How to Write a Research Proposal in Family and Consumer Science: Learn the Details

Writing guide
Posted on February 2, 2021

Since you’ve been studying family and consumer science, you know that its main focus is the art of working and living in a complicated world that surrounds us. There are so many topics that can be easily disclosed in your research! But the true issue is to present the research proposal in a way to make your supervisor believe that it is really worthy.

Much depends both on the structure and content of your proposal. Below, you will find a complete guide on writing the proposal that engages the reader and proves that the chosen direction is right.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Family and Consumer Science: The Definition

What do you actually know about the research proposal? It is a written piece that aims at presenting the core idea of research and giving a short description of expected research results. By providing a research proposal, a student makes the case for the reason why the future-to-be research is so significant. The proposal also happens to answer the question of research value.

Are you expected to provide any details? Yes. Do you need to specify the methods of research? Definitely. Is there any necessity to give the timeline or any other considerations? Surely. To put it short, your research proposal for family and consumer science needs to:

  • Suggest a project or issue under research due to the great contribution this research will provide.
  • Outline the project’s plan including all theoretical and methodological approaches.
  • Give evidence of why you are going to achieve any success while researching.
  • Show you are skillful and experienced enough to start working on the project right away.

Since you are having these purposes in your head, you can proceed to write a draft. How long should it be? The length varies. Things greatly depend on the degree that you want to get. It is enough to complete a few pages for a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. By when you are working on your Ph.D. dissertation, the proposal should be longer and more detailed.

The Title for How to Write a Research Proposal in Family and Consumer Science

The title page of a research proposal in family and consumer science should consist of the four main parts: the project topic, the name of the student, the name of the supervisor, and the institution or department.

At the stage of writing a proposal for your future research, the title of the planned research is called a working title. Still, you are to be careful when choosing the words for the title. The title must be brief, comprehensive but rather descriptive to indicate the scope of the researched data. In other words, the title should demonstrate all the focus and area of the research.

NB. In case of a very long proposal, students also need to complete the table of contents to make it easier for readers to navigate the piece.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Family and Consumer Science: Read and Learn

1. Introduction

It is absolutely clear that in this section you start introducing the topic. Then, you move on to providing the background and context. This is perhaps the toughest stage of writing an introduction part. Providing the background stands for identifying the problem of your research and explaining why this very problem should be well-studied — to give a solution or two.

The background block can be easily divided into three sections:

  • Section one is the hypothesis of the research: it deals with describing the measurements of the study and trying to predict a possible relationship between these measurements.
  • Section two is the definition of terms: here you are expected to shed light on the main ideas of your research. It is good to present more than one idea to show that the topic can be studied in more than a single direction.
  • Section three is evidence of the research: it is needed to show your own competence in the area of study.

There are several supporting questions that can guide you through the process of writing the intro part. Make sure your writing piece answers to the WHO, HOW, WHAT and WHY-questions:

  • Who may have an interest in the topic you are developing?
  • How many scientists have already conducted own studies on the issue?
  • What elements do you believe are missing from the studies made by others?
  • What will your own contribution be?
  • Why do you believe this research is one of the worthiest?

These are the rules of a successful introduction. Keep reading to learn more.

2. Literature review

The next stage is to show your literature backup in conducting the research. Make the backup really strong by using different sources — they will be the foundation in the existing theory.

By giving the general overview of the studied literature, you don’t repeat or quote what others have said or written. You do the following:

  • Compare the main theories and methods, concentrate on all of the debates and show controversies that you have noticed.
  • Stay critical about everything you’ve read because every theory and methodology has both weak and strong parts. This is what you need to emphasize.
  • Demonstrate why your research can fit it. Show that it is the synthesis of others’ works which makes it have more strengths and fewer weaknesses.

After a successful review of the studied literature, proceed to describe the methodology that you want to describe.

3. Methods and methodology

In this section, you have to show the exact steps that will help you in conducting the research. You cannot just present the list of methods. What you need is to present arguments about what makes these very methods and approaches to the study the most valuable.

