How to Write a Research Proposal

Do you feel stuck in writing your research proposal? We are here to help! Our professional authors know much about academic writing and gladly allow students to create correctly structured and formatted papers. The following guide will demonstrate how to write a research proposal to impress your teacher or supervisor. Find in our article practical pieces of advice and secrets from experienced writers, a research proposal example, some good ideas for research proposals, and more helpful information.

what is a research proposal

What Is a Research Proposal?

Before we start explaining how to write a research proposal paper, let us define the core peculiarities of such works. Since research projects are popular in different fields, some require authors to agree on their investigation plans with third parties, such as with an academic committee, professors, supervisors, sponsors, etc. Research proposals often serve as approval of the necessity of the project. The core aim of any research proposal is to answer the following questions:

  • Is an author skilled enough to conduct research in a chosen area?
  • Why is this research vital, and how does it contribute to the field?
  • How is an author going to provide his or her research work?

Of course, answering only these questions is not enough to write a detailed research proposal. Our article will highlight the main aspects you wish to learn. Read on to find out more details on the structure of a research proposal and more.

Research Proposal Outline

The structure of a research proposal must be clear to make it easy for reviewers to navigate through the paper. Here are the main sections that must be in any paper of this type:

• Title page

Most research proposals must have a title page. Read about the requirements in this section in the instructions to follow the vision of your supervisor. If you want to create a standard title page, you need to include your name, name of the teacher, name of the college, the research proposal topics – or the proposal title.

• Introduction

The first essential element of a research proposal outline is an introduction. It provides context to researching problematics and states the author’s core goals and ideas. Unlike essays, research proposals require writing more expensive introductions and dividing them into paragraphs. It could be proper to add an abstract for vast research proposals to present the topic more effectively. In such a case, an abstract is put before an introduction.

• Background

Now it is time to add a specific section to answer the question: “Why is the research vital, and how could it impact the field?” If you follow the recommendations of other authors and proceed to investigate the existing research, mention it in the background significance section. Provide all the details of your plans and presumed contributions to the field with your research. After reading this section, the audience must understand that the work you plan is important and deserves attention and time. The background section must provide the brief steps of conducting research.

• Literature review

Writing a research proposal means collecting different literature and other sources for your future project. As an author, you should inform readers about all resources related to the topic you plan to use. Do not miss the literature review and bibliography sections (we will discuss them later). In the literature review, you do not only provide the name of the book, the author, and the year of publishing. In addition, you need to explain how each source will be used in your forthcoming project.

• Research methods and schedule

This central and significant section of a research proposal provides detailed information about your research. Here is the checklist to ensure you highlighted all aspects:

  • Design of the research
  • Type of research
  • How would you collect data: by yourself or using information from other research?
  • Type of data you will collect (statistics, opinions, population, etc.)
  • Type of subjects you will research and ways to get information about them
  • Instruments and methods you will use (observation, interviews, experiments, etc.)
  • Research schedule and detailed timeline
  • Preliminary budget for the research
  • Potential risks and problems, and ways to prevent or speedily resolve them

Your teacher or a supervisor might request to add some additional elements to this section. Be patient when reading the instructions.

• Suppositions

Now it is time to answer the question: “Why is the research necessary, and what will it mean for the field?” However, you do not know the outcome of your research, and you can forecast the results. The main idea of writing a research proposal is having a vision of how your research will impact the industry.

You should include all the information about the investigated problem in the suppositions section. Provide a theoretical base for your research. If you are sure your project could help resolve relevant issues in the field, list them. If you use previous research on the same subject, highlight how you will contribute to the investigated problematics. Tell about the possible practical use of your study. The main idea of writing this section is to prove the worth of your research.

• Conclusion

This section should not be vast and does not need to provide new information. Briefly sum up your ideas and highlight the importance of providing the research. Reformulate the goal of the project and your plans.

• References/Bibliography

Unlike the literature review section, the section with the bibliography does not have to explain the details about each source. You must create a list of books, scholarly articles, websites, and others. Note that a lot will depend on your research proposal format. For example, a research proposal APA is different than a proposal in MLA format. Another widespread style of formatting is Chicago. Each of these formats has many peculiarities related to arranging citations in the text and references. You can find the information about formatting style in the instructions.

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How Long Is a Research Proposal?

Many students are interested in the approximate word count when writing a research proposal. The best way to get precise information is by requesting help from a teacher who will gladly provide you with the instructions. The standard length of the research proposal varies because of the type of research, field of investigation, degree level, etc. Roughly, it could be up to 2500-3000 words. If you are going to write a dissertation, the proposal could take about 7000 words.

