How to Write a Research Proposal in Human Resources Management That Rocks

Writing guide
Posted on February 1, 2021

When there is a burning issue that you want to study, it is not enough just to start researching and crafting a draft. In academic circles, the process starts with the proposal. If the proposal for your investigation is interesting and promising, a supervisor gives the consent. And this is when you actually start working on your studies.

But till that time you need to work on the academic proposal. What should you begin with? We suggest you learn the four basic principles of a worthy piece:

  • Principle 1 — Awareness. In his/her proposal for potential research, a student has to demonstrate knowledgeability in this specific area of human resources management.
  • Principle 2 — Feedback. Before you actually present the idea for your academic investigation, we suggest you find support from your supervisor and listen to his/her feedback. This is how you will be able to get ready for any comments in the future.
  • Principle 3 — Specifications. Your proposal is to be written in accordance with all the rules and requirements. Otherwise, no matter how good it is, it will be rejected and you will have to start from scratch.
  • Principle 4 — Clarity. Remember, when there is a research proposal, there is no place for understatements. You need to be very clear about your own aims.

Now that you are aware of the principles, let’s proceed to share the ins and outs of writing a research proposal in human resources management.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Human Resources Management: Topics

The outcome greatly depends on the chosen topic. To get approval, you need to be sure that the direction of the study is of interest both to you and your supervisor. To facilitate your work, we are presenting the list of up-to-date topics:

  • The Effectiveness of Performance Management in IT Sphere;
  • How Do Large Businesses Manage to Keep up with Fast Changes?
  • Control over Performance Management: Myth or Reality?
  • Driving a Number of Organizational Changes with the Assistance of HR;
  • The Effects of Positive Discrimination;
  • Rewards vs Motivation. Details of the Interdependence;
  • Skill Training Techniques: Hard vs Soft;
  • Why Is an Employee More Important Than a Company?
  • HR for Controlling the Workforce. Is This the Right Approach?
  • The Justification of Appraisals;
  • Cutting Down Training Sessions during an Economic Crisis;
  • Top Skills That Should Be Trained Immediately;
  • Speaking on the Importance of Soft Skills;
  • How to Manage Cultural Differences and Diversity among the Workforce?
  • The Onboarding Process and Its Effectiveness.

You surely can go with any of your own topics. These ones are just suggestions you can draw inspiration from.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Human Resources Management: The Script

  • Title page

The title page of your academic investigation proposal must be formatted in accordance with the norms of APA, Chicago, Harvard, or MLA formatting style. However, the title itself shouldn’t consist of words like investigation, research or proposal. Present the topic, write your name, the name of your supervisor, and the department.

  • Abstract

Frankly speaking, not all supervisors require their students to complete abstracts for academic researches. Still, if you are required, take into account that the length of the abstract should not exceed 200 words.

The abstract to the research offer is always presented on a separate page and includes:

  • A very short presentation of the context.
  • A rationale for the upcoming investigation.
  • Hypothesis statement in case there is any hypothesis.
  • Enumeration of methods that are planned to be used during the study.
  • A short comment on the relevance of the findings.

In other words, your abstract is a sort of outline for what you are going to present next.

  • The Introduction

Step number one in writing this block of your proposal is to present a short paragraph to state the topic of a potential study. The topic should be given in the very first sentence and should answer the two questions: What do you want to investigate? What is the goal of your academic investigation?

Step number two is discussing the chosen topic. Here they expect you to shed light on things that you are particularly interested in. Take your time to think over a question/questions that will be covered. Be clear and precise when presenting these questions.

Step three is explaining your supervisor (or any other reader) why this very issue is of such great importance. This section of the introduction part has to answer the well-known so-what? question. Talk on the significance, practical, theoretical and educational importance.

The entire block should not take up more than five or less than three pages. Make sure you use the subheadings, cite known resources and scholars.

  • The Literature Review

There are known cases when supervisors allowed students to have the literature review incorporated into the introduction block. But these cases are extremely rare. So we suggest you go a traditional way and present the review of the studied sources as a separate block.

What is the main purpose of a literature review when you are working on a research purpose for your topic in human resources management? Actually, there are eight of them:

  • To signal to your supervisor that you are not trying to reinvent the wheel while investigating.
  • To pay tribute to all of the scholars and researchers that have laid the basis for this investigation in human resources management.
  • To present a clear vision of your knowledgeability of the issue under research.
  • To present the proficiency in the theoretical and practical issues of the study.
  • To display your own ability to estimate all the gathered information.
  • To illustrate your own ability to generalize the gathered data.
  • To give way to absolutely new insights and build a conceptually new research framework.
  • To persuade readers that the goal of the study is nothing but substantial and important.

