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A Guide To Writing Successful Research Proposals

  • By Daniel Millions
  • Published 06/25/2008
  • Writing

Often PhD candidates find that they must write a research proposal. A research proposal is a very important step towards completing your degree and graduation. Successful research is the sign of a keen PhD candidate. One begins the research proposal project with a research hypothesis. This is most often a single sentence. You know you have a “winning” research proposal when you can put it into a single phrase or sentence. Your research hypothesis is one, which is an idea or thought that you believe in firmly. It is also one that you are passionate about researching. This is for good reason: the typical research proposal is hundreds of pages long. It makes good sense to select a research hypothesis that gets you excited and that you are intrigued to find the answer to. Many students spend a great deal of time discovering exactly the right research hypothesis. They may discard various research hypothesis statements as they go about this process. Finding the best statement that suits your research is critical, as this directs all of your research and your entire project. There are times you can even begin your research with one research hypothesis and wind up changing your research hypothesis as the research uncovers something else you would like to explore instead.

Now that you have found your research hypothesis, you then need to conduct your research. Research is critical to your research proposal. It is important that you follow the appropriate m

ethodology for your school or university. Follow the guidelines that you have been given by your advisor for this project. Different majors also require that you follow various formats for your research. Some majors demand that their students use the APA, American Psychology Association style and others request the Chicago Manual of Style. Using the wrong format for your research is a quick way to have your research proposal turned down, as you are not following the rules. After your research is completed, you will need to confirm that the idea you have come up with have not been explored before by another PhD candidate or student. This is also a critical part to your process. While some students think that a research proposal is simply about your idea, research and then writing — it is so much more than this. It is also about researching your idea to see if others have thought of this idea before to understand if your idea is truly an original one. Following these steps as they are given by your school is critical to the success of your project. Different schools and universities may give additional instructions for the success of your research proposal. Things such as formatting your proposal or the way you cite your research are just as important as the actual research and your writing are to this project.

Writing a research proposal is an exciting step for a PhD candidate. Most consider this a rite of passage. Writing your research proposal can be a bit exciting for some and even a little intimidating. Once this project is completed, you’ll be Ph.D.



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