Designing the Sections of a Research Proposal

 Designing the Sections of a Proposal 

Here are several research tips that we give to students about designing the overall structure of a proposal: 

  1. Specify the sections early in the design of a proposal. 

  2. Work on one section will often prompt ideas for other sections. 

  3. First, develop an outline, and then write something for each section rapidly to get ideas down on paper. 

  4. Then refine the sections as you consider in more detail the information that should go into each one. 

  5. Find proposals that other students have authored under your adviser, and look at them closely. 

  6. Ask your adviser for copies of proposals that he or she especially liked and felt were scholarly products to take to committees. 

  7. Study the topics addressed and their order as well as the level of detail used in composing the proposal. 

  8. Determine whether your program or institution offers a course on proposal development or some similar topic. 

  9. Often such a class will be helpful as a support system for your project as well as providing individuals that can react to your proposal ideas as they develop. Sit down with your adviser, and go over his or her preferred format for a proposal. 

  10. Ask this adviser for a copy of a proposal that might serve as a guide. 

  11. Be cautious about using published journal articles as a model for the proposal: they may not provide the information desired by your adviser or graduate committee

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