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You should make sure you cover the following areas (without explicitly dividing the proposal into headings): You may find it helpful to look at the following examples of successful research proposals.
(Suggested Word Count: 300-500) This should be a very brief wrap-up of your proposed thesis project which summarises its key contributions and how you intend to realize them.
(Suggested Word Count: 100-200) A brief outline of the timetable for completion of the thesis, remembering that activities can run concurrently and ensuring you include any mandatory research training.
The important thing to establish here is the extent to which your proposed thesis research makes a contribution - i.e., adds something theoretical, conceptual, methodological and/or empirical which is not already offered in this literature(s).
This section should therefore introduce the issues that will be addressed by your research questions, and explain the importance of the research to others.
Please also remember that the research degree thesis is first and foremost an academic endeavour, not a consultancy or applied research project.
(Suggested Word Count: 100-300) This section should outline the empirical work you plan to undertake, if relevant.
Finally you may also indicate the status of the data you will gather – e.g., to what extent will these data capture or mirror the 'reality' of the phenomena under examination?
how objective can you as a researcher expect to be? You will certainly need to refer to the literature on research methods.
Please also be aware that another reason why many applicants are rejected at proposal stage is because they fail to offer sufficient detail of their proposed methodology, or indeed to defend the choices they have made, or to demonstrate any engagement with the relevant literature in this regard.
(Suggested Word Count: 750-1,000) For those applicants who wish to undertake theoretical research where neither primary nor secondary data will be used, the methods section above should be replaced with a section which explains exactly how the relevant theory will be cross-examined in order to answer the research questions.