Proposal Writing Tips

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  1. Questions Addressed in Writing a Research Proposal

  2. Length of a Research Proposal

  3. Editing a Research Project Proposal

  4. 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid when Writing a Proposal

Understanding the questions to address in a research proposal, and preventing the common mistakes committed by most students is a positive step forward towards achieving the best for your research project.

                                                                                               Questions Addressed by a Research Proposal

what is a research question?

what is a research question?

Regardless of the kind of research problem a researcher decides to investigate in a particular field and the methodology he or she chooses to use, a research proposal must address the following questions:

 1. What do you plan to accomplish?

A researcher must be clear and specific in defining the research problems and what he or she is proposing to research on or what he or she intends to look into or the problems he or he plans to solve during the study.

2. Why do you want to do it?

Apart from going into details on the research design, the researcher must conduct an extensive review of literature and provide evidence that is convincing and proves that the proposed topic is of worth.

The researcher must be sure to answer the, So What? Question.

3. How are you going to do it?

The researcher must ensure that what he or she proposes to do is doable. If he or she finds it challenging finding a way out or the methodology, then it might be proof that the problem is not doable or more work into investigating the way out needs to be done.

Length of a Research Proposal

A research proposal is usually around 2500 words. Nevertheless, different funding bodies and organizations tend to have different word limits. Therefore, there is no upper or limit word count for a research proposal.

Editing a Research Proposal

Learning how to write and edit your work is very important. Writing research papers and Ph.D. proposals is very complex and demand a lot of attention. Therefore, after writing a research proposal, there must be enough time devoted to editing. As a rule, the editing procedure starts after the first draft of the proposal is finished. Editing is done by enlarging, extending, and choosing appropriate grammar and vocabulary. Nevertheless, other ways of editing a research proposal include;

  1. Checking the paper content and ensuring it aligns with the research problem and the methodology chosen.
  2. Checking the structure of the proposal and ensure that all the sections have been included.
  3. The style of narration must be clear and concise. Therefore, the narration style must be checked and ensure that it is consistent.
  4. The citation and formatting rules need to be as per the rules and regulations of the sponsor or institution. Therefore, if the formatting style is APA, it must be consistent from the title page to the reference list.

It is important to note that after one is done with writing the proposal, they need some rest before starting the editing process.

Your brain and eyes need some form of relaxation so that it is easier to locate and correct the mistakes in the text.

Dissertation editing services are designed to assist researchers in preparing a high-quality final copy. The services give researchers the confidence which is needed during a presentation.

During editing, the correct voice must be chosen, either passive or active voice, modifiers must be placed before modifying objects, repetition must be corrected and vocabulary constructions are chosen correctly.

Furthermore, editing ensures that the research proposal is well-organized and structured.

The general structural components of a research proposal that are accepted include; the title; a researcher needs to read the title of the proposal more than five times. The first mistake appears in the title and hence needs to be checked over and over again, there is the abstract, introduction, theoretical framework, literature review, and methodology followed by the significance of the study and timeline.

Additionally, the editor needs to be particular in checking for logic in the proposal. All components need to connect. The paragraphs need a strong transition. One paragraph must connect to the next and this is checked during research proposal editing. Finally, the research proposal must be within the stipulated standards and requirements of the sponsor or tutor.


Usually, during writing, a person makes simple and complex mistakes. This is the same case when it comes to writing research proposals. There are common mistakes that the researcher or the proposal writer does. However, the following common mistakes must be avoided during research proposal writing;

1. Failure to be concise

Conciseness is the ability to be clear with a sense of purpose. First of all, before embarking on writing s research proposal, the researcher must be aware of the purpose of the research proposal. Clear understanding and knowledge of the purpose of the research proposal ensure that the researcher operates within the scope of what he or she intends to investigate.

2. Failure to cite landmark works in the literature review.

Failure to include citations, especially in the literature review of a proposal or any academic document is a crime and is usually referred to as plagiarism. Plagiarism is an academic crime and in most cases, leads to disqualification. Therefore, all information paraphrased must have citations. Citations acknowledge that the work is not the researcher’s but of someone else. Not citing indicates that the researcher has stolen someone else’s work.

3. Failure to put limits on the boundaries of the research

One of the main roles of a research proposal is to make sure the research is limited within a particular scope of time and other resources. Therefore, failure to set these limits is a mistake and need to be avoided during proposal writing.

4. Failure to develop a persuasive and coherent argument for the research proposal

A research proposal needs to be argumentative and persuasive. This is the defence of your research and brings the impression of why the research needs to be done. Therefore, a research proposal needs to be written in such a way that it acts as a weapon. Inability to develop a persuasive research proposal might lead to failure of the whole research process.

5. Failure to stay focused on the research problem

Through the research proposal writing, the investigator must align all his or her arguments on the research problem. Going off on unrelated issues must be avoided. Furthermore, going off the research problem is an indicator that the researcher is not sure of what he or she needs to investigate and might sabotage the research process.

6. Too much detail on minor issues, and less detail on major issues

The major issue is the problem under investigation. Therefore, more information written must be tied to the research problem. There is no need of introducing too much content on minor issues.

7. Poor grammar

In any writing process, poor grammar might portray a different meaning to the reader. You do not want this kind of impression to your sponsor and other readers. There are different grammar checker software that a researcher can use to check and correct grammatical errors and check for conciseness.


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