Research proposal guide
Generally, a good research proposal needs to include the four following elements:
1. A general overview of the area of study
Introduce the proposal by identifying and summarising the subject you intend to research. It may be useful to refer briefly to the ways in which your academic career so far will contribute to your ability to undertake a project in this area.
2. A contextual summary of research in this area
Put your research in context – address existing theories relating to the research area and briefly review relevant literature. Demonstrate an understanding of:
- The major arguments that have been developed in your area
- The key findings of researchers working on your topic
3. An introduction of your key research questions
Specify what your proposal will address in particular and what your aims and objectives are. Describe the research you intend to undertake, your methodology, and discuss why you have decided on your specific research tasks. Use this opportunity to:
- Highlight existing facilities available to you at the University
- Identify potential problems and how you might overcome them
4. A prediction of the expected outcomes of your research
Conclude your research proposal by addressing your predicted outcomes. What are you hoping to prove/disprove? Indicate how you envisage your research will contribute to debates and discussions in your particular subject area:
- How will your research make an original contribution to knowledge?
- How might it fill gaps in existing work?
- How might it extend understanding of particular topics?