Q: How to write the rationale for research?

Detailed Question -

I need some ideas on how to write the rationale for my research. Do you have any suggestions?

8 Answers to this question

The rationale of your research is the reason for conducting the study. The rationale should answer the need for conducting the said research. It is a very important part of your publication as it justifies the significance and novelty of the study. That is why it is also referred to as the justification of the study. Ideally, your research should be structured as observation, rationale, hypothesis, objectives, methods, results and conclusions.

To write your rationale, you should first write a background on what all research has been done on your study topic. Follow this with ‘what is missing’ or ‘what are the open questions of the study’. Identify the gaps in the literature and emphasize why it is important to address those gaps. This will form the rationale of your study. The rationale should be followed by a hypothesis and objectives.

To learn in depth how to write a persuasive Introduction for your research paper, check out this course designed exclusively for researchers: How to write a strong introduction for your research paper.

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Writing a clear and compelling rationale is essential to any research project. Here are some steps to follow when crafting a strong rationale:

  1. Identify the problem or gap in knowledge: Start by clearly identifying the issue or gap in knowledge that your research aims to address. Explain why this problem is important and why it needs to be addressed.

  2. Review the literature: Conduct a thorough review of the existing literature on the topic. This will help you identify what research has already been done, what gaps still exist, and how your research can build upon previous work.

  3. Define your research questions/hypotheses: Clearly state the research questions or hypotheses that your study aims to answer. These should be informed by your review of the literature and your understanding of the problem you are addressing.

  4. Explain your research approach: Outline the methods you plan to use to conduct your research, including data collection methods, sampling strategies, and data analysis techniques. Be sure to explain why these methods are appropriate for addressing your research questions/hypotheses.

  5. Discuss the potential impact of your research: Explain why your research is important and how it has the potential to contribute to the field. Consider the potential practical and theoretical implications of your findings.

  6. Consider ethical considerations: If your research involves human or animal subjects, be sure to discuss the ethical considerations involved in your study. Explain how you plan to ensure that your research is conducted in an ethical and responsible manner.

By following these steps and considering the perspective of your audience, you can write a strong and compelling rationale for your research project.


Writing the rationale for research is a crucial step in the research proposal or thesis. The rationale provides the justification for why your research is important and why it should be conducted. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to write the rationale for your research:

  1. Understand Your Research Topic: Before you can write a rationale, you need a clear understanding of your research topic. Be well-versed in the subject matter and identify the specific research question or problem you aim to address.

  2. Identify the Gap: Start by explaining the existing knowledge or literature related to your research topic. Point out the current state of understanding, highlighting any gaps, unanswered questions, or areas where further investigation is needed.

  3. Define the Problem: Clearly state the research problem or question that your study intends to address. Make it concise and specific, so the reader understands the focus of your research.

  4. Highlight Significance: Explain why your research matters. Discuss the potential impact of your findings, both in terms of theoretical contributions and practical applications. Consider the following aspects:

    • How does your research advance existing knowledge?
    • Does it have real-world implications or applications?
    • Is it relevant to a specific field, industry, or community?
  5. Establish Relevance: Justify the relevance of your research by explaining how it fits into the broader context. Discuss how it aligns with current trends, societal needs, or academic discussions. Connect your research to larger issues or debates in the field.

  6. Support with Evidence: Provide evidence or examples that demonstrate the need for your research. Cite relevant studies, statistics, or real-world scenarios that illustrate the problem or gap you're addressing.