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Even before you begin preparing and creating a research proposal, you have to comprehend what the term “research proposal” actually means.A proposal is a special kind of paper that is written before you start making your research and a research paper comes after this activity.
Generally speaking, a proposal should be around 3,000 words which you write as part of the application process.
Crucially, it is also an opportunity for you to communicate your passion in the subject area and to make a persuasive argument about what your project can accomplish. It is normal for students to refine their original proposal in light of detailed literature reviews, further consideration of research approaches and comments received from the supervisors (and other academic staff).
Although the proposal should include an outline, it should also be approached as a persuasive essay – that is, as an opportunity to establish the attention of readers and convince them of the importance of your project. It is useful to view your proposal as an initial outline rather than a summary of the ‘final product’.
We encourage you strongly to identify a prospective supervisor and get in touch with them to discuss your proposal informally BEFORE making a formal application, to ensure it is of mutual interest and to gain input on the design, scope and feasibility of your project.
Remember, however, that it may not be possible to guarantee that you are supervised by a specific academic.