Research Proposal

Research Proposal

Research Proposal

Students who have failed or not submitted the portfolio activities must submit a 750-word research proposal on the same topic as your literature review. You are to imagine that you are going to undertake a research project.  The main purpose of a research proposal is to clearly define the topic area and to show you understand your research area.  It also demonstrates you understand how to conduct a research study.

Your proposal should consist of the following (please use these sub-headings):

  1. Research Context: The proposal should explain the broad background against which you would conduct your research. You should include a brief overview of the general area of study within which your proposed research falls and why it is important to conduct further research on this topic area. You should therefore, explain the rationale and significance of your research (see workshop portfolio exercise 1).


  1. Research Aims and Objectives: The proposal should set out the central aim and objectives that would guide your research. To state your aim, either you can have a concise statement about what you hope to achieve through your research or you can have a main research question. Objectives are how you intend to achieve the aim. They will include the specific means of answering the research question that you have posed and details of the key issues involved. To write your objectives you may have at least three statements or sub-questions. Be realistic while writing your aim and objectives. There are common pitfalls such as the scope being too broad, not including enough detail, being too simplistic, being too ambitious, etc.  (seeworkshop portfolio exercise 2).

  1. Research Methods: The proposal should outline your research methods, explaining how you would go about conducting your research, if you were to actually do it. Your methods may include secondary data sources and/or primary data sources. If your proposed research is based on secondary data sources, you should explain where your key sources (e.g. journal articles and books) are located (e.g. UWE library databases). If you suggest using primary research then explain which methods (e.g. survey, interviews, and focus groups) you could use. In addition, discuss whether your secondary/primary sources will provide you qualitative and/or qualitative data (see workshop portfolio exercise 5).


  1. Ethical Considerations: The proposal should address the ethical concerns related to yourstudy. Explain ethical considerations you will have to make before conducting your research. Address the issues of participants’ informed consent, anonymity and confidentiality of the data and personal safety (see workshop portfolio exercise 4).

  1. References: It is essential that you reference your work properly. You need to provide references in the main text with all ideas, theories, quotes and statistics you have used to write this proposal. Provide a complete list of full references at the end which should match the references provided in the text. The method students MUST use is the Harvard system, a guide to which can be found via the UWE library home page, under ‘Referencing Guide’.



  • Leave enough time to proofread and edit your work.
  • You can use headings in a research proposal to structure your work.
  • Try to be very close to the word count. If you have less words, then carefully read your work again as you may have missed a section or not included enough information. The work beyond the maximum word count will not be marked.
  • The reference list is not part of the word count.
  • Avoid excessive use of quotations and properly reference your work to avoid plagiarism.

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