Have you been planning to apply for postgraduate or PhD abroad? If you are, then you will be asked to make a research proposal submission that would outline your proposed area of study. This guide will help you know some effective steps, that are easy to use, to craft a prolific research proposal. Before, that let’s get clear on what research proposal actually is.
A research proposal is a concise and coherent summary of the research you intend to carry out once you set foot into the University. It is the most important document that you need to submit as part of the application process.
The University examines your proposal to see if it has the expertise and infrastructure to support your project plans. The proposal gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and capacity in the field of research. Your proposal needs to convince others that your project is worthwhile and that you have the right plans and understanding to complete the task within the time-frame you set.
Your proposal should raise the central issues and questions that you aim to address through your project. It outlines the broader field of study within which your proposed research falls. But most importantly, your proposal should demonstrate the originality of your thinking and research and the feasibility of your project.
Typically, a research proposal should contain all the key elements involved in the research process, including methodology, scope and other relevant information.
The University uses your proposal to understand whether you can communicate complex ideas clearly, concisely, intelligently and critically. Universities also use your proposal to assign a suitable supervisor.
Your research proposal goes a long way in determining the overall quality of your application.
Developing a research proposal involves the following preliminary steps: identifying potential ideas, choosing ideas to explore further, choosing and narrowing a topic, formulating a research question, and developing a working thesis.
Whatever is the length of your proposal, the basic rules on writing one are the same. Your proposal should typically include the following information:
You should give a tentative title for your proposed research. You can amend it later as your project takes shape.
Your proposal should include a brief statement of your project plans. This should be a couple of sentences at the most and can be presented in the form of a question that you intend to solve.
You should explain the background against which you are going to conduct your research. This includes a brief statement on your area of study and the current levels of knowledge.
Your proposal should list out the central aims and questions that revolve around your research. Take some time to reflect on the questions your project aims to answer. Many research proposals end up taking on a broad topic and subsequently suffer in execution. So by listing out a few key questions, you can narrow your field of research and achieve focus on your project.
Your proposal should outline your research methodology. In this section, you need to explain how you plan to carry out your research. Your methods could include library visits, laboratory work, fieldwork, interviews and surveys.
You should effectively demonstrate the originality and importance of your intended research. This section should explain the merits of your project, its importance to others, its relevance to the field and the reasons why it should be explored in the context of our time.
It’s obvious that you are not going to show any results at the proposal stage, but you still need to present tentative ideas about the kind of results you expect. You can give a rough estimate based on the data you plan to collect.
Your proposal should include various references and sources that helped you compile your research. These could include authors, experts and articles you referenced.
A good research proposal should have all these elements in their proper order. Typically, the word limit for a research proposal is around 3000 words, but different Universities have different guidelines when it comes to the proposal's structure and word-limit. Follow these suggestions to write an effective research proposal.
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