PhD Research Proposals Guide

Writing a clear outline proposal for your PhD research will help us to understand your project and will also help us in making a decision on your application. The structure of a research proposal can vary but the following offers a useful guide and we suggest you use this when developing your proposal to accompany your application.

Title - This must clearly set out the nature of your project – it will probably be closely linked to your research question and methodology.

Background - Give some details of any literature you are aware of/or have reviewed that is related to your research topic. Why is your chosen topic important, and what will studying this subject achieve?

Aim of the study - This section should set out, briefly, what the aim/s and/or research questions of the study are. You can use bullet points for this section. If you have not developed clear research questions – provide a short statement on the focus of the research

Methodology - This section should discuss what research approach you are taking and why. It needs to link to the nature of the research question/aim and justify the methodology. In this section discuss why qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods are to be used. If a certain type of methodology is to be employed – ie grounded theory etc – discuss the reason for it here.

Participants and sample - Who will take part and how will you recruit them. How will you arrive at your sample? How will you `gain access´ to these participants.

The intervention and research design - If the study is intending to be experimental: Give a brief description of this here.
How has the intervention been developed or validated?
Are any scales or questionnaires to be used – if so, how have they been;
• Designed?
• Piloted?
• Validated?

Data collection - What data will be collected and how?

Data analysis - How will the data be analysed and findings presented? What type of statistical tests will be undertaken and why? How will qualitative data be analysed?