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A research proposal is a document that demonstrates the significance of a proposed research project to individuals or organizations who may wish to fund or support the research project.
It should provide the following information:
A research proposal should convince readers and reviewers that the proposed project is important and timely and that this research will make important contributions to the respective field, invested community, or stakeholders.
Often the people evaluating proposals (i.e., committee members, funding agencies) are comprised of non-experts. Your proposal should be written so that non-experts can clearly understand your research problem and proposed solution.
The following list includes suggestions to help writers get started on their research proposals:
These following resources are designed to support your research and writing process.
Check out the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for their specific funding proposal expectations.
Analyzing examples of successful proposals can provide insight into structure and expectations. Some departments keep an archive of thesis and grant proposals.
Talk with your supervisor to gain a clear understanding of their specific expectations. Depending on what department you are in, you may want to emphasize certain sections, include extra sections, or even omit sections.
The "Organizing your Research Proposal - Template" in this LibGuide highlights the key components in a proposal, and this document can be shared with your supervisor to guide your discussions and help clarify expectations.
Links to examples of different departmental guidelines within six of the colleges at the University of Guelph can be found below:
To contribute to this list and to submit new links for updated handbooks, please email email@example.com.
*Please note: at the time of writing, the author could not find a handbook for the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.