What is a research proposal?
A research proposal is a document that sets out a proposed research project. The purpose of a
research proposal is to provide the reader with a clear, well researched plan and justification for a
Your task is to write a research proposal that would be suitable for an undergraduate dissertation in
criminology. The proposal needs to be feasible, justified, and well researched.
We would expect the assignment to contain the following sections:
Give your proposed research project a name. What are the key words that are important for a
potential reader glancing at the title?
An abstract is a concise, 100 word maximum, summary that sets out the problem you plan to answer
in your project, and what methods you intend to use to do this.
This is where you show us the results of your literature review. Summarise the existing literature.
Tell us what research exists already.
What is your proposed question? How does your research question build on the existing literature?
What are your proposed research methods? Are you going to do primary or secondary research?
Will your research be desk-based or will you interact with participants? What sources would you use
in your research? Who would you interview? WHY have you made these choices? It is important to
not simply list what your research methods are, but to also justify WHY you have chosen those
We will also expect to read what the ethical considerations of your project are. How are you going to
address any possible ethical concerns? You also need to be reflexive. What does your identity mean
for your project? How does being a young/old, white/ethnic minority, female/male/non-binary,
person impact on the research you do?
Don’t forget to include your references at the end.