What Are the Parts of a Research Proposal?

What Are the Parts of a Research Proposal?

Cover letter

The cover letter is not a must to do section though it is necessary because, in it, you are required to identify yourself by your name, the name of your institution, the level of study, the course you are taking and even the identification of the proposed research.

Title page

The title page should be as brief as possible but should be that which helps the reader discern what the project is all about. The title page is necessary as it sheds a bit of light on what the research is all about. When using a title page ensure that it is one with which an attention of the readers can be attracted. Make sure it can make the reader desire more to look at the research proposal.


The abstract part gives an overview of the relevance o f the proposed research and its necessity.

Table of Contents

The table of contents is important though brief proposals may not need it as much as the lengthy proposals do. The table of contents should follow the order mentioned as they appear in work and should be numbered using lower case.


This part looks at the importance of the research proposal. Here, give a detailed background to your research. Briefly, tell us about your area of research and how important it is and what positive impact it can bring to the table of that field.

Purpose of the project, aims/objectives

In this section, ensure you provide a substantiated rationale for the importance of the proposed research work. Explain how potentially the research is beneficial. In so doing you can demonstrate its potential contribution to the area of or issue under study the for example policy makers or even the academic knowledge among others.

Cite reliable publications that are existing and which have identified a gap in knowledge and consequently identified a need for research in the selected area or topic or issue.

The study proposal should contain sufficient questions with three to four objectives or aims related to the proposed research. The aims are very essential because they provide the researcher with a roadmap to the completion and success of the research. Good objectives are objectives that are output.

Literature review

A proposal must have a critical literature review upon which the research will be built. In this section, you are required to demonstrate your understanding of the fundamental arguments and debates that are existing or have existed regarding the issue you have purposed to tackle in your research.

Research design/ approach/ plan

This section explains how the research will be carried out. You should evidently link between research questions and objectives and insights from the literature review. In this section you are also to explain the approach, you are going to use in conducting your research, and the method of data collection you are going to use. Justify the approach you are going to use by referencing reliable resources.

Provide a sound rationale for the strategies you are going to use in your data collection and analysis. Look at the potential limitations or constraints to the proposed research. Similarly, discuss your sampling methods and ethics.

The time frame is also necessary for this area. Make sure you explain to the reader the time frame you will use to conduct your research. For example “I will interview one manager per day for 1 hour in a week.”

List of References/ Bibliography

Bibliography comes at the end of the work. Whatever method you choose to follow, follow it throughout the work. The principal sources must be cited here.The sources must be carefully cited according to the agreed standards and style by your institution. An appropriate language is a key to a good research proposal.


A budget is crucial for no research can be successfully conducted to a completion without a right and proper budget. In this area, give a breakdown of the resources required to do your research including the travelling expenses and other physical resources as the cost of the writing materials and may be things like the cameras, tape recorders among others.


Appendices are used to record data tables, data collection instruments, surveys and questionnaires. If several appendices are used, they should be titled as Appendix A or Appendix B, Appendix C e.t.c