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How to Write A Research Proposal ?

August 2007
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bukuThe question of “How” to prepare a research proposal is an important part in the final stage of a university student of engineering faculty particularly in UMY, and also it is “A First Question” when an engineering student of UMY is starting  to work the final project or minor thesis. This page provides guidance on writing a research proposal for engineering students at UMY. We provide a few suggestions on what to include and what to avoid. In making an application of final project or minor thesis of undergraduate student, make sure that the specialist area you wish to study is covered by a member(s) of staff at Engineering Faculty. You can do this by checking either individual staff profiles, or by meeting him/her directlty and discussing for your interested topics. You can also explore staff research interests by reading papers from of research working papers. Normally a proposal should be between 1500 and 2000 words and will include the following:

A working title of the topic area. This should do more than convey the key words associated with the proposed research.

General overview of area. This should take the form of a brief abstract of the general area of study and identify the concentration in your discipline(s) such as in transportation engineering, it can be more deeply focus when you are writing the topic of “pavement modeling”, “traffic simulation”, “public transportation” or other topics.

Identification of the relevant main literature. In this section you should develop your proposal to demonstrate that you are aware of the debates and issues raised in relevant bodies of literature. References to key articles and texts should be made to show that you appreciate their relevance to your research area. A degree thesis is not an original piece of research, however you should demonstrate that your proposed area is not “copy” from other thesis, research report, published paper etc.

Key research questions. Since you need to demonstrate that the topic can be completed within the normal time period allowed, you need to demonstrate that it is manageable, and so focus on key questions within your niche area.

Short Explanation of Methodology. You need to demonstrate an awareness of the methodological tools available to you and show some understanding of which would be suitable for your research. It may be that qualitative methods, including the analysis of interviews, is appropriate. Alternatively your approach may involve field or laboratory experiments, forecasting or statistical, designing or modelling. In other cases you may be combining methodologies. You need to specify the approach you feel will be most appropriate. Timescale/research planning You need to demonstrate an awareness of the need for planning and the timescale of the research.

Bibliography. You should include a short list of references to key articles and texts included in the proposal.


  • Wide topic areas which would be unmanageable as undergraduate student topics

  • Very complex descriptions of research areas

  • Experimental activities that the university laboratories and closed universities do not have the equipments and materials

  • Subject areas where engineering faculty has no expertise



  1. ario says:

    Nice paper..
    Hopefully.. the most student of our faculty will read it..

  2. labtransportumy says:

    Thank you. The online-workshop of research methodology for engineering students of UMY will be conducted by LATEI.

    The material of workshop will be collected from somebody who are experts in engineering research and some of them are based on long-time experiences in conducting research.

  3. […] How to Write A Research Proposal ? August 2007 2 comments 4 […]

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