Research Proposal Topics

We collected several ideas for an effective research proposal and formulated some topics for you to consider:

  • The impact of globalization on big businesses.
  • Use of alternative media in marketing communications.
  • How can startups survive a financial crisis?
  • Best strategies for hiring the right fits for TOP management positions.
  • Is getting an education important for developing a successful career?
  • The story behind “A Song Of Ice And Fire.”
  • Should schoolchildren take sex education classes?
  • The impact of Claude Monet’s paintings on today’s art.
  • Is it possible to revert aging?
  • The evolution of photography.
  • The importance of vaccination nowadays.
  • The reasons behind the air pollution.

Research Proposal Sample to Check

After reading our excellent research proposal template, you will not have questions on how to structure and format your paper. We guarantee you that you will get maximum usefulness from going through our research proposal sample below.

Addressing Prolonged Hospitalization among Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Surgery Patients


Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) surgery can bolster recovery outcomes for coronary heart disease patients. Nonetheless, this procedure prolongs hospitalization periods, compromising patients’ postoperative mobility status and quality of life. Current evidence indicates that early rehabilitation can mitigate extended hospital stays among CABG patients by limiting adverse complications and expediting patient mobilization. This paper delineates the components of a quality improvement project intended to limit hospital stays for CABG patients through early physical therapy. The project will rely on the Plan-Do-Act-Study model for planning and continuous improvement, dashboard data for evaluation, and an interdisciplinary team to guide interventions.

Keywords: CABG, early physical therapy, length of stay (LOS), quality improvement.

Background and Significance

Coronary heart disease is a leading contributor to the overwhelming burden of morbidity and mortality from chronic illness in the United States. Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) surgery has consistently demonstrated remarkable efficacy in bolstering ventricular function, offsetting symptom exacerbation, and mitigating mortality from heart disease. Nonetheless, this procedure induces severe postoperative systemic complications, prolonging the duration of sedation, immobility, and mechanical ventilation (Torres et al., 2016). Consequently, patients undergoing this procedure often have to endure long hospitalization periods, compromising their ability to return to preoperative functional status. Therefore, it is imperative to explore strategies to mitigate hospitalization periods for these patients.


There has been extensive research on prolonged hospitalization and its deleterious effects among CABG patients. According to Torres et al. (2016), these outcomes are precipitated primarily by the complexity of the procedure and the need for extensive postoperative sedation and ventilation. Further, Almashrafi et al. (2016) postulated that prolonged hospitalization among CABG surgery patients is predicted by the number and type of complications, with cardiac, neurological, and pulmonary complications accounting for a significant proportion of length-of-stay extensions. Prolonged hospitalization among CABG patients adversely affects the quality of care provided by healthcare institutions. Per the Institute of Medicine (IOM), patient centeredness is a defining hallmark of quality healthcare services (Allen-Duck et al., 2017). Current CABG care protocols induce severe functional limitations that can persist for months to years after surgery (Torres et al., 2016). In this way, they wantonly relegate patient-centered care dimensions such as quality of life and care satisfaction.

Literature Review

A search for relevant articles was conducted on Google Scholar and PubMed databases. The keyword combination, early physical therapy OR rehabilitation AND CABG patients ANG length of stay OR LOS was used to generate relevant articles, yielding over 10,000 articles. The criteria included articles that exclusively studied CABG patients and were published within the preceding five years. Articles that did not meet these criteria were not considered for appraisal.

The selected research articles provided valuable insights into the clinical problem and appropriate interventions. Research in this area acknowledges the deleterious impacts of prolonged hospitalization among CABG surgery patients. Per Hojskov et al. (2019), Dong et al. (2016), and Johnson et al. (2017), patients undergoing this procedure are predisposed to a myriad of postsurgical complications, including respiratory failure, infection, bleeding, and neuromuscular disorders. These risks necessitate longer stays in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), prolonging the hospitalization period and generating severe functional limitations (Hojskov et al., 2019; Johnson et al., 2017). The selected studies acknowledge the importance of early rehabilitation in mitigating hospitalization lengths for these patients (Hojskov et al., 2019; Johnson et al., 2017; Tariq et al., 2017; Zanini et al., 2019). These insights should be invaluable in developing an appropriate intervention for CABG patients in clinical settings.

Level of Evidence

The quality of evidence from the selected studies was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) as described by Almashrafi et al. (2016). The studies performed remarkably on the sample selection dimension, with most researchers recruiting sample populations that accurately represented the target population (Dong et al., 2016; Hojskov et al., 2019; Tariq et al., 2017; Zanini et al., 2019). Nonetheless, the lack of blinding protocols in some of the studies compromised outcome assessment processes and, thereby, the quality of evidence accrued from the studies (Johnson et al., 2017). In all, the strength of evidence from these studies was enhanced by a randomized controlled framework and undermined by limited methodological rigor.

Evidence-Based Intervention

The literature review supports early physical therapy as an effective approach to mitigating prolonged hospitalization among CABG surgery patients. Post-surgical physical therapy typically involves patient education and exercise training (Torres et al., 2016). Further demonstrated by Torres et al. (2016), these sessions allow patients to overcome the functional limitations elicited by the CABG procedure. Also, they supply critical information relating to the surgery and the risk of incision bleeding, allowing patients to maintain adequate functional status without hindering recovery outcomes. In this way, they can gradually restore patients’ functional ability after surgery, allowing earlier discharge from intensive care units.

Despite the scarcity of research in this area, existing studies support prompt initiation of physical therapy in CABG patients. Per Johnson et al. (2017), shortening the transition to post-operative rehabilitation mitigates patients’ stay in cardiothoracic intensive care units. Additionally, in a study by Dong et al. (2016), prompt initiation of physical therapy elicited remarkable improvements in patients’ respiratory ability, allowed earlier discontinuation of mechanical ventilation, and, thereby, shortened the hospitalization period. Further, Tariq and their colleagues (2017) discovered that early physical therapy (physical activity) can enhance hemodynamic and respiratory function in CABG patients. In this way, it can offset the adverse complications that prolong hospitalization periods in this patient cohort.


Proposed Quality Improvement Model

The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model will be utilized to guide the implementation of the proposed intervention into the clinical setting. At the planning stage, the change leader develops and recruits a multidisciplinary quality improvement team, defines the problem, uncovers the problem’s antecedents, explores alternative solutions, develops reasonable, quantifiable goals for improvement, and drafts an action plan (Coury et al., 2017). The change leader implements the action plan as stipulated in the planning stage. At the study phase, the change leader examines the impacts of the intervention, determines the extent to which the intervention elicited the desired effects, and observes novel trends in the data (Coury et al., 2017). Finally, the change leader develops a plan for further improvement based on the insights accrued from the study phase.

Proposed Setting, Sampling Strategy, and Subject Protection

The quality improvement project will be implemented in a cardiothoracic intensive care unit. Patients who have recently undergone the CABG procedure will be recruited for participation. Several strategies will be utilized to protect the patients from adverse events and ethical violations. Persons with arrhythmias, angina, respiratory distress, and a history of pulmonary disease will be excluded from participation to offset untoward complications (Torres et al., 2016). Finally, all participants will be supplied with all relevant study information and required to provide written consent for participation. Subjects who cannot or decline to provide consent will not be eligible for participation.

Process and Outcome Indicators

The main process indicator for the study will be time to initial physical therapy session, defined as the number of days before initiation of postsurgical physical therapy sessions. The primary outcome indicator for this project will be the length of stay, defined as the number of days in postoperative intensive care unit recovery. These have been utilized in multiple studies investigating this phenomenon (Johnson et al., 2017). Ergo, they provide a reliable approach to assessing the impact of physical therapy timing on the length of stay.

Implementation Plan

The time frame for the implementation phase will be eight weeks. The change leaders’ primary goal will be to reduce the length of hospitalization for CABG patients by 50%. There has been a limited consensus among researchers on what qualifies as prolonged hospitalization (Marfil-Garza et al., 2018). However, according to Baek et al. (2018), this term refers to patients hospitalized for more than 30 days. Thus, the benchmark for the length of stay indicator will be 15 days. A quality and safety dashboard will be used to track performance on the prespecified indicators. Dashboard data will be updated daily by nursing professionals and physical therapists at the facility and displayed in a prominent location in the cardiothoracic ICU ward. Additionally, all healthcare personnel at the facility will undergo training to enhance their competence at reading and interpreting dashboard data. Finally, the change leaders will conduct regular meetings with key stakeholders in the project, including the governing board, administrative personnel, nurse managers, and physician leaders, to update them on the department’s performance per the dashboard metrics.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

The project will require minimal financial and time expenditure. Physical therapy sessions ($100 per one-hour session) and staff time (approximately one hour a day) spent reviewing and analyzing dashboard data are the most pertinent cost considerations for the project. Nonetheless, patients should expect to accrue significant benefits from this project. It should expedite discontinuation of mechanical ventilation ($1,522 saved per day), promote early stabilization and discharge ($3,900 saved per day), and mitigate the risk of adverse complications (over $50,000 saved per complication). Finally, the project should improve functional status and quality of life for the patients.


