Research plan vs. research proposal
In the academy there are still some confusions between what is the research plan and the research proposal. For some authors it is the same thing, but others point from slight to wide dissimilarities.
They are the same? Are there any differences? In particular, they are not the same. And yes, there are profound differences.
The research proposal is a request or application that (worth the redundancy) is proposed to someone, be it a research office or research department or scientific financing entity (such as a foundation), for its evaluation, obtaining authorization and / or financial support for its initiation and execution as a research project. It may be the research proposal of a graduate student’s thesis or the proposal of an experienced researcher or of an entire institution.
The research plan is the search or exploration program that you want to do according to a goal. The plan may refer to the project of a person, a team of researchers or an institution (such as a university or business) or a government, and may be composed of one or more research projects.
When it comes to a university or scientific center, the institutional research plan can be transformed into the ‘research agenda’, and its perspective expressed in (1) multi-projects and (2) in the medium or long term. In addition, in the development of this plan, the involved researchers can continue to generate proposals for projects that arise along the way.
The research proposal, on the other hand, is, to put it in some way, a scientific or academic ‘composition’ that is developed based on any type of formats that ask the applicant, within the framework of priorities and policies of the financial institution or from the host institution of the researcher (s). The proposal is enriched with the most recent and valuable information on the subject that it deals with, and it is solidly constructed to demonstrate the knowledge and capacity on the matter on the part of the author (s); the place, methods and resources to do it; the background and skills of the person (s) intend to do so, and justify the need to carry it out; In this way, persuade the director of the institution or reviewers of the foundation to support their initiative.
The research plan is a guide guided by concrete objectives tending to solve unknowns or to create or to innovate, and it can have as North an ideal goal. For example, there is research for the cure of cancer, which occurs through all kinds of projects with particular objectives anywhere in the world. The mere idea of the cure of the disease remains unattainable, but it is the guiding beacon. Some objectives are met, but the goal is not reached. In this case, this has been the case for decades.
JC Banka’s thesis research, which consisted in the preparation of “a research plan to evaluate the power and energy capacity of a fluvial network under an integrated wind / hydro power regime” (University of Toronto, 2017), and It is a clear example of a broad-spectrum research plan for the development of hydraulic and wind infrastructure to produce electricity.
In summary, at the individual level, it could be said that the main purpose of a research proposal is to persuade another person or foundation to support an investigation, while the main function of the research plan is to guide the researcher through the project that will develop without deviating from its particular objectives.