Research proposal structure


Maneuvrable Structure by Moritz Putzier 2011 is based on fundamental geometric principles of folding. Inspired by the Japanese art of origami, Putzier developed the idea to transfer folded structures into the conception of lightweight constructions.

I found the works of Moritz Putzier interesting, and thought the idea of maneuverablility in folded structures based on fundamental principles of geometry an apt metaphor for a good research proposal structure, one that encompasses well-founded / grounded research questions in a background of flux or constant change that usually characterises the frontiers of any knowledge field, one that also encompasses as few single-sentence paragraphs as possible, in fulfilment of the criteria of good research proposals being ‘clear’ and ‘concise’.

Some notes based on a seminar held by the University of Gothenburg Grants and Innovation Office.


1. Rationale / aim of project – justification / grounds
a. who is the target audience for the findings and knowledge dissemination?
b. problem definition
c. key research questions
d. how does research relate to national, regional, international context?

2. Literature review
a. what is state-of-art
b. what have others done, how are they doing it now?
c. what are the most important works in the field?
d. should it be done different? why?

3. Theory / method
a. what theoretical framework will you use?
b. how will data be collected? Time-frame of data collection?
c. What method will you use for data analytics?

4. Project implementation
a. method of implementation
b. network of researchers
c. subject expertise of research team
d. current projects of those on research team
e. time-plan
f. project budget / man-hours / cost per hour

5. Project novelty / significance
a. useful for consulting level?
b. pedagogic value?
c. policy modelling / recommendation / public steering applicability?

6. Knowledge dissemination
a. how will the findings be disseminated
b. time-plan for knowledge / information dissemination
c. dissemination media – conferences, seminars, popular articles, journal articles, etc.
d. future avenues of research

7. Project non-linearity
a. planning for reject dialogic
b. triangulation of data validity, findings