To gain a place in a postgraduate college course, such as a master's degree or Ph.D., you must present a proposal outlining what you would like to research and why. Domestic violence affects real lives in the U.S. and worldwide, making it a pertinent subject for study. Find out what specific requirements the school has before applying some basic guidelines to write a successful research proposal on the subject.

Write a title, having studied the latest scholarly material and made an informed decision about what you would like to research. Your title does not need to explain every aspect of the proposal, but should reflect the main content. For example: "Cultural Factors of Domestic Violence among Eastern European Immigrants" or "The Impact of Domestic Violence on Preschool Children."

Write your first paragraph, detailing the topic you wish to study and why you consider it important. You must convince the committee that the subject is worth investing in. Cite any evidence, such as recent studies, that prove the need for research.

Write a hypothesis, if the program requires it. This states the theory you intend to test or demonstrate through your research. For example, your hypothesis might claim that the declining economy of a particular region has an effect on rates of domestic violence among young families.

Write your next few paragraphs, putting your topic into historical and academic perspective. Include the latest research on domestic violence, from books and scholarly journals. Relevant publications include "Journal of Family Violence," "Journal of Family Studies" and "Violence Against Women," and any resources specific to your academic field, such as psychology, sociology or health care.

Write a section about what research methods you will use. Likely methodology for research into domestic violence will include interviews, for example, but your proposal should show awareness of the safety and ethical issues involved for participants. You also need to address practical concerns, such as cost and time.

Write your final section about your expected conclusions and how you and others will use the results. For example, research into domestic violence could affect the way counselors, police officers and other professionals are trained to deal with such situations.


Describe other research in your own words, rather than quoting directly, as this shows you understand the source material.

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