The proposal should give a clear indication of the cost of the research being proposed and of how those costs are derived. When comparing costs of a number of different proposals against each other, the cost-related assumptions should be checked. Is the length suggested for the questionnaire reasonable for the data required of it? If a 10-minute questionnaire is indicated in the research proposal and the questionnaire finally approved turns out to be 20 minutes long, then additional costs will be incurred. If the number of tabulations indicated in the proposal turns out to have been unrealistic and further tabulations are required, then once again additional costs will be incurred.

Are the costs all-inclusive? Check whether or not a report with the number of copies required and a verbal presentation are included in or excluded from the cost quoted. Is VAT included or an extra? For how long is the proposal cost valid? It is unusual for a research agency to offer open-ended cost proposals. Like all other businesses, research agencies' costs rise, so it is unreasonable to expect the price to remain the same for a research proposal quoted in one year and commissioned in the next.

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