A good proposal should consist of the first three chapters of the dissertation. It should begin with a statement of the problem/background information (typically Chapter I of the dissertation), then move on to a review of the literature (Chapter 2), and conclude with a defining of the research methodology (Chapter 3).
It’s important that your research proposal be organized around a set of questions that will guide your research.
Very often a real stumbling block is that we don’t have an image in our mind of what the finished research proposal should look like. How has the other proposal been organized? What are the headings that have been used? Does the other proposal seem clear? Does it seem to suggest that the writer knows the subject area? Can I model my proposal after one of the ones that I’ve seen?
A main difference between a IMRaD report is to be informative, or to present information on the experiment conducted. A research paper is argumentative, because the focus is to show the multiple arguments regarding a topic and then proving your thesis is correct.