9 Free Research Proposal Templates (with Examples)

Research activities are often too complicated and costly to carry out single handedly from your own pocket. You need external funding and endorsement to be able to execute them. For that to happen, you have to draft a letter and present it to the various funders.

This letter is a research proposal. It proposes the project you intend to engage in while at the same time requests for sponsorship to that particular research. Knowing how to draft it is hence critical to your success. We offer more explanations to this letter in our subsequent discussions hereunder to help you in drafting one successfully.

Free Templates

Free Research Proposal Template 01 for Word File

Editable Research Proposal Template 02 for Word File

Printable Research Proposal Example 03 for Word File

Free Research Proposal Template 04 for Word File

Free Research Proposal Template 05 for Word File

Printable Research Proposal Template 06 for Word File

    Purpose of the Proposal

    Upon receiving this letter, the funders and potential sponsors will evaluate its merit and potential impact before committing to fund it. This letter basically persuades the reader to adopt the solutions that are proposed therein too! It does this by spelling out the potential value that the reader stands to gain.

    How to Write a Proposal

    Even though these proposals differ markedly from one another, they are drafted using more or less similar steps.

    Below are those steps highlighted and explained in detail:

    Step I: Determine the project to research

    First, determine the exact project. This is the problem which your research basically aims at solving. The problem, needless to say, has to be relevant to the community or humanity as a whole to be able to stand a chance of receiving the necessary funding.

    Step II: Spell out the scope

    Proceed now to spell out the scope of the research. ‘Scope’ here means the extent to which the project shall be valid and relevant. It also indicates the timelines that may have to be adhered to for the best outcomes to be attainable. Your funder will scrutinize these details to determine whether they merit funding.

    Step III: Create an outline

    Each proposal has to be carried out within a predefined framework. You have to spell out the precise framework within which yours is to happen. Come out with the relevant topics and steps that may have to be followed to attain the necessary end. This also will help in understanding the project altogether.

    Step IV: Fill in the blanks

    This is the core of the proposal altogether. Here, you basically fill the blank spaces which are left after outlining the scope of the project. To do this, write the details under each topic or step you have already delineated above. Be detailed and thorough in warding off any likely ambiguities.

    Step V: Proof-read and edit

    Needless to say, you have to proofread and edit the proposal before finally submitting the same to the prospective funder. Use grammar and spell checking tools to achieve this end. Documents that are devoid of any errors stand a higher chance of getting the funding. They are also deemed serious.

    What to Include in It

    A typical proposal has to comprise the following items:

    • Purpose – This is a summary of the need which your research endeavors to solve.
    • Title page – It is the first page of the proposal that displays the name of the author, the title of the research, its publisher, edition (if any), and the subtitle.
    • Introduction – The introduction summarizes its nature, its scope, objectives, and the timelines within which it is to happen.
    • Literature review – A literature review digs into some of the writings and studies that have already been conducted on the area of interest. It aims at identifying gaps that may be worked to solve the problem at hand.
    • Design and methods – These are the strategies which you the researcher aims at adopting to be able to solve the problem or meet the particular need at hand.
    • Implications and contribution to knowledge – In what ways will the research you have at hand contribute to knowledge and the advancement of humanity?
    • Reference list or bibliography – These are the lists of sources from which you derive your basis.
    • Schedule – It is a breakdown of the timeline within which you are to carry out the research and submit the final outcomes.
    • Budget – Each research has to be funded by money. In this section, you basically state how much money you need plus how you plan to use the amounts to tackle specific segments.

    Proposal Format

    This is the basic format for all kinds of proposals. All you have to do is fill in the blanks with the relevant pieces of information:

    • Purpose of a research proposal
    • Title page
    • Introduction
    • Literature Review
    • Research design and methods
    • Implications and contribution to knowledge
    • Reference list or bibliography
    • Schedule
    • Budget

    Templates & Examples

    Proposal example

    Research Proposal Example

    Research Proposal Sample Template

    Research Proposal Sample

    Research Proposal Sample Template

    Research Proposal Template

    Things to Keep in Mind

    To be able to draft a quality research proposal, there are a number of things you have to bear in mind.

