How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

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What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

It should include:

  • The type of research you conducted
  • How you collected and analyzed your data
  • Any tools or materials you used in the research
  • Why you chose these methods
  • Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense.
  • Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
  • Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section).

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How to Write a Discussion Section | Tips & Examples

Discussion section flow chart

The discussion section is where you delve into the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results.

It should focus on explaining and evaluating what you found, showing how it relates to your literature review, and making an argument in support of your overall conclusion. It should not be a second results section.

There are different ways to write this section, but you can focus your writing around these key elements:

  • Summary: A brief recap of your key results
  • Interpretations: What do your results mean?
  • Implications: Why do your results matter?
  • Limitations: What can’t your results tell us?
  • Recommendations: Avenues for further studies or analyses
There is often overlap between your discussion and conclusion, but these are usually separate sections. However, in some cases, these two sections are combined.

If you’re unsure about your field’s best practices, check out sample dissertations in your field or your departmental guidelines.

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How to Quote | Citing Quotes in APA, MLA & Chicago

Quoting means copying a passage of someone else’s words and crediting the source. To quote a source, you must ensure:

  • The quoted text is enclosed in quotation marks or formatted as a block quote
  • The original author is correctly cited
  • The text is identical to the original

The exact format of a quote depends on its length and on which citation style you are using. Quoting and citing correctly is essential to avoid plagiarism which is easy to detect with a good plagiarism checker.

How to Quote

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What Is a Research Design | Types, Guide & Examples

A research design is a strategy for answering your research question using empirical data. Creating a research design means making decisions about:

A well-planned research design helps ensure that your methods match your research aims and that you use the right kind of analysis for your data.

You might have to write up a research design as a standalone assignment, or it might be part of a larger research proposal or other project. In either case, you should carefully consider which methods are most appropriate and feasible for answering your question.

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How to format your MLA Works Cited page

In MLA style, the list of Works Cited (also known as a reference list or bibliography) appears at the end of your paper. It gives full details of every source that you cited in an MLA in-text citation.

Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

You can use the free Scribbr Citation Generator to create and manage your Works Cited list. Choose your source type and enter the URL, DOI or title to get started.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

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How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples

Summarizing, or writing a summary, means giving a concise overview of a text’s main points in your own words. A summary is always much shorter than the original text.

There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:

  1. Read the text
  2. Break it down into sections
  3. Identify the key points in each section
  4. Write the summary
  5. Check the summary against the article

Writing a summary does not involve critiquing or analyzing the source. You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).

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Direct quotes in APA Style

A direct quote is a piece of text copied word-for-word from a source. You may quote a word, phrase, sentence, or entire passage.

There are three main rules for quoting in APA Style:

Example: APA direct quote
According to a recent paper, “quotes can be useful in academic writing” (Singh et al., 2019, p. 25).

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