Writing a research proposal

As part of the process of applying for a research degree, you will need to prepare an outline of your proposed research. This must be 5-10 pages long (font 11pt minimum) excluding the bibliography.

Please see our guidance on what to include below:

Key elements Content


Your research topic
A clear and succinct description of your research.


Your research questions and focus
A brief explanation of what you propose to research, why the research is of value and how you propose to go about it.

Background to your proposal                

Your literature review
A thorough examination of key, recent contributions in research periodicals relating to the area of research in question. You should use the literature review to identify gaps in, or problems with, existing research to justify why further or new research is required.


Your research methods and schedule
A clear description of your choice of methodology, including details of research questions, methods of data collection, sampling and analytical strategy. A time schedule showing key activities would be useful.


Your bibliography
Any literature cited in the proposal should be listed at the end of the document. Use of the Harvard style of referencing is preferred.