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Graduate Assistant Institute. College of Graduate Studies Contact Us. Contact Moscow. Broken into fully developed sections, each with a heading, this overview should include: Introduction. Introduces the topic in broad terms. States how you came to be interested in the topic. Briefly summarizes the context and significance of the project. Creates reader interest in the project. Statement of problem or question. Frames the problem or question that your thesis will be addressing.
The problem is an issue that arises out of the scholarly literature, theory, or practice that necessitates further study. The proposal should outline your research methods, explaining how you are going to conduct your research. Your methods may include visiting particular libraries or archives, field work or interviews. Most research is library-based. If your proposed research is library-based, you should explain where your key resources e. If you plan to conduct field work or collect empirical data, you should provide details about this e.
How many interviews will you conduct? Will there be problems of access? This section should also explain how you are going to analyse your research findings. The proposal should demonstrate the originality of your intended research. You should therefore explain why your research is important for example, by explaining how your research builds on and adds to the current state of knowledge in the field or by setting out reasons why it is timely to research your proposed topic.
The proposal should include a short bibliography identifying the most relevant works for your topic. The proposal should usually be around 2, words. It is important to bear in mind that specific funding bodies might have different word limits. We recognise that you are likely still developing your research topic. We therefore recommend that you contact a member of our staff with appropriate expertise to discuss your proposed research.
If there is a good fit between your proposed research and our research strengths, we will give you advice on a draft of your research proposal before you make a formal application. For details of our staff and there areas of expertise please visit our staff pages. Read a sample proposal from a successful application.
Birmingham Law School is home to a broad range of internationally excellent and world-leading legal academics, with a thriving postgraduate research community. The perfect place for your postgraduate study. Regardless of whether you are applying for the MJur, MPhil or PhD programmes, your research proposal should normally include the following information: 1.
Title This is just a tentative title for your intended research. Abstract The proposal should include a concise statement of your intended research of no more than words. Research Context You should explain the broad background against which you will conduct your research.
Research Questions The proposal should set out the central aims and questions that will guide your research. Research Methods The proposal should outline your research methods, explaining how you are going to conduct your research.
Significance of Research The proposal should demonstrate the originality of your intended research. Bibliography The proposal should include a short bibliography identifying the most relevant works for your topic.
It should also highlight potential limitations you anticipate, feasibility within time and other constraints, ethical considerations and how you will address these, as well as general resources. A work plan is a critical component of your research proposal because it indicates the feasibility of completion within the timeframe and supports you in achieving your objectives throughout your degree.
Consider the milestones you aim to achieve at each stage of your research. A PhD or master's degree by research can take two to four years of full-time study to complete. It might be helpful to offer year one in detail and the following years in broader terms. Ultimately you have to show that your research is likely to be both original and finished — and that you understand the time involved. Provide details of the resources you will need to carry out your research project.
Consider equipment, fieldwork expenses, travel and a proposed budget, to indicate how realistic your research proposal is in terms of financial requirements and whether any adjustments are needed. Search by keyword, topic, location, or supervisor name. Our research covers the spectrum — from linguistics to nanoscience. Our breadth of expertise across our faculties and schools is supported by deep disciplinary knowledge. We have significant capability in more than 20 major areas of research.
High-impact research through state-of-the-art infrastructure. Home Study How to apply Postgraduate research How to write a research proposal. University home. Current students. Staff intranet. Type to search. All content. A guide to preparing a strong research proposal. Applying for a PhD or research master's degree and not sure where to start with your research proposal? Follow our guide. What is a research proposal?
What it shouldn't do is answer the question — that's what your research will do. Why is it important? Which means you need to provide details on how you will go about your research, including: your approach and methodology timeline and feasibility all other considerations needed to progress your research, such as resources.
How long should it be? What should it include? Project title. Your title should clearly indicate what your proposed research is about. Research supervisor. Proposed mode of research. Aims and objectives. Expected research contribution.
In this section, you should consider the following: Why is your research question or hypothesis worth asking? How is the current research lacking or falling short? What impact will your research have on the discipline? Will you be extending an area of knowledge, applying it to new contexts, solving a problem, testing a theory, or challenging an existing one? Establish why your research is important by convincing your audience there is a gap. What will be the outcome of your research contribution?
Demonstrate both your current level of knowledge and how the pursuit of your question or hypothesis will create a new understanding and generate new information. Show how your research is innovative and original. Proposed methodology. Work plan. Provide a list of references that you've made throughout your research proposal.
New HDR curriculum Find out more. Course search Find a research degree. Find a supervisor Search by keyword, topic, location, or supervisor name. Enter keywords. Beginning the Proposal Process. As with writing most college-level academic papers, research proposals are generally organized the same way throughout most social science disciplines. The text of proposals generally vary in length between ten and thirty-five pages, followed by the list of references.
However, before you begin, read the assignment carefully and, if anything seems unclear, ask your professor whether there are any specific requirements for organizing and writing the proposal. A good place to begin is to ask yourself a series of questions:. In general, a compelling research proposal should document your knowledge of the topic and demonstrate your enthusiasm for conducting the study. Most proposals should include the following sections:. In the real world of higher education, a research proposal is most often written by scholars seeking grant funding for a research project or it's the first step in getting approval to write a doctoral dissertation.
Even if this is just a course assignment, treat your introduction as the initial pitch of an idea or a thorough examination of the significance of a research problem. After reading the introduction, your readers should not only have an understanding of what you want to do, but they should also be able to gain a sense of your passion for the topic and to be excited about the study's possible outcomes. Note that most proposals do not include an abstract [summary] before the introduction. Think about your introduction as a narrative written in two to four paragraphs that succinctly answers the following four questions :.
Background and Significance. This is where you explain the context of your proposal and describe in detail why it's important. It can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate section to help with the organization and narrative flow of your proposal. Note that this section is not an essay going over everything you have learned about the topic; instead, you must choose what is most relevant in explaining the aims of your research. To that end, while there are no prescribed rules for establishing the significance of your proposed study, you should attempt to address some or all of the following:.
Literature Review. Connected to the background and significance of your study is a section of your proposal devoted to a more deliberate review and synthesis of prior studies related to the research problem under investigation. The purpose here is to place your project within the larger whole of what is currently being explored, while demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and innovative.
Think about what questions other researchers have asked, what methods they have used, and what is your understanding of their findings and, when stated, their recommendations. Since a literature review is information dense, it is crucial that this section is intelligently structured to enable a reader to grasp the key arguments underpinning your proposed study in relation to that of other researchers.
A good strategy is to break the literature into "conceptual categories" [themes] rather than systematically or chronologically describing groups of materials one at a time. Note that conceptual categories generally reveal themselves after you have read most of the pertinent literature on your topic so adding new categories is an on-going process of discovery as you review more studies. How do you know you've covered the key conceptual categories underlying the research literature?
Generally, you can have confidence that all of the significant conceptual categories have been identified if you start to see repetition in the conclusions or recommendations that are being made. NOTE : Do not shy away from challenging the conclusions made in prior research as a basis for supporting the need for your proposal. Assess what you believe is missing and state how previous research has failed to adequately examine the issue that your study addresses.
Research Design and Methods. This section must be well-written and logically organized because you are not actually doing the research, yet, your reader must have confidence that it is worth pursuing. The reader will never have a study outcome from which to evaluate whether your methodological choices were the correct ones. Thus, the objective here is to convince the reader that your overall research design and proposed methods of analysis will correctly address the problem and that the methods will provide the means to effectively interpret the potential results.
Your design and methods should be unmistakably tied to the specific aims of your study. Describe the overall research design by building upon and drawing examples from your review of the literature. Consider not only methods that other researchers have used but methods of data gathering that have not been used but perhaps could be. Be specific about the methodological approaches you plan to undertake to obtain information, the techniques you would use to analyze the data, and the tests of external validity to which you commit yourself [i.
When describing the methods you will use, be sure to cover the following:. Preliminary Suppositions and Implications. Just because you don't have to actually conduct the study and analyze the results, doesn't mean you can skip talking about the analytical process and potential implications. The purpose of this section is to argue how and in what ways you believe your research will refine, revise, or extend existing knowledge in the subject area under investigation.
Depending on the aims and objectives of your study, describe how the anticipated results will impact future scholarly research, theory, practice, forms of interventions, or policymaking. Note that such discussions may have either substantive [a potential new policy], theoretical [a potential new understanding], or methodological [a potential new way of analyzing] significance. When thinking about the potential implications of your study, ask the following questions:.
NOTE : This section should not delve into idle speculation, opinion, or be formulated on the basis of unclear evidence. The purpose is to reflect upon gaps or understudied areas of the current literature and describe how your proposed research contributes to a new understanding of the research problem should the study be implemented as designed.
The conclusion reiterates the importance or significance of your proposal and provides a brief summary of the entire study. This section should be only one or two paragraphs long, emphasizing why the research problem is worth investigating, why your research study is unique, and how it should advance existing knowledge. Someone reading this section should come away with an understanding of:. As with any scholarly research paper, you must cite the sources you used.
In a standard research proposal, this section can take two forms, so consult with your professor about which one is preferred. In either case, this section should testify to the fact that you did enough preparatory work to ensure the project will complement and not just duplicate the efforts of other researchers. Start a new page and use the heading "References" or "Bibliography" centered at the top of the page. Cited works should always use a standard format that follows the writing style advised by the discipline of your course e.
This section normally does not count towards the total page length of your research proposal. Develop a Research Proposal: Writing the Proposal. Office of Library Information Services. Teresa Pereira and Caroline Tynan. Graham Butt, editor.
New York: Bloomsbury Academic, , pp. Nigel Gilbert, ed. Search this Guide Search. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper Offers detailed guidance on how to develop, organize, and write a college-level research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The Abstract Executive Summary 4. The Introduction The C. The Discussion Limitations of the Study 9. The Conclusion Appendices Definition The goal of a research proposal is twofold: to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the proposed study should be conducted.
How to Approach Writing a Research Proposal Your professor may assign the task of writing a research proposal for the following reasons: Develop your skills in thinking about and designing a comprehensive research study; Learn how to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature to determine that a research problem has not been adequately addressed or has been answered ineffectively and, in so doing, become better at locating pertinent scholarship related to your topic; Improve your general research and writing skills; Practice identifying the logical steps that must be taken to accomplish one's research goals; Critically review, examine, and consider the use of different methods for gathering and analyzing data related to the research problem; and, Nurture a sense of inquisitiveness within yourself and to help see yourself as an active participant in the process of doing scholarly research.
Regardless of the research problem you are investigating and the methodology you choose, all research proposals must address the following questions: What do you plan to accomplish? Be clear and succinct in defining the research problem and what it is you are proposing to research.
Why do you want to do the research? In addition to detailing your research design, you also must conduct a thorough review of the literature and provide convincing evidence that it is a topic worthy of in-depth investigation. Be sure to answer the "So What? How are you going to conduct the research?
Be sure that what you propose is doable. If you're having difficulty formulating a research problem to propose investigating, go here for strategies in developing a problem to study. Common Mistakes to Avoid Failure to be concise.
A research proposal must be focused and not be "all over the map" or diverge into on unrelated tangents without a clear sense of purpose. Failure to cite landmark works in your literature review. Proposals should be grounded in foundational research that lays a foundation for understanding the development and scope of the issue. Failure to delimit the contextual boundaries of your research [e. As with any research paper, your proposed study must inform the reader how and in what ways the study will examine the problem.
Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research.
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