Formulating Excellent Research Proposal

Writing Research Proposal.


Formulate an excellent rseearch proposal.

Writing a good research proposal requires you to understand why people write bad research proposals.

There many reasons why reserach proposals are rejected.

Common rejection reasons

The National Institute of Health (NIH) analyzed the reasons why over 700 research proposal applications were denied. Their findings as to the cause of rejection are worth reviewing in light of your own proposal:

  1. Nature of the Problem (18%)
    1. It is doubtful that new or useful information
      will result from the project (14%).
    2. The basic hypothesis is unsound (3.5%).
    3. The proposed research is scientifically premature due to the present inadequacy of supporting knowledge (0.6%).
  1. Approach to the Problem (38.9%)
  2. The research plan is nebulous, diffuse and not presented in concrete detail (8.6%).
    1. The planned research is not adequately controlled (3.7%).
    1. Greater care in planning is needed (25.2%).
      1. The research plan has not been carefully designed (11.8%).
      2. The proposed methods will not yield accurate results (8.8%).
      3. The procedures to be used should be spelled out
      in more detail (4.6%).
    2. A more thorough statistical treatment is needed (0.7%).
    3. The proposed tests require more individual subjects
      than the number given (0.7%).
  • Competence of the Investigators (38.2%)
    • . The applicants need to acquire greater familiarity with the pertinent literature (7.2%).
    1. The problems to be investigated are more complex than the
      applicants realize (10.5%).
    2. The applicants propose to enter an area of research for which
      they are not adequately trained (12.8%).
    3. The principal investigator intends to give actual responsibility
      for the direction of a complex project to an inexperienced
      co-investigator (0.9%).
    4. The reviewers do not have sufficient confidence in the applicants
      to approve the present application, largely based on the past
      efforts of the applicants (6.8%).
  1. Conditions of the Research Environment (4.8%)
    • . The investigators will be required to devote too much time to
      teaching or other non-research duties (0.9%).
    1. Better liaison is needed with colleagues in collateral disciplines (0.4%).
    2. Requested expansion on continuation of a currently supported research project would result in failure to achieve the main goal of the work (3.5%).

Based on the above analysis,
a carefully designed, well reasoned proposal will overcome these common pitfalls. It also represents and important credibility statement about the investigator.

The Bureau of Occupational and Vocational Education comparable study.

Based on a sample of 353 research grant applications:

— 18% forgot to number the pages.
— 73% forgot to include a table of contents.
— 81% had no abstract.
— 92% failed to provide resumes of proposed consultants.
— 25% had no resume for the principal investigator.
— 66% included no plan for project evaluation.
— 17% forgot to identify the project director by name.
— 20% failed to list the objectives of the project.

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