Think about your introduction as a
narrative written in one to three paragraphs that succinctly answers the
following four questions:
- What is the central research problem?
- What is the topic of study related to that problem?
- What methods should be used to analyze the research
- Why is this important research?
II. Background and
section can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate
section to help with the organization and flow. This is where you explain the
context of your project and outline why it's important.
Connected to the background and significance of your study is a
more deliberate review and synthesis of prior studies related to the research
problem under investigation.
To help frame your
proposal's literature review, here are the "five C’s" of writing a
- Cite: keep the primary focus on the literature
pertinent to your research problem.
- Compare the various arguments, theories,
methodologies, and findings expressed in the literature: what do the
authors agree on? Who applies similar approaches to analyzing the research
- Contrast the various arguments, themes,
methodologies, approaches and controversies expressed in the literature:
what are the major areas of disagreement, controversy, or debate?
- Critique the literature: Which arguments are more
persuasive, and why? Which approaches, findings, methodologies seem most
reliable, valid, or appropriate, and why? Pay attention to the verbs you
use to describe what an author says/does [e.g., asserts, demonstrates,
- Connect the literature to your own area of
research and investigation: how does your own work draw upon, depart from,
or synthesize what has been said in the literature?
IV. Research Design
This section must be
well-written and logically organized because you are not actually doing the
Suppositions and Implications
because you don't have to actually conduct the study and analyze the results,
it doesn't mean that you can skip talking about the process and potential
The conclusion reiterates the
importance or significance of your proposal and provides a brief recap of the
entire study. This
section should be only one or two paragraphs long, emphasizing why your
research study is unique, why it advances knowledge, and why the research
problem is worth investigating.
- References -- lists only the literature that you actually used or
cited in your proposal.
- Bibliography -- lists everything you used or cited in your proposal
with additional citations of any key sources relevant to understanding the