Write a Research Proposal

These guides will help you think about the proposal stage of your directed study, dissertation or thesis. Always check your Division and School guidelines as well and ask your supervisor/s about any particular requirements.

A research proposal is a succinctly written document outlining the premise of the research to be conducted. - The Sage Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods, 2018

Online guides

Listed below are two recommended guides. The first from our Student Learning, and the second from Massey, outlining the basic steps needed for a successful proposal.

  1. Writing a research proposal
  2. Research proposal structure
  3. Writing a thesis proposal

Sage Research Methods links

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Proposing your research
Learning outcomes include: identifying the characteristics of a strong qualitative research proposal including a look at the three main types. Plus key considerations in writing and successfully defending your qualitative research proposal.
Research proposals
Especially for Education students: Click on the sections below the introduction, e.g. Literature Review; Methods Section to find more information.
How to design, write and present a successful dissertation proposal
A chapter on proposal structure, part of a longer work on designing and writing a proposal. Includes very clear advice. Use the links to the other chapters to help with different stages of your proposal work.


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Research proposals: A practical guide
This helpful step-by-step handbook will guide the reader through each stage of doing a research proposal from choosing a subject right through to writing it up.

Next steps

The first step in conducting a research proposal is to conduct an exhaustive review of previous literature on the subject - The Sage Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods, 2018