You should be guided by the requirements of the institution you are applying to, if there are any, or ask advice from a potential supervisor.
My proposal was two A4 pages (I was told that was the maximum) and included:
A brief statement of the problem / mini literature review - about one and a quarter pages
Aims of the research - about a quarter of a page
Possible research questions - about a quarter of a page
Possible research design - about a quarter of a page
Then I had references on a third page - I figured they really didn't count in the page limit!
I just had a look back at my proposal to see what I had included and my research has evolved considerably since then. So don't feel that you have to get everything perfect. It's OK to be a bit vague.
I was in touch with lots of people relevant to my area, plus my potential supervisor, with regard to my proposal. People are really willing to help, I've found, so definitely worth emailing anybody relevant with questions. And definitely get your hypothetical supervisor to look at it!
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