Structure of Research Project Proposal and Report

This is an abridged version of the Guidelines for students pursuing Research Project at the postgraduate level issued by the School for Human Resource Development (SHRD) of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), reference JKU/AA/SHRD/106 & W1-2-58-4-3. It has been edited by the Publisher with the goal to assist and improve the quality of academic papers written by the students at JKUAT Mombasa CBD Campus whom he is supervising their research projects. Also the Publisher appreciates that this an insightful reading material for scholars, practitioners in research and other readers interested in the subject matter.


A)    Title page to include:

i.            Title

–           A concise statement of the main topic and should identify the variables.

–           Should be a reflection of the contents of the document.

–           Fully explanatory when standing alone.

–           Should not contain redundancies such as ‘a study of…..or ‘an investigation of……

–           Abbreviations should not appear in the title.

–           Scientific names should be in italics.

–           Should contain 12 to 15 words.

ii.            Author’s name and affiliation

–           Avoid use of words like ‘By’….. ‘from”…..

–           Preferred order of names- start with 1st, middle followed by last name.

–           Full names should be used, initials should be avoided.

–           Titles like Dr. should not appear in the names.

Affiliation should be well illustrated i.e.  ‘A thesis/ research project submitted to the Department of ………in the School for Human Resource Development in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the degree of ……..  Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

The year should follow at the bottom of the caption.


For proposals (spiral bound) the cover page should include the title, author and affiliation (all on one page) and centered.

B)    Declaration: Should include both the candidate’s and the supervisor’s declaration and duly signed.

This proposal/thesis is my original work and has not been presented for a degree in any other University

………………….                                                                       …………………

Signature                                                                                 Date

This proposal/thesis has been submitted for examination with my approval as University Supervisor


………………                                                                        ……………….

Signature                                                                     Date

Note: Paginate using roman numbers starting with the declaration page.

 C)    Abstract: This is a brief statement of the problem, objectives of the study, target population, sampling technique and sample size, instruments, data collection, data processing and analysis, key findings and major recommendations.

–                      Should not exceed 1000 words.

D)    Table of contents: The rubric should be in title case and single spaced.

–           The chapter titles should be in caps and bold.

–           The subheadings should follow each chapter title and should be in title case.

–           Subheading of rows should be – Chapters & Pages indicated once at the top of each column e.g.

CHAPTER 1                                                 PAGE

1.1 Introduction          ……………………………..1

1.2 Statement of the problem……………..………2



E)    List of Tables:

 F)     List of Figures:

 G)   Acronyms:

H)    Definition of terms:

– Define terms in the text that are not common.



 This chapter should include the following;

1.1  Background: –Should show understanding and genesis of the problem.

–          Talk about the global perspective followed by the local scenario.

–          Talk about the target group in the study.

–          Should be approximately 5 pages (4-6 pages)

1.2  Statement of the problem:-

–           Must indicate exactly what the problem is.

–  Indicate why and how it is a problem. Give information to support this e.g. by use of statistics or evidence. This should be derived from background information to illustrate connectivity.

–           Length- Maximum 2 pages.

1.3  Objectives:-

–           One general objective which should be in line with the title.

–  Specific objectives- have to be in line with the variables the candidates hypothesize to influence the phenomenon being investigated.

–   Should be related to the general objective.

–  Should not be questions in the questionnaire.

1.4  Research Questions:-

–  They should be in line with the specific objectives and equal in number.

–  Have to be numbered (1, 2, 3…..) and should be questions and not statements.

1.5  Justification:-

–          Should illustrate why the researcher is conducting the research and whom it shall benefit.

1.6  Scope:-

–   This is a kind of a disclaimer. It should cite the focus of the study geographical area or target group/ population.

1.7  Limitation:-

–  Not a must for a proposal.

–   Has to be there in the final project report.

–  Indicate the challenges encountered in the study that may have limited the study.


–          Paragraphing should be consistent. Either leave space or indent between paragraphs.

–          Spacing and indenting should not be used together.

–          One sentence paragraphs are unacceptable.

–          A paragraph should have a minimum of five sentences.

Table of contents should be followed by:

–          List of figures/ tables- Should be labeled as per the chapters in which they are found e.g. the first figure in chapter one should be labeled as Figure 1.1




This chapter should include;

2.1   Introduction

2.2  Theoretical Review/Conceptual Framework

–     Review the empirical and theoretical literature relevant to the problem being investigated showing clearly the linkage of literature review to the research questions.

–     Indicate what has been done by other researchers including the methodologies used and identify gaps.

–     The hypothesized variables should be subheadings of the literature review to form a framework that would help in analysis.

–     Conceptual framework should demonstrate an understanding of what variable influences what.

–     Cite 3-5 references per key section in the text.

–     Use either APA or Harvard method of citation. Consistency is important in citation.

–     Each key variable should be 2-3 pages long.

2.3  Critique of the existing literature relevant to the study

2.4  Summary

2.5  Research Gaps



This chapter should indicate:

3.1  Research design- Indicate type of research, justify the choice of type of research by citing authority.

3.2  Population – clearly identify the population and the target population. Justify the target population.

3.3  Sampling frame – Justify the choice.

3.4  Sample and sampling technique – illustrate understanding of the technique.

3.5  Instruments

3.6  Data collection procedure

3.7  Pilot test – depends on the instrument being used

3.8  Data Processing and analysis

REFERENCES: Thesis should include both referencing and bibliography and project to have only reference.

