Elements of a Research Proposal
Written by Dr. Meg Campbell & Dr. Cheryl Nordstrom
Revised October 5, 2009
a.k.a. Specific aims
2-3 paragraphs summarizing the existing literature, identifying the gap in the
literature, and how your proposed study will fill that gap
What you are going to do and the steps to accomplish it
o Cross-sectional, descriptive, longitudinal, intervention, randomized
controlled trial, observation, pre-post comparison, or other
o Who are the participants?
Community dwelling adults
Unique characteristics defined by the research question
o How are you recruiting them?
Convenience sample of nurses or patients
Place flyers in clinic waiting rooms
Advertise in local newspapers
From an existing database
o How many do you need?
Justify the sample size
Do you have/need a control group for comparison?
o A step-by-step plan for conducting the study
Identify eligible participants
Obtain consent if indicated
Collect data via:
Performing an intervention
Extracting data from existing medical records or database
Plan for data entry and storage
Plan for Dissemination
o Writing a peer-reviewed journal article
o Presenting a paper or poster at a professional meeting
o DMC media outlets
o Nursing Grand Rounds lecture
o Unit-based distribution of findings