How to Write an Academic Research Proposal

Updated July 20, 2017

Writing an academic research proposal is a challenging writing project. The writing will be reviewed by peers in the academic community. You can create a manageable writing project by considering yourself, your audience and your purpose. By following writing process guidelines, your academic research proposal will serve its stated goals and objectives.

Begin by planning the stages of your academic research proposal. Note the due dates and deadlines associated with your project. Investigate the required format for references and citations. Many academic research proposals document sources according to the Harvard System of Referencing, including the Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychologial Association (APA) formats.

Plan the required sections of your proposal. Most proposals include an introduction, a statement of the research goals and objectives, a presentation of qualitative or quantative data, a conclusion and a list of references that were cited in your proposal. Make sure that you will be presenting all the required information. Gather any missing information to ensure a complete proposal.

Compile your data and references. Check and double-check each piece of data and each reference for accuracy and importance. After you have run the check, ask a peer to look over your information. Add or delete data and references as needed. The sections on data and references are perhaps the most important pieces of your writing. Make sure they are correct and clear to create a strong academic research proposal.

Follow the general writing process of prewriting, writing and editing. Follow the section requirements as an outline for your first draft. If you get stuck, take a break or try a different writing task. After the first draft is completed, review it for content and readability. Edit for spelling, word choice and punctuation. Ask a peer to read your draft and make suggestions. Now, write your final draft. Read over once more. You are now ready to submit your academic research proposal.

Things You'll Need

  • Reference guides and handbook
  • Research data
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Teresa Dashwood began writing professionally in 1984. Ye Galleon Press published her book "Warrior of the Mist" in 1996 and 2003. Dashwood completed her Bachelor of Arts in literature and Master of Arts in teaching from Gonzaga University. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Eastern Washington University.