7 Types of Research proposal and How to know what’s required of you

1.0 Introduction

A research proposal provides a detailed explanation of a proposed project about to be conducted by a researcher. The research proposal provides a summary of the information discussed in the project by reviewing the entire research process.

It is important to create research proposals to facilitate the smooth navigation of various research activities, in order to make research as effective as possible, to reduce labour, time and costs and to provide as much information as possible. As a result, a research proposal is a conceptual framework in which research is conducted to create a plan for data collection, measurement and analysis.

The research proposal comes in the form of a dissertation which provides a summary of the plan the researcher intends to implement. Consequently, the research proposal contains what researchers intend to do throughout the study period, from developing hypotheses and their practical significance to final data analysis. The research proposals aim to organize ideas, present the preparations in a logical way, emphasizing the relationship between each party and other departments, and explains the limitations of the research and related concepts.

As a result, research proposals include extensive literature reviews. This is necessary as they must provide the necessary information to demonstrate the need for the proposed research. In addition, the research proposal also provides detailed research methods that meet the professional or disciplinary requirements and the expected results and benefits of completing the research.

The research proposal guidelines are not as rigorous and formal as the main thesis as design elements and procedures for conducting the research are governed by standards within the predominant discipline. However, most research institutes provide detailed instructions or guidelines in writing a research proposal, which must be strictly adhered to.

Typically, most proposals are between six (6) and twelve (12) pages in length and not longer than 3500 words (not including references). However, this may differ across institutions. This article aims at identifying the various types of research proposals to assist you to know the type required of you. This will be of great help in preparing excellent proposals.

2.0 Types of Research Proposals

In all fields spanning across academic, government and private sectors, research scientists usually find competitive funding for research projects by creating and submitting research proposals for funding analysis.

Also, students across various institutions submit research proposals to conduct academic studies. As a result, there are several types of research proposals with each type being due to its own requirements or qualifications. These types of research proposals are discussed below.

Approval proposal:

This type of proposal is commonly written by students. It is submitted to your supervisor for approval and is written before undertaking a final project, dissertation or thesis. This is where the supervisor needs to ensure that your research is valuable and that the methodology employed can successfully be carried out by the student. It involves providing information on the research purpose, relevance, previous research in the field, how the research is conducted, the time and resources required.

Revised Proposal:

This is the type of proposal written when the funding for a proposed project is to be changed to a different amount other than the actual amount. As a result of this, the sponsor will require the researcher to submit a revised proposal to support the funding amount. This replaces ongoing proposals or not funded but not formally rejected by the sponsor. If the sponsor reduces the budget, the researcher must determine if the scope and objectives of the original project are met in the revised budget. If a proposal is rejected, then the researcher will need to prepare a new proposal.

Supplemental Proposal:

This is a type of proposal which provides support for proposals already approved and funded. It originates as a result of increases in the proposed budget of the study. The increase may occur during the current budget period and may include an extended scope of project approval. This is a type of research proposal is often required when the researcher needs additional funding.

Continuation Proposal:

This type of proposal is typical with a multiannual study award. The continuation proposal is requested when a researcher needs funding to continue the next stage of the project. At this stage, sponsors usually require progress reports and budgets before allocating additional funding. In some cases, it includes financial statements that show expenditures and any balance for the year. This type of research proposal only applies to projects already approved by the sponsor in the original award and which are a going concern.

Pre-proposal/Notice of Intent:

The purpose of the proposal is to promote the interests of potential sponsors where interested sponsors will subsequently request a complete proposal. This type of proposal is required if the sponsor wants to reduce the applicant’s effort to prepare a complete proposal.

The primary aim of the pre-proposal is to inform interested potential sponsors of the project. Typically, the proposal does not include cost estimates and are not expected to result in a study award. As a result, a pre-proposal usually take the form of a statement of intent or a brief summary. After considering a pre-proposal, the sponsor will notify the researcher if a full proposal is required.

Solicited Proposals:

Formal proposals are often solicited by sponsors through publishing specific program announcements which are disseminated through various means. These announcements often come in the form of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), Request for Proposals (RFPs), Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs), etc. Researchers responding to the project announcement write proposals to comply with the sponsor’s project guidelines.

A typical example of a solicited proposal is the Request for Proposals (RFPs) which is a document that identifies specific research topics of particular interest to institutions seeking solutions. Interested researchers then present a proposal often referred to as a white paper that summarizes the solution to the problem. If a funding organization or company is interested, they can ask researchers to submit a complete proposal to consider funding.

Unsolicited Proposals:

These are proposals that are submitted by a researcher in response to a ‘general call’ for proposals that is issued by a research department or research institute or company in a field or area of study. Here you must prove the suitability of your research project, the importance of your research, its relevance to the organization, your qualifications as a researcher, the suitability of your research facility and the adequacy of your research budget.

3.0 How to Know the Type Required of You

Having gained knowledge of the various types of research proposals, it is important to determine which is relevant to your study. Generally, knowing the type of research proposal expected of you lies in the careful perusal of the accompanying guidelines and instructions. The guidelines lays out what is expected of the researcher and will act as a beacon in pinpointing the type of research proposal that is expected of the researcher.

Furthermore, the purpose of writing the research proposal is also a proper yardstick in determining the type of research proposal that is expected of you. For example, when writing in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) we acknowledge that this is a solicited proposal. Nevertheless, it is important to note the intersection between the various types of research proposals as this will contribute significantly to the successful completion of an excellent research proposal.

4.0 Conclusion

Effective proposals not only clearly explain the research problem but also identify and analyzes the method used for the research. Successful research proposals should place their research in a broader field of study and explain why it is important. The structure of the proposal must be well planned with each section carefully written to avoid errors. This planning ensures the most effective structure which gives rise to persuasive content that will interest the target audience, thereby ensuring success.


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