How to Write a Research Proposal in Philosophy: Cover What Few Students Know

Writing guide
Posted on March 12, 2020

One of the main requirements of how to write a research proposal in philosophy is making it very clear. The body should be nothing but informative, ideas — well-developed, logical and unique, language — according to the requirements of grammar. So that after the final page of the proposal a reader could say “Yes, I’ve got it”.

If you lack experience in writing something as unique and individual, read this blog post to get research proposal help. It will cover everything you need from the reasons why most research proposals in philosophy are rejected to how to structure one and what services to contact if any support is needed.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Philosophy and Escape Rejection?

Though they may come under one field of philosophy, proposals differ from student to student. It is true that most proposes in philosophy are rejected. There are three reasons that trigger rejections:

  1. Inappropriate topics.
  2. Poor content guidelines, improper length, and format.
  3. Late submissions.

Let’s enter into the essence of your written assignment with the choice of the topic. For those planning to complete research in philosophy, you must be absolutely sure there actually IS the room for research. Philosophy is an ancient study, which means that most of its topics are either old-fashioned and pose no interest to the public and science OR they’re already well-studied and there’s nothing you can possibly add.

While you are trying to choose THE topic, you can follow the following guidelines:

  • Follow your interests — It may sound a bit childish, but in real life, it is very important: after the proposal is approved, the survey will take up the major part of your college year. If you pick something you are really interested in, writing will become both easier and more pleasurable.
  • Follow the social world — Friend’s talks, news outlets, and the media are the reflection of what really bothers the audience. Your philosophy research topic can be generated from these sources and become crucial.
  • Follow a risky path — By risky we mean choosing something unusual, extraordinary, maybe at times complicated. But only such topics appear to be really worthy at the end.

Regarding the content and the guidelines, we are planning to disclose the best approaches in this article, so you should better keep reading to hear more about how to write a research proposal in philosophy according to the set requirements.

And finally, the deadlines… They are not met for two reasons: either a student started writing close to the actual deadline or he/she lacks experience in writing this type of academic assignment.

So, to make sure the proposal is accepted, craft a 2,000-word extract that does the following:

  • Defines the intended study topic.
  • Shows your deep understanding of the research area.
  • Explains that what you are starting researching is interesting and original.
  • Shows that you are knowledgeable in conducting research.
  • Shows a great structure and is clear from grammatical, spelling or logical errors.
  • Focuses on quality (write less than 2,000 words but do it better).

Now, let’s have a better look at the structural requirements that your proposal needs to adhere to.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Philosophy in 6 Steps

Crafting a research proposal in philosophy is a rather complicated academic assignment. Even those with academic degrees in their pockets find it hard to complete another paper of the same type as a writer is required to prove why the research is so exceptional.

The problem is that no one can prove it with one sentence only. On the whole, while working on your research proposal in philosophy, there are six steps that, when wisely combined, lead to proof-generation and approval from the committee. Let’s start with the introduction part and get closer to a conclusion.

Introduction or the initial pitch of the general idea

They say a good start is half the job. Well, that is actually true when you approach the introduction part of the whatever-topic proposal in philosophy. To craft a really awesome start, you have to try to display the passion for the ideas of the study as well as your excitement about the predicted results. How can it be done?

Name the central problem of your exploration and the area that you have chosen due to its relation to the problem. Enumerate the methodologies you are eager to apply for the best possible outcomes of the conducted inquiry, and never forget to state the significance of your future work. All that combined will create a clear picture of why anyone will want to read the final results.

Background of the study or its significance

Don’t concentrate on the vast background of the chosen issue. Instead, it is advisable to concentrate on the precise/detailed/most essential/most interesting aspects that deal with the potential investigation. While crafting the background section, organize it in a way to have clean answers to six top questions: What’s the specific clarification of the purpose of your inquiry? Why is this very problem worth being studied? What are the top challenges that you are intending to address during the research? What is the planned approach to exercising the survey and what key data sources are you planning to use? What about the boundaries of your survey? What definitions do you intend to give to explain the key ideas of the survey?

The background section doesn’t necessarily cover everything you’ve already found out about the research topic. It just takes piece-by-piece everything you want to study.

Review of the data sources or the exact narrative of how many sources you’ve already covered

In this unit, you don’t need to share what you intend to do but rather what other minds of the past and/or present have already done to feed into the area you have chosen for studying and describing.

