This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, Ph D.
Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas.
Other sources of topics include (Dunford, 2004): (2003) suggest that prior to the research proposal it may be a good plan to carry out an analysis of one or more topics that interest you.
The topic analysis is not a formal research proposal as such but rather an in-depth exploration of a topic with some of the headings of a research proposal, notably research objectives/hypotheses, prior research in the area/literature review, value in terms of possible outcomes, and research design or approach to the research.
Others to consult are experts in the area, and your Ph D student colleagues.
It is important to remember that the audience for the research proposal is not made up just of experts, and to write clearly enough that the proposal can be understood on its own, without reference to other documents.
These can help evaluate the research and provide guidance.
It thus gives the researcher the assurance that they are not doing a piece of research in isolation: the document outlining their research has been seen and approved by others.
Writing things down helps give clarity to your ideas: the written word is a lot more unforgiving that the spoken one in terms of its demand for precision.
By its very nature, a proposal is written for an audience of more experienced researchers.