How to Write Good Research Proposal

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PhD Research Proposal

The heart of the application form is your research proposal. This should be a statement of a maximum of 2 sides of A4 where you explain what you want to research and how you propose to do it. You should provide a clear statement of the proposed research topic, why it is important and why your proposal has the potential to contribute to knowledge in your area of research. You should also provide an outline of your proposed methodology.

Please also include a curriculum vitae with your application. We consider each application on its individual merits and ensure that proposed projects match the research interests and expertise of academic members of staff.

Following we have listed some more information that might be helpful when writing your proposal. What is a proposal for?
A proposal should demonstrate why the research should be done, how it should be done, what its outcomes will be and how the results will be disseminated. A well prepared research proposal: * demonstrates that you have thought through your research idea * demonstrates that you have the appropriate information, skills and knowledge to pursue a research project * shows that the project is feasible - in terms of time, money and intellectual scope * shows that you have though through how to answer research questions with suitable and practicable methods * demonstrates how the project will contribute to knowledge, ie. that it is situated in current debates and offers an original contribution * clearly outlines the ethical issues implied by the research and offers a strategy to manage them * shows that you can write clearly and lucidly for a range of different audiences Types of proposal

There are different kinds of proposal depending on the scale of the research, who is funding it and who will do it. Academics are usually invited to apply for project funding from research councils (UK, EU or International), funding agencies or government agencies on the basis of open competition. Nowadays, competitive funding rounds are often based on a two-stage process, with a shorter outline application which, if it is successfully shortlisted, is followed by a much more detailed full proposal. Outline proposals - can be anything from a short summary, often only one page (e.g. for research council PhD studentships), that gives a rapid introduction to the proposed project, to a 30 page overview of a complex project (e.g. an international collaboration for EU funding). In either case, the outline proposal must be concise, to the point, explain research questions, offer methodology, indicate potential outcomes and cover ethical and dissemination strategies. There may or may not be a requirement for a draft budget at this stage. Full proposals - are often lengthy documents with detailed information on each part of the research proposal. Main areas covered would be:

* detailed research questions,
* a full case for support that includes full reference to relevant literature, * detailed information on the methods to be used,
* full timetable or work plan,
* duties of different staff,
* detailed costings of all activities,
* strategies for dissemination or collaborative partnerships, * media strategy,
* any professional training required,
* cv's of applicants, supporting letters
* an indication of ethical issues arising.
We want you to provide us an outline proposal.

What does a research proposal need to include?
While specific funders or research-commissioners may specify particular requirements for research proposals, in general, they must include the following elements: * an abstract that summarises the main aims and context of the project, and a summary in non-specialist terms * a general introduction to the field of research

* indications of the context of the research in current debates - ie reference to relevant literature or extant...
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