Below, we suggest you have a look at the methodology table you need to include into your research proposal in family and consumer studies:

Type of research
  1. Choose between quantitative and qualitative. In some cases, it is possible to combine them.
  2. Choose between primary and secondary data sources for your research.
  3. State the type of research design. Is it experimental, descriptive or correlational? Combining designs is forbidden, otherwise, the research will lose its smoothness.
Sources of literature
  1. What people or notions do you plan to study? Here you need to give exact answers. For example, Dutch people of the XVIII century, American families in the mid-1950’s, Modern office workers amidst their natural working habitat.
  2. Specify the way the subjects will be chosen. You can turn to case studies or random examples.
  3. Talk on when as well as where you are planning to gather information.
Methods and approaches to research
  1. Enumerate the research tools and procedures that you are going to use while studying the topic: observations, interviews, experiments, questionnaires, surveys, etc.
  2. Explain the choice of tools.
Practical part
  1. Talk on the number of days or months you need for data collection and research writing.
  2. Explain how, where and when you are planning to access participants.
  3. Specify how you are planning to overcome the obstacles that can occur during the process of conducting research.

Specifying the methods and approach to the research is one of the priority parts of writing a research purpose in family and consumer studies. Usually, this is one of the longest blocks containing very detailed descriptions of how the study is going to be conveyed.

It is not just enough to enumerate the methods. You also need to describe them by providing examples. Do not forget to pay special attention to possible ethical issues related to the topic in family and consumer studies.

4. Contribution to the field of study

This part opens up the finish of your research proposal. And you need to make it very strong. It deals with all of the possible implications of the research for the theory of the family and consumer studies and the practical part of the field.

We suggest you emphasize exactly what contribution you want to make to the already existing topic. There are five possible answers to this question:

  • You intend to improve definite processes in the field or location.
  • You want to provide more information on policy objectives.
  • You would like to strengthen the model or theory of a definite study.
  • You are about to challenge top popular field theories.
  • You are eager to give start to a basis that would lead to further research.

When completing a research proposal for a Ph.D. degree, you are allowed to go further and combine two or three directions of the contribution.

5. Bibliography

Do not mix this section with the literature review from above. Here you have to make a really long list of all the academic works you somehow mentioned or used while researching. Most of the used sources should be recently published. Thus, you will show the current state of things in your research.

The common mistake is to copy-paste the list of references from others’ works or include publications that aren’t available to the general public. If there is no chance for you to go without such publications, they should be put in a different list for making it clear there is little chance for absolutely everyone who is interested to find and read them.

6. Schedule

Many supervisors ask to provide a detailed research schedule for them to have a clear picture of how long it will take a student to complete the project. Here is how the timeline should be properly presented in your research purpose in family and consumer studies:

The name of the research phase The list of objectives Deadline
1. Research of the background and review of thematic literature
  • Initial project discussion with a professor
  • The presentation of a complete review of the studied and quoted literature sources
  • Providing the list of top research questions
  • The buildup of a theoretical framework
January, 20
2. Creating the design of the overall study
  • Interviewing
  • Finding locations for recruiting the participants of the interview
  • Presenting the methods and approaches to data analysis
February, 10
3. Gathering information
  • Actually recruiting the potential participants of the interview
  • Interviewing the participants
  • Transcribing and coding the interviews
March, 23
4. Analyzing the gathered information
  • The analysis of the data from interviews
  • Dividing results into sections
April, 10
5. Writing a draft of a research paper
  • Working on a draft
  • Handing in the paper for the interim evaluation
May, 15
6. Revising the draft
  • Amending in accordance with professor’s feedback
  • Proofreading
  • Printing and submitting


7. Appendices

Typically, these are documents that support the research proposal and give readers a better understanding of the aim of the research. While writing, a student has to refer to the appendices so that a reader can flip to any of them and read carefully.

Appendices are not included in research proposals in family and consumer studies unless your supervisor asks you to provide them. Usually, they are a must-have for very important topics for the Ph.D. degree.

8. Proofreading

Start the editing and proofreading stage. It will allow you to be absolutely sure the research proposal in family and consumer studies doesn’t include any spelling, grammar, or typing mistakes. If you have a friend in the academic circles, you can ask him/her to help you with proofreading your content and giving feedback.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have such friends, you can turn to free online tools that will help you find mistakes that you might have omitted. Also, your supervisor will surely check the entire piece for plagiarism, so be sure your research purpose is 100% original. Otherwise, it won’t be approved. Have good luck with your writing part, and let your research be worthy.


  1. Behling, J.H. (1984). Guidelines for preparing the research proposal. Lanham, Mar.: University Press Of America.
  2. Bhattarai, A. (2010). Writing a Research Proposal. Journal of NELTA, 6(1).
  3. Miner, J.T., & Miner, L.E. (2005). Models of Proposal Planning and Writing (pp. 139). Praegar, Westport: CT.
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