Basic details about the 8 steps
We recommend that you use for each of the following 8 parts of your Research Proposal a separate blank sheet of paper and start to write down whatever you know at the very moment now about the topic. It makes everything much easier if you allow yourself to start right away to write down what you already know. You can always improve it later. So it will develop step by step.
Start with writing on each page the headline (Problem, Outcome, Hypotheses…).
Then write on each page whatever comes to your mind concerning the relevant headline. This is a creative process where you can allow yourself to be really happy doing it.
We highly recommend using a mind map to visualize your ideas and thought process.
Here is our recommended easy structure of your Research Proposal:
What is a problem where you are highly interested to find out more about possible solutions with the help of psychological knowledge and a scientific research? Please try to describe this problem as specific as possible. Why is it important for you? What are typical symptoms of this problem?
What do you want to achieve with your research? What is your personal gain from studying this topic of this research? What could you expect to be the practical implementations of your desired outcomes? Try to think big. Allow yourself to let your ideas and your imagination “flow” in order to be able to think of any possible outcome and its potential.
Do you have any ideas about the main causes for this problem? What triggers or activates this problem? What could be possible solutions for this problem? Please try to formulate ideas, theories, hypotheses about the problem and possible solutions.
State of the field
What do you already know about what other researchers have found out about your topic? Where and in which way could you check and find out more about the state of the field? Which scientific books, articles, handouts, movies, radio programs, conferences, further educational programs or websites do you already know of, that are somehow connected to your research topic? Which sources would you like to use in addition?
Methods (including pre-tests):
Which psychological methods do you already know that you could use (e.g.: experiments, expert interviews, questionnaires)? Do you have any experience with the use of such methods?
What is currently the draft of a title or possible title for your research project? Allow yourself to dream about it, and make sure which phrasing creates a certain resonance within yourself. This is about trusting your own intuition and creativity, enjoying and knowing that everything is changeable and develops furthermore over time in form of regular adjustments at the end of each semester.
Milestones – set yourself milestones in order to structure your research and set yourself clear deadlines. You may apply the “as-if-frame” from NLP to allow yourself to think of all options. Allow yourself to phrase your milestones, and allow yourself to do so without any limits. What do you think of at this moment in time?
Short summary (abstract)
How can you summarize the key facts very briefly within a maximum of 15 lines?