FORMAT FOR RESEARCH PROPOSAL ASSIGNMENT
This is a format for a full proposal in which there is some experience with doing research. However, because
you are learning how to do research, your proposal will not be as complete as what is posted below. What is
important is that you review this material for a future assignment, particularly if you are heading to graduate
school. Your proposal should consist of the following:
1. CLEAR STATEMENT OF RESEARCH QUESTION – Very clearly state what you want to study. Be sure that
this is understandable to someone who doesn’t know much about your field of study. If needed, define terms.To test your explanation – give this to a friend not in your major. If he/she doesn’t understand, try again!
2. RESEARCH GOAL AND OBJECTIVES – Goals and Objectives are often confused with each other. They
both describe things that a person may want to achieve or attain but in relative terms may mean different
things. Both are desired outcomes of work done by a person but what sets them apart is the time frame,
attributes they’re set for and the effect they inflict. Both the terms imply the target that one’s efforts is desired to
accomplish. Goals and objectives refer to expected outcomes of the study and how the success will be
measured in the study. Example:
• Goal: Our after-school program will help children read better.
• Objective: Our after-school remedial education program will assist 50 children in improving their reading
scores by one grade level as demonstrated on standardized reading tests administered after participating in
the program for six months.
NOTE: #1 and 2 are very important, actually the most important part of your proposal. The rest of your
proposal supports these statements. They don’t need to be long – one short paragraph should be enough – but
it is the most critical. The rest of your proposal will explain why you want to explore this question, how you will
do it, and what it means to you.
3. BACKGROUND/STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM/SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESEARCH – Be succinct.
Clearly support your statement with documentation and references, and include a review of the literature that
supports the need for your research or creative endeavor. A discussion of present understanding and/or state
of knowledge concerning the question/problem or a discussion of the context of the scholarly or creative work.
This section presents and summarizes the problem you intend to solve and your solution to that problem. What
is the question that you want to explore in your research and why is this an interesting and important question?
In thinking about the significance, try to take the position of an educated newspaper reader. If she or he were to
see an article about your research in the paper, how would you explain the importance of your project? **For
most proposals, this section will have references – please see #8 below.
4. EXPERIMENTAL/STUDY DESIGN – Design and describe a work plan consistent with your academic
discipline. This may include scientific research in the physical or biological sciences, use of population
samples, experimental and control groups, or other methods of data gathering and statistical analysis. The
work plan may include archival research, translating, ethnographic fieldwork, solitary thinking, or other forms of
analysis and synthesis of ideas and concepts in the arts and humanities. This section of the proposal should
explain the details of the proposed plan. How will you go about exploring your research question? What will be
your methods? If you are not the only person working on the project, who else will be involved?
Be specific on what you will be doing. The reasoning behind the research opportunity is to make sure that you
have a meaningful experience. If the reviewer can’t tell what part of a project you will be doing, he/she can’t
evaluate your experience.
5. PROJECT TIMELINE – Give an overview of when you are going to do specific steps of your project. This
does not need to be a day-to-day list but depending on the length of your project it may give an overview
biweekly or monthly. Be sure to include time to review/synthesize your data or to reflect on the experience. You
should include time to write the final report/paper.
6. ANTICIPATED RESULTS/FINAL PRODUCTS AND DISSEMINATION. Describe possible forms of the final
product, e.g., publishable manuscript, conference paper, invention, software, exhibit, performance, etc. Bespecific about how you intend to share your results or project with others. This section may also include an
interpretation and explanation of results as related to your question; a discussion on or suggestions for further
work that may help address the problem you are trying to solve; an analysis of the expected impact of the
scholarly or creative work on the audience; or a discussion on any problems that could hinder your creative
7. STUDENT’S PERSONAL STATEMENT – This section is read carefully by the reviewers and does impact
their decision. You may wish to include why you want to do this project, what got you interested in it, your
career goals, and how this award would further those goals. While it is important, please remember that it
shouldn’t overpower the rest of the proposal. One quarter to one-half of the page should be sufficient.
8. **Project References – Use the standard convention of your discipline including the author, title of article,
journal title, volume, pages, and date. References are not included in (are in addition to) the 2-page max.
FINAL NOTE AND GRADING RUBRIC
This final assignment is based on everything you have learned in this course. You are expected to work on this
throughout the course, so review often and contact the professor with questions. Your proposal should be a
final paper should be a minimum of 5 pages, not more than 10 pages submitted in an APA format. (NOTE: The
title page, abstract, or resource pages will not count toward the total pages.) Your submission will be graded on
content as related to understanding the concept of preparation for a research proposal. This means you must
demonstrate an understanding of concepts and the components of a research design. Remember YOU ARE
NOT AN EXPERT. This is understood and will not work against you. You are learning about research. What is
important is that you complete this process and learn about the importance of research in the human services
field. Of paramount importance is the ethics and integrity associated with research involving people.