Writing the research proposal is crucial, as it helps with the organisation of thoughts and the planning of the proposed research.
The following notes are intended to serve as a guide to research candidates in the preparation of their research proposal.
The initial research proposal submitted as part of the application process
An initial research proposal needs to be submitted when applying for admission (max of 2 pages). Since at that stage the topic proposed might not have been explored in sufficient detail, the initial proposal can consist of an outline of the study proposed. This outline must nonetheless be detailed enough to allow the University to assess the nature of the topic proposed, confirm that the proposed research fits in a University Area of Research Strength (ARS), and determine whether suitable supervision and necessary resources are available.
The preliminary research proposal should indicate:
- the proposed area of research and methodology (including aims of the research, context and justification) and if possible a tentative title for the thesis
- the general nature of the research to be pursued (as far as practicable), including expected resources and any special conditions required to complete the research (eg field trips, specialised computer software), and details of funding expectations, if relevant
- evidence that the applicant is competent to undertake research at a masters or doctoral level in the field to which the proposal relates, by reference to educational and/or professional achievements and substantial publications.
Before handing in the proposal
- Check with the supervisor that all the particular requirements for the degree and Faculty have been covered in the proposal.
- Read carefully for errors. Don't rely entirely on the word processors spelling and grammar checks. A poorly presented research proposal will not inspire confidence.