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The Research Proposal

Writing a Research Proposal

A research proposal is a document explaining what you would like to research for your doctorate. Different academic departments request different things as far as a proposal and/or application is concerned, so it is important that you contact the department to find out any particular requirements before submitting your application.

In general, and if required, your proposal should:

  • provide an overview of your research question, explaining why it is of academic and or practical importance
  • outline the main objectives of your research, providing details of two or three key aspects
  • indicate the importance of previous related research and how your own research question might make a useful contribution to the area
  • briefly state the main research techniques (interviews, case studies, modelling etc.) you might use
  • indicate your suggested data collection procedures, indicating sources and any possible difficulties
  • explain the techniques you intend to use
  • add an outline timeline of activities

Please check the individual academic department requirements below.

J (no definitions) K (no definitions)
N (no definitions) O (no definitions) Q (no definitions) U (no definitions) V (no definitions) X (no definitions) Y (no definitions) Z (no definitions)


Applied Linguistics

If you are applying for the degree of MPhil/PhD, you need to submit a research proposal with the form. The proposal should indicate your intended research area and outline a plan for the work to be undertaken. You should justify the planned research by reference both to the literature and your interests or intentions. You should indicate possible research methods and also include a bibliography. The proposal should normally be at least 1500 words long. If you have completed an MA degree, you may be asked to submit a copy of your dissertation or some course work completed during the programme.