You are to shortly deal with the main points that researchers have already covered, the approaches they have already replied, the findings they have already presented, etc. Apart from that, you are showing what parts and details are missing or what others have failed to find out and prove. And eventually, the very part that they’ve missed is going to be the essence you want to evaluate.

What is of top priority is to structure this section properly. We suggest breaking the list of data sources down into conceptual themes instead of describing all the materials at once.

Experts define the major C’s of completing the data source review. Follow them:

  1. A writer must cite if he/she intends to grab the reader’s attention and pull it to the studied topic.
  2. A writer is obliged to compare theories and findings of others, as well as provide arguments and methods, share own failures and discoveries. You also need to state what you agree or disagree with.
  3. A writer needs to contrast to all of those theories and findings.
  4. A writer should better critique the data sources and decide which of them were more persuasive, which were less convincing. By doing so, make sure you’re using relevant words like assert, demonstrate, reveal, amplify, disclose, etc.
  5. A writer must try to connect the studied data sources to the research you are about to conduct. Do they actually influence what you are going to study? Or is the impact not that big?

As long as working on the literature review is too complicated, you can always address a writing service to either help you with this part or with the entire research proposal draft.

Methods of the survey or the approaches that helped you design the proposal

There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing the methodology and design of your future research work. A researcher is free to pick the method(s) that is (are) the most appropriate and, to his/her mind, can help in disclosing the problem to its fullest and deepest.

The mistake you can make while talking on methods is just enumerating them instead of point out the real role of each method. Say your supervisor is knowledgeable about the overall approach to the issue but knows a lot less than you do about the inquiry you are intending to cover. your task is to share your ideas as to the exact choice of the approaches:

  1. Be clear about the chosen methods you are intending to apply and share your ideas on how these methods could be helpful in revealing the depths of the outcomes.
  2. Present the methodology as the argument to why the chosen methods add to the way to study the issue.
  3. Show that you are aware of all the potential pitfalls and stumbling blocks in conducting the study and provide a clear picture of how you will deal with them.

By writing this unit to all requirements, you build the trustworthiness of the proposal in philosophy. In case you have problems with deciding which methods are appropriate or matching, you can always contact your professor. Or you can ask for help from a senior student: being an experienced researcher, he/she will gladly share the tools and insights allowing you to complete a worthy proposal in philosophy.

Implications of the survey or how it is going to influence whatever

The fact that you are planning to craft a research proposal in philosophy means you already know about the significance of the survey. Thus, you can predict at least a few of the survey results. In this part, you’d better share them with the committee. The objectives of the survey (those you have already provided in the sections above) give the hints on results.

Start with describing all the anticipated results and the way they can influence the theory of philosophy, the scholastic research, etc. All the results can be roughly divided into three sections: those of potentially new ways of understanding (theoretical), potentially new way of analyzing (methodological), or potentially new policy (substantive).

It’s good when the section answers at least three of these questions:

  1. What innovations may come out after the results are published?
  2. What suggestions can your study arise?
  3. How will the results of the study influence the field of philosophy?
  4. How will the results contribute to the theoretical study and practice?
  5. Is there a chance the results will be practiced in real-world conditions?

As long as the topics in philosophy are more connected to the world of theory rather than practice, saying that your topic will have an impact on all of the spheres is tough. However, if you take some up-to-date problems related to related sciences, the contribution of your research will be outstanding.

Conclusion or revealing the importance

This section relates to the importance and significance of the research in philosophy. Usually, it provides a brief overview of the entire field of study. The section should include two short paragraphs that emphasize the uniqueness of your study, its advantages over other studies, and the real problems it solves (or tries to solve).

Give comprehensive answers to these three questions: WHY is the study important? WHAT potential implications will it have? HOW is it going to influence related sciences?

Upon the approval, you can conduct your own research, investigate the field inside and out proving that studying philosophy, researching its depths and writing works on any of its topics is interesting, crucial and rewarding.

Be prepared as the entire process will take much time and effort on your side. You will need help and support from a curator and your family. But your main reliance is the tips in this article. Follow them to succeed.


  • Daniel, S.H. (1979). Preparations for a Research Paper in Philosophy. Teaching Philosophy, 3(2), pp.185–188.
  • Seech, Z. (2009). Writing philosophy papers. Belmont, Ca: Wadsworth.
  • Spader, P.H. (1979). Writing a Philosophy Paper. Teaching Philosophy, 3(2), pp.177–179.
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