The research proposal is a plan of action; it sets out the aims of your research project and how you intend to achieve these aims. A good research proposal provides a focus for your research activity and a benchmark against which you can make whatever adjustments become necessary.
Further guidelines on the preparation of a research proposal can be found in the following document:
Framing a clear research question is a crucial part of developing your research proposal, and should be seen as emerging from a dialogue between a developing theoretical position and decisions you need to take about research design and subsequent data analysis. Guidelines for framing your research question can be found here.
Other useful documents to help you get started are: