Key Elements of Psychology Research Proposals + Sample Templates

Need help writing a research proposal for your psychology study? Then you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ll guide you through the key elements you should include for a winning proposal. We’ll also share a research proposal sample psychology that you can refer to!

With a well-written research proposal, you’ll be able to showcase the significance of your study. Plus, it can impress potential reviewers and secure the necessary funding for your project.

What is a Psychology Research Proposal?

A psychology research proposal outlines a proposed study consisting of the objectives, hypotheses, methods, and expected outcomes. This document serves as the blueprint for conducting a successful experiment or data collection effort in the field of psychology.

Research proposals are often required by granting agencies or academic institutions. Taking the time to create an effective proposal is essential for ensuring the success of any research project.

Key Elements of Psychology Research Proposals

The section you should include in a research proposal depend on the requirements set by your professor or grant agency. But in general, research proposals will need to have the following key elements:

Research Topic

This is the main focus of the research proposal. It should be explained clearly and concisely. This section aims to:

  • Identify the specific area of psychology that will be explored.
  • Provide a brief overview of existing knowledge on the subject.
  • Outline the objectives and goals of the proposed study.

Research Questions

A list of research questions should be included in the proposal to help guide the study’s investigation. These can range from broad inquiries into a given topic to more specific queries regarding certain aspects or areas related to the topic.

Literature Review

An effective literature review serves two essential purposes:

  • It provides an overview of the current understanding of the topic.
  • Demonstrates that the researcher has conducted adequate background research to develop an informed hypothesis.

Hypothesis/Research Objectives

The hypothesis forms the basis of the research project and outlines what the researcher expects to find. It should also include any specific objectives associated with testing the hypothesis.


This sections focuses on the methods used to conduct the study. It provides information on the study’s sample size, participant demographics, research environment, data collection techniques, and so on.

Data Analysis Plan

Once data has been collected, it must be analyzed to draw meaningful conclusions. Outlining a data analysis plan helps ensure that all relevant aspects are considered during analysis.

Expected Results

You won’t be able to predict precisely how an experiment will play out. But you can still give some insight into expected outcomes based on available evidence. This will allow readers to evaluate the validity and practicality of the proposed research project.

Significance and Implications

Explaining the project’s significance gives readers a better idea of why it was conducted in the first place. Detail the potential implications of the findings. This will help others consider the study’s broader application beyond simply answering the research question.

person wearing yellow sweater using silver laptop computer on brown table
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Research Proposal Sample Psychology Template

Sample 1


A. Background of the study: Provide an overview of the studied topic. This includes pertinent facts and figures demonstrating the need for further research. Be sure to include any relevant literature reviews and a concise explanation of the focus of your proposal.

B. Rationale/Rationale for Study: Explain why this study should be conducted, including its value to the scientific community. Include evidence from previous studies or theories that may suggest your proposed project’s potential outcomes.

C. Hypothesis/Objectives: State your hypothesis or research objectives clearly and succinctly. Describe how you plan to conduct the study and provide detailed information on collecting and analyzing data.


A. Participants: Detail the criteria used to identify and select participants for the study. Specify how many participants are needed and describe their demographic profiles (e.g., age range, gender, education level, etc.).

B. Instruments: Identify the instruments (e.g., questionnaires, interviews, surveys) used to collect data and discuss how they were developed and validated. Cite any sources consulted when creating these instruments.

C. Procedures: Outline all procedures to be followed during the study, including recruitment methods, data collection techniques, and analysis processes.

D. Data Analysis

Describe the statistical tests to analyze data and explain how results will be interpreted. Make sure to specify whether any ethical issues have been considered when conducting the study and discuss any implications for future research projects.


A. Summarize your study’s purpose, methodology, and findings and make recommendations for future action based on these results.

B. Conclude by comprehensively reviewing what has been learned through your work. You can also thank anyone who assisted or supported you throughout the process.

Sample 2


A. Background: Describe the need for research in psychology and how it relates to your study. Give a brief overview of past studies or experiments conducted on the same topic and explain why further exploration is necessary.

B. Purpose & Significance: Explain why you are undertaking this research project and what impact it could have on society. Elucidate what questions will be answered by carrying out the proposed study and which theories may be examined as part of the process.

C. Objectives: Outline the specific objectives of the research, such as exploring certain phenomena or measuring particular variables. Specify any hypotheses that may be tested during the investigation.

D. Study Design & Methodology: Summarize the methods chosen to achieve the project’s aims and justify their selection. Describe key components of the methodology used, including participant selection criteria, data collection techniques, and analysis plans.

Literature Review

A. Overview: Include relevant literature on your research question and discuss its implications.

B. Strengths & Limitations: Analyze the strengths and limitations of existing work in the field. You can also identify gaps that need to be filled with further research.

C. Synthesis & Recommendations: Present a literature review synthesis and make recommendations for future studies based on your findings.

Results & Analysis

A. Data Collection: Describe how data was collected from participants, such as surveys or interviews, along with details about sample size and demographics.

B. Analysis Techniques: Clarify which statistical tools were used for analyzing results, such as linear regression or ANOVA tests. Explain how data was processed before being presented in charts or tables.

C. Findings & Implications: Present the key findings from the analysis, commenting on both positive and negative outcomes where applicable. Discuss potential implications for psychological theory, practice, or policy in light of these results.

Discussion & Conclusions

Summarize the main points discussed throughout the paper and reiterate the purpose of the study and its results/implications.

Final Words

 So there you have it: the key elements of a psychology research proposal and some sample templates to get you started. Writing a winning proposal is not easy. But by taking a cue from this research proposal sample psychology, you can present your project more effectively.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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