Whenever you want to do some research it is necessary for you to first start with a proposal. This way, the outcome of your study will be much more accurate and useful, because you will have taken an educated guess as to what kind of outcome might be expected. This means that instead of waiting until the end before knowing whether your project was successful or not, you will know at an early stage where there are problems with your research methods, what experiments need improvement or which additional experiments could be made.
The main reason why students are required to write a research proposal is that they are being taught how to formulate questions so that the data obtained from the experiment would serve well in answering these questions. Before doing any experiment, scientists must always pose theories and answer specific questions. These theories and questions should be formulated in such a precise manner that the experiment can prove or disprove them, depending on its outcome.
As an example, let us consider you want to do research about whether there is a relationship between how many hours of sleep an individual gets and whether they get their homework done. Let’s say your hypothesis is “the less sleep students get, the more likely they will fail to complete their homework”. This means if you conduct your research by getting one group of volunteers who only slept for three hours instead of eight, and another group who got eight hours of sleep instead of three, this would be unfair since both groups are not at the same starting level. Thus, it would be difficult for you to make a conclusion about the relationship between sleep and homework completion.
The point is, you must always think of all possible variables that might influence your experiment. So instead of deciding on how many hours to get (eight vs three) you could, for example, conduct your research by getting two groups: one that sleeps eight hours and another one that sleeps nine hours. By doing this, each group will be at approximately the same starting level in terms of sleep deprivation. Only then can you finally determine whether there is a relationship between sleep and homework completion or not.
Thus, the main reason why students need to write a research proposal is because it helps them formulate precise methods so their data would answer very specific questions about their research topic. This makes it easier to draw conclusions and saves time and effort.
In short, when you conduct a research it is necessary for you to write down your methods in written form so that if something doesn’t work out as expected, you will know where there is a problem with your experiment. This allows you to adjust things in order to achieve more accurate data which can be used to answer questions related to the topic of your study.
If you want to learn more about the importance of research proposals and how to write one, you can take a look at this article.