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We encourage you strongly to identify a prospective supervisor and get in touch with them to discuss your proposal informally BEFORE making a formal application, to ensure it is of mutual interest and to gain input on the design, scope and feasibility of your project.
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.
One of the earliest documents that doctoral scholars have to write is a research proposal in which they provide a rationale and motivation for the research study they plan to undertake.
This chapter discusses the form and function of a typical research proposal and provides a range of tools and techniques that can assist doctoral or graduate students in conceptualising and writing this high-stakes document.
Remember that this is not simply a bibliography listing ‘everything written on the subject’.
Rather, it should show critical reflection in the selection of appropriate texts.
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.
Think very carefully about the scope of your research and be prepared to explain how you will complete it within this timeframe.
Research proposals are also used to assess your expertise in the area in which you want to conduct research, you knowledge of the existing literature (and how your project will enhance it).