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Tips for Writing Your Research Proposal

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

I believe that there is a big gap between Master Degree and Research Degree programmes in the Indian education system. Most of the master students did not receive proper research exposure during their master degree programme. Therefore they lack the scientific temperament and research understanding.

Along with this, research ethics are also very important for shaping the future of the student, university, society and indeed the entire nation. The popularisation of falsification in research is a serious concern for society and human development. It is also posing the threat to genuine researchers. This could be understood by the recent example of COVID-19 publications. In a paper published on May 22, 2020, in Lancet Journal, the authors claimed to have retrospectively analysed some 96,000 patient records, finding that Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine were ineffective against COVID-19 and even increased the risk of death. Further, this study was found to base upon falsification, since authors were not been able to provide the raw data of 96,000 patients and journal retracted this paper over data integrity questions. The findings and falsification of this paper caused a huge impact on the present global pandemic. Therefore research ethics are very significant for research and society, and it is the responsibility of the researcher that he/she must keep the honesty and data integrity in his/her research.

Coming to the topic, to start potential research work, a well-defined research proposal is required. A research proposal is a plan to conduct the research. Research is a methodical process to derive or discover new knowledge, that is, something that isn’t known before the research is conducted. Here are a few tips to design your potential research proposal.

Focus on your Skill Areas

Sort the expertise on the scale of strength and weakness, and always prefer to work with your strengths, not to your weaknesses. If you are planning to do work in a new area of research, first investigate the previous work and learn about the work proposed.

Make Clear Objectives

Every research has some specific objectives for which study will be conducted. The researcher must clearly outline the objectives of the proposed work. This is an important part of any research proposal, lacking this part may adversely affect the research or proposal may be cancelled.

Invest the Time on Review of Literature

The validity of the possible research proposal directly depends upon the previous work which is cited in the proposal. The citation of the previous work tends to improve the potentiality and willingness of the reviewer to review the proposal.

Develop a Viable Research Plan

A viable research plan is a strategy to accomplish your research's objective that has a non-zero probability of success. The focus of the plan must be to achieve the research objective.

Using Correct Grammar and Spelling

Proposals are not graded on grammar. But if the grammar is not perfect, the result is ambiguities left to the reviewer to resolve. Ambiguities make the proposal difficult to read and often impossible to understand, and often result in low ratings. Be sure grammar and spellings should be correct.

Do Specified/Desirable Formatting

Do not feel that proposal is rated based on its weight. Use 12-point fonts, use easily legible fonts, and use generous margins. A proposal puts the important concepts upfront therefore make it a clear and pleasant reading experience for reviewer. Use figures appropriately to make and clarify points, but not as filler.

Keep Attention on Review Process

Know how your proposal will be reviewed before you write it. Proposals that are reviewed by panels must be written to a broader audience than proposals that will be reviewed by a single person.

Proofread Twice Before to Submit

Many proposals are sent out with idiotic mistakes, omissions, and errors of all sorts. Proposals have been submitted with the list of references omitted and with the references not referred to the text, submitted to the wrong concern or submitted with misspellings in the title. These stupid things can kill a proposal. It is easy to catch them with a simple, but careful, proofreading.

Keep in Mind Time Factor

It is observed that many proposals get refused due to late submission, so always keep in mind the deadline of the proposal submission. Moreover, ready your proposal in two or three days before the deadline.

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