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10 Steps to Writing an Academic Research Proposal

Guidelines on writing a research proposal

❶The problems to be investigated are more complex than the applicants realize In specifying what will be done it also gives criteria for determining whether it is done.

Faculty Research Interests

Common rejection reasons *
Perform a Literature Review
Writing assignment series

In the University Rules for Higher Degrees for Research, under Rule 16 of the Master's Degree by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School, a student must provide a research proposal to the Board for approval, through the head of school and supervisor s , within four months from the date of first enrolment for the course if the enrolment is full-time, or the equivalent as determined by the Board if the enrolment is part-time or a mixture of full- and part-time.

In the University Rules for Higher Degrees for Research, under Rule 22 2 of the Master's Degree by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School, a student who wishes to upgrade to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must, at the time of application for upgrade, provide a research proposal through the head of school for the Board's approval.

In the University Rules for Higher Degrees for Research, under Rule 2 1 d of the Doctor of Philosophy Rules, a student who has partially completed a research higher programme at another institution must complete a PhD research proposal approved by the Board, on the recommendation of the supervisor and the head of school.

Provide a short descriptive title of no more than characters approximately 20 words. Provide a brief summary of the proposed project in words or less.

Aim s and Background: Describe the aim s of the project and briefly review the literature relevant to the project. Justify these with reference to the literature and indicate how the literature has been systematically reviewed to ensure that the proposed research does not reproduce previous research. Describe how the anticipated outcomes of the project will advance the discipline. If the project includes a creative component, describe this creative component and the link between this component and the proposed thesis.

Provide publication details of the literature cited. If the project involves the collection of confidential or sensitive information, describe how this information will be managed. You can find more information about confidentiality and intellectual property here. If the project involves intellectual property issues or is related to any arrangements or agreements that may affect the intellectual property arising from the research, describe how this will be managed.

If the project involves the research outside of UWA, describe how this work will be managed. Indicate when and where the research will be undertaken, whether or not a research visa is required, and how contact will be maintained with supervisor s during this period. If the project requires any facilities, equipment or resources that are not available at UWA, indicate how these will be accessed.

If the project involves statistical analysis, describe how this analysis will be undertaken. If additional skills training is required for the project, outline a strategy to attain these skills. Determine if skills training is required for the project using the skills audit proforma provided. Provide an overview for communication of the project research.

For example, indicate anticipated publication of journal articles, extended abstracts, papers or book chapters and conference, workshop or seminar presentations. If possible, estimate where and when the research communication will occur. Indicate if the thesis is planned to be formatted as a series of papers. Please list all the approvals required for the project. For example, UWA approvals are required for use of animals, the participation of human subjects, working with children, genetic manipulation, potentially biohazardous procedures and situations, the use and disposal of potent teratogens and carcinogens, and the use of ionising radiation or other hazardous items.

Please indicate how the data collected as part of the project will be stored. Provide a plan of the research project from enrolment to thesis submission. Filling in the things that we do not know and that will help us know more: Proposals help you estimate the size of a project.

Don't make the project too big. Our MA program statement used to say that a thesis is equivalent to a published paper in scope. These days, sixty double spaced pages, with figures, tables and bibliography, would be a long paper. Your proposal will be shorter, perhaps five pages and certainly no more than fifteen pages.

For perspective, the NSF limits the length of proposal narratives to 15 pages, even when the request might be for multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The merit of the proposal counts, not the weight. Shoot for five pithy pages that indicate to a relatively well-informed audience that you know the topic and how its logic hangs together, rather than fifteen or twenty pages that indicate that you have read a lot of things but not yet boiled it down to a set of prioritized linked questions. Different Theses, Similar Proposals This guide includes an outline that looks like a "fill-in the blanks model" and, while in the abstract all proposals are similar, each proposal will have its own particular variation on the basic theme.

Each research project is different and each needs a specifically tailored proposal to bring it into focus. Different advisors, committees and agencies have different expectations and you should find out what these are as early as possible; ask your advisor for advice on this. Further, different types of thesis require slightly different proposals.

What style of work is published in your sub-discipline? Characterizing theses is difficult. Some theses are "straight science". Some are essentially opinion pieces. Some are policy oriented. In the end, they may well all be interpretations of observations, and differentiated by the rules that constrain the interpretation.

Different advisors will have different preferences about the rules, the meta-discourse, in which we all work. In the abstract all proposals are very similar. They need to show a reasonably informed reader why a particular topic is important to address and how you will do it.

To that end, a proposal needs to show how your work fits into what is already known about the topic and what new contribution your work will make.

Specify the question that your research will answer, establish why it is a significant question, show how you are going to answer the question, and indicate what you expect we will learn. The proposal should situate the work in the literature, it should show why this is an if not the most important question to answer in the field, and convince your committee the skeptical readers that they are that your approach will in fact result in an answer to the question.

Theses which address research questions that can be answered by making plan-able observations and applying hypothesis testing or model selection techniques are preferred and perhaps the easiest to write. Because they address well-bounded topics, they can be very tight, but they do require more planning on the front end.

Theses which are largely based on synthesis of observations, rumination, speculation, and opinion formation are harder to write, and usually not as convincing, often because they address questions which are not well-bounded and essentially unanswerable. One 'old saw' about research in the social sciences is that the finding is always: Try to avoid such insight-less findings; finding "who do and who don't" is better.

One problem with this type of project is that it is often impossible to tell when you are "done". Another problem is that the nature of argument for a position rather than the reasoned rejection of alternatives to it encourages shepherding a favored notion rather than converging more directly toward a truth.

See Chamberlain's and Platt's articles. A good proposal helps one see and avoid these problems. Literature review-based theses involve collection of information from the literature, distillation of it, and coming up with new insight on an issue. One problem with this type of research is that you might find the perfect succinct answer to your question on the night before or after you turn in the final draft in someone else's work. This certainly can knock the wind out of your sails.

But note that even a straight-ahead science thesis can have the problem of discovering, late in the game, that the work you have done or are doing has already been done; this is where familiarity with the relevant literature by both yourself and your committee members is important.

A Couple of Models for Proposals A Two Page Preliminary Proposal Model Here is a model for a very brief maybe five paragraph proposal that you might use to interest faculty in sitting on your committee. People who are not yet hooked may especially appreciate its brevity. In the first paragraph, the first sentence identifies the general topic area.

Determine a General Topic

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The goal of a research proposal is to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the .

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Aug 19,  · The first step in writing an academic research proposal is to idenitfy a general topic or subject area to investigate. Usually this first point is the easiest because the research proposal will be tied to the overall theme of a ovaren.cfs:

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Mar 13,  · How to Write a Research Proposal. The exact format and requirements for a research proposal can vary slightly depending on the type of research being proposed and the specific demands of the institution you plan to submit your proposal %(10). How to prepare a research proposal Every theological research project should begin with a research proposal. Before writing a thesis or a dissertation, your proposal .

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Place the proposed research in context and compare and contrast it with other research. Have your proposal reviewed by a trusted colleague before submission. Heed their comments. Do not write the proposal for yourself, write it for the review committee. Be sure to write the proposal for the program you are applying. A research proposal is required when prospective HDR applicants submit their expression of interest for preliminary assessment by the Faculty and when they are invited to submit their formal application to the Monash University Institute of Graduate Research.