June 6, 2020

Research Proposal Writing Outline for PhD

Research Proposal Writing for the Ph.D. study is the first most important & essential step. Writing a quality research proposal refers to the process of presenting the total research project outline in detail. It covers every single task of the research study in a sequential manner. Let look at the Research Proposal Writing Outline to write your own.

Research Proposal provides a deeper insight into research study goals and objectives. On the whole, it makes an entire understanding of the student’s ability to conduct the research work. It also justifies the necessity to study the Research Problem. A research proposal does an extensive review of the Literature for your research, rationale, and significance of the research study, research methodology, data collection & analysis, research work plan, a statement of the anticipated findings.

Definition: Research Proposal

The Research Proposal refers to a concise as well as a coherent summary of proposed research work on a particular topic. It points out the core issues and questions that a researcher aims to address. It defines the area of study in specific in which the research work will be done. The proposal addresses the present state of knowledge and running debates on the research subject if any. It also shows the originality of the proposed research project.

As part of the application process, the Research Proposal Writing is the most significant document that you propose and submit for the Ph.D. degree and of scholarships. The research proposal provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate that you have the attitude and ability for Ph.D. level research. For instance, it demonstrates that you have the capability to address the complicated ideas and issues clearly, concisely and critically.

Research Proposal Writing Outline for PhD

You would start your Ph.D. research with a systematic research proposal. In fact, the proposal makes easy the research work. Most importantly, the well-planned research proposal may avail you of the Best International Scholarships.

On the other hand, in some cases, scholarship offers depends on the proposal whether you will award or not a scholarship. So, it carries the topmost significance in Ph.D. research for scholarships. Because your proposal presents the value of the research. It also describes the importance of why do you intend to perform that specific research. So, see on essential elements of the research proposal writing an outline.

Essential Elements for Research Proposal Writing

A standard research proposal for Ph.D. and Scholarship would include the following essential elements in general. Most noteworthy, elements may vary according to research projects.

Title of the Problem

Research work must have a title. The title would be precise and appropriate. It would not be too long or ambiguous. The title will express the type and nature of the research. Example of a research title-“Historical Analysis of the Emergence of Middle-Class People in Bangladesh.” The title should be approved by a professor or experienced researcher who works as the research supervisor. The Research Process begins with the research problem or research title.


The proposal would include a precise statement of the intended research. It would be within 100 words long. This might be a few sentences setting out the research problem. That you intend to examine or the key research questions what the researcher wants to address.


The proposed research includes an introduction. It describes the importance of the research and why the proposed research is necessary? In this section, the researcher provides a clear description of the research problem. The description describes basically two aspects. Firstly, the nature of the research problem. Secondly, the scope of the research study.

Regarding the scope of the research, it compulsorily explains two facts. One: Importance of the research work. Two: Objectives of the research.

Significantly, Terms & Concepts used in the research should be defined in the introduction. It also would confess the limitations of the research too.

Research Background

You need to describe the context in which you will conduct the research. The researcher provides a short overview of the general area of the research study. So, you should summarize the current state of knowledge and ongoing debates on the topic. 

Research Questions

Research Questions guide the research study. Therefore, you should set out the key questions of the research. Prior to writing the proposal, point out the central research aims and questions which you are searching to answer.

Significance of Research

Here the researcher would establish the rationale and significance of the research study. The researcher should deeply review the research related books, research, and essays in order to prove the significance. It also makes clear the research contribution. How it should be stand out from existing research? How the research will enrich and explore the new knowledge? The rationale will meet up above queries.

Literature Review

It includes a shortlist of the existing related research works. Significantly a short description of the existing relevant research, research methods of those, elements, and findings. Literature Review should be regarding your significance of the proposed research. Read on How to Review the Literature for Your Research.

Objectives of the Research

You must write down the major objectives of the research. Because they give an overview of the research. The objective is important for not only the researcher but also for the reader. The objective should be specific. Because it means research commitments and outcomes. That must be fulfilled accurately.

Research Hypothesis

As the research is a scientific project, it should have a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a statement of a phenomenon based on a few evidence as a starting point for further investigation. It is the assumed decision on what the researcher investigates. As a result, the hypothesis will be tested in the research. [5 Basic Steps in Formulation of Hypothesis in Research.]

Research Methods

The proposal should set out the research methods and designs. It will explain how do you conduct your research. Normally, research methods may include research design, data collection process, data analysis, data analysis, etc. It also may be visiting libraries or archives, fieldwork, or interviews. Above all, it explains how do you analyze your research findings.

Time Schedule

A research project consumes enough time. There is a lot of critical and crucial things to do. So, you must formulate a time schedule and time management plan. Divide your research study into a few phases. Then, distribute the proper time for each phase.

Organization of the Research

You have to cite the total research process. How do you organize the research study? You should clarify the number of chapters in your study. How does each chapter is related? In order to organize the research, you need an action plan too. You can organize your research in five chapters, for example (1) Introduction. (2) Literature Review. (3) Research Methods. (4) Data Collection & Analysis. (5) Research Findings, Summary & Recommendations, etc.


The Research Proposal should enlist a bibliography. Because bibliography identifies the most relevant research works, books, research references, essays, journals, etc. Those references must be related to the research problem. Definitely, the researcher will study those and review them well. An example of the bibliography-

  1. Best, John W., Research in Education, New York; Englewood Chiff, N.J. Prentice Hall, Inc, 1960.

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