Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Understand the purpose of the proposal: This does not need to be a perfected piece of work. It is a stepping stone towards beginning your actual dissertation or thesis. Make sure you understand what your Supervisor / Committee / Department expect in terms of your proposal defense. Important elements are a clear problem statement, research question, and methodology. You need to motivate why your question is important, and that you have a feasible plan for how you will go about answering the question. You don’t need to have answered the question or have filled all the gaps already.
Keep in mind that the proposal is to some degree only a map or guide, and you will have room to manoeuvre as your actual dissertation or thesis evolves.
The proposal reflects you and your work ethic. Make it look professional by using your Department’s template or create your own by attending our MS Word Advanced editing course.
Important: This is a generic format for proposals and not all the aspects might be applicable.
- Working title
- Background/Rationale for study
- Literature review
- Research problem
- Justifications, Aims and Objectives
- Research design
- Data collection
- Data analysis
- Quality of research
- Ethical considerations
Proposing Empirical Research by Proposing Empirical Research: A Guide to the Fundamentals provides step-by-step instructions for students who will be writing their first research proposal in the social and behavioral sciences and using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The structure of the book enables students to work independently with confidence while writing the first drafts of their proposals. Each major section is divided into short topics and for each topic, students are asked to complete an exercise that leads them toward the goal of preparing a proposal. Numerous illustrative examples throughout the book make the recommendations for proposal writing come alive. In addition, the 10 model proposals provided at the end of the book illustrate proposal writing and provide material for classroom discussions. New to the Sixth Edition: Updates throughout to reflect research and learning in the digital/online environment, e.g., online surveys, digital organization tools, digital recruitment methods for research, and digital databases, records, and archives. Discussion of qualitative methods. Updated references, model proposals, end of chapter exercises etc. Proposing Empirical Research is ideal for use in research methods classes where students write a proposal as a term project, thesis/dissertation preparation classes, senior research seminars where proposing and conducting research is a culminating undergraduate activity, and any graduate-level seminar in which the instructor wants to incorporate a project that will engage students in critical thinking about the content area.
Publication Date: 2019-08-21