Research Proposal

The Research Proposal is a document that outlines a plan of work and requests approval to proceed.  


Research Proposals are common in workplace and school contexts. Below is a summary of common sections of research proposals

SectionQuestion it answersNotes
PurposeWhat is the purpose of this proposal?Begin with a clear statement of the purpose of this document (not the Consulting Simulation project in general).  
SummaryWhat content is included in the document?This functions as a short-form version of the proposal. Briefly cover the major elements of the document for readers who might not read anything but the summary  
IntroductionWhat problem(s) does the proposed research project address?Problem statement: Clear, concise statement of problem; 1-3 sentences (move other detail to Background)

Objectives: Concise statement of the problem definition and needed textual and empirical research

Background: Explain how, why, and for whom the problem exists. What circumstances led to its discovery, relationships or events that affect the problem/solutions, etc.

Literature review/sources of information: Draw on your preliminary research to describe relevant literature/research related to this problem/research initiative.

Benefits: Describe potential benefits expected from the research in concrete, specific language.

Scope: Describe what you are going to research and what you are not going to research

Organization: Describe the organizational pattern the proposal uses

Key terms: Define any specialized terms you will use in the report
Proposed Program (also called Plan of Work or Research Methods):What work will be done? How will it be done?Organize by tasks to show your boss what research you will doing.

Be specific and detailed. (i.e. if you’re doing interviews, say specifically who you’ll be interviewing, why you are interviewing them, and what you want to find out.) Convince the reader that you know what you’re doing by presenting clear, specific plans with a rationale for each.  
QualificationsHow are you qualified to lead this project?Provide biographical profiles of the members of your team who will be doing the work.  
BudgetHow much will it cost to do this research and deliver our final product?This is the budget for doing this research project (not a budget for implementing the solution.)

For this project, provide one clear sentence describing your budget requirements. In the real world, this section can be very lengthy and detailed, but for our purposes, the budget should be very close to zero.
ScheduleHow long is this going to take?Include a short summary/overview of the schedule here and then cross-reference your Task Schedule, which should be attached as an Appendix. Make note of deadlines for major milestones.  
BibliographyWhat sources did we cite in the literature review?Include a bibliography of the sources you addressed in the literature review formatted in a style appropriate for your field: APA, Chicago, MLA, IEEE  

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