Advanced Authentic Research

Research Proposal Guidelines

These guidelines are set up to assist students in preparing the text for their research proposals.


The research proposal is a complete description of the intended research, developed under the supervision of the assigned supervisor. Through the full proposal, the student needs to demonstrate convincingly that the study will make a contribution to a problem. The full research proposal should include the following.


  1. Title: The title of your proposal should be short, accurate, and clear. A single sentence containing ten or fewer words is best. Don’t use acronyms and technical jargon.
  2. Research Question: The research question helps to focus investigation that will be pursued by the researcher. This question is developed your interests and passion based your background knowledge of particular topic/s. The nature of question should suggest a learning experience that promotes development of 21st century skills: critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation. These skills are also aligned with our vision statement, which emphasizes developing students’ knowledge, critical thinking, and problem solving skills while nurturing their curiosity, creativity, and resilience.
  3. Background and Significance: This section should start by introducing the research problem, its significance, and the technical approach that will be taken to investigate/solve the problem. You should also present a concise review of the primary literature relevant to your proposed research efforts. This may include citing key pieces of literature that are up to date, critically appraising the literature, or addressing flaws in previous work and where the new study fits in. It should also describe the significance of the research and how the study builds on the prior work of others in the field.
  4. Preliminary Studies (optional): If the project builds on your own past research, include a brief section outlining what you have already accomplished and how these results relate to the new proposal.
  5. Research Methodology: This section should consist of a detailed plan of how the research will be conducted. Devising a plan will help students identify a realistic workload that can be accomplished within the time and resources available to address the focusing question. The plan should include information on the research team and its technical expertise in regard to the project, a realistic timeline, and description of the specific experiments to be performed. If more than one person will do the work described in the proposal, then a division of labor should be provided together with an explanation of why each person is best qualified to do the work described. The timeline should define the length of the project and provide a schedule of who will do what specific tasks approximately when during the project period.
  6. Live Subjects: If your project involves experimentation on animals or people, you will need to obtain approval for your project through your institution’s office of institutional compliance.