The PhD research proposal is the first important step of doctoral studies. The aim of the research proposal is to provide information about the intended research project.
A typical research proposal consists of the following parts:
- A working title of the topic area:
This must give the essence of the proposed research, not just convey the key words associated with the proposed research.
- General overview of area: this is an introduction that should be a brief abstract of the general area of study and also signify the discipline(s) within which it falls.
- Detailed literature review: it is here that you need to develop your proposal to demonstrate that you are aware of the debates and critical issues raised in relevant bodies of literature. You need to show your familiarity with major lines of argument which have been developed in your area. It is important to reference key articles and texts to establish that you appreciate their relevance to your research area. As your PhD is an original piece of research, you should demonstrate that. The area you propose to research has not been studied before. Identify your niche, which will lead on to the thesis preparation.