APPENDICES: Instruments (e.g. questionnaire, Interview Schedule etc), Budget, work plan.


The Report will include the above three chapters re-written in reported speech plus Chapters four and five.



i)          Style of presentation: – presentation of raw data followed by discussion.

ii)        Should be guided by the methodology: – Unit of analysis should be based on the research questions or objectives and should capture the independent variables.

iii)      Tables should have no vertical lines (use simple formatting).

iv)      Table titles should be at the top of the tables.

v)        Tables copied from elsewhere should have source below them.

vi)      Any table generated by the researcher should not have the source quote.

vii)    Figure titles should be at the bottom of the figures.

viii)  Figures can have different shadings.

ix)      Discussion should follow the results.




5.1       INTRODUCTION: -A brief on the chapter

5.2       SUMMARY: – This is an extended abstract

5.3       CONCLUSIONS: – Must be derived from the summary

5.4       RECOMMENDATIONS: – Should be derived from the conclusions


The Project to have only reference


 i)          Instruments

ii)        Tables

iii)      Figures

iv)      Letters of introduction

v)        Budget

vi)      Work plan


–          Shall be guided by the guidelines on the structure of the proposal/project.

A)    Pre-requisites

i)          The Researcher must come up with original work. The Department shall maintain compendium for the past research work to fight plagiarizing, which is a serious academic offence contrary to JKUAT Examination Regulations.

ii)        Candidates shall be required to discuss their concept paper with prospective supervisor before submitting to the department.

B)    Grading shall be as follows

–          Pass with minor amendments

–          Pass with major amendments

–          Reject – total overhaul

–          Thesis/projects shall be graded in accordance with the applicable clause of the University and SHRD Regulations.

–          Scores for proposals shall be on the basis of pass/fail taking into consideration objective oriented evaluation by the panel.

–          Awarding of marks/scoring shall be based on the SHRD project/thesis assessment sheet that already exists.


i)          Proposal length shall not exceed 20 pages (from chapter 1) double spaced excluding bibliography and references. Under special circumstances a candidate may be allowed to exceed the limit.

ii)        Referencing system should either be Harvard or APA but consistently used.

iii)      Font – Times New Roman 12 should be used. Fancy fonts should be avoided.

iv)      There should be a margin of 50mm on the left hand and a 25mm margin on the right hand side of the A4 paper

v)        A 25mm margin should be on the top and bottom sides of the paper

vi)      Every copy of the thesis should be bound in black. The spine of the thesis should be embossed in gold with the names of the candidate, the degree and the year. The writing should read from the bottom to the top of the spine.


i)          The presentations must be in PowerPoint.

ii)        Quality slides (legible from a distance of 20 feet) giving a summary of the whole proposal/thesis should be presented.

iii)      Slides should not exceed 15.

iv)      Master’s / Bachelor’s proposal presentations shall be limited to 10 minutes.

About the Author

10 thoughts on “Structure of Research Project Proposal and Report

  1. David Simiyu - November 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I request for your assistance when begin my Masters Degree Research Project.

    • Mohamed Hassan Ahmed - November 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Mr, Gabriel Lubale, I wanted to asking you, Something about project proposal or structure of Research Proposal guidelines and instruction to helped me, special JKUAT guidelines and requirement students.
      Leadership and Governance JKUAT programed Savannah University Somalia – Mogadishu.
      By Ahmed

  2. Jani Busque - June 2, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Literature may consist of texts based on:
    1. Factual information – journalistic or non-fiction,
    2. Original imagination – polemical works or autobiography,
    3. Reflective essays as well as belles-Olettres.
    Literature can be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political influences. The concept of genre, which earlier was limited, has been broadened over the centuries.

  3. Okalo - September 27, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Thanks for the guide its worth it. I hope you can allow me to ask for advice from time to time.

  4. Moses Wanyama - November 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Very important information about project research work. I hope I will move now so that I complete my studies soon. Please to write on how to publish the research report including the procedures and the costs that may be incurred.

  5. Tamara - October 28, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you for your guidelines. This has been so helpful. GOD bless you.

  6. Hesbon Kola - February 17, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Hello Mr. Lubale,
    Thank you for your intellectual mind that adds value to the body of knowledge.
    Kindly if I may ask, may you refer me to a person you know who is good in statistics analysis to teach about regression analysis and software analysis packages?
    I will appreciate because I will apply the same knowledge when analyzing my Masters project and PhD thesis.

    Kindly help

  7. dhymond wana - March 20, 2015 at 3:52 am

    sir,thankyou very much for your research structure it is very helpful to me.thanks a lot.

  8. TEDDY LESEYA - July 21, 2015 at 9:36 am

    av go your format . would you kindly send me an example of a done project so all refer to it….. as am doing my project

  9. Teresa makokha - November 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks.your research structure is assisting me alot in my masters. it’s really of much help to students in this field.


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