Social Research Proposal

social research proposal

What is Social Research?

Social research can be defined as,

“The scientific study of society”.


“Social research examines a society’s attitudes, assumptions, beliefs, trends, stratifications and rules”.

The scope of social research can be small or large, ranging from the self or a single individual to spanning an entire race or country. Popular topics of social research include poverty, racism, class issues, sexuality, voting behavior, gender constructs, policing and criminal behavior.

Popular Areas in Social Sciences

  • Humanities
  • Sociology
  • Arts
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Cognitive Sciences

Types of Social Research

Social research is commonly applied to social science subjects, following  two types of social research methodologies:

Qualitative Research

    The emphasis of qualitative research is on building understanding of social phenomena through text analysis, communication and direct observation. It lays stress on subjective and contextual accuracy over generality.

Quantitative Research

    The quantitative research emphasizes on social phenomena through evidence which exists in numeric or quantifiable form. It depends on statistical analysis of data and leads to valid and reliable claims and results.

What is a Social Research Proposal?

A social research proposal can be defined as,

“A document written by a social scientist that describes in details the program for a proposed scientific investigation”.

Before carrying out the social research or investigation, the researchers are obliged to present a research proposal to the approval committee; once the committee is convinced of the importance and contribution of your research in the field of sociology, permission and funds are granted.

A formal social research cannot commence without writing a proposal. A proposal gives the approval authority an overall idea of your research topic.

Format of a Social Research Proposal

A social research proposal contains the same elements as a general proposal. However, the difference is that you need to follow a different approach and style while drafting it.

Following are the basic elements that make a social research proposal effective:

Research Question

Being a researcher, you need a research question to build a focus of your research. A research question defines boundaries for your study. Research committees prefer a straightforward and simple title as it clearly communicates the readers what you are planning to do; and leaves no room for confusion.

Introduction of the Subject

The subject part needs to be constructed carefully. Begin by telling about your topic in general, then focus on the issues one by one and by the end of the paragraph, you should mention the exact points of your subject. Support the introduction by telling why you think research on your topic is necessary.


In the third section, write down how you are planning to approach the subject. Straightforwardly talk about the methodology you are going to apply in your research. A good choice is to mention the timetable and the cost of research. You may also point out the ethical issues of your research and ways of handling them. This section has the most weight.


You need to present a tentative conclusion of your research which may or may not be accurate. Also mention how you think the predicted results of your social research will impact the society.


You must include a complete bibliography at the end of the social research proposal. Bibliography will indicate that you have a strong grip on the subject matter and your preliminary research has been thorough.

Important Tips for Writing a Social Research Proposal

Many a times, it happens that the approval committee rejects the research proposal because the researcher has been unable to produce a satisfactory write up. We recommend that you follow our advices strictly.

  • Your research question or problem must be stated clearly and well grounded in academic research.
  • A research proposal requires that a lot of information must be fitted into minimum word count.
  • Make several drafts for your social research proposal and make sure you read and re-read them before submission so that the final draft is clear and concise.
  • Take help from your professors or friends on the subject area. Have them read your proposal and allow room for changes.
  • Be as diligent in writing your social research proposal as you can. The proposal should be well focused and conforms exactly to the submission requirements of your college/university.