Are you a PhD student and going to write a research proposal? But you have no idea about how to write an effective PhD research proposal. Don’t worry! Everything feels like an unsolved puzzle until it is clearly explained and understood. And we are here to solve your puzzle and help you in writing a research proposal.
Most students get worried about the length of the research proposal that how long it takes to write a doctoral research proposal. Commonly, it is said that you can complete it within 3 months and can minimise this time even further with your skills and good grip on the subject.
It is very important to learn qualitative research proposal writing because a bad proposal badly impacts your tired reviewer. Don’t write your research proposal like tiny words like ants crawling everywhere on your page as it will lead to failure. Rather than add titles, headings, subheadings, bold some important points, and make bullet points to enhance your research proposal.
Not just this, Grant Training Center also surveyed years back in 2015 and concluded that more than 80% of PhD research proposal submissions fail. But now with the use of technology, awareness, and getting research proposal help, students secure good grades and pass their research proposals more often.
Here we will discuss everything that you need to know about research proposals and try to solve all your queries more effectively.
Table of Contents
What is a Research Proposal?
A research proposal, according to Onwuegbuzie is a;
“Formal written plan which communicates ideas about a proposed study in order to obtain approval to conduct the study or to seek funding.”
A research proposal is often a professionally written, formal document that gives a full overview of the topic you intend to study for your doctoral degree. A solid thesis proposal depends on a solid concept. Reading as much as you can in your area of interest will help you come up with a fantastic research topic.
Your research proposal should be convincing so that your supervisors or committee members approve your research idea. PhD research proposal demonstrates that your study has worth and is feasible to perform at the university level. It must cover the following questions:
- What will you do?
- Why did you choose this research topic?
- How will it be carried out?
- Whether it is done before?
- How would you display its results?
- How it will contribute to your discipline?
- What are its expected outcomes?
How Long Does It Take To Write a PhD Research Proposal?
Usually, a few weeks to 3 months it takes to write a research proposal for a PhD. But it can vary depending upon these factors:
- Your familiarity with the topic
- Complexity of research
- Your institute’s requirements
Why is a PhD Research Proposal Important?
Research proposals are important because they serve as a roadmap that leads you towards thesis or dissertation writing. It provides clear directions and allows you to achieve the goals of your proposed research. It justifies the importance of your research by discussing research gaps and how you can contribute to filling them.
It includes all the details on how will you proceed with your research, including:
- Your research goals and objectives
- Your approach to achieving those goals
- Feasibility of planning to execution
- Enhances academic standard
In the book Writing Research Proposals for Social Sciences and Humanities in a Higher Education Context, George Damaskinidis, Anastasia Christodoulou explained the important functions of the research proposal, such as:
Take it as a tool to help you clarify your idea with proofs and showcase your months of research and to get a green signal to proceed for thesis writing. According to the NSF and NCSES survey report, around 55000 doctorate students received their degrees from US universities in 2021.
How Long Should a PhD Research Proposal Be?
A general idea about the length of a research proposal is that it should be 1000 to 2500 words in length. This word count range is not a hallmark as it depends on the topic and discipline of your research and furthermore, it can vary depending on your institution’s guidelines. This word count includes an introduction, literature review, research questions, methodology and significance of your research.
How Many Pages Should a PhD Research Proposal Be?
According to Sociology Western University guidelines on the length of the doctoral dissertation proposal, it should be 15-20 pages in length without a bibliography, and with double-spaced lines.
According to the University of Westminster, your research proposal should be 2,000–3,500 words consisting of 4-7 pages.
According to the research proposal guidelines of the University of California San Diego, the length of the proposal can be around 3 pages.
These studies show that each university has set its own standards for writing a research proposal, so it is good to consult your instructors in this regard. They will help you to know your institute’s guidelines about the length, pages and word count of your research proposal.
What should a PhD Research Proposal Include?
Most students get stuck at this point due to a lack of knowledge and they don’t understand what should be included or not in it. No worries at all, we are here to guide you that what are the basic components of a research proposal that you must add to it. Martyn Denscombe provided a table to discuss the structure of research proposal in his book Research Proposals: A Practical Guide:
A PhD research proposal typically includes the following components:
- A specific and clear query that you aim to respond to after much research and study.
- Your research supervisor will assist you with each step of the research proposal writing process.
- Your strategy for responding to the query, including any approaches, frameworks, and tools needed to fully discover the solution.
- The methods of background research will be advised by your supervisors.
- Why your project or question is important to your particular field of study in order to demonstrate goals and objectives?
- How your suggestion affects, tests, or advances the existing knowledge on a certain subject.
- Why you should be given this opportunity and why your work is vital.
How to Write a Great PhD Research Proposal?
The following step-by-step guide on how to write a doctoral dissertation proposal is by Sociology Western University for you.
1. Introduction (1-2 pages)
Describe the topic of the study and why it is significant for both those working in and outside of your specific profession.
2. Literature Review (7–10 pages)
Wandering what is a literature review in a research proposal? The dissertation as a whole will include a thorough analysis of the literature search for relevant topics. Here, you should conduct your research by listing the theoretical and empirical data that influence your main theories and research questions. This relevant literature will point to different elements of your topic and specific angles from which others have handled your subject.
3. Study Goals (around one page)
Give a brief description of your research goals. Your research questions or hypotheses should be stated in detail. Determine what these questions or hypotheses add to the body of knowledge already available on your subject.
4. Methodology (two to five pages)
Describe your strategy for answering your main questions. Will your research be theoretical, historical, quantitative, or qualitative? How will you acquire and gather your empirical evidence? Are you going to gather your own data? Martyn Denscombe’s book explained the use of suitable methods that you must learn and adopt before writing a PhD research proposal.
Generally speaking, this part should provide a detailed explanation of what you plan to examine, the data sources you’ll be using, your study’s design, data collecting and sample procedures, and your data analysis methods. Additionally, you should set a time period to discuss any potential problems and their solutions in this area.
5. Expected Results (1-2 pages)
Talk about how your study has affected or is expected to affect the larger fields in which you are working. Do you intend to reinforce or amend preexisting theories about your subject? Are you testing new contexts and methods for existing explanations? In each instance, you should demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of how your project will advance both your subfield and sociological knowledge.
We all know that PhD research proposal writing is a tough and time taking task but you can make it easy by following our guidelines for writing a research proposal. By knowing about the importance of research proposal, length, pages and word count to how to write a research proposal, you’ll be able to write a good research and well-structured PhD research proposal.
If you face any difficulty to start proposal writing or are stuck in the process, get research proposal help online. The Academic Papers UK is the best academic service provider in this regard. So, don’t forget to check it out and get unbeatable services.