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Guide: How to write a business research proposal

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Writing a business research proposal is a useful exercise, which can help students develop critical thinking skills and enhance their career opportunities. The proposal is the first attempt to tackle the issue interesting to the writer and/or the business community. The business research proposal serves as a mean to introduce the concern and as a promise to investigate it.

Another advantage of the business research proposal is that this exercise enhances students’ intellectual abilities. They learn to evaluate their arguments, select the important ones, and focus on essential factors while discussing their potential research.

The Structure of your Business Research Proposal:

A specific structure of the business research proposal depends on the institutional and organizational requirements and may vary. However, the variability does not usually affect the basic structural model, which includes six major components:

  • The Title of the business research proposal is informative and concise. It gives the readers enough information to attract their attention and to trigger their curiosity.
  • The Abstract summarizes each section of the proposal in one or two sentences to give a general overview of the project. The key findings and practical applicability of the research are the highlights of this section.
  • The Introduction situates the research subject within a larger business context. Two important statements characterize this section. The opening statement identifies the problem that needs to be resolved as a result of theresearch. The thesis statement concludes the Introduction; it outlines the proposed activities and describes the expected outcomes.
  • The Literature Review is the core section of the business research proposal; it provides justification for the future research as well as for the effort that the writer has already contributed to studying the subject area. The goal of the Literature review is to demonstrate that the researcher has extensive knowledge of the field and of the specific problem; and that s/he has studied both the works of recognized authorities and the new trends in the theory. Moreover, the writer should be an experienced practician capable of applying theory to real-life contexts. However, more importantly, the Literature review has to prove that there is a gap in either theory or business practice; the proposed research will eliminate this gap.
  • The Methods section is an outline of all the activities that the writer is planning to perform in the pursuit of his/her research goals. The key to a successful research is to identify appropriate data collection techniques to gather relevant and usable data. Surveys, face-to-face interviews, focus groups are the three methods of collecting primary data. Secondary data can be gathered from annual and market reports, financial and legal documentation, organizational structure-charts, executive publications and speeches, and so on. The focus of this section is on the details: the timeframe for each activity, the list of participants, the scripts for the interviews, the materials, and so on. The more detailed is the description of the methods of the data collection and analysis the more thoughtful the research sounds to the reader.
  • The Conclusion is a brief review of all previous sections. It reemphasizes the most important elements of the proposed research: the goals, the actions to be taken, and the ways, in which the research will benefit the business theory and practice.

More Tips

The challenge posed by writing the business research proposal is to choose a manageable topic and stay focused on it. Thus, outline is a tool equally useful for the experienced and beginning writers. One of the ways to make an outline visual is to use a table to track the flow of the ideas; another useful approach is to draw a flow diagram and gradually populate it with the content.

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