An interdisciplinary approach and patient collaboration will be vital to the project’s success. At the planning stage of the PDSA cycle, the change leader will recruit a multidisciplinary team consisting of healthcare professionals (cardiothoracic nurses, physical therapists, cardiologists, surgeons) with intricate knowledge of the CABG procedure, its associated complications, and impact on the length of hospitalization. Additionally, preliminary physical therapy sessions will be dedicated to defining patients’ mobility goals and priorities and developing a patient-centered action plan. These initiatives should ensure optimal patient engagement in the project.


CABG procedures are instrumental to mitigating the burden of cardiovascular disease. Nonetheless, patients undergoing this procedure often endure prolonged hospitalization periods. Earlier transition to physical therapy rehabilitation can offset this adverse outcome, enhancing quality of life outcomes and diminishing care costs. Thus, its integration into CABG post-operative care protocols is imperative.


Allen‐Duck, A., Robinson, J. C., & Stewart, M. W. (2017). Healthcare quality: A concept analysis. Nursing Forum, 52(4), 377-386.

Almashrafi, A., Elmontsri, M., & Aylin, P. (2016). Systematic review of factors influencing length of stay in ICU after adult cardiac surgery. BMC Health Services Research, 16(1), 1-12.

Baek, H., Cho, M., Kim, S., Hwang, H., Song, M., & Yoo, S. (2018). Analysis of length of hospital stay using electronic health records: A statistical and data mining approach. PloS One, 13(4).

Coury, J., Schneider, J. L., Rivelli, J. S., Petrik, A. F., Seibel, E., D’Agostini, B., … & Coronado, G. D. (2017). Applying the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach to a large pragmatic study involving safety net clinics. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 1-10.

Dong, Z., Yu, B., Zhang, Q., Pei, H., Xing, J., Fang, W., … & Song, Z. (2016). Early rehabilitation therapy is beneficial for patients with prolonged mechanical ventilation after coronary artery bypass surgery: A prospective random study. International Heart Journal, 57(2), 241-246.

Højskov, I. E., Moons, P., Egerod, I., Olsen, P. S., Thygesen, L. C., Hansen, N. V., … & Berg, S. K. (2019). Early physical and psycho-educational rehabilitation in patients with coronary artery bypass grafting: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 51(2), 136-143.

Johnson, A. M., Henning, A. N., Morris, P. E., Tezanos, A. G. V., & Dupont-Versteegden, E. E. (2017). Timing and amount of physical therapy treatment are associated with length of stay in the cardiothoracic ICU. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 1-9.

Marfil-Garza, B. A., Belaunzarán-Zamudio, P. F., Gulias-Herrero, A., Zuñiga, A. C., Caro-Vega, Y., Kershenobich-Stalnikowitz, D., & Sifuentes-Osornio, J. (2018). Risk factors associated with prolonged hospital length-of-stay: 18-year retrospective study of hospitalizations in a tertiary healthcare center in Mexico. PloS One, 13(11).

Tariq, M. I., Khan, A. A., Khalid, Z., Farheen, H., Siddiqi, F. A., & Amjad, I. (2017). Effect of early</= 3 Mets (metabolic equivalent of tasks) of physical activity on patient’s outcome after cardiac surgery. Journal of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan, 27(8), 490-494.

Torres, D. C., Dos Santos, P. M. R., Reis, H. J. L., Paisani, D. M., & Chiavegato, L. D. (2016). Effectiveness of an early mobilization program on functional capacity after coronary artery bypass surgery: A randomized controlled trial protocol. SAGE Open Medicine, 4.

Zanini, M., Nery, R. M., de Lima, J. B., Buhler, R. P., da Silveira, A. D., & Stein, R. (2019). Effects of different rehabilitation protocols in inpatient cardiac rehabilitation after coronary artery bypass graft surgery: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, 39(6), E19-E25.

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Proofreading and Polishing

To impress the supervisors and committee members with a brilliant research proposal, you must ensure that there are no mistakes or typos. So, it is time to dedicate attention to the texts and revise your research proposal. The editing must be provided like for any other academic paper. If you have a rough draft with complete text, polish it by adding or excluding some points. To ensure that there are no grammar and punctuation errors, you can ask somebody to help you and read your paper. Consider reviewing the instructions from the supervisor and ensuring that each requirement is counted and followed by you. After proofreading the research proposal, use some online tools to check yourself.

Help with Writing a Research Proposal

After reading our guide, we hope you understand how to start a research proposal by learning of the aspects of structuring such papers using our research proposal example. Our writers, who create papers daily, have developed this guide for you. Each author from our team can write a research proposal and make it readable.

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