Business Research Requests and Proposals
A proposal is a request for sponsorship on research or extensive projects. There are different types of proposals. Solicited proposals are submitted when specifically solicited by the sponsoring authority. These are also called a request for proposal (RFP). In the case of unsolicited proposals, the sponsor has not specifically solicited for the proposal, but the investigator believes the sponsor has a specific interest in the subject in focus. In preproposals, the applicant may not be required to prepare a full proposal.
A request for proposal (RFP) is a formal document posted by an organization to solicit bids either form potential vendors or research suppliers. This is always brought about by brand managers or new product providers in a bid to improve services offered by the organization. For example, an organization may want to prepare a request for proposal for new software they want to acquire. Alternatively, the organization may want to change their system from a manual form to a digital one that is reliable, easily manageable and credible. The organization may use internal research experts. However, the organization may lack the adequate resources and diversity to conduct the request for proposal; therefore, they may outsource it to research specialists, consultant firms or research students.
Preparing the request for proposal requires an adequate time and planning. Awarding the contract for the request for proposal depends on the organization or the set rules and regulations. It may be open take an example of a government, the law states that it publicly announces the request for proposal. However, in the case of a private firm, various methods may be used to award the contract. For example, the past contracting history of the firm may influence the decision whether to award the tender to a single bidder based on the past relationship and history with the firm. The suppliers consider the request for proposal critical in the future business and creating their reputation.
The Request for Proposal
The organization, its management authority or the research department-sponsoring management may choose a vendor for the RFP, basing on the reliability, which may include past contracts, time reliability, geographical location, reputation and experience among other factors that may suit the awarding decision.
Different requests for proposal have different formats depending on the organization. However, the RFP follows a general trend and has some similarities in the different firms, for instance:
- Proposal administration information.
- Summary statement of the problem.
- Management plan.
- Technical section.
- Contracts section.
- Pricing section.
It provides the general information for the management of the project. It provides the information regarding when the RFP is due, how the project will be handled, as well as the supplier selection. It also contains the contact information, names, addresses and phone numbers
Statement of the Problem
Understanding the client’s problem is crucial for a successful proposal. If the problem is not understood, a workable solution cannot be developed. The writer should analyze the cause of the problem. The statement of the problem often explains the needs of the firm issuing the request for proposal. It, therefore, makes the reviewer aware of the crisis in question. It also persuades the proposal reviewers.
A project requires management due to the need for a quality control. Supplier qualifications are detailed in this part. The sponsor’s schedule and plans are also included in the section. The budget may also be included in this part.
This section includes the technical details that the supplier needs in order to develop his or her proposal. It may include details on how the process needs to be conducted without being too specific or vague to allow for flexibility of the supplier in the research method employed. The supplier should, however, be restricted in meeting the sponsor’s requirement in this case; the problem statement, technical requirements and limitations should be included, as well.
Contracting includes the contracts the supplier needs to sign and a section requiring the supplier not to disclose the information about the organization, hence, maintaining the classified information. The supplier needs to be loyal in handing the classified information about the contractor. This is because the supplier understands the detailed problem and challenge in question. Moreover, he or she understands the course of action being considered and the options weighed by the organization’s sponsor.
In order to estimate the cost, suppliers need to get the detailed information on the breakdown of specific activities. This section ought to include all costs, including travelling costs, telephoning, mailing expenses, research material cost. Pricing is highly inclined the supplier’s skill or expertise.
There is a time frame for the project. It is affected by many variables, including complexity of the deadline, technical team issues as well as legislation deadlines.
The request for proposal is widely variable. However, a typical request for proposal entails following a standard format. General instructions to bidders provide the general information.
The background information includes the general profile of the contractor, about the project and project requirement. It expresses limitations of the solution, vendor information, legal qualifications, addresses, telephone numbers, general profile and history. Objectives express the expected goals and benefits of the solution suggested. The supplier makes clear what is to be achieved. The plan of action is guided by what is to be achieved in the objectives. The writer sticks to the objectives that are to be achieved in taking a given plan of action.
In the management plan section, the proposal consists of the schedule, cost and exact technical requirements for undertaking the research process. These include the proposed solution, the service and support, as well as the cost proposal.
This is a detailed document written by the researcher about the proposed project. It contains the entire information about the research and the summary information about the research project. There are different reasons for writing a research proposal, depending on the researcher. It may be in a quest to acquire funding for the research intended, the approval by the sponsoring authority, especially in a situation, in which there is the legislation guiding research projects. For instance, a researcher may want the approval from the management board on the research if they are to conduct the research on human beings for the medical experimentation, because such research is bound by state laws. The research proposal provides the documentation about the research, since it provides the detailed information of the research project.
Writing research proposals follows a general format, though differs depending on the firm. For instance, the research proposals are written in the future tense. The main content of the proposal consists of the background information, significance, methods of research, including technical requirements, conclusion and referees.
The method section, which includes the technical requirements, consists of detailed information, including the cost and risks and how the researcher aims at reducing them. The research proposal consists of another section outlining the expected results and the hypothesis.
A detailed proposal should provide the information about the cost and time it would consume. The writer should relate the interests of the sponsor of the project and make the sponsor’s interest inclusive to get the approval of the project. This should include the impact made by the project to the organization; again, this will depend on the institution or organization requiring the proposal; it may be a university, nation or financial institution. The researchers explain how they intend to do the research and appealing to the sponsor why they rather than a different party should perform the project.
The researcher’s goal will, however, rely heavily on the nature of the project and the type of organization the research is to be submitted. In this case, some sponsors may provide the basic guideline in the request for research. Therefore, the researcher should study carefully the requirements of the research proposal expected by the sponsor.
