How to Write a Research Proposal in Women and Gender Studies: Why, When, and for What?

Writing guide
Posted on November 16, 2020

During the study, students often have to deal with a research proposal. It is a paper that represents the necessity to study the subject or its fields and problems, and at the same time, a direction in which the research on the selected subject or fields should be conducted. So, professors like to give this task in order to see how their students persuade the audience to hit one target. For instance, when speaking of the doctor’s degree, their students need to write a proposal to get funding for some projects or researches. If you are in the Master’s degree, be ready to present this paper to get your dissertation approved. Other reasons for its writing are:

  • Convince a professor or the audience that your matter is unique, interesting, and actual concerning today’s world;
  • Prove to the professor that you are aware of the subject studied, and can anytime provide others with theoretical background concerning the field;
  • Find out the tools or procedures necessary to conduct research.

So, depending on the goals, you need to possess time in stock to provide the most persuasive statements for your future public.

Objectives of Your Research Proposal in Women and Gender Studies

Women and Gender Studies is a discipline that studies, researches or examines gender as a social or cultural object. The whole course of this field involves studying of history, psychology, anthropology, biology, and even cultural disciplines. Such an approach helps students to widen the boundaries of a common understanding of sexes, and raise essential challenges regarding discrimination. Moreover, those who study it, consider gender as a category of analysis and know how to explain the manifestations of social variables. Finally, it is the discipline that allows students to discover their intellectual and personal ambitions and skills.

Writing a research proposal on this subject, you have to only determine the direction. Women and Gender Studies encompass such concerns as a class, religion, nationality, sexuality toward gender. So, if you are a lady, think of choosing the topic that will somehow reflect your challenges or difficulties in real life. If you are a male student, choose the mainstream topics, for example, gender in politics or show business. However, note there should be no banal statements otherwise, your work will not be approved or you won’t get desired funding.

Topics for a Research Proposal in Women and Gender Studies:

Selecting the topic, and further on its title may require a profound investigation into the latest trends and problems around the world. It is no surprise that some people just by glancing at the cover of the book may skip reading it. So, make sure your topic is catchy and provokes the desire to at least find out the content. For such purposes, you can refer to news or Internet, and see what is going on in the world, who leads, who rules the countries, who are the richest, and successful, and what are the skills and behavior inherent to businesswomen and those ladies who struggle from discrimination or even domestic violence. Here is a list of the most actual topics you may choose for your research proposal:

  • Gender and Leadership: Who Gains the Leads in the Modern World?
  • Parents of the Same Gender;
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender;
  • Feminism in Ancient and Modern Times;
  • Sexism and Gender Discrimination;
  • Child Free Movement;
  • Women as the Main Victims of Human Trafficking;
  • Women in Sport: Equality Matters;
  • Women in STEM;
  • Emotional Differences in Genders;
  • Inferior Role of Women in Families.

Try to avoid such topics that will speak only of the definitions of gender or the ones revealing well-researched truth about women empowerment. To be safe, you can at anytime ask for approval of your professor or refer to the syllabus of topics or basic recommendations.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Women and Gender Studies? Prewriting Tips

The best way to start your writing is to ask yourself several questions that will lead to understanding the purpose of your topic.

  • Why my topic is important?
  • Can I find solutions to address my challenges in the subject?
  • What problems can I solve?
  • Do I have enough statements to be persuasive?
  • What is my plan of the research?

A supervisor will need to see the enthusiasm of your research, so basically, you have to prove you can solve some issues and they will have a positive result.

Concerning the structure of your research proposal, it obligatorily consists of Title Page, Introduction, Literature Review, Research Plan, Bibliography or Reference List, Time Frame. There may be some fluctuations in the names of these sections but if there is no information from your educational establishment, stick to the above-mentioned ones.

Title Page

It does not differ much from other types of papers. Make sure to attach the name of your research proposal, yours and your supervisor’s names, and college/university name along with a department or faculty.

Table of Contents

This paper is usually of 2,500 words only. In case of having such a length or bigger, a student might need to attach a table of content or abstract to guide the examiner.


It is a common mistake to neglect the importance of the introduction. It is your first chance to drive the attention of the reader and explain to him what is the significance or purpose of your work. If possible, you can use a hook that will trigger the reader and will provoke some food for thought. In this stage, you the same can ask yourself some questions for determining the directions:

  • Is the Problem Well-Known?
  • Who Tried to Address It? (Scientists, Researches, Writers)
  • Do You Provide New Insights or Underline the Existed Ones?
  • Why Is It Worth Time?

Note, it should be neither long nor short. And, you do not have to spill the beans about the ways of how you proceed with the methods.

Review of Literature

In this chapter, a student has to prove that he is familiar with most of the studies that have been previously conducted on the same subject or topic. Moreover, a strong list of literature may convince a professor that your work will have a solid background in research. But, most importantly it is a true indicator that a person wrote everything on his own without plagiarising other’s works.

For the top results, you can demonstrate the main theories, methodology, tricks, debates or even arguments contributed to studying this topic. Stay critical, and also attach those methods that proved to have only strength in discovering.

One more tip for this part, there is no need to structure the literature review in alphabetical order. Divide it relying on the concept, the purpose, and significance. For instance, the first sources will be concentrated on the occurrence of gender discrimination, the next ones for demonstrating statistics and results of such inequality.

Besides, follow the next 4 rules:

  • Cite. Do not write the name of the source as you see it. Nowadays, there are plenty of professional websites that can cite anything for you;
  • Compare and Contrast. Who are the authors, what are their approaches to researching or analyzing your selected topic? If possible, find out the controversy or disagreements among the authors about particular points of view.
  • Criticize. Provide a reader with your opinion about what arguments are persuasive, appropriate and reliable.
  • Connect. Show the connection between the literature and your investigation.

If you managed to follow all of them, proceed with the next chapter.

Research Plan

This section is somehow the heart of your research proposal. It serves for demonstrating the methodological techniques that you applied for your work. However, do not forget that together with the theoretical background, there should be practical steps mentioned.

  • Start with defining the type of research. For instance, it can be a qualitative or quantitative one. And, decide what is the design of your proposal. Descriptive, correlational, or experimental one;
  • The next subparagraph is dedicated to mentioning the sources. First off, show how you will select those sources. And, investigate what is the primary area to study and analyze;
  • Then, the methodology. If you use any of the tools such as surveys, statistics, experiments, tests or interviews, do not forget to mention them. And, explain why they are practical and applicable for your research;
  • The last part of the Literature Review is Practicalities. It is just optional information for a reader to understand how much time you require for your research and whether there are any possible obstacles during it.

Keep in mind, students often do one mistake they simply list the methods. It is not a table of content. So, aim for making a precise and spread answer to all the mentioned sources, ways, and methods.

Reference List

Cite all sources you have used using online generators. Some supervisors may ask you to mention all the texts you just consulted to prepare for writing a research proposal. So, make sure to know whether you need a bibliography or reference list.

Time Frame

Mention the exact date of data collection, surveys, submission of the work.

In some cases, students may also write a Budget chapter, especially if they require research funding. Thus, if you need to mention it, attach the final cost, justification of such a price, and a source – how you came up with such a price.

Post-writing Tips on How to Write a Proposal Research in Women and Gender Studies

The last stage will be dedicated fully to proofreading. If you lack professional vocabulary, persuasive language, and of course the availability of correct grammatical tenses in your work, the chances to receive positive feedback will be minimal. For your convenience, check the essential tips before submitting your research proposal:

  • Leave paper for some time. It works because you have some time to rest or take a nap, and your mind together with a brain are restarted. As a result, you can fastly spot the mistakes and correct them.
  • Use online editors. Such helpers as Grammarly or Hemingway Editor are user-friendly, and they do not require money or registration to proceed. You insert a text in the empty field, and a system automatically highlights the mistakes. The latter helper is useful in showing the readability rates of your sentences.
  • Deliver it to your friends or family members. Let them listen to you and tell feedback. If you hesitate about their sincerity because they may hide the truth to not hurt your feelings, join Facebook groups where students from around the world share their tips and post their works for public evaluation.
  • Check the punctuation. One comma may change the sense of the whole sentence.
  • Simplify the sentences. If you see they are too long, cut them as much as possible. Especially, it concerns the part of the budget. No one expects you to cry over every single penny, you have to in one to two sentences only explain why you decided on such a cost.
  • No jargon or slang. As far as a research proposal is a paper that requires professional terminology, there is basically no sense of adding any jargon. However, if Women and Gender Studies predetermine its usage, you should ask your supervisor for approval.

At last, think of this work as an experience. If you want to pursue your career in Women and Gender Studies, it is a good exercise before submitting valuable proposals that involve high budgets and profit. Otherwise, at any time possible it is highly appreciated to attach this paper to your CV, and you can further demonstrate how you cope with persuasive motives. Follow the above-mentioned advice and forget about missed deadlines and bad grades.


  1. Davis, K., Evans, M. and Lorber, J. (2006). Handbook of Gender and Women’s Studies.
  2. Denicolo, P. and Becker, L. (2012). Developing research proposals. Los Angeles: Sage.
  3. Punch, K. (2000). Developing effective research proposals.
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