1 Page Research Proposal

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.

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.

Please bear in mind that Ph D programmes in the UK are designed to be completed in three years (full time) or six years (part time).

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Although the proposal should include an outline, it should also be approached as a persuasive essay – that is, as an opportunity to establish the attention of readers and convince them of the importance of your project. It is useful to view your proposal as an initial outline rather than a summary of the ‘final product’.(1999): Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-time Researchers in Education & Social Science, (Oxford University Press, Oxford). This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, Ph D.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). 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.This section should discuss the texts which you believe are most important to the project, demonstrate your understanding of the research issues, and identify existing gaps (both theoretical and practical) that the research is intended to address.This section is intended to ‘sign-post’ and contextualize your research questions, not to provide a detailed analysis of existing debates.Here is a brief explanation of the sections needed to complete a standard research proposal as well as the writing timeline you should strive to follow. A two page paper might just require a paragraph or two for a proposal. Your research proposal is an integral part of the Research Degree application process, and as such, it is worth investing time and energy to ensure that your proposal is strong, clear and effective.

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