In preparing any research proposal, the researcher almost always has a sponsoring authority that they report to. For instance, in the case of a student writing a research proposal, the sponsoring authority, hence, the researcher may want to win the interest of the sponsor to acquire the technical and financial support.
Parts of a Proposal
Proposals for research show variations, depending on the sponsor’s interest and the research project. However, the proposals almost always obey a general format and generally have basic components.
The sponsor may want to make decisions basing on the abstract. An abstract provides a brief summary that is included at the beginning. A detailed and comprehensive summary of the project gives the reader the basic idea about the proposed research, while arousing the curiosity in the reader. It states the problem addressed by the applicant, suggests a reliable solution, defines the methods used in the project and clearly states the objectives to be achieved .The abstract may also include the monetary information, where the applicant clearly outlines monetary needs for the project. A good abstract should obey a standard form. A hypothesis is formulated in terms of the predicted statement about the expected results of the research. A hypothesis tends to relate to two variables. It should be clear and precise. The researcher may want to source the previous information from other past research work and make their reference in designing a basic hypothesis and in supporting the credibility and necessity of the research. The researchers should clearly define the reason why they make their prediction.
The methods intended to be used in the research should be included in the abstract. The researcher should state the data collection methods, as well as specific techniques. This should, however, base on methods used by previous researchers to express the credibility. The resources at the researcher’s disposal should be considered in determining the methods of research.
A summary of the information should be included. There should be an introduction to the general matter as well as the research question, the hypothesis, research methods, expected results with reasons. The summary section should be precise and straight to the point. The researcher should, however, stick to the word limits, font size and format if specified.
Table of Contents
This section is not mandatory and may be omitted, depending on the details in the proposal. Brief proposals may not require the table of contents. The table of contents is employed for convenience of the reader. The readers are able to scroll down to the page or topic they are interested in. Sections in the proposal should follow the exact order in the table of contents. It should show a breakdown of all the major parts of the proposal represented by lower case roman numerals.
A typical table of contents is basically a list of the topics in the proposal. It consists of the main topic and a page number. In this case, the topics should be precise and clear to avoid the confusion. Below the main topic are subtitles and subheadings, including their page numbers.
The numbering is normally done in lower case roman numerals and the subheadings in Arabic numerals. The topics should be on the left, while the numbering aligns to the right. The topics in the table of contents should be written in the same size, format and font size.Introduction
The introduction should provide the general information about the proposal. The basic information about the proposal should be clear in this section such that any reader gets the general picture. It should include a summary of the statement problem, the need of the research, and the significance. The introduction places the research proposal in a general knowledge form and explains how the proposed solution is significant.
A good introduction should introduce the proposal in such a way that it captures the attention of the reader. Despite expressing the proposal in a general knowledge context, it should, however, stick to the specific focus of the researcher. The introduction should be a significantly brief and in normal circumstances not exceed one page, but should contain enough information at the same time.
The writer should start by introducing the general topic. Then, he or she should proceed to show his or her knowledge by giving the background information about the topic of study. The writer should try to capture the reader’s attention by using interesting facts.
The writer proceeds to express the value of the research on existing data resources. The writer should most importantly clearly define what the researchers intend to uncover in their research. The writer should, however, not be tempted to include everything in the introduction, since this will lead to unnecessary details.
The background should clearly state the research problem, the writer’s own expertise, experience and qualification. The researcher should, however, express differences between their research and previous ones, since a repetition will not be desired. The work done by others should, therefore, provide a guideline to the researcher on generally what is required.
Description of the Proposed Research
This is the main part of the proposal and consists of a comprehensive detail of the proposal that can be used by other experts in the same field. This is the part focused on by the reviewers. The writer should limit his or her work to realistic objectives. Being too optimistic can make the proposal look unrealistic, hence, limiting its chances of approval. The proposal should be thereby limited to manageable projects that are significant and credible in order to trigger a further work on the same topic. In view of this, the researcher may want to clearly outline short term and long term objectives in their work.
It is essential for the researchers to be clear on the methods of study and hypothesis the research relies on. The main focus of the research should be outlined explicitly. The description should clearly outline the intention of the researcher to use a schedule. The schedule of the project should be precise, for instance, when the phases of the research are to be completed, when a subsequent phase begins, what can be done at what time and the projects to be undertaken simultaneously. In complex projects, the researcher may provide the sponsor with a calendar of events to provide the assurance that it will be done in due time showing the step by step planning and may include dates. It should be clear about the data evaluation and conclusion.
If the onset of the research is spent on the groundwork and laying the general platform of the research, it should be stated clearly in phases such that ground working is labeled phase 1, the next phase (phase 2) should then include what is to be accomplished.
This section is highly dependent on the project, but in general, it indicates the resources intended to be used for the research. The researcher should clearly show the sponsor that they have resources and are competent enough for the project. The researcher should boast vast intellectual resource in terms of experts in the relevant areas that will benefit the project. The researcher should display their uniqueness and uncommon research facilities and instruments available for the project.
This part is placed at the end of the texts if there is a need to include it, but it should come before the section for budget and personnel. The contents should be placed in a systematic order, in which they appear in the text. References to a given list can be made in different ways.
A simple common way is to use a number raised at a particular place, which should be placed away from punctuations.
This part consists of two sections: a part explaining the proposed experts, their resume and biographical data for each of the main personnel undertaking the project. This part should show a breakdown of what persons will be assigned to a particular section and their estimated time allocation. If the project involves a coalition of persons from different organizations, it should clearly outline the roles of different persons in the explicit fashion. The proposed contribution of every person should be outlined. If additional persons may need to be hired, it should be indicated by providing reasons.
The sponsors may specify the budget allocation and the amount of funds available for the project. The budget should clearly state how much is to be allocated to the different personnel and procurement and access to research equipment. This section may include other sources intended to be trusted.