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Guidelines for Writing a Research Proposal

1. Introduction



1. Introduction 
Define the research/health question
Briefly describe which is the scientific topic of the proposed project.

Explain why it is important
Describe what is the reason of conducting this research, e.g. what is not yet known, what is the gap that should be filled by this project in the specific topic.


2. Background
Briefly describe the relative previous studies, their findings and what were the conclusions by using appropriate references.


3. Aims 
What are the specific aims of this project, e.g. the aim of the study was to compare the serum levels of biomarker A between healthy individuals and patients for the diagnosis of the disease B. A second aim was to assess the correlation of A with a new biomarker C, etc.


4. Hypothesis


What are your assumptions for the expected findings Describe what is the hypothesis of the proposed project, e.g. based on published reports (with references) we hypothesise that biomarker A is increased in patients with disease B as compared to healthy individuals and that could lead to the discovery of a new diagnostic tool.


5. Samples and methods 


Describe in detail and provide answers to the following questions:
a) Which is your target population (e.g. patients suffering from disease B)
b) What control(s) will be used (e.g. healthy individuals or patients receiving drug D)
c) Sample size and power (how many samples you will include and why this gives statistical power (references if needed).
d) What will you measure and why is this relevant to the target subjects (e.g. biomarker A as this has been used for the diagnosis of the disease B)
e) Which data collection methods will be used in the study (Primary? Qualitative? Experimental? Questionnaires? etc)
f) Which methods will be utilised for the measurements (e.g. ELISA will be used for the measurement of biomarker A)
g) What is the end-point of the study (e.g. the end point of this study will be 3 years of survival in patients receiving drug D)
h) Statistical analysis methods and tests with detailed and justified description (describe in detail which groups will be compared, what statistical tests will be used and why, e.g. the levels of biomarker A will be compared between healthy and patients using the unpaired t-test because samples do not have normal distribution)


i) What are the risks/biases and how these could be overcome? (e.g. maybe the oncologist will show a preferential to administer drug D to patients with severe disease, so blinded approaches will be used)
The use of tables/figures to illustrate the design/number/characteristics of samples (e.g. when proposing Clinical Trials) is highly encouraged.
6. Ethics 

2. Background


Details of what information you will provide for participants (Participant Information Sheet), e.g. age, gender, socioeconomic status etc.
How will you obtain consent (Consent Form), e.g. all participants will be provided a written form to sign off.
How can participants withdraw? e.g. participants can withdraw at any time.
How will you store and manage data? e.g. hard drives, notes, images etc.
How will you anonymise data? e.g. use of codes for serum samples etc.
How will you deal with GDPR? 
At which Institutional Ethics Board will you apply for ethical approval of the study?


7. Future perspectives


What is the impact of the study on society (e.g. what will this project add to previous knowledge, which group(s) of patients/participants will benefit from this research, how can health professionals can use the findings from this research, will it help to set guidelines for the treatment of disease etc).


What the next steps will be after completion (e.g. which are the future plans/perspectives).

Tables and figures, and references list are excluded from the word count. 
Intext citations are included in the word count.
Heavy texted tables and figures will be included in the word count. 
Use abbreviations where appropriate, e.g. Bone Mass Density (BMD) (define the abbreviation at first appearance in the text).


You have the opportunity to submit up to 500 words of your assignment as a draft, including the important information for your research proposal. Draft submission is not compulsory (but will be helpful for your assignment). 


You must submit this via Turnitin Submission box (in Assessments tile on Moodle) 

No individual feedback will be provided for drafts, but generic feedback about this assignment will be provided on the support session for 


Recommended Format:


It is recommended that the assignments should be written in the third person and in form of discursive paragraphs.

Headings and Subheadings: Bold with font size 11 or 12
Font size: 11 or 12
Line spacing: 1.5
Paragraph spacing: 1.5
Tables: Each table should have a number (Table 1,2,3…) and a title that placed above the table.
Large tables need to be presented in a landscape layout.
Figures: Each figure should have a number (Figure 1,2,3….) and a legend that placed under the figure. For any copied figure reference must be provided.
Each table and graph should be self-explanatory so if you have any abbreviation, the full term of the abbreviation should be written under that table or the figure.
You must refer to each table number and each figure number in the text.


Submission Instructions


• Don’t write your name on the assignment, please provide your assessment number or your number.
• Submissions should be made electronically via the “Assessment #1 Research Proposalâ€Â submission link on the Moodle page.
• It is the responsibility of the student to submit on time. Don’t leave the submission till the last hour before the deadline because this might     cause a late submission. If you experienced any issue with the submission.
• Please ensure that all work is your own and follows established academic standards. All external sources of information should be cited and  referenced correctly using the APA 7


All assignments will be assessed for plagiarism using the Turnitin plug-in. In line with good academic practice please ensure that sourced material is reworded in manner appropriate to your assessment and referenced.

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