How to write a research proposal?
Each person who applies for a Ph.D. program is to submit his or her application together with a research proposal. A Ph.D. proposal is a summary of the whole investigation you are willing to conduct. The main reasons for doing this are as follows:
- It is a great way for supervisors to assess your ideas regarding originality and value.
- You will develop skills in critical thinking and designing a substantial piece of material.
The process usually takes 3 (full time) or 6 (part time) years. For different fields, different standards and steps of writing are required, but the key ones are provided below. The size limit also depends on the requirements. Usually, it’s 1,000 – 3,000 words. Whether it is a quantitative or empirical research, it’s vital to structure your proposal well to make it attractive, logical and significant for a particular subject area.
Preferable order to respect
The title is the initial thing the supervisors see in your paper. It can be changed in the process, but try to use at least the “keywords” of the paper. There must be an indication of the questions or issues you are to address. It must determine the topic or the subject area for further investigation.
- Literature survey
This paragraph is a summary of the current state of knowledge presented in the works of different researchers, Ph.Ds, MPhils, etc. This is the background of the paper. You are to read as many sources as possible and give your feedback on them, then identify any gaps in the literature – this opens many issues to work on. The purpose is that you are part of a larger system – you enter the particular field of investigation with fresh ideas and impact future researchers. Here are suggested tips which will help in dealing with this task:
- Do not be afraid to argue the issues you don’t agree with. All the works are mostly subjective, and it means that perspectives may differ and all have their own opinion;
- Use citations as a basis for developing your point of view. It will help your proposal look more authoritative and worthy to read;
- Compare and contrast various theories, arguments, controversies and give your suggestions on how to come to an agreement;
- Link your own research to literature and state how crucial it will be for the development of this subject area.
- Problems with the study
It is crucial to emphasize the problems relating to the afore-mentioned literature gaps that you’ll cover while writing this paper. Your readers should grasp the idea of your personal interest, see your suggestions and realize why it concern them.
Your primary task is to deliver the weight of your paper to all readers. After reading the sources and identifying gaps and problems, it’s easy to write an introduction. This is the synthesis of the last two steps.Here you have to mention: the summary of the literature you are based on as well as the gaps and problems. During your study, many questions will arise. Mention the most challenging ones in the introductory paragraph. While reading this section, everyone has to realize the significance of the work as well as understand your purpose for writing it. It is also preferable to explain your personal interest in this area of study and in which way you will conduct the research.
It is preferable to include this paragraph from your research paper in the proposal. It may be a text of more than 100 words where either the problem is identified, or your suggestions on the shortcomings are given.
- Research design and the methodology of the study
These two issues aim to assure your reader that the paper is promising. You analyze existing ideas, not do the complete research. The point here is to make your work noticeable and exciting to read with the help of logical organization and various persuasive methods that will fulfill all the objectives of your study. A well-organized paper attracts the readers’ attention and boosts the value of the project.
A proper methodology is necessary, especially if you’re doing empirical research. Methods include using the library archives and even interviews. Do not forget to give the arguments “for” each method and describe how they will contribute to reaching your aims. To have the precise understanding of this section, look for the example of methods for the paper entitled “The impact of the environment on juvenile delinquency in Phoenix, Arizona”:
To examine central questions, the following research methods will be used:
- Analysis of official and unofficial statistics;
- Participant observation;
- Community observation;
- Face-to-face interviews.
Naturally, each method should be described.
- Research schedule
Here you set the timetable of the whole work on the paper. Discuss a bit what you will do during particular weeks, months or years to achieve your goals connected with this investigation.
The paper must include the sources you’ll use in the research. There are two options:
- References, where you identify the list of the literature only;
- Bibliography – the overall list of everything used in the process of writing (literature, well-known statements, statistics etc.)
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