This is not essential if you are aiming to study for an MPhil, although you will still need to show originality in the application of knowledge. You will need to provide a list of any key articles or texts that you have referred to in your proposal. References should be listed in the appropriate style for your subject area e. You should only reference texts that you think are central to your proposed work, rather than a bibliography listing everything written on the subject.
Make sure that your proposal is well structured and clearly written. It is important that you carefully check your proposal for typographical and spelling errors, consistency of style, and accuracy of references, before submitting it. The proposal should be aesthetically well presented, and look professional e. If you include figures, then they should be accompanied by captions underneath.
You should avoid the use of overly long sentences and technical jargon. It is important that the proposed research is realistic and feasible so that the outcomes can be achieved within the scale of a typical research degree programme. This is usually three years full-time for a PhD or two years for an MPhil. A strong research proposal can and should make a positive first impression about your potential to become a good researcher.
It should demonstrate that your ideas are focused, interesting and realistic. Title Your proposal needs a clear working title that gives an indication of what you want to study. Research question For many projects, you'll usually address one main question, which can sometimes be broken down into several sub-questions. Questions to address in your research proposal You will need to address questions such as: What is the general area in which you will be working, and the specific aspect s of that area that will be your focus of inquiry?
What is the problem, shortcoming, or gap in this area that you would like to address? What is the main research question or aim that you want to address? What are the specific objectives for the proposed research that follow from this? Why is the proposed research significant, why does it matter either theoretically or practically , and why does it excite you?
How does your work relate to other relevant research in the department? Questions you might need to address include: What steps will you take and what methods will you use to address your question? For instance, do you plan to use quantitative or qualitative methods?
How will your proposed method provide a reliable answer to your question? What sources or data will you use? If your project involves an experimental approach, what specific hypothesis or hypotheses will you address? What specific techniques will you use to test the hypothesis? For example, laboratory procedures, interviews, questionnaires, modelling, simulation, text analysis, use of secondary data sources. What practical considerations are there? For example, what equipment, facilities, and other resources will be required?
What relevant skills and experience do you have with the proposed methods? Will you need to collaborate with other researchers and organisations? Are there particular ethical issues that will need to be considered for example, all projects using human participants require ethical approval? Are there any potential problems or difficulties that you foresee for example, delays in gaining access to special populations or materials that might affect your rate of progress?
Brainstorm to imagine how you might investigate the question if there were no limits in place. But there are limits! The Institutional Review Board is the organization that oversees the ethical components of research design. In particular, the IRB application process forces researchers to predict the amount of harm that participants may encounter as a result of the experiment and to justify that harm in light of what will be gained AND what the researchers will do to mitigate harm.
To prepare you to write the proposal itself, you first want to begin planning your strategy and thinking through the various steps.