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Set Specific Goals

Writing a research paper is a lot easier on you, the student, when you set yourself certain goals. All of this takes place before you start the research and the writing. The saying goes that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. So rather than rushing in to begin writing your research paper, stop, take stock of the situation and list your goals. Here are a few possible specific goals.

  • set up a timetable
  • create an ideal topic
  • create an ideal thesis statement
  • become an expert note taker
  • create an outstanding plan
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How to write a research paper proposal in 4 steps


When you decide what you want to write a research paper about, it’s also important to ask yourself WHY you are writing it. This is what a research paper proposal is all about. You’ll be telling your reader why it’s important that you bring up a topic. You’ll also explore why your research is needed.

In the spirit of persuading your reader of the importance of your study, here are the four steps needed to write a research paper proposal.


Step 1: Create the main outline

The main outline should be constructed before you start writing your research paper proposal. This will help you stick to an organized patter which runs in the following order:

  • The title of your proposal (usually the same as your actual paper)
  • The statement of your theory
  • Background information on the topic
  • Justification of the need for your research
  • Referencing your reader to other literature
  • Your theory outline (discussed in the next section)
  • Your chapter outline (also discussed in the next section)
  • Your study requirements (discussed in the third section)
  • The bibliography (discussed in the fourth section)
  • The appendices where applicable (also discussed in the fourth section)

Step2: Create the minor outlines

Now we will look at two sections at the end of your proposal which must be further broken up into smaller segments:

  • Theorizing, which will have several sub sections:
    1. Theory
    2. Method
    3. Result
    4. Discussion
  • A basic chapter outline which will index all the sections and their respective page numbers

Step 3: Fit your research into your writing

After the above, a detailed description of what your research requirements are should be made. You can entitle this “Study Requirements”, and list all the factors, costs, and equipment needs you have for completing your research efficiently.


Step 4: Finishing touches

Wrap up your proposal with the following:

  • A thorough bibliography of all your sources
  • Any appendices to your research paper (optional)

These final additions will finish off your research paper proposal and enable you to give everything a once-over to ensure accuracy and detail.

Keep your purpose in mind while writing your proposal. Imagine trying to convince someone to grant you permission and funds to do this research. Keep if formal, but stress the importance of your research whenever it’s deemed necessary.

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