General Guide for the Research Proposal
Here’s a general guideline that you must follow when drafting the Research Proposal. It
is important that you follow the organization, the specific instructions and the terminology of
each of the sections that constitute a Research Proposal. Each section of the Research Proposal
should consist of coherent and clearly defined expositions, explanations, and arguments. It
should not consist of a list of terms and phrases. The final proposal will be due for the last day
of class (the last day we gather in class): May/26/2016. The final proposal has a value of twenty-
five (25) points and makes up the 25% of the final grade. The length of the proposal should
range from eight (8) to fifteen (15) pages of content. At the end it should have a list of at least
ten (10) references that should consist of academic journals, articles, chapters of specialized
books or a dissertation.
In essence, a Research Proposal is a structured text that identifies, defines, substantiates
and explains what you’re planning to investigate and how you’re going to do it. The logic behind
a well drafted Research Proposal is that the reader, without prior knowledge on the subject matter
(or topic), understands clearly:
what you’re going to investigate?
The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.
why does it matter?
how it has been researched?
how you’re going to investigate it?
how your particular way of researching it makes a contribution on the subject matter?
The sections of this guideline reflect this logic, which consists of:
1) An Introduction 2) A Justification 3) The Theoretical Framework 4) The Objectives, Questions and Hypothesis 5) The Method and Design 6) The References.
You will notice that in each of these sections I have described what needs to be elaborated. I
have also emphasized in bold, just below each section, the “general idea” behind each one.
A. Cover title (front page) “What title best captures the subject or topic and its problem?”
1. In the first page you should have a “Title” related to your topic. You can be creative in this aspect, but make sure that such title has an effective connection with your topic
(be weary of sensationalistic titles).
2. Below the title you should put the usual student information (name, student number, name and section of the class and the date).
B. Introduction “What is the topic and problem you’re going to investigate?”
1. It should clearly state your research topic and the problem that you intend to investigate.
2. What is the purpose of your research? In other words, justify, very briefly the importance of your research topic and/or problem.
3. Usually this section is brief and should consist of a minimum of one (1) paragraph and a maximum of two (2) paragraphs if you decide to dedicate one paragraph for section B.1.
and another for section B.2.
C. Justification “Why does it matter and what are you going to contribute with your research?”
1. You have already given a brief justification in the introduction, so in this section you will elaborate more about the significance of the problem you are investigating.
2. You should give a very brief overview of the review of literature that reinforces or shows the importance and purpose of your research topic and/or problem. I emphasize very brief
because you will not elaborate a comprehensive review of literature (this will be done on
the next section-Theoretical perspective). This very brief review of literature should focus
a. How your research problem has been generally defined. b. How it has been researched or what are the main venues in which it has been
c. The strengths and limitations regarding how it has been researched. d. How you are proposing to research it.
Regarding this last part, you don’t need to go into methodological details, just introduce
how your view and take on the subject matter relates to what has been generally done. Bear in
mind that the logic here is to give the reader an impression of why your inquiry is important, how
it has been generally researched and what your work will contribute in the on-going debates and
D. Theoretical perspective (or Theoretical framework) How you conceptualize the subject matter (according to a certain model, paradigm or
General Guide for the Research Proposal