Writing A Research Proposal For Masters

Research proposals may vary in length, so it is important to check with the department(s) to which you are applying to check word limits and guidelines.

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Demonstrate that you are competent to conduct the research and have chosen the best research or scholarly environment in which to achieve your goals. It is well understood by all concerned that the research you end up pursuing may be different from that in your proposal.

Instead of treating your proposal as a final, binding document, think of it as a flexible way to plan an exciting (but feasible) project that you would like to pursue.

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.

Think very carefully about the scope of your research and be prepared to explain how you will complete it within this timeframe.

Research proposals are also used to assess your expertise in the area in which you want to conduct research, you knowledge of the existing literature (and how your project will enhance it).

Make sure to include the ways in which you intend to approach the solution. The more diverse opinion and criticism you receive on your proposal the better suited it will be for a multi-disciplinary audience.

It is important that the title of your project is understandable to the general public, reflects the goal of the study, and attracts interest. Your research proposal is not a binding document; it is a .

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’.

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