Potential supervisors make use of research proposals to evaluate the originality and quality of your skills, ideas in critical thinking as well as the feasibility of your research project. Proposal are likewise used to evaluate your knowledge in the area in which your research is being conducted, and how your research project will improve it. In addition, they’re used to assign and assess appropriate supervision teams.
Is research proposal a ‘set in stone’? No. Great PhD proposal actually evolve as the task progresses. It’s normal for scholars to improve their original research proposals in light of comprehensive literature reviews, consideration of research comments and approaches received from their supervisors or other academic staffs. It’s helpful to see your proposal as an initial outline rather than a summary of the ‘final product’.
Below are the main 5 key points that are vital in a good research proposal. Each item aligns to a specific section in the proposal template:
1. TITLE: This can actually be changed, but ensure to incorporate vital ‘keywords’ that’ll relate your research proposal to relevant funding schemes, potential supervisors, etc.
2. PROJECT SUMMARY: In this section, you ought to write the summary of your research, which must be very clear to a reader who’s not a specialist in the field; summarize your aims, expected outcomes and significance of the proposed research.
3. PROJECT DETAILS: Make sure you establish a convincing and strong framework for the proposed research in this section. This should incorporate the following sub-sections:
a) Research Questions
b) Aims/Objectives of the Project
c) Significance/Contribution to the Discipline
d) Theoretical Framework & Methods
4. RESEARCH PLAN AND TIMELINE (Not all faculties require this section): Provide a quarterly/monthly outline of how you’ll complete the assignment within the scheduled time. A full-time PhD typically takes three years and a Masters’ Degree takes two years. Part time PhD qualification could be expected to take six years and four years for Masters’ Degree.
5. REFERENCES CITED/BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PLANNED READING (In this section, there’s no word limit and it’s also not required by all Faculties): The references must give the reader a good sense of the grasp on the literature and also how you can contribute to it. Ensure to reference resources and texts that you believe will play vital role in your analysis, additionally to your planned readings.
Remember that a PhD proposal is just a provisional and not a definitive document. It will probably change extensively amid the first few months of your PhD program. However, at the application stage, it is a key document that evaluators make decisions on in relation to your application. In this manner, it’s worth investing effort and time in it!
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