How to Write a Research Proposal in Ethics: Logical Steps You Have to Take

Writing guide
Posted on August 5, 2020

When you have to complete a research proposal in ethics, you have to remember that the exact requirements and format for the paper will vary depending on your university writing rules and your supervisor’s instructions. However, there are some general basic rules that almost all students have to follow.

Generally, writing a research proposal in ethics takes some time to complete and must tell your readers what you’ll address in your research and why it is important in the field of ethics.

Here is a detailed guide on the basic sections that you have to include in your research proposal in ethics and some writing rules that you have to follow.

What is Ethics?

Every single say, we make a lot of ethical choice and don’t even notice that. Ethics goes far beyond rules and principles of morality. It is a sub-branch of philosophy that deals with the questions of relationships, justice, duties, and so on. Now that you understand what ethics is, you have to choose the title for your research proposal. This part of your paper will depend on the research type that you’re doing. Nonetheless, in general, it is important to make it as descriptive and clear as you can. When the Ethics Committee sees your title, they will have to be able to understand what to expect from your proposal and be even interested to know more about it. For instance, you may choose accurate, short and informative titles like ‘The Negative Impact of Animal Abuse’, ‘Should Church and Politics Be Separated?’ or ‘Should Euthanasia Be Allowed for Terminally Ill Patients?’.

It is better to stay away from the phrases like ‘A Review of the…’ or ‘A Study of…’, and so on.

Make a Title Page for the Research Proposal

Use the title page to let the Ethics Committee know your name, the title of your proposal and the college or university that you’re connected to. If nobody tells you what format you should use with your title, it’s better to choose the APA style.

In the upper left corner of the page give the running head that will also be seen on every page of your proposal. What is the running head? In simple language, it is your title’s shortened version.

In the upper right corner, the author of the research proposal should point the number of the page. Don’t forget to number every page of your proposal.

The full title of the document should be centered 1/3 of the way down your page. Don’t forget to double space the text and write your name right below your title. After your name goes the college name together with the names of your co-researchers. Some of the institutions want their students to provide their contact details as well.

Write an Abstract

In your abstract, you will have to sum up your research proposal. What is an abstract? In short, it is a brief summary of the problem that you have investigated in our research proposal. Include all the objectives and solutions that you covered, as well as specify your estimated the funding requirements.

  • On the top of the page write down the word ‘Abstract’ (right in the center).
  • Start writing your text below ‘Abstract’ (there’s no need to provide a paragraph line).
  • Include 150-250 words into your abstract text.

Provide the Table of Contents

If the research proposal that you work on is complex, you have to include the table of contents into it. List every section of your project on the third page of it. In this part, we have some important recommendations for you:

  • In case with the short proposals that take no more than a couple of pages, you shouldn’t provide the table of contents. You can step over this part, there’s nothing wrong with it. The presence of the table of contents depends totally on the type of research that you do and the requirements that your institution has.
  • If your research proposal is long and complex, you will be required to also provide tables, figures and illustrations.
  • All wordy parts and subsections of your project should be listed in the table of contents.

Take the First Step: Introduction

In your introduction, the author has to tell the readers what the purpose of the research is, state the problem, and talk about the importance of the research.

Provide some quick information about the topic that you researched and give some words about the theory that you used to base your research on. Let’s say, for example, that you write a research proposal for the topic that sounds like ‘What Makes Human Actions Morally Right?’ In this case, you will have to use your introduction to mention one of the ethical theories called Utilitarianism. This is one of the ethical theories and it is directly related to your topic.

Before you move to the body part, it is important to state the problem, as well as seek the best answer to the question that sounds like – why is it important to do this research and what kind of aspects does this research touch?

As for the purpose of study, it should include the goal of your work described in precise terms. When it comes to the paragraph that reveals the significance of your research, the author has to answer why his or her research matters and identify the analysis or the research type proposed.

Review Literature in a Separate Section

In order to provide your ethics research with a clear context, it is important to create a strong literature review section. In it, you will let your audience know that you know very well what researches were conducted before and which are under study today. What is more, you have to clearly show that the work that you did will make a serious contribution to this track of researches.

Make sure to give credit to the other ethics researchers, who made every effort to provide strong groundwork, evaluate, review and synthesize their discoveries, as well as distinguish your research. For instance, if your work if dedicated to the risks in environmental ethics, it is recommended to mention the work done by Holmes Rolston called ‘Environmental Ethics. Duties to and Values in the Natural World’ and show the hole that your research will successfully fill.

Give the Description of the Proposed Research

When it comes to the ethics research proposal, the section in which you describe the proposed research is the core of your work that includes all details about your approach and methodology that you proposed.

The author of the research proposal can also title this section ‘Methodology’. In this part, you explain your proposed research and address your clarification to the field experts rather than non-professionals. The way you provide information here will depend on the type of your research – whether it is quantitative or qualitative. The chances are you will include the parts like ‘Data Estimation ad Analysis Procedures’, ‘Instruments’ and Research Design’, and so on.

Provide information about what you’re going to do in order to protect the ethical rights of people, if possible, under the part that is titled like ‘Protection of Human Ethical Rights’. Feel free to let your readers know that you’re aware of the existing alternative methods, while stressing the fact that your approach is better when it comes to deal with your research question.

When you set the goals for your research in ethics, make sure to remain realistic about them and your focus. In your description, you have to also schedule your proposed research and include the materials needed.

Provide References & Specify the Personnel

In your research proposal in ethics you have to provide a separate section called ‘References’ where you have to list all the references that were used to identify the problem and generate the research hypotheses.

In the next section of your research proposal in ethics, you have to give the bibliographical details about the people who contributed to your research. Keep in mind that this part is a must for your research proposal, especially if it is short. Provide the responsibilities and the level of knowledge of every contributor.

How About Appendices?

Many students wonder in the process of writing if they have to include appendices at the end of the research proposal work. We recommend including this section only in case it supports your proposal. Besides, you have to ensure that you refer to your appendices properly. For example, you may include questions, questionnaires, interviewing sessions, and so on. As for the limits of the appendices section, there are no set rules. A few pages would be enough.

Do I Need an Extension?

Before writing your research proposal in ethics keep in mind that you may happen to need a little bit more time to complete your work. In this case, you have to approach your supervisor immediately. Never postpone talking to your supervisor since together you will have to set a new deadline and discuss all the relevant details. Don’t worry if you find yourself in this situation. Taking into consideration the fact that you are involved in serious work, there is nothing wrong in asking for a reasonable extension.

Contact Your Supervisor Before You Submit Your Paper

Many students usually ask the same question here and there – ‘Do I have to go to see my ethics proposal supervisor before I submit my project?’ It is important to stress that you shouldn’t submit your paper to the ethics committee if your supervisor hasn’t provided his or her signature yet. The permission from your supervisor will ensure that your project is written correctly, comprehensive and good enough to be checked by the members of the Ethics Committee Board. In case you can’t get that signature, it is essential to get at least the written approval from your supervisor. For example, he or she may send it via e-mail. In other words, you have to provide the Ethics Committee with a confirmation from your supervisor. Otherwise, your research proposal will be bounced back, and you’ll have to get in touch with your supervisor by all means.

Finally, don’t forget to provide the copies of all the research materials that you’ve dealt with. If you do so, the members of the Ethics Committee will be able to get an idea of what methods you used in order to collect data. You, as the author of the research proposal in ethics, will have to provide full description of the instruments and materials that you’re going to use and how they’re going to be developed. What is more, you will have to provide the interviewing elements, for instance, the questionnaire that you used for your research. As an option, you can contact our PhD research proposal writing service to get quality help from expert writers.

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