Research Proposals

What is a research proposal?

Many fellowship applications, particularly graduate school or research abroad scholarships, require a detailed research proposal. This should be a straightforward account of the project, including research questions, methodology, short literature review, expected findings, and/or significance of the project. Below is some basic information on how to write a successful research proposal for national awards.

Common Elements of an Academic Project/Proposal

  • Key questions to consider: Where? When? Who? What? How? Why?
  • A detailed description of the study or project; topic, research focus, goals, itinerary, budget(if applicable) methodology, etc.
  • Explain why you have chosen this course of study (why this school, program, country, etc).
  • Provide some information on previous experience, training, or background in the project area so asto speak to your qualifications
  • Evidence for the project's feasibility
  • The project should be clear and concise
  • Consider addressing the broader impacts of the research (why is it relevant/important)
  • Fundamentally, this is an exercise in persuasive, expository writing
  • Consider the prompt carefully; what exactly are they asking for?

Resources for Proposal Writing

The Office of National and International Fellowships provides along with faculty research proposal workshops in the fall and spring semester. Make use of these workshops. In addition, consider consulting faculty in the discipline in which the research focus is. They can give you tips on relevant work already being done in this area, and furthermore can help you refine the project methodology or focus.