How to Write a Research Proposal in Poetry: Suggestions on Making a Tough Task Easy

Writing guide
Posted on March 12, 2020

We’d like to start by making it clear why you need to know how to write a research proposal in poetry. Any research proposal aims at explaining the details of the upcoming study. Upon picking a really good topic for researching and having a great wish to conduct a valuable study, you need to submit a proposal to a supervisor. And if the content of the proposal is worthy, any supervisor will give you the green light.

While academics are writing their proposals to get proper funding for intended projects, students have to complete a research proposal in poetry to have their thesis plan evaluated and approved. Is there a great difference between the proposal of a student and that of an academician? Not really — both types are created to persuade readers that the study is worthy.

The four major goals of your proposal in poetry are:

  1. To illustrate that you are knowledgeable in the area of poetry and your study goals have sufficient academic ground.
  2. Convince your readers that the idea is not just interesting but is also important and original.
  3. Show you have searched through the information carefully and used tools (methodologies) that will help in conducting deep research.
  4. Confirm that the study results have a practical mission, thus they are valuable.
  5. Prove you are willing to work on the most complicated and the top interesting topic to disclose the essence of the issue and contribute to the field of poetry.

In case you are writing a proposal in poetry for a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it is enough to write a couple of pages. The same work for a Ph.D. dissertation should be long and detailed. For details, talk to your supervisor.

Now, let’s proceed to the details of how to write a research proposal in poetry. To provide you with research proposal writing help, we’ve decided to concentrate on the structural elements as if they’re omitted, the research won’t get the supervisor’s approval.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Poetry: Know the Difference

You’ve probably worked on any written assignment in literature. Students believe that writing about poetry is pretty much the same as writing about novels.

Well, the fields are related, no doubt. Both novels and poems are pieces of art that reveal the deepest feelings by means of words and their combinations. But there are several important differences. Most of the are explicit, so we share the implicit ones that you need to remember:

  1. Novels are about sentences. Poetry is about lines.
  2. Novels tell, describe, depict. Poetry focuses, intensifies, does.
  3. Novels help readers feel the sentence flow. Poetry help readers feel the rhythm.
  4. Novels are broad. Poetry offers less space.

It means that writing a research proposal in poetry, its author needs to get beneath the surface and try to find the hidden elements that have been missed by all previous readers. While a novel is made of words that lead to a conclusion, every poetic word or their short combination and even punctuation marks have their own reason.

When researching and analyzing a piece of poetry, you need to shouldn’t be afraid to voice the bravest interpretation: the same poem is differently perceived, felt and experienced by different people.

Structural Approach to How to Write a Research Proposal in Poetry

You need to start with a title page. We’ve decided not to include it into a structural list, but write separately. The must-be elements of the title page are the proposed research project title, the name of the student (researcher), the supervisor’s name, and the name of the institution/department.

1. Introduction

The general approach to writing a proposal in poetry suggests starting with the introduction part that illustrates what you want to do as well as why you want to do it. The introduction part introduced the title of the proposed research in poetry, provides the background of the study and its context as well as outlines the research questions. The latter elements raise many questions. This is why we’ve decided to enumerate the list of questions that you can cover in your work:

  • Who can be interested in the area that you are going to study: poets, writers, literature researchers, lecturers, or members of particular social groups.
  • How much data is already known about the topic/problem you want to study?
  • What data is out-of-date or missing from the current information available?
  • What new insights are you going to contribute to the poetic study?
  • Why do you think your research is worthy?

The very first and last questions require special attention. Make sure you answer them to the fullest.

2. Research significance (+background)

Students can make this section the part of their introduction or write as a separate part. In any case, the research significant part should explain the research context and the importance of the poetry topic. While writing about the significance it is essential to take into consideration that a reader may not be aware of all the data that you already know.

To make things a bit clearer, we’ve defined the four basic rules you need to adhere to when writing on the research significance:

  • Give more detailed reasons than you’ve already provided in the introduction part.
  • Cover the major problems of the research and state why you’ve chosen to address them.
  • Be clear as to how you’re planning to conduct the study, what data sources are of the greatest priority, and how the results will contribute to the study of this very topic in poetry.
  • Define the research boundaries.

If you believe a reader should know more about the study, you can provide some definitions of the basic poetry terms or directions. However, this section can be neglected as normally it poses no interest to a reader.

3. Review of data sources

Whatever poetic topic you are working on, you have to be clear about the number of sources that provide data on previous researches. Supervisors agree that the review should be strong as it builds a rather profound basis in existing theory. Plus, it convinces a supervisor that you are not copying other scientists’ thoughts but add to what they have studied.

