as the title suggests, how can i write a research proposal for a very defined research project? I am an undergrad in Life Sciences (UK) and I understand I have to state why I'm interested in said topic and how it is relevant and important, but how can I elaborate my ideas on a topic already defined?

2 Answers 2


A proposal usually includes the following:

  1. The problem you're trying to solve and why it is important (this includes background and motivation of the problem)
  2. Prior work done in the arena and why it is not sufficient
  3. Your solution, how that will solve the problem, and how it addresses the shortcomings in state of the art. This includes the hypothesis.
  4. Your approach: How you will implement your solution, what experiments you will conduct, and a tentative timeline.

Your starting point is the research page for the program, school, university's research page / graduate school. The reason is because each have there own requirements and 'flavour' especially for (well)-defined research project.

Secondly, work alongside your identified research project holder/supervisor.

Typically, for defined research project, depending on how defined it is, you might want to consider

  • carry out a rapid review of the research topic/area.
  • gain beyond the surface understanding.
  • reflect on your research knowledge and interest.
  • draft your proposal outlining
    • why the research area is important
    • summary of state of research area (if it's natural science fields, state of the art)
    • what area to focus on (taking cue from the already defined research project and what you gleaned from the rapid review, spiced with your understanding of the topic
    • research aim
    • indicative research questions/objective (and hypothesis, if applicable)
    • methodological approach and possible methods
    • indicative outcome

What you'll put in will depend on what is expected/required by the school or PG admission/school. You might be restricted to 500 or 1000 or 2000 words (or even more). You might be constrained by a (research proposal) template.

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