Q: What is involved in a research proposal background and introduction?

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I want to write the research proposal introduction separate from the research proposal background.

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1 Answer to this question

Indeed, the introduction of a research proposal should be separate from the background. However, note that the background should be written before the introduction, in fact, just before the introduction.

The structure of a research proposal, in fact, is similar to that of a research paper, except that the proposal would not have the results, analysis, and discussion sections. Nevertheless, the proposal can talk about expected results if needed. Research papers are written in the IMRAD (Introduction > Methods > Results > Analysis > Discussion) structure. You may learn more about IMRAD here.

However, as you have asked specifically about the background and introduction, here are some pointers on writing these two sections.


The background has to provide the context of the study. It has to talk about the broader research area, what the current literature says about the research area, what are some of the gaps in existing studies, and how this led to the gap or need you intend to examine in your study. The background for a proposal has to provide a solid start and foundation to the proposal. Therefore, it helps to cite relevant literature and provide necessary statistics to show why your study is needed. Note however that the detailed literature review has to come later in the paper, after the introduction.


The introduction has to present and discuss the research question, the specific aspect of the broader research area or topic you will be examining in your study. It has to talk about how you arrived at and why you have chosen to study this particular research question. You will have to provide the necessary rationale here because your proposal and study hinge on this. Then, you need to present and discuss the problem statement, which talks about the present state with regard to your research topic, the ideal state, and how your research will attempt to provide a solution to attain the ideal state. Finally, you need to present and discuss your hypothesis.

A detailed, comprehensive proposal is necessary not just to help obtain sponsorship for your research but also to start off your study on a firm footing. All the best for your proposal and research!

For more information, you may refer to the following resources: