Please check carefully with each department to find out whether a specific template is provided or required.In general, however, the following elements are crucial in a good research proposal: This can change, but make sure to include important ‘key words’ that will relate your proposal to relevant potential supervisors, funding schemes and so on.Potential supervisors, admissions tutors and/or funders use research proposals to assess the quality and originality of your ideas, your skills in critical thinking and the feasibility of the research project.
All proposals have to cover the same core material: description of a problem or issue, a review of relevant literature, identification of research questions or hypotheses, description of appropriate methods to address those concerns.
Different disciplines have different styles in how they structure this material.
You should also use this section to make links between your research and the existing strengths of the department to which you are applying.
Visit appropriate websites to find out about existing research taking place in the department and how your project can complement this.
Make sure that your title goes beyond simply describing the subject matter – it should give an indication of your approach or key questions.
In this section you should provide a short overview of your research and where it fits within the existing academic discourses, debates or literature.
Quite often, students who fit the minimum entrance criteria fail to be accepted as Ph D candidates as a result of weaknesses in the research proposal. (1997): Supervising the Ph D, (Open University Press, Milton Keynes).
To avoid this, keep the following advice in mind: Bell, J. (2001): How to Research, (Open University Press, Milton Keynes). (2000): The Research Student's Guide to Success, (Open University, Milton Keynes).
Research proposals may vary in length, so it is important to check with the department(s) to which you are applying to check word limits and guidelines.
Generally speaking, a proposal should be around 3,000 words which you write as part of the application process.