Research Proposal Format – Universiti Malaysia Perlis

Universiti Malaysia Perlis

Applicants are requested to follow the following guidelines while developing the research proposal:

Major Elements

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review (or Background)
  • Procedure (or Methodology)
  • Others
  • Expected result
  • Discussion
  • Gantt chart


The “Introduction” tells the reader

  • What the project is about,
  • Why the project is worth doing, and
  • Why the project is a good topic for fulfilling the objectives of the research requirement. Also, the Introduction must also state clearly and completely the specific objectives of the project.

It should,

  • State the research problem, which is often referred to as the purpose of the study.
  • Provide the context and set the stage for your research question in such a way as to show its necessity and importance.
  • Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing.
  • Briefly describe the major issues and subproblems to be addressed by your research.
  • Identify the key independent and dependent variables of your experiment. Alternatively, specify the phenomenon you want to study.
  • State your hypothesis or theory, if any. For exploratory or phenomenological research, you may not have any hypotheses. (Please do not confuse the hypothesis with the statistical null hypothesis.)
  • Set the delimitation or boundaries of your proposed research in order to provide a clear focus.
  • Provide definitions of key concepts. (This is optional.)

Literature Review

  • What kinds of research have been done before (including previous which can be accessed through the reference desk at the library)?
  • What relevant kinds of studies or techniques need to be mastered to do the project?
  • Where is the state of the art today?
  • How have others gone about trying to solve problems the project team wants to tackle, and in what ways will their approach build on and vary from previous work?
  • Ensures that you are not “reinventing the wheel”.
  • Gives credits to those who have laid the groundwork for your research.
  • Demonstrates your knowledge of the research problem.
  • Demonstrates your understanding of the theoretical and research issues related to your research question.
  • Shows your ability to critically evaluate relevant literature information.
  • Indicates your ability to integrate and synthesize the existing literature.
  • Provides new theoretical insights or develops a new model as the conceptual framework for your research.
  • Convinces your reader that your proposed research will make a significant and substantial contribution to the literature (i.e., resolving an important theoretical issue or filling a major gap in the literature).


  • The Method section is very important because it tells your Research Committee how you plan to tackle your research problem. It will provide your work plan and describe the activities necessary for the completion of your project.
  • Must be sufficient information.
  • Appropriate and valid way to address your research.
  • Elaborate on qualitative and quantitative research.

Expected Results

Obviously, you do not have results at the proposal stage. However, you need to have some idea about what kind of data you will be collecting, and what statistical procedures will be used in order to answer your research question or test your hypothesis.


It is important to convince your reader of the potential impact of your proposed research. You need to communicate a sense of enthusiasm and confidence without exaggerating the merits of your proposal. That is why you also need to mention the limitations and weaknesses of the proposed research, which may be justified by time and financial constraints as well as by the early developmental stage of your research area.

Finally, develop Gantt Chart for your Research Proposal.

Common mistakes in Proposal Writing

  • Failure to provide the proper context to frame the research question.
  • Failure to delimit the boundary conditions for your research.
  • Failure to cite landmark studies.
  • Failure to accurately present the theoretical and empirical contributions by other researchers.
  • Failure to stay focused on the research question.
  • Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research


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