Why do many students fail in writing a decent review of the literature? It’s all because they all make identical mistakes. Their review lacks structure, organization, focus, and coherence. Students are often repetitive, have no idea how to properly cite and suggest data that is out-of-date. Plus, in their reviews, they mostly depend on secondary sources instead of paying close attention to first-hand ones.

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, it is time to shed light on how the review of literature should be organized. Tip one is to use subheadings that will bring coherence and order to your proposal. The commonest subsections are usually the following:

  • Theories;
  • Differences in culture, gender, etc.
  • Types of methodologies applied.

Tip two is to address the audience by disclosing the topic in a manner that is engaging, interesting and thought-provoking. If you bore your audience, the proposal for research in human resources studies will be rejected.

  • The Methodology

As every section has a clear goal, let’s concentrate on the goal of the methodology section. Here you explain the scientific approaches that are chosen for this type of investigation. Some students find this part of a proposal tough. For you not to join their list, we suggest you stick to the following recommendations.

In this section you need to do the following:

  1. Restate the problems/questions outlined in the introduction block.
  2. Work out the description of the observation’s vehicle by providing complete answers to the following questions: How do you plan to gather the required information? What and how many questions will be asked during your investigation/survey/interview? What is your priority sampling method? What methods are you planning to use to select the sample? How is the data going to be analyzed?
  3. For those giving way to qualitative research, it is of great importance to state the theoretical concepts and core constructs of the study.
  4. For those giving way to quantitative research, it is of great importance to state the hypothesis, identify all of the variables dividing them into two groups — dependent and independent.
  5. Make a list of the strong and weak aspects of your methodology.

Conclude this section by writing a short paragraph that sums up the design of the proposal.

  • Results and Discussions

It is absolutely clear that at this stage you cannot provide the results of the research. Still, you need to present a common hypothesis concerning the expected results. Later on, in your actual research work, you will be able to state if the hypothesis was correct.

As for the discussions, your main task is to convince your supervisor of the great influence that the research will have. Apply efforts to communicate your own confidence, perseverance, and enthusiasm. But don’t overdo: mention all possible limitations and weak parts of the proposed study. What constraints are you afraid of the most?

  • The List of References

It should be placed on a separate paper and include all websites, books, and articles that you have somehow used while creating a research proposal. List all sources alphabetically. Your supervisor will surely require you to present at least four references per page. So, the maths here is very clear: if your proposal is 15 pages long, you need to provide 60 references.

  • Proofreading

The least favorite stage of crafting a proposal for academic investigation is, however, very important. It is essential to hand in a work that is free from spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes as well as misprints.

Even though you have completed the piece by yourself, many citations in it can have an impact on the originality of the work. Use one of the free online tools to check the percentage of originality and make some amendments until it is late.

Another option that most supervisors suggest to their students is to seek help from those who’ve already succeeded in writing a similar task. Or, as one of the options, you can ask one of your family members to read the proposal and check if there are any mistakes that you have omitted.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Human Resources Management: Rejection

We have analyzed hundreds of various research proposals in human resources management and know why most potential resources get rejected. We have eight reasons that you need to be aware of:

  • Reason 1 — The hypothesis that a student offers is flawed. Sometimes, it is not new or lacks originality, poses no interest, etc.
  • Reason 2 — A supervisor has doubts concerning whether or not the results of the investigation will bring any value to the theory or practice of the human resources studies.
  • Reason 3 — The plan of the written proposal (abstract) is either unrealistic or doesn’t cover most of the essential details.
  • Reason 4 — The entire piece is incoherent, divided into unrelated parts, which are too hard to connect without a certain academic background.
  • Reason 5 — The approaches, methods, and methodologies chosen for the research are inaccurate and unreliable.
  • Reason 6 — The review of the studied literature sources lacks proper structure and content.
  • Reason 7 — The entire proposal is badly-structured.
  • Reason 8 — The entire proposal lacks originality, has been done by many students and scholars in the past.

According to statistics 7 of 10 proposals get rejected due to at least one of the reasons above. So reread them once again to make sure that they have absolutely nothing to do with the proposal that you are currently working on.

If you want to offer a proposal that stands out, is exclusive and mind-blowing, you are expected to devote much time to its creation. All of your attempts to weasel your way out, won’t work here. Research for any degree is a serious academic assignment, so it will be checked accordingly.


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  • Krathwohl, D.R. (1977). How to prepare a research proposal: suggestions for those seeking funds for behavioral science research. Syracuse: Syracuse University Bookstore.
  • Osman, Z. (2016). Research Proposal Writing. Current Therapeutic Research, 78, p.S4.
  • Phillips, E.M. and Pugh, D. (2002) How to Get a Ph.D. , Buckingham: Open University Press
  • Wisker, G. (2001) The Postgraduate Research Handbook: Succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and Ph.D. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave
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