Research Proposal Checklist

Background and Significance of the Research

  • Will the results of the research fill a gap in our knowledge?
  • Will the research advance our understanding of this topic?

Literature Review

  • Does the proposal demonstrate thorough and current understanding and knowledge of the peer- reviewed literature related to the topic?
  • Is the literature reviewed critically?
  • Does the literature review identify gaps, shortcomings, and/or limitations in existing research, therefore providing a context for the study?
  • Does the literature review justify the question/problem being studied?

Theoretical Framework

  • Is a theoretical framework identified and clearly described?
  • Is the theoretical framework linked to the research problem/question/hypothesis?
  • Does the theoretical framework demonstrate understanding of current and relevant peer-reviewed literature?

Research Problem/Question/Hypothesis

  • Does the proposal clearly frame the research question/problem/hypothesis?
  • Is the research problem/question/hypothesis logical and researchable?
  • Is the research problem/question/hypothesis manageable and achievable?
  • Is the research problem/question/hypothesis ethical?
  • Is the research question/problem/hypothesis focused and grounded in relevant peer-reviewed literature?
  • Where relevant, is the research grounded in the researcher’s experience and context?


Rationale for Research Method

  • Is the methodology (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods) appropriate for the research question/problem?
  • Does the proposal identify and describe the specific type of methodology (e.g., qualitative (ethnography, grounded theory, case study, etc.), quantitative (descriptive, quasi-experimental, etc.), or mixed methods (from both traditions)?
  • Is the methodology clearly articulated and supported by current and relevant peer-reviewed literature?

Research and Data-Gathering Procedures

  • Are the procedures well organized and clearly described in a carefully focused step-by-step, straight- forward manner?
  • Are the procedures consistent with the selected methodology?
  • Are the methods reasonable and appropriate for the research question/problem?
  • Is a timeline for the project provided? Is it manageable and achievable?
  • Does the proposal demonstrate thorough and current understanding and knowledge relevant peer reviewed literature related to selected research and data-gathering procedures?

Data Analysis

  • Does the proposal identify possible methods for data analysis?
  • Does the proposal demonstrate thorough and current understanding and knowledge of the research/peer reviewed literature related to their data analysis?

Ethical Considerations

  • Does the proposal anticipate and/or discuss potential difficulties and obstacles in the approach I have chosen?
  • Have I fully considered potential benefits and risks to research participants?
  • Does the proposal discuss how confidentiality of subjects and their responses will be maintained?
  • Does the proposal discuss how data will be stored to ensure confidentiality of subjects?


  • Does the proposal provide a list of cited references?
  • Are the references current and relevant?
  • Is APA used appropriately in the reference list?
  • Are references cited appropriately in the literature review, theoretical framework, and description of methodology?


  • Is the proposal coherent and easily understood by reviewers?
  • Is peer-reviewed literature used effectively to support the proposal’s theoretical underpinnings?
  • Are headings used to organize sections and demonstrate understanding of essential components?
  • Do the headings reflect an organizational structure for the final product?
  • Is the research, as proposed, likely to get ethics approval?
  • Are there any spelling, grammar, punctuation, or presentation features that interfere with coherence and clarity?
  • Is APA formatting consistent and appropriately applied?

Contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects

Mandy Davis
Grants Administrator
University Center 414R
(903) 223-3125
For Research Inquires email: