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).
Follow this outline below to make sure that your research proposal is sufficiently detailed and follows the right structure: In this section you should provide a short overview of your research.
You should also state how your research fits into the research priorities of your particular subject area.
Crucially, it is also an opportunity for you to communicate your passion in the subject area and to make a persuasive argument about what your project can accomplish. It is normal for students to refine their original proposal in light of detailed literature reviews, further consideration of research approaches and comments received from the supervisors (and other academic staff).
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’.
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.
Remember, however, that it may not be possible to guarantee that you are supervised by a specific academic.
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.