5 Steps To Writing A Research Paper Proposal In The APA Format


Writing you’re the proposal for your research paper can be quite daunting, so hopefully you will find these steps helpful.

  1. Planning.
    • Make this your most important step. Firstly tackle the APA formatting. If you are not already familiar with this types of process your tutor will be able to direct you to some literature to help you.
    • Most schools and colleges will provide some training in the form of a lecture or workshop to help you get the most out of working with this type of format. Do check that you are using the most up to date version.
    • If you are still not sure you can find crib sheets online or even better, look for an instructional video. You can play this as often as you need and it is a good tool to have on standby. But make sure it is the current version (6th).
  2. Getting started.
    • Read through the instructions that your tutor/professor has given you. If you have any queries, make a note and ask your tutor/professor. Make a note of all the submission dates especially the first one which will be for your proposal.
    • Get a note book that you will use as a project diary. This is especially useful for all stages of your work but initially you will use it to expand any ideas or investigations that you need to research for your proposal.
    • Find some examples. Not only will examples help you to plan your proposal they will also help you see APA formatting in action. Look for examples that illustrate a range of levels (average, poor, exceptional), preferably find some that are annotated.
  3. Need help?
    • At this stage you may find that you need to discuss with your tutor/professor some of the ideas that you have for your work, ideally you will need to book an appointment with them early on in the process.
    • Go to the meeting with the notes that you have already collected in your project diary. A step better than this could be to get you r thoughts together before the meeting and email them to your tutor/professor prior to your meeting.
    • You may also need some help organising your work. Arrange to meet with a Learning Support Tutor, in the Learning Support Department. Book an appointment before you need urgent help as this department is always very busy.
  4. Finding a target paper.
    • After meeting with your tutor you may have targeted your focus for your work or have confirmed your commitment to an idea that you already have. Your research work starts here.
    • If you are not sure of where to find supporting evidence you can go and have a chat with the college librarian, who will be able to direct you to abstracts, papers journals and journal articles.
    • Using an academic search engine, decide on the key words that you will use and the order in which you will use them start you search. You really have to focus here as it is so easy to digress and your search will go off at a tangent.
  5. Writing your proposal.
    • Remember that this is a proposal and that when you give it to your tutor/professor there are aspects of your proposal design that they may change or ask you to provide more information.
    • Be prepared for this by pre-empting their questions and suggestions. If something does not sound right to you then it definitely won’t sound right to them. Put yourself in their shoes.
    • Even if it is a proposal do make sure that you proof read your work. Preferably get someone else to check it for you. Remember that his is a work in progress and you will be spending a lot of time and effort on your project.

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