6.5 Writing a Research Proposal

Before conducting a study, researchers need to develop a research proposal that provides an overview of a research project to help others (such as ethics committee, prospective participants, funding bodies) understand the scope of the research, the importance of the research, the proposed methodology and the chosen research methods. A well-thought-out proposal is a foundation or blueprint for a proposed investigation, making it a crucial stage of the research process. However, for many students writing a research proposal can be a challenging effort.13-15 As a novice researcher, before writing your research proposal, you should ensure that you speak extensively with methodologists, experienced researchers, ethics advisors, and statisticians early in the process. Make sure the study is practical, that there are enough acceptable and accessible patients, and that you have the required resources (particularly time, budget and expertise).4

An outline of what is required in a proposal is provided below:

  1. The front matter
    • The title of the proposal.
    • The names and affiliations (institutions) of the principal investigator (lead researcher) and the co-investigators.
    • The email addresses and phone numbers of the investigators

2. The main content

    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Literature review
    • Aims and objectives
    • Methodology
    • Data management and analysis
    • Ethical consideration
    • Timelines
    • Budget
    • References
    • Appendices

Watch the video below, which provides an in-depth description of the structure of a research proposal.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

An Introduction to Research Methods for Undergraduate Health Profession Students Copyright © 2023 by Faith Alele and Bunmi Malau-Aduli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.