Writing a research proposal
Writing a proposal is a process
It takes time to work through all the sections you need to complete. It takes time to think about how you are going to do something, justify why you are doing it, and the details of the process. It is impossible to write a good proposal in a day!
Don't be afraid to revise and narrow your topic. Most of us start off with a great big concept in mind. When it comes to figuring out how we are going to tackle it and the resources required, we suddenly realise that it is too big. Sometimes this requires going back to the library, doing more reading, and re-thinking your proposal.
Keep your aims clear
It is a good idea to write your aims on a slip of paper and keep this in front of you as you write your sections. It will help ensure that the methods that you use will achieve your aim, or that your literature review is relevant.
Provide details, especially in your methodology and data analysis section. These are the two areas where most proposals come unstuck. If you are working with different groups of people (according to age, gender, ethnicity) state why you are going to do this. Be explicit in explaining how you will analyse the data. It is not enough to say “the data will be collated and analysed”. How will you do this? (What software or theories will be applied?)
Stand up for your proposal
Don't be humble about what you are doing. Believe that it is great research that has to be conducted. Imagine that you are writing a proposal for funding from a very important agency. It has to stand up to scrutiny and it has to be convincing.