How to Research proposal example

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Published Date:01-07-2017
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Guide to Writing Your Research Proposal For Higher Degree by Research Applicants you are interested in the work of a particular potential All prospective Higher Degree by Research supervisor – and especially if you have discussed your (HDR) students, except those applying to work with this person – be sure to mention this in your the Faculty of Sciences, are required to proposal. include a research proposal with their BEFORE making a formal application, you should identify a prospective supervisor and get in touch with application to study at the University of them to discuss your proposal informally, to ensure it is of Adelaide. To assist you in this task, please mutual interest and to gain input on the design, scope and read the guidelines below before preparing feasibility of your project. your proposal on the template provided. Crucially, it is also an opportunity for you to communicate your passion in the subject area and to make a persuasive argument about what your project can What is a research proposal? accomplish. Although the proposal should include an outline, it is also an opportunity to establish the attention A research proposal is a an outline of your proposed of readers and convince them of the importance of your project that is designed to project. • Define a clear question and approach to answering it Is the research proposal ‘set in • Highlight its originality (Doctoral level only) and/or stone’? significance No. Good PhD proposals evolve as the work progresses. • Explain how it adds to, develops (or challenges) It is normal for students to refine their original proposal in existing literature in the field light of detailed literature reviews, further consideration of • Persuade potential supervisors and/or funders of the research approaches and comments received from the importance of the work, and why you are the right supervisors (and other academic staff). It is useful to view person to undertake it your proposal as an initial outline rather than a summary of the ‘final product’. Research proposals may vary in length, but generally speaking, a proposal should be no more than 2,500 Structuring your Research words, or 5 pages in length; 2-3 pages is normally Proposal sufficient. The following elements are crucial in a good research What is the research proposal for? proposal. Each item aligns to a section in the research proposal template: Potential supervisors use research proposals to assess the quality and originality of your ideas, your skills in Title critical thinking and the feasibility of the research project. This can change, but make sure to include important ‘key Please bear in mind that PhD programs are designed to words’ that will relate your proposal to relevant potential be completed in three years (full time) or six years (part supervisors, funding schemes and so on. time) and Masters programs in two years (full time) or four years (part time). Think very carefully about the scope of 1. Project Summary your research and be prepared to explain how you will complete it within the relevant timeframe. In this section you should provide a summary of your proposed research intelligible to a reader who is not a Research proposals are also used to assess your specialist in this field; summarize the aims, significance expertise in the area in which you want to conduct and expected outcomes of the research. research, you knowledge of the existing literature (and how your project will enhance it). Moreover, they are used to assess and assign appropriate supervision teams. If CRICOS PROVIDER 00123M 2. Project Details Aim to address the following Be sure to establish a solid and convincing framework for points: your research in this section. This should include the • How do you anticipate you will achieve the project following sub-sections: aims and what is your rationale for adopting this approach? a) Research Questions • What do you need (identify any special equipment, This section should explain the research question(s) (1-3 software or material) should suffice) and may include the hypothesis or problem to be addressed. • Can you access necessary data or expertise? • The major approach(es) you will take (conceptual, • Do you require particular resources? theoretical, empirical and normative, as appropriate) • Are there barriers or pitfalls? and rationale • Does the proposed project involve human ethics, • Significance of the research (in academic and, if animal ethics or safety implications? appropriate, other fields) • Will travel or fieldwork be required? If so: where to, b) Aims/Objectives of the Project how long and at what intervals? What do you want to know, prove, demonstrate, analyse, test, investigate or examine? List your aims in a logical 4. Research Plan and Timeline (This section is sequence, e.g. not required by all Faculties) Provide a monthly/quarterly outline of how you will The aim of this project is to: complete the work within the time scheduled. A full-time • Provide an outline of a research proposal PhD normally takes 3 years and a Masters degree 2 years. Part time qualifications can be expected to take 6 • Enable a prospective student to prepare a research years (PhD) and 4 years (Masters). proposal 5. References Cited/Bibliography of Planned c) Significance/Contribution to the Discipline Reading (no word limit applies) (This section In this section you should justify the project from a review is not required by all Faculties) of literature on the topic: discuss the texts which you Your references should provide the reader with a good believe are most important to the project, demonstrate sense of your grasp on the literature and how you can your understanding of the research issues, and identify contribute to it. Be sure to reference texts and resources existing gaps in the literature that the research is intended that you think will play a large role in your analysis, in to address. This section is intended to ‘sign-post’ and addition to your planned readings. contextualise your research questions, not to provide a detailed analysis of existing debates. Possible Pitfalls You should also use this section to make links between Sometimes, students who fit the minimum entrance your research and the existing strengths of the criteria fail to be accepted as PhD candidates as a result School/Discipline to which you are applying. Visit of weaknesses in the research proposal. To avoid this, appropriate websites to find out about existing research keep the following advice in mind: taking place in the School and how your project can • Make sure that your research idea, question or complement this. problem is clearly stated, persuasive and addresses a demonstrable gap in the existing literature; d) Theoretical Framework and Methods You do not need to have full details of the methods you • Make sure that you have researched the will use to answer your research questions but you need School(s)/Discipline(s) to which you are applying to to demonstrate that you have already given some thought ensure that there are staff interested in your subject about how you will do things. area and available to supervise your project. As mentioned previously it is strongly advised that you The important thing is to anticipate the methods you will contact potential supervisors in advance, and provide use to achieve the project aims and to show that your them with a polished version of your proposal for project is feasible in the time period available. If your comment; proposal is too elaborate and not feasible within 3 or 4 years for a PhD or 1-2 years for a Masters, your • Ensure that the proposal demonstrates an application is likely to be unsuccessful. understanding of research methods and research approaches and is it clear that the research methods identified are appropriate to the research question(s) identified; • Ensure that the scope of your project is reasonable, Exemption from Completing a and remember that there are significant limits to the Research Proposal size and complexity of a project that can be With the exception of students who originate from a completed and written up in three years (PhD)/ 2 country subject to UNSC sanctions, all prospective HDR years (Masters). The University will be assessing students from the Faculty of Sciences are exempted from proposals not only for their intellectual ambition and the requirement to complete a research proposal as part significance, but also for the likelihood that the of the application for admission. The countries currently candidate can complete this project; subject to sanctions are listed on the Department of • Make sure that your passion for the subject matter Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)’s website at: shines through in the structure and arguments presented within your proposal. Remember that we may not be experts in your field – it is up to you to Both domestic and international students applying to the make your project and subject matter engaging to Faculties of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical your readers Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Health Sciences and the Professions are required to submit a research proposal on the Research Proposal Template. 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