A research proposal is normally a suggestion of a topic that you wish to pursue in the hope of gaining in-depth knowledge about that topic. Assuming that the choice of topic has been left to you rather than assigned by your instructor, it becomes your responsibility to phrase the proposal so as to demonstrate the features and characteristics that make this proposal valid and worthy of your research efforts. You accomplish this by expressing the central question of your proposal in a way that incorporates specifics that narrow and focus the topic. You phrase the proposal in a way that underlines how acquiring the knowledge to answer your question may be applied in a positive manner to address a relevant problem.
Research proposals will differ slightly from discipline to discipline. However, there is enough overlap to make some general points. Also I should say that the above answer makes some good points.
First, you should have a clear thesis or objective. You should be able to say what the project or work will be about in a few sentences.
Second, you should also circumscribe the extent or boundaries of your proposal. No proposal should be amorphous. So, set your boundaries and let your readers know them.
Third, you should give a historical overview of where the state of affairs are in your field. In other words, an overview of the work of others is important.
Fourth, you should say a word about your methodology and justify your proposal. In other words, why should your work exist?
Finally, you should have a brief roadmap of your work and a working bibliography.
A research proposal is a summary of research activities one wishes to undertake in order to validate a hypothesis. Typically, research proposals are a part of masters and doctoral degree or in other words, research degrees.
A research proposal needs to fulfill some basic criteria:
- Objective: A research proposal should have a clear list of objectives, presented in a concise and focused manner.
- Hypothesis: Research efforts are generally aimed at validating a hypothesis or a set of hypotheses. The hypothesis (for example, daily consumption of more than half a pound of beef increases the probability of cardiac arrest in the age group 40-60 years for males) should be listed in a focused manner as shown in the example.
- Need of research/research gap: The idea of research is to work on a novel idea or at least something that has not been worked upon by another researcher. So, a good research proposal will present a brief literature review highlighting the need of the proposed research.
- Methodology: How the research will be carried out or how the hypothesis will be tested needs to be detailed. Whether field survey, laboratory experimentation or computer simulation is required needs to be a part of the proposal.
- Benefits: A good research proposal will highlight the benefits of the research to the research community and humanity in general.
hope this helps.