Writing a research proposal (Social Sciences)

All applications should include a 2-3 page research proposal.

This proposal will either be for a topic of the applicant's own devising, or a development of a topic or theme advertised on the School of GeoSciences web page.

The Proposal should be no longer than 3 typed pages in Times New Roman font size 12. Please organize your proposal under the following headings, all of which should be used.

1. Introduction

Give an introductory statement explaining what your proposed research topic is and why it is important.

2. Outline of key theory and research on the topic

Outline existing theoretical and/or empirical debate and state how your proposed research relates to this body of knowledge

3. Main Research Question

What specific issue or question will your proposed research examine?

4. Methodology

What method, or methods, will you use to answer your research question?

If your research is on a theoretical topic, discuss the documentary/archival methods you will use to analyse your source materials.

5. Ethical Issues

Note any ethical issues arising from your research (ethics can be interpreted in a broad sense as well as, for example, matters of consent and confidentiality).

6. Timetable

Provide a timetable for your research, including research training (unless you already hold an ESRC-, or AHRC-, recognized MSc by Research, or equivalent training) and the period of writing up your thesis. If you intend to do fieldwork overseas, say what this will entail and how it fits into the timetable.

7. User Community

Indicate how you expect your research to be useful, and to whom.

Further guidance

Student Recruitment and Admissions have also written a guide on how to create a good research proposal, which is available as a PDF file.


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