Proposals target a multitude of readers. According to Paul V. Anderson, some readers will carefully review the entire contents of a proposal, while others only will only focus on certain elements such as its abstract, general overview or methodology. Though there is a discrepancy in how much of a proposal is actually read, Anderson believes that nearly all readers examine the stated objectives of proposals to see how it could potentially affect them. Writing the objectives for study proposals therefore requires you to consider who might read your proposals and how your objectives may or may not align with theirs.
Detail your personal research goals for your study. This will not be a final list, but you will be able to edit, add and tailor this list throughout the process. When attempting to identify your personal research goals for a study, respond to the questions Why am I conducting this study? What do I hope to prove or discover from this study?
List any and all potential readers of your proposal. If you are submitting your proposals to a company, Anderson points out that though the CEO might read components of a study proposal, the entirety of the proposal will likely fall into the purview of an assistant or smaller department head. Most research organizations to which a study proposal would be submitted (such as NEA, Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and similar organizations) will clearly indicate who their proposal readers are in the submission guidelines or call for proposals.
Research the professional background of the potential readers of your proposal. For example, if you are planning to submit a study proposal to a research group focusing on child psychology, you could examine some of the most recent research studies they have conducted or supported.
Compare your personal research goals with any and all research goals of the professional organization to which you will submit your proposal. Underline overlapping goals, circle similar goals and place a box around competing goals.
Finalize the first section of your objectives by rewriting your goals list, starting with the overlapping goals placed in primary positions. Open each objective with an action verb. For example, if one of the overlapping research goals is to find out how social networking services impact social movements, you could format the objective in the following way: "Discover the connection between SNS and social movements." Label this list of objectives as your study's "Primary Objectives."
Add a second section of your objectives by rewriting the similar goals. Open each objective with an action verb and label this list of objectives as your study's "Secondary Objectives."
Finalize your objectives list by rewriting the competing goals. Open each objective with an action verb and label this list of objectives as "Potential" or "Additional Objectives."
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