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How to Write A Research Prospectus

A prospectus for a thesis for a graduate school program or a master's program is an important part of the entire post-graduate experience. Paper Masters will write your prospectus exactly according to your university specifications. Be certain your prospectus is accepted - save valuable time, money and effort by having Paper Masters write you exactly what you need.

In a Prospectus, you will devise a research plan that will explain your ideas in a structured format for your analysis – You will do everything except collect the data. Paper will develop into a finished “Prospectus for a Thesis”. Student is to refer to the APA Publication Manual for the mechanical details of a prospectus preparation.


Recommended Format for a Research Prospectus
Chapter 1 of the Prospectus:

  • Research Prospectus Titled Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
  • Background – What led you into doing this problem? Why are you interested in this problem?
  • Problem Statement – What is the problem of your study? You need to be very specific. When we talk about a “problem” in research, it does not necessarily mean that something is “wrong”. You can have a “problem” where you are trying to determine the attitudes and opinions of a response group.
  • Purpose of the Study – Why is your study important? What is the significance of your study?
  • Study Hypothesis(es) – An “educated guess” on the results of your study.
  • Begins on a new page following the Abstract.
  • Has an appropriate APA Level 1 heading to identify the chapter.
  • Has appropriate APA Level 2 headings to identify each part of the
    introduction (see first item in this section for list of parts).
  • Follows APA guidelines for running head, page number, paragraph
    indents, text alignment, and line spacing.
  • Follows APA guidelines for content and format of citations in text.

Chapter 2 of the Prospectus:


  • A literature review is where you review published material related to your problem.
  • Presents / cites research from scholarly or peer-reviewed sources only.
  • Identifies relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in previous research presented.
  • Begins on a new page following the Introduction.

Chapter 3 of the Prospectus:

Titled "Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY"

  • In this chapter you will tell the reader very specifically HOW you are going to solve your problem that was stated in Chapter 1. You must give very detailed information in this chapter. For example describe your proposed sample. This must be a realistic sample-- how will you get names, addresses, etc. of your sample group. You cannot say you are going to survey people in Dallas. In other words, describe in detail the procedures and steps that will be used to gather the data.
  • The “ethical considerations” section of your prospectus, which is also included as a section in Chapter 3 of a prospectus, is where you demonstrate to the School and IRB Reviewers your conceptual understanding of research ethics as they apply to your proposed study. (Your applied knowledge of research ethics is examined in the safeguards built in to your study design, methods, and procedures!).
  • Describe the unique ethical considerations of conducting research in organizations, including using employees or workers as research participants, and the potential benefits and risks to the researcher of conducting research in your employers organization.
  • What are the potential risks to workers, or to the employee-researcher, and when might the potential benefits outweigh the risks sufficiently to justify conducting the study? What are the implications for providing informed consent, confidentiality, privacy, and anonymity?
  • Has a section that describes the survey.
  • Has a section that describes the study participants.
  • Has a section that describes the data collection process.
  • Begins on a new page following the Review of Related Literature.

Chapter 4 of the Prospectus:

Titled "Chapter 4: FINDINGS"

  • Since you will not be collecting data you will not have any findings. However, you will need to expand on your hypothesis/hypotheses and discuss possible findings.

Chapter 5 of the Prospectus:


  • In this chapter all you will need to do is the Summary. You must have data in order to do conclusions and recommendations. In the Summary you will need to state "what you are going to do"--your problem statement. Also, in this Chapter, you need to reiterate "how you are going to do it” -- Methodology.

REFERENCES – This section will contain a list of alphabetized “References” from your literature review. You must have “References” in APA format.  You will need 6 or more references from peer reviewed journals.

APPENDIX – This section will contain a copy of your survey questionnaire.

Other Elements to the Prospectus

Title Page

  • Includes title of paper, name of author, institutional affiliation, running head, and page number.
  • May include author note.
  • Follows APA guidelines for placement and formatting of each part.

Table of Contents

  • Begins on a new page following the title page.
  • Lists the major parts of the study and the page number on which each part begins (Includes each component listed below in the order listed).
  • Follows APA guidelines for running head, page number, abstract heading, paragraph indent, text alignment, and line spacing.


  • Provides a brief summary of the study in an accurate, non-evaluative, concise manner.
  • Is 100 to 200 words in length.
  • Begins on a new page following the
  • Follows APA guidelines for content and format of citations in text.

Helpful Reminders for Prospectus Writing

  1. Citations, if used, are from peer-reviewed or scholarly sources only.
  2. Has an entry for each reference cited in text.
  3. Includes entries (four or more) from scholarly or peer-reviewed sources
  4. Has no entries for references not cited in text.
  5. The prospectus should has a cover letter written to accompany the study questionnaire.