How to Write a Final Year Project Proposal for History

Last Updated on September 20, 2021 by Chrisantus Oden

How to Write a Proposal for History Research Paper

In this article, we would look at tips on how to write a final year proposal for history. The research proposal is a fundamental part of a final year project. It is at this stage the examining board will be very attentive to what you want to write. Careful writing, indicate what your sources are, and don’t forget that a historiographical debate must be present in the material, as well as an indication of the theoretical approach, hypotheses, and objectives. But not only that. There’s a lot more there. Check out the steps and tips below.

Guidelines for writing a research proposal

1. Title

You must be as concise and very clear as you can with your title.

2. Introduction

At this stage, you introduce your research questions and the central idea of your research. Identify the field of study in broad terms and indicate how you expect your research to intervene in the field.

3. Research background and questions

Use this section to expand your Introduction. What are the key texts and approaches in the field, and how does your proposal differ from existing lines of argument? What does your project contribute to existing work in the field? How does it extend our understanding of questions or topics? You need to set out your research questions as clearly as possible, explain problems that you want to explore, and say why it is important to do so. In other words, think about how to situate your project in the context of your discipline.

4. Research methods

This section should set out how you will achieve what you set out to do in your Research background and questions. This will depend very much on your research topic. What sources will you use? In other words, does your project involve archival sources, particular databases, or specialist libraries? Is your study interdisciplinary? What theoretical resources do you intend to use and why? What forms of textual, historical, or visual analysis are relevant to your topic/field? How will you set about answering your research questions?

5. Schedule of work

Use this section to show that you have a realistic plan for completion of the study within three to four years (full time). You need to think here about dividing the proposal into sections (not necessarily chapters at this stage) and indicating how you plan to research and write up each section.

6. Bibliography

Include a bibliography, in a standard format such as Harvard, listing the books and articles to which you refer in the proposal.

Tips for writing a research proposal in History

When you write a research proposal in history, it is important to make sure that your writing is always analytical and moves beyond just a simple description. Professional historical writers tend to evaluate and interpret each source carefully, connect causes and effects, as well as weigh up events’ significance.

  • Consistency and respect for deadlines

The most important tip: the proposal must be coherent between the parts. The justification must justify what is proposed in the objectives, just like that; sources and bibliography must contain a repertoire equally consistent with the objectives. The methodology/theory must emerge from the problems discussed in the rationale. So, for example, if you study nation and its correlates, in methodology/theory you must explain what your theoretical frameworks are for dealing with the concept of nation. The theoretical-methodological apparatus cannot be a choice separated from the theme, quite the opposite. The second fundamental characteristic is what we call self-awareness or sincerity. The student is eager to show that he knows the subject, which is natural within a selection process, but he must be able to explain what steps must be taken to reach a final goal. This is something that has to be present not only in the schedule but in all parts of the text, the proposal must appear feasible within the current deadlines of the program. One cannot lose sight of the fact that every supervisor’s nightmare today is a student who is unable to meet such tight deadlines.

  • Articulation between sources and historiography

Objectively, for the elaboration of a research proposal in History, it is essential, first, that the student is familiar with the sources and that they are identified in the project. Secondly, no matter what theme or period, it is necessary that the clipping is articulated with the sources and bibliography. We refer here to historiography that dialogues directly or indirectly with the research. Thus, it is also necessary that, when preparing the research project, the student demonstrates not only familiarity but also a critical reading of this set of bibliographical references. It is from the intersection between the documents with which one will work and the bibliographic review that the outline of the object and the research questions will be born. Finally, the organization and structure of the project must be clear about its rationale, objectives, and schedule. Sources, bibliography, and textual organization are the “rice and beans” of our craft. Showing familiarity and knowledge about these aspects is already a good way to participate in any selection.

  • Justify the intended contribution

A research project in History must present knowledge about the topic to be researched, that is, an exhibition of the “state of the art”, the good old “bibliographic balance”. This part of the text will guide the definition of the research objectives and justify the relevance of the intended contribution. In addition to prior knowledge of studies on the subject, the project must also show an initial mapping of the sources that will make up the research.

  • Conceptual clarity and contextualization

A research proposal in history needs to have conceptual clarity and a well-defined object. The proposals of the research project must be aligned and, above all, that there are available and interested advisors. For the writing, in addition to a good theoretical context, we identify that the most relevant point is the exposure of the research methodology, highlighting mainly the sources that will be used in the investigation, demonstrating the feasibility of implementing the proposal.

  • Propose a project with feasibility and bibliographic discussion

For many who intend to write a research project, the formulation of the research proposal is the biggest challenge. The biggest fear is convincing a panel that your research idea is relevant and viable to be carried out in the scheduled timeline. Well, even though every academic program, especially postgraduate programs, establish a specific model for its selection, every candidate needs to keep in mind some points which we believe are fundamental for success in this endeavour. The examination board needs to be convinced that your project is viable. It is important to remember that not all evaluators know the proposed theme, so it is essential that the text explains what the theme will be to be studied and what sources will be used, as well as their availability. Likewise, it is necessary to demonstrate knowledge about the bibliography on the subject to be studied. A good bibliographic discussion is of paramount importance in a project and, for this to occur, there must be a dialogue between what has already been researched and what is being proposed. Another relevant point is for the research to approach the interests of the desired program since this will generate interest both from the board and from possible advisors. Finally, the candidate must enjoy the topic very much. Academic work can’t be successful without this link. The researcher’s work is done with sweat and tears and, above all, with a lot of love.