Crucial Rules for Applying Tenses to Create a Quality Research Proposal

Wondering which tense is appropriate for composing a research proposal. Several rules have to be followed while composing a research proposal from scratch. One rule to remember is that the correct usage of tense often determine whether the proposal will be accepted or rejected.

Vagueness in tense is a common challenge in learners who are nonnative English speakers. Additionally, students can be confused regarding which tense is correct if the information has not been clearly indicated in the guidelines. Those encountering the task for the first time may need to grasp tense usage to ensure they write a high-quality, impressive document. This post was compiled to help students understand the correct tense to use in a proposal.

Function of tenses

Tenses help to showcase a relationship between the present moment and another period in time. When writing a proposal, it is often recommended to stick to the future tense. For instance, “This research will explain.” The use of the present tense is preferred in a proposal because it is an academic study that has not been conducted.

A research proposal is a document that justifies the need to investigate a research problem. It also presents ways in which the study will be conducted. As a result, a proposal provides persuasive and substantial evidence that there is a need to investigate an issue further.

It also describes the methodology for conducting research and its benefits to that field of study ad expected outcomes. However, some components of a proposal will require a different tense. For instance, the literature review section often applies the present tense. Therefore, a proposal can be composed using the present and future tense yet can further include past tense.

Check out this tense guideline to ensure each proposal chapters are drafted the appropriate way.

A quality proposal tends to have five main chapters

  1. Introduction (first chapter)
  2. Literature review (chapter 2)
  3. Methodology (chapter 3)
  4. Research findings (chapter 4)
  5. Discussion, conclusion, and recommendation (chapter 5)

Some proposals may require an abstract written in present tense especially when quoting facts and statistics.

Present Tense

Utilize present tense in the listed below proposal chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Results
  3. Conclusion
  4. Recommendation

H2: Usage of Past tense

  • Methodology
  • Findings
  • Discussion

Checking the correct tense and ensuring verb agreement is a crucial step in formulating a proposal. Failure to include the ideal tense can result in miscommunication, which translates to a project getting rejected. For native English speakers, verb agreement comes easily. However, some students may require a professional editor’s work to ensure their document has the right tense.

When writing a long paper such a proposal for a research paper, it is easy to get the tenses mixed up. The ideal option is to decide the tense you will use before you begin the writing process. Then use the style is applied throughout the paper. This is because consistency is the key to composing a successful proposal that is enjoyable and easy to read.

Remember, every institution has their own guidelines for writing a proposal. So always check first and when in doubt, ask your instructor.

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