Again, there are a few directions for you to follow while you are writing the data sources review section:

  • Compare and/or contrast the methodologies, theories, data, and differences.
  • Be critical about the weak points and strengths of the approaches used by others and those that you are going to apply.
  • Demonstrate why your own research is going to fit in. For this purpose, you can challenge and synthesize others’ studies.

Review both primary and secondary data sources as this will help you draw a line between others’ works and that of yours. Yet, remember that the results of others’ works should take up 30-35% of your research proposal work at most.

4. Research methods

This part is also referred to as the methodology section where a student has to describe the used approaches and technical steps he/she is going to make while researching. To make the methodology section meet all the requirements, make sure its content answers the following questions:

  • What kind of study will you conduct: qualitative vs quantitative?
  • Will you gather the original data (your own surveys)?
  • Or will you use primary and secondary data sources?
  • Who are you going to study?
  • How will the sources and subjects be selected: from case studies or randomly?
  • When will the information be gathered?
  • Where will the research be conducted?
  • What tools will be predominant: observations, interviews, experiments, surveys?
  • How many weeks/months do you need to collect information?
  • How are you going to access the participants?
  • What obstacles do you expect to face?

By simply including the list methods that you are going to use, you don’t make any arguments why your research is appropriate, valid or reliable. Each of the methods should be supported by reasons. Your professor can also suggest what additional (secondary) methods to use to make your research work in poetry more profound. Or he/she can suggest you refuse from some of the methods you’ve offered for the sake of the work’s quality.

5. Contribution to knowledge

Your research in poetry must have implications on the theory and practice. Which ones? They should be stated in this section. Students usually have problems with completing this part of a research proposal in poetry because it is interesting to study the area but it is hard to explain what implications the results can have.

When it comes to any work in poetry it can:

  • Improve the process of studying or lecturing poetry in schools, colleges, or universities.
  • Strengthen poetry as an important part of literature.
  • Challenge popular and already established models and assumptions.
  • Create a reliable basis for further research.

Remember that this section should be deprived of any idle opinions. When writing, formulate your suppositions on clear pieces of evidence. Make it clear HOW your research is going to contribute to the understanding of a poetic problem. We suggest you thinking of the contribution beforehand, at the stage of choosing the topic. Otherwise, your research won’t have any practical use and be worthless.

6. Proofreading

Redrafting, editing, and proofreading your research proposal in poetry is a must before you actually submit the work. Still, the tendency is such that most students either omit this step or they omit many mistakes while proofreading. You can ask your friend or a senior student for support.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Poetry with a Schedule?

Many supervisors require to provide a detailed schedule in addition to your research proposal. The task of the schedule is to give detailed information to every stage and show how long its writing is going to last. The table below is an example of the schedule you can write if required:

Phase of research Objectives of research Deadline of research
Background meeting with a supervisor, conducting a review, refining questions, developing a theoretical approach 12.09.2020
Design planning refining questions, recruiting survey participants, finalizing analysis methods 05.10.2020
Collecting information analyzing data, interviewing transcripts, drafting results 30.10.2020
Writing completing a thesis, discussing versions with a supervisor 10.11.2020
Revision redrafting, proofreading, editing 31.11.2020

Again, this section is not obligatory and is written only according to supervisor’s specifications. If a professor asks to complete it, it’s done partially (the research phase and objectives sections), whereas the deadlines are set by a supervisor.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Poetry Omitting Restrictions

A research proposal in poetry is tough to develop due to a large number of restrictions. Their greater part was already mentioned in the sections above. Now, we’d like you to pay attention to the relevance of the ideas you have in mind to their support of study: most poetry-related topics that you can choose do not support the study. It means that the ideas that you may have in your head may not have support in primary or secondary data sources.

This is the main restriction. So if you have anything specific on your mind, feel confident to address your supervisor or any literature professor to as him/her about several available topics that are at least distantly relevant to what you are interested in. Conduct an online or library search, choose the topic that is supported by previously published materials and continue researching it.

And finally, don’t postpone the task. The sooner you start writing, the more time you will have for researching, structuring, writing, and proofreading. A solid research proposal requires time. Take yours.


  • Allison, D. and National University Of Singapore (2002). Approaching English language research. Singapore: Singapore University Press.
  • Gardner, D.C. and Grace Joely Beatty (1980). Dissertation proposal guidebook : how to prepare a research proposal and get it accepted. Springfield, Illinous: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.
  • Klopper, H. (2008). The qualitative research proposal. Curationis, 31(4).
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