Applying for scholarships to fund your higher education may seem exhilarating but it can be pretty exasperating at times. While applying for scholarships, most of the applicants don’t even know about the correct procedure of filing the scholarship application, so therefore we prepared a guide to find and apply for scholarships. The scholarship candidates also need to prepare the list of documents required to file a scholarship application, and the only important document to get them through the selection process is called Research Proposal.

It might seem easy to prepare all the scholarship application documents, whereas the reality is the complete opposite and there are loads of documents waiting in line to be prepared and to go along with the scholarship application. One such document is a research proposal. 

Preparing tons of documents requires both time and effort and is a wearisome task.

What is a Research Proposal?

A research proposal can be defined as,

“A research proposal is a document which demonstrates a candidate’s proposed research project and plan of its execution. It also describes the novalty of the proposed study along with insights on how the entire research process will be carried out with possible challenges and outcomes.”

A research plan contains arguments on the topic of research, research methodology, and expected outcomes of the study alongside anticipated hurdles to carry out the research with proper supportive citations. It is necessary for the study to be justified by references or scientific citations. 

In short, a research proposal indicates the ingenuity of a research idea.

Significance of Research Proposals

Research proposals are of great significance in many cases. A well-composed and detailed research proposal can help in getting approval of funds for a particular scientific study. It is used to prove to the prospect, novelty, impact, and inventiveness of a proposed project. But since we are discussing the ubiquity of research proposals in scholarship applications, their role is quite unlike. 

In a scholarship application for a postgraduate program, a research proposal is plausibly the most pivotal document. It gives you a chance to showcase your potential of carrying out researches in a particular field by depicting your ideas in a thoughtful manner and with clarity to the prospect. A good research proposal gives you an opportunity to showcase deep insight into a particular field of study and to prove that the proposed research project has a strong scholastic implication, thus, increasing your chances of getting a scholarship for a post-graduate degree program.

Contents of a Research Proposal

The main purpose of a research proposal is to legitimize the need for carrying out your proposed research by giving adequate facts and factors of encouragement. This target can be attained by including a convincing analysis of the dissertation on the study topic. According to the University of Westminster, an admissible research proposal should contain adequate incontestable evidence of the value, merit, and necessity of the topic under consideration so that it leaves the scholarship selection panel swayed by the idea.

Attention grasping research proposal should contain the following essential constituents:

  • Title of the proposed research study and plan
  • Objectives and novelty of the proposed study
  • Conceptualization of the proposed study
  • Objectives of the proposed research plan
  • Experimental methodology
  • Anticipated hurdles to be faced during the research
  • Expected outcomes of the study
  • Funding requirements
  • Approval of the proposed research study
  • References and citations to succor your proposal.

All these elements, formulated from the winning research proposals, if properly incorporated in your research proposal, can prove your proficiency and proneness to the degree program you are applying to and can ensure you a spot in the finalized list of scholarship holders.

Now that you know what a research proposal is, let’s jump on to how to construct a research proposal, that has the potential to earn you a scholarship.

What should be the estimated length of a research proposal?

The length of a research proposal depends upon the requirements of the funding body or, in this case, the scholarship committee. Ideally, a research proposal can lie between 800 to 2500 words.

How many pages should a research proposal be comprised of?

In general, an ideal research proposal comprises 10 to 25 pages, in terms of length. The font should be kept professional. A Times Roman font in the size of 12 is most preferred.

How to construct a prospective research proposal:-

A conscientious research proposal, irrespective of the field of study and research methodology, should be based on the following factors:

    1. What 
    2. Why
    3. How.

Centering these points in your research proposal can ensure maximum consistency and persuasion that would ensure to convince the prospects with your ideas.

What is the proposed research about?

Explicitness in describing your goals and objectives holds the foremost importance in constructing a research proposal. Make sure to clarify what the issue is on which you are proposing the research study. 

Doubt negatively affects the adeptness of a research proposal. Therefore, make sure to clear the reviewer’s mind of all doubts regarding your research.

Why is the proposed research important?

