develop a research proposal

Develop a Research Proposal

The Title Page

Since your title page provides the first impression for your audience of your proposal, your title should provide the focus of your investigation.  Be sure that the title includes the key ideas and gives a glimpse of your research.  Use these reminders, along with Crafting a Research Proposal: The Introduction and the material from Elements of the Proposal,  to help you to plan and draft your own title page.


  1. Emphasize the most important aspects of the investigation by putting those words first.
  2. Combine words and phrases describing the type of research investigation used, the purpose of the research, the research problem or issue, samples, populations, and settings involved in studies, and/or variables and the causal relationship amongst them under investigation.
  3. Try to formulate a title with 10 words or less. Some granting agencies specify a title with less than 60 letters or characters.
  4. Use as short but as descriptive a working title as possible, for your own early reference. Even a couple of words will do.
  5. Use a clear adjective-noun combination to identify the project with its generic class.
    Example: "Visual Acuity in Infants", rather than "Studies on the Development of Objective Techniques for Monitoring the Development of Visual Acuity in Infants".
  6. If necessary to further distinguish the focus of the problem, use a subtitle.
    Example: "Visual Acuity in Infants: Objective Monitoring of its Development."  
  7. Avoid such fillers and non-communicating devices such as
    A Study of... An Exploratory Study to Determine...
    An Examination of... A Method to Explore...
    unless the focus of your project is the methodology itself, rather than the results of using the methodology.
  8. Study titles of other funded projects in your field, for several reasons. You will get some sense of how specifically other researchers describe their projects. You will also see the extent of precise technical language in your discipline.
  9. State the major idea as quickly as possible, with the modifiers following, rather than preceding, the main category.
  10. Avoid jargon or vogue words, even though you may use them daily in practicing your profession. You want to remain clear, unencumbered by dated or limited language. For example, "parametrize", "infrastructure", "heuristic", "impact" (as verb), "cost out", and "resource utilization" are all being used now in various disciplines. Like most jargon, however, these words have more clear, simple substitutes which convey the same message with more precision

Experiment with arranging the key elements of your proposal in different ways to compose the title that you think is most effective.  Consider the following examples:  

  • How therapists assess change during therapeutic sessions with child clients that rely on play as the primary form of communication
  • Emotionality and motivation of the sport spectator drawing upon societal figurational models
  • Outreach anticoagulation project of injecting drug users with deep vein thrombosis 
  • Exploring long term "Yo Yo Dieting"
  • Cognitive Neuroscience in Stroke Rehabilitation: an observation based intervention
  • Development of a Clinical Decision Rule to improve the diagnosis of heart failure in the breathless patient
  • The production and maintenance of gendered discourses within a training program for football coaches  
  • Cyberstalking: harassment in the information age
  • Clinical Decision Rules for the Assessment of Cardiac Chest Pain. Combining Clinical Features with Early Markers of Vascular Activation  
  • Explicating Political Rhetoria amongst Different Knowledge Sites surrounding September 11th and the Aftermath
  • Can we and should we teach social communication to those with Autistic Spectrum Disorders? 
  • Pupils' observation of occupational stress in teachers 
  • The Nature and Role of Phonological Skills in Adolescent Learners in Mainstream Education
  • Evolution of BLS - Towards Greater Skill Retention and Early Learning - A Philosophy for Life
  • What role do psychosocial factors play in influencing HIV positive people's compliance with the medical treatment
  • An exploration of student use of WEB CT within a blended learning program
  • Emotional Issues in Education: Reframing learning theory through participatory action research
  • Evaluating Users' Experience of Receiving Acupuncture Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis  
  • Using discourse and critical textual analysis to explore how discursive and extra-discursive aspects combine to influence the creation of and resistance to racism
  • Breast Screening in older women: an ethnography of developing health policy
  • Does temperament predict rate of communication development?
  • Treatment of clients with a "dual diagnosis" of substance misuse and mental illness
  • An exploration into the well-being of new parents combining work and family commitments
  • Migration Narratives in the Cities of Baltimore 

Record your title in the planning guide.

When a title page is created, it often is arranged in this format:   Example of title page

Style guides for different disciplines for formatting title pages

This website provides formatting tips to assist you in the general layout and design of a research proposal title page.  It also contains general guidelines and further descriptions for the parts of a research proposal.

Create your title page in a Word document, save and name it.  This document will be added to as you complete your planning guide for the proposal introduction.


Return to Planning My Proposal