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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)


Film and Television Studies, Department of

Please contact the Department of Film and Television Studies for specific research proposal requirements.

French Studies, Department of

It is up to applicants to identify an area of possible study which interests them and which is achievable within three full-time or five part-time years of MPhil/PhD study (or one full-time / two-part-time years of study for the MA by research).

The proposed project should also be broadly feasible within the research resources available at Warwick (this includes the provision of expertise [a possible supervisor] in the area that is of interest to you).

Students are advised to compose a statement of around 500-1000 words of their proposed area of study. This should situate a topic within a particular thematic or chronological area, and should make specific references to authors, texts, events, regions, intellectual configurations, or cultural practices, which will be studied (whichever is most relevant). You should also locate the topic within current critical work in this area, perhaps citing a few recent secondary works which have interested, inspired or provoked you. This is not the place for a personal statement about your past career or future aspirations!

We recognise, of course, that all projects change and evolve during the actual processes of researching and writing up, and that it is difficult to define a project in advance of carrying it out. However, it is very important, when assessing applications, for us to have a clear idea of your project, not least to enable us to ensure that a suitable supervisor is available.