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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)


Warwick Manufacturing Group

An important part of your PhD application is the research proposal. We need to know what your research interests are so that we may direct your application to potential supervisors. The proposal does not need to be long, but the quality should be high and ideally no more than 2-3 pages in length. However as long as we get a clear idea of your research interests then we can consider your application.

Ideally your proposal should address the points below:

  • Ensure that your research interests match WMG's research areas.
  • Seek advice from a potential supervisor or WMG's Research Degrees Director, Dr Stuart Barnes (
  • Consider - What is the problem you hope to address?
  • Outline the main objectives of your research, providing details of two or three key aspects.
  • Explain what the main outcomes of the project are that you would want to see
  • Outline what methods/approaches you intend to use to achieve the aims of your project.


  • Vague descriptions of your research interests.
  • Projects that seek only to compile information that is already available.