How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

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Free, Downloadable Educational Templates for Students

We have designed several free templates to help you get started on a variety of academic topics. These range from formatting your thesis or dissertation to writing a table of contents or a list of abbreviations.

We also have templates for various citation styles, including APA (6 and 7), MLA, and Chicago.

The templates are loosely grouped by topic below.

Note
Scribbr templates are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes. We also offer free lecture slides for educators.

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Thesis & Dissertation Title Page | Free Templates & Examples

The title page (or cover page) of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper should contain all the key information about your document. It usually includes:

  • Dissertation or thesis title
  • Your name
  • The type of document (e.g., dissertation, research paper)
  • The department and institution
  • The degree program (e.g., Master of Arts)
  • The date of submission

It sometimes also includes your dissertation topic or field of study, your student number, your supervisor’s name, and your university’s logo.

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Creating an MLA title page

In MLA style, a title page is usually not required for your paper. Instead, MLA recommends including a header on your first page listing your name, your instructor’s name, the course name and number, and the submission date, followed by the title of your paper.

However, you should include a separate title page instead in these cases:

  • Your instructor requires it
  • The paper is a group project (i.e. you need to list multiple authors)

The formats for a separate title page and a first-page header are shown below. You can also use our templates in Word or Google Docs.

Word template Google Docs template

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How to format your MLA Works Cited page

In MLA style, the list of Works Cited (also known as a reference list or bibliography) appears at the end of your paper. It gives full details of every source that you cited in an MLA in-text citation.

Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

You can use the free Scribbr Citation Generator to create and manage your Works Cited list. Choose your source type and enter the URL, DOI or title to get started.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

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Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates

The formatting of a research paper is different depending on which style guide you’re following. In addition to citations, APA, MLA, and Chicago provide format guidelines for things like font choices, page layout, format of headings and the format of the reference page.

Scribbr offers free Microsoft Word templates for the most common formats. Simply download and get started on your paper.

APAMLA | Chicago author-date | Chicago notes & bibliography

Tip
If you struggle with the format of your paper, you could use Scribbr’s APA Paper Formatting service or Customized Formatting service. Our formatting experts can:

  • Generate an automatic table of contents
  • Generate a list of tables and figures
  • Ensure consistent paragraph formatting
  • Insert page numbering

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APA format for academic papers and essays

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication, citing sources, and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.

Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr

Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:

  • Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Double-space all text, including headings.
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.
  • Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).
  • Include a page number on every page.

APA format (7th edition)

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How to Write a Graduate School Resume | Template & Example

When you apply for graduate school, you’ll usually be asked to submit a resume or CV along with your application. A graduate school resume should give a focused, concise overview of relevant experiences and achievements.

The exact sections you include depend on your experiences and on the focus of the program you’re applying to. Ensure your resume gives full details of:

  • Your college education
  • Relevant work experience
  • Relevant voluntary and extracurricular experience
  • Any awards, honors, publications, or other relevant achievements
  • Any relevant skills, certifications, and memberships

The main difference from a regular resume is that you’ll put more emphasis on your education and academic interests to show that you’re a good candidate for graduate school.

Download the Word templates and adjust them to your own purposes.

Resume template 1 Resume Template 2

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APA vs. MLA | The Key Differences in Format & Citation

Note: This article describes the 9th edition of MLA style and the 7th edition of APA Style. The APA 6th edition rules can be found here.

APA vs MLA: The key differences in citation and formatting.APA and MLA are two of the most commonly used citation styles.

APA Style Is defined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, currently in its 7th edition.

The rules of MLA style are found in the MLA Handbook, currently in its 9th edition (published by the Modern Language Association).

In both styles, a source citation consists of:

However, citations look slightly different in each style, with different rules for things like title capitalization, author names, and placement of the date.

There are also some differences in layout and formatting. Download the Word templates for a correctly formatted paper in either style.

APA template MLA template

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MLA format for academic papers and essays

The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers. This quick guide will help you set up your MLA format paper in no time.

Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document:

  • Times New Roman 12
  • 1″ page margins
  • Double line spacing
  • ½” indent for new paragraphs
  • Title case capitalization for headings

Download Word templateOpen Google Docs template

(To use the Google Docs template, copy the file to your Drive by clicking on ‘file’ > ‘Make a copy’)

Continue reading: MLA format for academic papers and essays