How to Write a Scientific Research Proposal

A scientific research proposal allows a researcher to present a concise and articulate summary of the proposed research. In the proposal, the researcher must highlight critical issues or questions they wish to address. In most cases, there are three objectives to writing the scientific research proposal including, the explanation of proposed research, presentation of the methods to be adopted, and the importance of the research process. The proposal should answer what, how, and why effectively to achieve its purpose. For example, at a research proposal writing service, students can get professional help and get a well-written scientific proposal for a research paper or dissertation that follows certain guidelines related to any research process to ensure its approval by the relevant academic and ethics committees.

Basic Elements of a Scientific Research Proposal

The main objective of any proposal is to add to existing knowledge regarding a selected topic. You must present new and progressive findings by, first, developing a research question then noting the significance and implications of the research. The proposal should therefore be innovative and present specific problems and the accompanying solutions. In addition, a good scientific research proposal must convince the academic committee who will evaluate your work regarding the practicality and relevance of the presentation in the specific field. The assessors must recognize the proposal’s credibility to ensure it is selected for implementation. In most instances, the evaluating committee comprises professionals from different fields, including academic professors, policymakers, and the general public. 

Contents of the Scientific Research Proposal

While the research proposal format may vary depending on the particular field, there are select aspects that should be evident in the final presentation. A well-formatted research proposal includes:

  1. Title
  2. Introduction
  3. Background and Significance
  4. Literature Review
  5. Research Design and methods
  6. Preliminary Conclusions and Implications
  7. Conclusion
  8. Reference section

Title Page

Like any other academic document, the scientific research proposal should have a title page that includes the title of your proposed research. The title should be clear and unambiguous with the word reflecting the focus of the proposal.


This section of the proposal should be treated as a potential idea pitch and a focused assessment of the importance of the research issue. After a reader goes through the introduction, they should understand what you want to achieve, gain excitement about your potential outcomes and your passion for the topic. The introduction should be two to four paragraphs and should succinctly present the main research problem, the topic of study, the methods you will use, and the significance of the research. 

Background and Significance

The second section expounds on the context of the scientific proposal and should describe in length why it is critical. You can integrate this section into the introduction, or you can choose to create a different section to present a better-organized document. While the introduction may provide some information about the proposal, you should assume your readers have minimal knowledge of the problem. Nonetheless, you must only select relevant information to place in this section. If necessary, you can define some of the key concepts and terms.

Literature Review

This section is also connected to your background and significance, as it provides a more extensive presentation of previous studies that relate to the issue under analysis. The objective here is to align your project with the wider topic you will explore while demonstrating to the readers that your work is original and innovative. In this section you should assess what other researchers said about the topic, the methods they used, or potential recommendations for future research. You should develop key themes to guide the literature review and prevent haphazard presentation of material. You may consider the 5 C’s of writing a literature review to ensure the section is well-thought-out.

Research Design and Methods

Since you have not commenced your research yet, ensure you write this section well and in an organized manner. A well-written methods section reveals to a reader that the proposal is worth pursuing. Consequently, the aim is to convince any reader that the methods you will use can correctly address the issue and provide a means to analyze the potential results. You can consider methods used by other researchers and those that are applicable to the proposal. Notably, be precise about the methodology and the data analysis techniques you will use. 


This section provides the analysis process and the potential implications of the research proposal. You must present an argument regarding how the research will refine or enhance the current knowledge base in the selected field of study. In addition, the section should notify the reader about the impact of the results in challenging current assumptions, the suggestions that can be derived from the final project, the impact of the results on professionals and policies, and potential benefits to different groups.

You must conclude your proposal by reiterating the importance of the research and a brief summary of the complete proposal. Keep the section between one to two paragraphs long, focusing on why the research issue should be investigated, why the proposal is unique, and how your research will advance the current knowledge base. 

Citations/ Reference Section

Like other academic research papers, the scientific research proposal must include a list of the sources you used in the presentation. The final section can be presented either as a reference section or a bibliography. If you use the reference form, you will only include the material you used or cited in the proposal. If you use the bibliography, you will provide the literature you cited in the research as well as other citations you feel are applicable to the research issue. This section notifies the reader that you made extensive preparations to complete the project without duplicating other people’s work. The section should be on a new page with a heading for the form you selected. There are specific formats to follow, including APA, Chicago, MLA, and others, which you will be notified of by your professor. The overall word count for your scientific research proposal does not include this section.