Eight Deadly Proposal Preparation Pitfalls

preparation pitfalls

Among the hardest challenges to do is to sell oneself on paper. You might be fantastic in person, but there’s no clear communication to help you determine if you’re on the correct route online, unlike in person.

Nothing is more aggravating than putting a lot of effort into a business proposal just to have it turned down. When this happens, business owners are left wondering where they went so wrong. It’s usually not about their skills or expertise, but about the proposal, you filed.

Here are 8 of the most typical reasons why business ideas are rejected, as well as ways to assist you to avoid making the same mistakes again.

#1: The study topic is far too wide.

The research topic is merely too broad, which is one of the most prevalent problems we notice in thesis and dissertation proposals. In other words, the study emphasis is not tightly ringfenced (or just not described clearly sufficiently), culminating in a proposal with an uncertain direction or an attempt to take too much on.

When developing your study topic, try for a somewhat tight emphasis as a rule of thumb. This will help you to delve further into the topic, which is exactly what the marker would like to see. When it comes to choosing and refining your study topic, quality trumps quantity – or, more accurately, depth trumps breadth.

#2: The research goals, objectives, and questions are incompatible.

Misalignment between the study objectives and goals, and also the research questions, is another prevalent issue we observe with weaker research proposals. There are instances when all three are mismatched, and other times when only one is. Whatever the situation may be, it’s a problem that could result in proposal rejection because these three aspects must be firmly linked.

As you must have seen, the studies and investigations and research problems are very linked; both are concerned with elements that foster trust. The research objectives, on the other hand, are mismatched, as they focus on comparing levels of trust across different groups rather than determining what characteristics promote trust. This will lead to a study that is tugging in several ways, which is bad.

Consider the following example of a skewed trio.

Research Objective:

To find out what characteristics help British insurance brokers build organizational trust.

Goals of Research:

To determine the level of organizational trust among different demographic groups in the United Kingdom. To find out why different groups have different levels of organizational trust.

Question for Research:

What variables influence client confidence in insurance brokers in the United Kingdom?

#3: The research question is not well-founded.

To persuade your institution to authorize your research, a solid research subject — that is, a good collection of research goals,   research objectives, and questions – must be properly justified. Proposals are frequently rejected due to a lack of justification for the research topic.

Thus, how would you defend your study?

You must exhibit both uniqueness and significance while justifying a study topic. Originality refers to the fact that your planned research is original, or at least novel in its contexts, such as a particular sector or region (Derek Jansen & David Phair, 2021).

The second factor is important. A topic’s uniqueness does not imply its importance. You must be able to articulate the advantages of conducting your planned research. Who stands to gain? What would be their gain? How might the newly acquired knowledge be applied in the real world, whether it be in academics or the sector?

#4: The study’s theoretical base is shaky.

Your study idea must come from existing research, as I said in the preceding step. In other terms, your study must address an obvious gap in the literature — something that hasn’t been thoroughly investigated or that lacks research in a particular setting.

Your proposal must have a solid theoretical basis to persuade your institution that your issue would fill a need in the research. In all other words, you must demonstrate that you have completed the required reading and are conversant with the current research. To accomplish so, you’ll need to present an integrated assessment of existing research and point out the theoretical gap.

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#5: The study design is not well-articulated.

After you’ve made a compelling case for the importance of your study (i.e., justified it), your research proposal must now address the “how” – in other words, your desired research design and technique.

Students frequently fail to get enough information in this part, which is a common problem. This is frequently because they are unsure about what they will do and plan to “figure it out later,” which is insufficient. However, sometimes it’s simply a question of inadequate articulation – in other terms, they have such a clear idea in their heads but haven’t put it in writing.

#6: Sloppy presentation and poor writing.

Even if you check all the other standards, poor writing and shoddy presentation can detract significantly from your study proposal. While bad writing and design alone are unlikely to get your proposal rejected, they will put you at a deficit because they cast a negative light on the various quality of the work.

#7: Inadequate risk management and project planning.

While different colleges will have different criteria, most will demand or at least expect a project plan of some type. Given your limits, a successful research proposal must be realistic and doable, as I indicated previously. As a result, a well-thought-out project plan that takes into account all of the realities (and uncertainties) is an essential component of a solid research proposal.

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#8: Failure to meet the university’s specified requirements.

While research projects are generally generic in respect of content and style and follow a fairly regular framework, each institution has its preferences for what should be included in a thesis or dissertation proposal.

Some institutions require somewhat detail in particular sections, additional sections, and an extremely specialized structure and format (even down to font type and size!). As a result, you must pay special attention to any institution-specific criteria established by your university.


Derek Jansen (MBA) & David Phair (PhD) (2021). Writing A Research Proposal: 8 Common (And Costly) Mistakes To Avoid. https://gradcoach.com/research-proposal-rejection-mistakes/