    In this segment, we delineate and explain to them for you to note:

    Employ simpler language

    Though this is an academic paper, the funder or financier may never have a background in matters of academics. You hence want to avoid technical languages that are likely to confuse the reader. Such an approach will also help the reader to interpret the proposal and make meaning easily.

    Highlight the potential benefits

    One sure way of having your proposal receiving immediate acceptance is to highlight the potential benefits and explain. Let the reader know what he or the entire humanity stands to gain from that research if and when it eventually materializes. It would help if it impacted multiple disciplines at a time.

    Emphasize practicality

    As part of the benefits that the proposal may bring about, it is also necessary that you emphasize the practicality of the research work. This simply means that you have to prove to the prospective financier the practical viability of the project. Many projects are turned down mainly because they fail on this.

    Incorporate lots of facts

    Your proposal ought to incorporate lots of facts to stand a chance of getting understood well. The facts have to be plain and not forced, squeezed or justified unnecessarily. Break the data down in forms that are easily understood. In this way, the readers will also get enlightened and educated considerably.

    Things to Avoid when Writing a Research Proposal

    Other than bearing some facts in mind, it is also important that you stay away from some otherwise common mistakes as you draft your proposal.

    In this segment of our discussions, we explain these things you should avoid:

    Forgetting to mention citations

    Many people forget to mention the citations. This is not right as those citations are necessary to allow for independent corroborations of the facts contained in the proposal. Many readers will simply revert the proposal to you for completion.

    Being overly descriptive

    Though it is necessary to describe the project in-depth, you are cautioned against doing that excessively. You may confuse your reader with too many facts which he may not be in the position to digest and make meaning of. Instead, keep everything short and precise.

    Writing out of topic

    There has to be a perfect match between the topic and the contents that come thereafter. Some have had this tendency to write out of topic i.e., incorporate details that are way unrelated to the topic or the major subject of the research.

    Too long or too short

    The length of the proposal also matters. You want to cover all the essentials but, at the same time, refrain from making it too long for the reader to comb through easily while attempting to make meaning of the same. Thus, you have to keep the length moderate.

    The tone of the research proposal

    Given that this is an academic-cum official publication, it has to have a formal tone. Avoid using slang or unofficial languages to pass your concepts through. That is a recipe for immediate rejection. Take care though, that you do not use too hard vocabulary for the sake of those who may not be too learned.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Many mysteries abound regarding this subject matter of the research proposal. Let us now take a look at some of these questions and what their answers are:

    How long is a research proposal?

    Around 2,500 words would suffice. Any longer would be too long for a reader. A shorter proposal, on the other hand, would definitely leave out some crucial details, a fact that potentially renders the proposal of no effect.

    What makes a good research proposal?

    Generally, a good proposal has to address the question at hand in totality. It ought not to leave any gaps untouched as this might make the same incoherent and probably turned down by a would-be financier. The language in use also has to be simple and match the levels of literacy of the targeted reader.

    What are the types of research proposals?

    There are five main types. These are:
    Solicited proposals – submitted in response to a specific matter.
    Unsolicited proposals – Drafted without any prior consultation and used to call for funding.
    Pre-proposals – An executive summary of a planner research work that spells out the budget estimates, targeted audience, planned methodology, and projective objectives.
    Continuation or non-competing proposals – Drafted to seek funding for ongoing work or project.
    Renewal or competing proposals – Written to compete for limited funding. In many cases, it pits multiple candidates and research writers.
    Renewal or competing proposals – Written to compete for limited funding. In many cases, it pits multiple candidates and research writers.

    Our long and in-depth look into the subject of the research proposal comes to an end there. We now urge you to make good use of the provisions therein. That can only happen if you read the explanations carefully before setting out to write such a letter. It also pays to spread love abroad. Share the contents freely!

    About This Article

    Jake Adams
    Authored by:
    Academic tutoring, learning resources, SAT & ACT prep, college admissions applications
    Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, an online tutoring business based in Santa Monica, California. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients with the best online tutoring experience. He offers a wide range of academic subjects from K-College, specializing in SAT & ACT prep and college admissions applications. Jake has built a network of exceptional undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges across the nation. Holding a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University, Jake combines his educational background with his expertise to deliver effective and comprehensive tutoring services.

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