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Components of Research Proposal – Things You Must Avoid When Working On Them

Components of Research Proposal - Things You Must Avoid When Working On Them

In my academic life, specifically during my PhD, I have reviewed hundreds of research proposals from different students with my professor. Some were very good, while others were way too bad, and it looked like students were completely unaware of the components of research proposal. This is why I decided to write an article about this important issue and decided to explain the components of a good research proposal to students.

Therefore, today’s article is going to be all about the research proposal and its components. Along with the components, I will also mention the things that you must avoid in each component of a research proposal. So, today’s post is going to serve as a comprehensive guide for students who just do not know how to craft a good research proposal. However, before that, let’s explain what a research proposal is and why crafting it right is important.

What is a research proposal? Explain with importance.

A research proposal is a simple and scholarly document that explains what you plan to research, why it is significant, and how you plan to research it. The primary purpose of a research proposal is to convince your teacher or university’s research committee that your selected topic or chosen research area is worth researching. It also explains to them that your chosen topic is easy to research and manageable.

A research proposal is an important component of higher studies. Without submitting this document and getting its approval, you cannot start your research phase of the degree. Further, the points that make it so important are as follows:

  • A proposal helps you in creating a roadmap for your research study
  • It explains the key concepts that you plan to address to your audience
  • Most importantly, it convinces the research committee of the university that your chosen research area is worth researching

Components of research proposals and things to avoid in them

Knowing the components of research proposal is the first step in crafting a good and convincing proposal. Each university and research institute follows its own structure and guidelines for crafting the research proposal. However, there are some parts which are general and should be included in each research proposal. So, let’s discuss those necessary components one by one, along with the mistakes to avoid in them.

1. Title of the research

The first and most important component of a research proposal is its title. The title of your proposal may be different from that of the final research topic; at this stage, the topic is necessary because it gives the research committee an idea of your research interests. A good research proposal title is catchy, positive, and transparent in its meaning. So, ensure that your title is concise, to the point as well as informative.

Things to avoid

  • Do not choose a broad topic as it can be difficult for you to complete the research timely
  • Do not get too personal with a topic and always choose topics logically
  • Do not go for the controversial angle of a research topic

2. Introduction to the topic

One of the most important components of research proposal that sets the tone of the research is the introduction. After reading the introduction, your reader must understand what the research topic is and what is its background. This component provides the reader or the research committee with a broad overview of the problem and explains to them the critical concepts related to the research problem.

Things to avoid

  • Not providing enough background context of the problem
  • Avoid too long introductions as they just make the reader feel bored
  • Not giving a strong justification for the research topic in light of the literature

3. Background and significance

The third most commonly seen component of a research proposal is the background and significance of the research topic. This section explains to the reader the underlying theories and concepts that are critical to research the topic. In addition to this, in this component, you also talk about why it is important to research the topic. Describe the major issues and problems that are associated with your research topic and explain their significance; that is it.

Things to avoid

  • Do not write too long or too short a background.
  • Thinking that the reader is familiar with your research work
  • Not organising the background literature in an order

4. Review of the scholarly literature

The next component of a good research proposal is an extensive review of the scholarly sources relevant to your proposed research area. The goal of writing this component is to put your research area into a larger context and see if it addresses a research gap or not. It is one of the information-dense components of research proposal. Therefore, it is important to keep the mistakes at a minimum level and craft it right. If you are not able to do it, hiring dissertation proposal help is the last solution.

Things to avoid

  • Do not ever rely on unscholarly sources as there is a danger of misleading information
  • No link to research questions is another thing to avoid
  • Not keeping the bibliographic information of the sources used

5. Research methods

This component is the most important of all the components. It explains how you are going to perform the research, what research methods you are going to utilise, and why exercising those methods is the only way to study the problem. This section convinces the research committee that your research methods are relevant enough that you can complete your study by using them.

Things to avoid

  • Not explaining how the data will be collected and analysed
  • Wrong choice of tenses when explaining the procedures of methods
  • Not creating a link between research questions and methods


Conclusively, writing a research proposal holds much importance because it explains to the research committee what you intend to research and how to desire to do it. An explanation of the components of research proposal above will surely help you a lot in creating a flawless proposal. So, pay close attention to them and craft your proposal accordingly.