The Most Common Research Paper Proposal Types

A research paper proposal is a request for some sort of sponsored research or training. It may even be used as a proposal for something creative. The funding party or the sponsor (in your case your college/University) will have their own instructions on how your proposal should look, be submitted, and what it should include. Here are a few examples of types of research paper proposals that are seemingly common both in academic terms and the business world.

Pre-Proposal, Preliminary Proposal or White Paper

There are times when a sponsor is already half-sold on an idea and simply wants a suitable proposal that does not take a very long time or require extraordinary amount of effort. In those cases a “Pre-Proposal”, “Preliminary Proposal” or “White Paper” is drawn up.

They are often created as letters of intent, and they give a brief piece of work that suggests what the people wanting the money are going to do. Neither the sponsor or applicants are bound by anything; it is just something to start the proceedings and get a constructive dialog going.

These types of proposal are often the starting ground where negotiations begin, which is why it is usually a good idea to put your intended budget (sponsorship amount request) in there.

Formal Proposal:

The format of a formal proposal will vary depending upon the sponsor (which is sometimes a University). There is the “Unsolicited Proposal,” the “Solicited Proposal,” the Broad Continuation or Non-Competing Proposal, the “Renewal or Competing Proposals” and the “Supplemental Proposal.”

Unsolicited Proposal

The sponsor has not solicited proposals in this case. The applicant has simply sent it with the belief that the sponsor will be interested. There are some companies and such that will take unsolicited research paper proposals and will often issue their own guidelines for receiving them.

Solicited Proposal

This is sent in response to something such as interest from the sponsor and/or a response to a specific program.

Continuation or Non-Competing Proposals

This is where the request is made so that work may continue. There is sometimes competition for these sponsorships from other projects that are ongoing, though usually it is about fighting for a share of a budget.

Renewal or Competing Proposals

This is where a project is about to terminate but may continue if sponsorship is given.

Supplemental Proposal

This is a proposal where the applicant asks for more than what is already being given.

Arranging your research paper proposal

The proposal format and content will be guided by the guidelines set out by the company or organization that is going to do the sponsoring. These are the people that are going to be looking at your proposal, so you have to play by their rules. Generally, there is a format to the research paper proposal. The guide below gives you some idea of how it may be structured.

– Title
– Abstract
– Introduction and/or background
– Research question
– Literature review
– Theoretical framework
– Methodology
– Research design and method
– Ethics
– Communicating the results
– Significance of Research
– Timeline
– Budget
– References
– Appendices