You have made it through many levels of academia to get to this point. You have obtained an undergraduate degree, refined your skills with a Master’s degree, and now you are ready to take the final step in your educational career – obtaining your PhD. It is a big step and not one that many people ever take. By now you probably have a clear idea of where your interests lie and what you intend to pursue in your career. The final step in the process is to submit a PhD research proposal and complete your course of study.
Up to this point, you have probably written countless papers, but now it is time to make your mark and become the researcher. You will need to consider the following on how to write a PhD research proposal. First of all, have you defined a clear question? What will be the focus of your research, and how will you go about designing an approach to answering your question?
Also, how will your research be significant? Your PhD proposal should bring to light a question or present an issue that previously has been overlooked. You could also choose to approach a topic from a new angle that hasn’t been investigated before. Your research shouldn’t simply repeat things that have already been done, but instead it should add to previous studies or develop understanding to new levels. Don’t be afraid to question or even challenge previous studies. That is the purpose of what you are doing – to add to the existing body of knowledge not to simply reiterate what has already been said or done.
You will need to convince the department or institution of the need for your work. If it is a significant study, this may include convincing fund raising bodies that your work is worthy of their investment and your time. You are not only convincing the department to allow your work, you are also convincing them that you are the right person to undertake this study or research. Your unique approach should set you apart as the best person to further this field of study.
It is very important to make sure that there is both interest and available staff to further your research. Therefore, you should avoid being vague and under-defined when formulating your proposal. If your research proposal in unclear, there is a good chance that you are not focused on a specific topic yet. This doesn’t mean, however, that your proposal won’t change and develop as you continue your research. In fact, it is the mark of a good proposal, and a good researcher, that the idea can develop over time. A good proposal is clear and has the ability to be fluid so there is room for adaptation as new findings come to light.
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