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CCJ 4701 Research Methods

Tips for Writing Research Proposals

Developing an outline early in the writing process using section headings and sub headings is a good first step to get organized and begin thinking through your proposal. It is also good to establish a habit of regularly reviewing sources about your topic (books, journal articles, etc.) and keep track of the sources you read and will potentially use. Listed below are some writing tips to consider as you begin to write your proposal.

Research Proposals should include: 

  • concise title that describes the focus of your research (working titles are often changed while investigating a topic)
  • document elements that include appropriate headings/subheadings (Title, Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Method, 
    Proposed Timeline, References)
  • explanation of why your research is important and useful within your discipline (how does the research fit in with existing research)
  • statement of aims that indicate the goals and scope of your investigation (focus on developing a manageable topic) 
  • synthesis of "the literature" related to your research topic/questions (the literature refers to relevant research found in
    scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles)
  • describe the research method you propose (research setting, sample, and a protocol showing the steps you will use in the process) 
  • citations to the sources you consulted for your proposal (APA style requires in-text citations and complete reference entries)


References & Resources

Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Feig, E. (n.d.). Writing the research proposal. In OER Commons. Retrieved from
Grand Canyon University. (n.d.). Developing a research proposal. In Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching. Retrieved from
University of Central Florida Writing Center. (n.d.). Grammar and punctuation. Retrieved from
University of Southern California USC Libraries. (2018). Writing a research proposal. In Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper. Retrieved from