How to Write a Research Proposal in Finance: Simple Guide for Dummies

Writing guide
Posted on August 5, 2020

Taking into consideration how many hot finance topics are being currently debated, there has never been more opportunities and reasons to pursue degree in finance. Through in-depth research and dissertation writing that a PhD requires you have an opportunity to better understand how the world business segment functions and all the method that specialists use in the field of finances.

Writing a research proposal in finance will probably take more time than any other academic project, but with the help of this guide that you can offer you, you’re not going to be overwhelmed with the tasks that are associated with writing a research proposal.

Choose the Areas for Your Research

Just when you think about the field of finances, you recall many areas that might fit your research proposal. Here we’re going to discuss some of them, and you’re welcome to dwell your research upon any.

Financial Markets

The world of markets is pretty diverse, you can do your research on money market, stock market, consumer good markets, and so on. Media market together with its subdivisions will be an interesting topic to work with. The market is also called the media field, TV marketing field and the newscast market. Besides, it includes various offers, such as online materials and newspapers.

If you decide to work with the topics associated to the financial market, ensure to have a complete list of literature materials at hand. If you think you are ready to do your research on a new market, you may fail to have a strong literature background enough to meet your research plans.


Students interested in finances would like researching the area of banking. If you happen to have some new aspect on your mind, you can write a really impressive work. Banks provide many different facilities and services to people all over the world, so you will definitely find the area that is of particular interest. However, if you decide to do your research in banking segment, make sure to choose the topic that has potential. This will increase your chances as researcher.


Investment is something that might interest nearly everyone. While traditional types of investment are down to earth, the modern investment aspects are non-conventional, which makes them more attractive for a research. At the same time, doing research on investments can be challenging as well because of the fact that interest is involved. The author has to be careful when using different numbers and % in the process of writing. However, the good news is that a lot of background materials is available in this field of finance.


There are many reasons why it is important to improve your knowledge of economics. It helps you to have a completely different look at your country, evaluate and analyze its progress. The field of economics is rich and it contains many different branches and sections, where you can look for the topics of your interest.

Since the area of economics is too broad, be careful and stay away from the topics that are too general. Instead, concentrate on the narrow area that you understand and can find enough literature resources.

As for the topics that might become a good foundation for your research, we recommend choosing one of the following:

  • Profitable Growth, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Finance in the United States of America;
  • Political Economy History Analysis of the UK;
  • Financing Requirements and Challenges within Agricultural Commodity Businesses;
  • Relationship Between Government Revenues and Government Expenditure.

Research Proposal in Finance: The Structure

The quality of the research proposal in finance depends on not only the topic of your project, but also on the quality of your writing and how you arrange it. The problem is that even the best research proposal in finance may face rejection only because of your poor writing. For that reason, it is important to make sure that your writing is not only compelling, but also clear and coherent.
Keep in mind that this paper in finance focuses more on proposal writing, but not on development of research ideas.

1. Title

Your title has to be descriptive and concise. For instance, it is not a good idea to choose the titles like ‘A research of online market’ or ‘An investigation of…’. Often the authors should consider a title that is both catchy and informative. A winning title for a research proposal not only hooks the readers’ interest, but also lets them know that the research proposal is worth reading.

2. Abstract

It is a brief summary of approximately 300 words. It should include the research question, the rationale for the study, the hypothesis (if any), the method and the main findings. Descriptions of the method may include the design, procedures, the sample and any instruments that will be used.

3. Introduction

The author’s goal in this section of the research proposal is to give all background information or provide the necessary context for the chosen research issue. As a rule, the biggest problem that college students deal with in proposal writing in finance is how to frame their research.

For instance, if you decide to frame your research problem in the context of a wordy and broad literature review, the chances are the research questions may become boring and trivial. Nonetheless, if you place the same issue in the context of a current and too narrow research area, its importance will become obvious.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give a single piece of advice on how to frame your research proposal for the reason that there are no strict rules on how to provide an informative and interesting introduction paragraph. Use your creativity and in-depth thinking to frame the key problem areas of your research proposal.

Anyway, we recommend you place your research issue in either a highly debated area or some area of the past that is still ‘hot’. Besides, you’re required to give short but appropriate historical background together with the contemporary context where your question takes the central place. Finally, name the most important ‘players’ and mention the most relevant publications. In other words, try to make your research question more attractive and show its importance at the same time.

Start your introduction part with providing a general statement of the area, with a reference to your research problem and justify your proposed study. As a rule, the introduction part includes the following:

  • Write down the research problem that is also known as the purpose of your study.
  • Provide the stage and set the context for your research question so that your readers could understand its importance to the field of finance.
  • Give the rationale of your study and specify why it is worth doing.
  • Give short description of the most important problems and less important issues that you’re going to cover in your research.
  • List the key dependent and independent variables that are present in your experiment. As an alternative, you can identify the phenomenon you’d like to research.
  • If there is any theory or hypothesis along the way, make sure to state it in the introduction part. When dealing with the phenomenological or exploratory research, there may be no theories or hypotheses.
  • To set a clear focus, tell your readers about the boundaries that you faced in the process of work.

Literature Review

Sometimes you may be required to provide the introduction with the literature review information. However, usually college supervisors prefer seeing it in a separate section. The main functions of the literature review section are the following:

  • It ensures that the author doesn’t try to invent the wheel once again.
  • This part refers to the experts who provided a strong basis for your current research.
  • It proves you have good knowledge of the topic that you research.
  • This part demonstrates that you understand the research and theoretical points that are relevant to your research question.
  • It proves that you’re capable of evaluating, integrating and synthesizing the literature materials that are relevant to your topic.
  • It proves that your research proposal will make difference and contribute to the current field of finance.


This part of your research proposal in finance is important for the reason that it informs your supervisor about how you are going to solve your research problem. Besides, the Methods sections will specify the plan of your work, as well as list all the steps that you have to take to complete your project.

The number one rule for writing this section is that the author has to provide sufficient details for the readers in order to prove that the chosen methodology is strong and logical. Some of the institutions may ask you to also include sufficient information for the other finance researchers to implement the study.

Tell your readers that you’re aware of all the alternative methods that you didn’t use in your work and demonstrate that your approach is the most valid and appropriate way to deal with your research question.


Without a doubt, you are not going to have research results when writing your research proposal. Nevertheless, it is important for the author to have an idea of data that should be gathered all statistical techniques that should be applied to answer the research question.


The author of the research proposal has to convince his audience of the importance of his research. Make sure your paper has the sense of confidence and passion about finance and its sub-sections. In this case, exaggeration of facts and overall importance of your proposal are forbidden. For that reason, it is important to include information about the weaknesses and limitations of your research. If you do so, you will justify all of your financial and time traps.

How about the timetable? Many students wonder about the timetable of their proposed study. Before you start writing the research proposal, you have to keep in mind all the stages of your work. Here are the key steps that you will have to take to tackle the project:

  • refining proposal;
  • review of the used and relevant literature;
  • developing the main methods of research;
  • fieldwork;
  • analysis;
  • creating the draft;
  • the day of submission.

When it comes to the number of words that the author has to include into the research proposal in finance, it is recommended by most institutions to write down 600-1000 words.

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