Components of Research Proposal

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A research proposal has several components. The components may vary passed on the types of research. But in general, a research proposal may have the following components:

Executive summary or abstract:

This is the summary of all the components of a research proposal. This is the synopsis of all the steps to be followed in the research process.

Problem Statement:

This is one of the most important parts of a research proposal. The problem statement should be logical & broad so that readers can learn more about the problem.

Research objectives:

It is also an important component of a research proposal.

Research objectives are the purpose for which the research in being conducted.

Literature Review:

Literature review means what previous studies have been done by other researchers on the problem selected by the researcher. The main objective of literature review is to make justification of the subject mater that he has selected.

Benefits of the study:

This section of the research proposal states the signification of the research, that is what will be effect if the research is done & what will be the effect if the research is not done.

Methodology of the study:

This is the most important component of the research proposal. The methodology of the study should be consistent with other components of the research proposal.

Data Collection:

The researcher should collect primary and secondary data from different sources.

Plan for data analysis:

In this section, the researcher will state the detailed plan regarding how the data will be analyzed.

Work plan:

Work plan mainly deals with the personal & time needed to conduct the study. The major issue that should be included in the research proposal are:

  • Planning & preparatory work.
  • Recruitment and training of the personnel
  • Data collection
  • Data editing coding and entry
  • Preliminary reports and dissemination
  • Final report writing

Generally, a Gantt chart is used to estimate the time needed for each of the above issues. The work plan should be consistent with the methodology and terms of reference (TOR) of the client.

Qualifications of the key person:

In this section, the researcher will state the key persons of the study and their qualifications. Generally, It is expected that the researchers are experienced in the field of study and are involved in research for a long time period.

Project management:

This section deals with administrative activities of the research. The researcher should make a master plan regarding how the team will be organized to complete the study efficiently and effectively. The plan deals with how the research team will be organized and who will keep liaison with the client.


The budget details should be submitted in the format the sponsor requests. In some case, the budget is submitted as a separate proposal for ensuring the of quality of the proposal, where budget is somewhat of secondary importance. In all case, the budget should be realistic.


In this section, the researcher makes summary of the whole research proposal. Here, the researcher may state concluding comments or recommendations if the thinks it necessary.


It is the responsibility of the researcher to assume and state the limitations of the research study in the research proposal if he anticipates any limitations. Almost every research study faces some limitations.


Any additional information that is needed to make the research proposal informative and reliable, should be given in the form of appendix. It may include curriculum vitae of the key persons of the study, detailed budget, draft questionnaire etc.

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