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``a research proposal is a document written by a researcher, which describes in details the program of a proposed research.’’ A research proposal can be written for various purposes where some of the main reasons for writing a proposal are; to show the proposed budget of the proposed research, as a requirement of certification, in tertiary institution before a dissertation and in employment that requires the approval of sponsors. It is a fact that most students and new researchers do not understand the meaning and importance of research proposal. A research proposal is meant for the purpose of convincing other people that it’s author has a worthy project and that he or she is capable of completing it successfully. It has also been noted that sometimes ill-conceived research proposal can lead to a poor project even if the proposal goes through the supervisory committee. On the other hand a poorly put together research proposal not only affects the research project negatively but may also be rejected by the research committee. Regardless of the area to be researched on and the research methodology to be used all research proposals should give sufficient information to the readers concerning its importance and also the competence of the researcher in that area. Writing a good research proposal is therefore an important skill and this paper therefore focuses on writing of a good research proposal.
Generally the purpose of a research proposal is to convince the research committee that the researcher has identified a problem and that he or she has the theoretical and methodological background necessary for solving it. A good research proposal should have the following structure; a table of content, a title page, abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, result and a discussion.
(a) Title page; this part is a very important section of the proposal since it captures the interest of the readers. A good title page should be stated functionally giving a relationship between two or more variables, which may be independent or dependent. (b) Abstract; this section gives the summary of the research to be undertaken, it should be about 300 words. This is where the researcher states the research questions, the hypothesis, assumption (if any), methods and findings. (c) Introduction; in this section the researcher provides the background of the research problem. The problem should be framed in a context such that it portrays importance and urgency. The researcher should also identify the significant dependent and independent variables.(d) Literature review; Sometimes this section may be merged with the introduction but mostly it is preferred as a separate section. This is the section where the researcher states the available literature concerning the research project. The importance of this section is to acknowledge the work and ideas of other people significant to the research, it also shows the researcher’s theoretical understanding in relation to the proposed research. It is in this section the researcher should identify the gap he want to fill in the research (e) Methods; this section provides the outline of the plan of tackling the research problem. The section also shows the work plan and also all the activities that will be undertaken in order to complete the project. (f) Discussion; this is the final section it should convince readers the importance of the proposed research.