proposal research. Number three the how? Of course, it is all good and well to have a great topic that is specific original and valuable but you are not going to convince anyone to approve it if it is not practical. So a research proposal needs to detail your intended methodological approach. Here are some important questions you will need to address. Will you take a qualitative or quantitative approach, will your time horizon be cross-sectional or longitudinal, who or where will you collect data from, how will you collect your data? For example, interviews, surveys etcetera, how will you analyse your data, for example, qualitative content analysis, statistical analysis etcetera. While it is not generally expected that you will have a fully fleshed-out a research proposal design at the proposal stage you will need to provide at least a high-level view of your approach so that your institution can assess its viability. So make sure you give some thought to the practicalities of a research proposal and have at least a basic understanding of a research proposal design before you start writing up your proposal research. By the way, if some of this terminology sounds like gibberish to you check out our a research proposal methodology 101 video. The link is in the description as always. All right so let us recap. A a research proposal is a formal document that explains what you will a research proposal, why it is worth a researching and how you plan to investigate it. Now, remember different universities and programs will have varying requirements in terms of how much detail they expect in a proposal so be sure to follow their guidelines.
You can also check out our video that explains how to write a a research proposal step by step and grab our free proposal research template. I will include links to those below. If you enjoyed the video please hit that like button and leave a comment. For more videos like this check out the Grad Coach channel and subscribe for plain language actionable a research proposal tips and advice every week. Also if you are looking for one-on-one support with your proposal research be sure to check out our private coaching service where we hold your hand throughout the a research proposal process step by step. You can learn more about that and book a free initial consultation at gradcoach.com.