Giving the reviewing authorities an encouraging factor as to how the proposed study can prove beneficial is always a smart move. Doing in-depth research of the topic and knowing exactly how it can provide benefit to something or someone and incorporating that information in your research proposal also increases the credibility of the proposed project. Also, make sure to answer the question, ‘what difference would it make if this research is not carried on?’ in the proposal itself.

How will the proposed research be carried out?

Include research methodologies to show the prospects your seriousness about the project. Highlighting the targets that you aim to achieve by conducting this research and pointers on how you will accomplish those set targets increases the reliability of the proposed project.

Research Proposal template-format:

A research proposal, as mentioned earlier should encompass some essential contents. But those elements should be presented in a proper manner to ensure maximum benefits to the scholar. In order to save you the effort of coming up with a format for your research proposal, we have devised a cheat sheet on how to compose an impressive, detailed, and impactful research proposal for your scholarship applications.

  • Cover page

The foremost element of your research plan should be the cover page. It should answer to the most common of questions such as the name of the project etc. It should include the following information:

    1. The title of the proposed research
    2. The name of the researcher
    3. The name of the composer’s supervisor
    4. The name of the affiliated department or institute.

This is the general format in which the cover page is advised to be prepared. However, if the prospect institute has any particular format requirements, that ought to be followed.

  • Introduction

The introduction part is the pitch of your research proposal. It should be composed in such a way that it puts an impact on the reviewer. The introduction has the potential of proving the efficaciousness of your proposed research plan. It should contain a summary of your research proposal and should also highlight the research questions.

The introduction of your research plan should answer the following questions:

    1. To whom will the study prove useful?
    2. Known facts about the study topic
    3. Information gap in the subject matter
    4. What difference will your research on the topic bring?

The introduction can be sectioned into different headings as, an abstract, assertion of setbacks, and aims and objectives of the research.

  • Objectives of Research (Novelty of Research Study)

The candidates need to mention the basic objective of the proposed research study in order to demonstrate its impact to the reviewers. I advise you to focus mainly on highlighting the “NOVELTY” of your proposed study. This will let the reviewers think that this research proposal right in front of them is proposing a brand new research direction that was never been in the spotlight before.

  • Research methodology

The methods to be implemented in order to execute the research should also be included in the document. It should picture the methods for the collection of data along with the determination of such strategies that would minimize errors.

  •  Research timeline

Some institutes require a schedule to estimate the time of execution of the project and determine the progress of the research. A pictorial or graphical representation of the timetable to depict the progression of the research.

  •  Research budget

The estimated budget is included in a research proposal to ensure the acquiescence of the funding body. However, the budgetary allocation should also be included in the research proposal for scholarships as it creates a good impression on the reviewing authorities.

  • Reference directory

Good research is one that is supported by facts and figures. An exemplary research proposal, worthy of compliance should be properly cited to guarantee the candidates a spot in the list of scholarship holders.

Errors to omit while Writing a Research Proposal

There are certain errors that, if not omitted, can destroy the charm of even a deserving researching proposal. Following are some tips to avoid those mistakes:

  • Avoid long paragraphs

Long paragraphs which contain irrelevant information should be refrained from.

  • Abstain from perplexed argumentation

Logical and convincing arguments include the worth of a research proposal.

  •  Evade excessive and irrelevant details

Giving excessive details about unimportant topics can sideline the main topic under consideration.

  • Slang language should be prohibited

Depicting professionalism through the style of writing ensures maximum benefits to the researcher. There should be little to no grammatical errors.

  • Inclusion of citations

The literature of the study should be well researched and should include necessary citations to upsurge the significance.

Closing lines

A good research proposal is not prepared in a day. It takes time and constant efforts therefore, should be prepared in a thoughtful manner to ensure maximum compliance. Keeping the pointers mentioned above can ensure you a scholarship to fund your postgraduate degree by putting up a remarkable research proposal. 

Let us know in the comments how helpful you found this article. That’s a wrap!

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Yousaf holds a PhD in Engineering and he is 3 times winner of a fully-funded scholarship. It is his passion to write on education-related topics. He is a popular educationist, scholarship mentor, and well-known personality on social media. His passion is to write on academic research, educational tutorials and opportunities that students can benefit from.

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