Saudi Arabia

Format Research Proposal – King Saud University

King Saud University

The full research proposal should be between 5 to 10 pages and should present the following:


The title should be informative, succinct and interesting. It should include the population of interest and the condition/issue being investigated.

Brief Introduction

 A brief outline of the problem statement, rationale and objectives of the research study.

Problem Statement

A broad statement indicating the goals of the project. Eg. Exploration, description, explanation, prediction (hypothesis testing)

Relevance/ Rationale

Why should the research be done?

Why is the research important? Has it been done before? Will the study benefit patients, increase knowledge and/or influence policy? Will research resolve controversies? Would the answers have clinical value? 

Background and Significance

  [Literature Review]

 A critical summary of research on a topic of interest, generally prepared to put a research problem in context or to identify gaps and weaknesses in prior studies so as to justify a new investigation. Generally starts off broadly addressing the problem then becoming more narrow and leading to your specific research question(s).

  • This is your chance to build a case for doing your study!
  • Justify the statements that you have made in your Relevance/Rationale section.
  • Reviewers will be looking to see whether your proposed work is appropriate for the level of knowledge currently existing in that area. 

Objectives and Aims

[Research question or hypothesis/ Research objectives]

 Explicitly state what you propose to study.

  •  Form the foundation for the rest of the proposal.
  • Will be used to assess the adequacy/appropriateness of the study’s proposed methods:

Testable; logically derived from the literature review

  • Often includes:

Population of interest (person, place, time); Variables (independent and dependent); Relationship between variables being investigated 

Study design (type of study)

 Issues to consider in design:

  •  Exploratory versus explanatory research
  • Potential biases that may emerge
  • Feasibility (logistics)
  • Cost
  • Level of evidence, limitations
  • Ethics

 Types of Designs:

  • Descriptive (Survey, cross-sectional, correlational)
  • Observational/analytic
  • Cohort studies
  • Prospective
  • Retrospective


  • Quasi-experimental
  • Randomized controlled trials 

Study population and sampling

Who will you study? Why?

Specify eligible subjects:  

  •  Target population: clinical & demographic characteristics 
  • Accessible population: temporal & geographic characteristics 

Data collection methods and instruments

 Identify the:

  • Independent variable (exposure, intervention…)
  • Dependent variable (outcome)
  • Covariates
  • Where will the information come from (data sources)?
  • Exactly how will the information be collected (data collection methods)?

 Data analysis methods

If applicable statistical planning must be fully addressed, or the candidate should provide evidence that statistics are not required.

 In many proposals, the sample size section precedes the data analysis section. However, it is advisable to consider the analysis section first, as the sample size calculation should be based on the analysis of the primary research question.

Data Analysis Section

A detailed plan for handling and analyzing data, including procedures for:

  • Recording, storing and reducing data
  • Assessing data quality
  • Statistical analyses 

Mechanisms to assure the quality of the study

e.g. control of bias, safe storage of data

Study period – Timetable for completion of the project

Participants in the study

All people involved in the study, and the role they play, should be identified.

Ethical considerations

Strength and Weakness of the study

What are the limitation of your study design? how have you tried to mitigate them? What are the strengths, why are they relevant?

 Budget and Motivation

[Resources required for the study, including budget if applicable]



copy of questionnaires, consent forms, etc.


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