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Research Project Proposal

1. Introduction: A research proposal is a document written by a researcher that provides a detailed description of the proposed program. It is like an outline of the entire research process that gives a reader a summary of the information. The researchers own academic, personal, and professional expertise is the main asset to choose a relevant topic of interest for research. Before taking any topic for research one should ask himself / herself two questions - what is the significance of the topic and why is this particular topic need of being researched?

2. Objective of Research Proposal: The objectives of a research proposal are -
i) To act as a foundation on which the future research work will grow;
ii) To gives direction to the research work;
iii) To request a budget (grant) from the funding agency;
iv) To get permission to conduct the research, if the experiment is to be done on human beings or animals.
3. Steps in Formulating a Research Proposal: Though there is no thumb rule for formulating a research topic, yet the following will throw a light in this direction.
a) Identifying Area of Specialization: In choosing any topic for research the first and foremost thing is the identification of the areas what one likes most.
b) Discussion with Peers: In the very second step one should ask or talk with his / her peers (including seniors and teacher) about the topic and by this way should try to collect some more information on the topic at hand.
c) Using Science: The person concerned in the next step should employ science in way of viewing the topic based on the concept of order, external reality, reliability, parsimony, and generality.
d) Literature Search: Literature search is essential in order to be aware of the existing research and to know what has already come out to the surface. Different form of literature print and web; macro and micro covering all aspect of the topic should be studied at this step itself. Literature searching tool includes guides to literature; bibliographies, citation analysis (forward search); library catalogue, indexing and abstracting journals, search engines; Meta search engine; wiki search engines, etc. During literature search activity one should collect all the relevant documents. It will be needed to summarize the results of previous research to form a foundation of the present one and to collect ideas about what methodologies, techniques and tool were used by previous researchers in case of near topic that one is supposed to choose for and to assess the success of the previous research work based on the methodologies, techniques and tools undertaken.
e) Research Method, Tools and Techniques: Based on the literature search, the research scholar should seek for alternative; judge himself/herself why earlier investigators choose their course of action, what are their shortcomings, whether other approaches can be used for such type of investigation and so on.
f) Key Concepts: In the next step, the research scholar should try to list and define key concepts and terms and also be alert to the latest happenings on the subject;
g) Problem Identification: The research scholar now should find out, what is missing in the existing literature. In doing so he/she should go from general to particular problem, and then should break the problem.
h) Judging Yourself: Now after identification of the problem one should judge himself/herself whether he/she is fitted to take this topic, in regard to his/her expertise, time and skill, if not he/she must again start from the point number (i) and choose other alternatives.
i) Research Proposal: In this step the research scholar should prepare the research proposal, making judgment to make others convinced regarding the value of the research work, map out all the arguments in the form of research proposal and so on. Generally, research proposals are written in future tense.
j) Communicating the Proposal: The proposal should be communicated with the expected research supervisor or funding agencies.

4. Contents of a Research Proposal: A research proposal in general consists of the following parts-
Title Page
Literature Review
Research Problem
Aims and Objectives
Scope and Limitation
Ethical Consideration: the ethics you adopt
Risk Analysis
Significance/ Topic Justification

* The Schedule will include time needed for extensive literature search, research design to conduct the main study, and time needed to write the research findings.
If anyone submitting a research proposal for sponsorship / grant then the budget should be a must. In case of M.Phil. and Ph.D. synopsis the budget part may be droped.

5. Writing Research Proposal: Though it is not mandatory, the following steps are followed in writing a research proposal-
a) Setting up Template: Template like using of Font = Times New Roman; Font Style = Regular; Font Size = 12; Alignment = Justify; Line Spacing = 1.5. For heading purpose one can use Font Style: Bold, rests are same and like that.
b) Avoiding Biasness: For any type of research proposal writing, it would be better to restrict using “I” except in the introduction chapter, in other parts of the report it should be replaced by “the researcher”, “the author”, and such appropriate words.
c) Table and Graphs Names: In case of table and graph naming, the rule of thumb is to naming the table and graph by using the chapter name followed by table or graph number starting freshly from the beginning of each chapter.
d) Checking for Correctness: After writing the research proposal the research scholar need to check for the following:-
i) Whether all text formatting guidelines are followed or not.
ii) Quotations are complete and followed by in text citation or not.
iii) In text citation are included in the references pages or not.
iv) Is there any jumping in sentences and if it is then it should be made a smooth flow of ideas.

6. Conclusion: The research proposal sometimes differs from institution to institution. Generally, the research funding agencies publish calls for research proposals, specifying the topics into which they fund research and their detailed format requirements. Research proposals usually contain curriculum vitae of the researchers. The curriculum vitae are required for to justify that the personnel asking to conduct the research are capable of doing so.

How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanBadan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links ( - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the UGC NET Guide ( and LIS Study ( website.

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