What Is a Research Prospectus?


A research prospectus is a formal summary or proposal for a project. The prospectus is used by post-secondary students, research institutes and nonprofits to outline research goals and methods .


  • In a research prospectus, a student or researcher provides the purpose of research or the theme of a paper. For scientific research, the prospectus includes the theory being evaluated through the research.


  • In addition to explaining the topic or purpose of the paper or study, a research prospectus contains the proposed title, the background about the topic and a description of the bibliographical sources or scientific methods that will be utilized for the research.


  • In some cases, an oral presentation summarizing the prospectus is required in addition to the written document. This can be in a classroom setting, in front of a dissertation panel or a philanthropy or government agency offering a grant.


  • In an educational environment, a research prospectus gives students an opportunity to receive constructive criticism and feedback about a paper or project before it is completed in order to improve the quality of the final work. Grants for research projects are sometimes awarded based upon the information contained in a research prospectus.


  • The information contained in the prospectus is just an outline. The finished work often differs from the prospectus, particularly in regards to the title or bibliographic sources.


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