7 Tips: How to Write PhD Proposal for Your Dissertation [+Templates]

 

how to write phd research proposal

How to write a PhD research proposal? The best way to approach writing a PhD research proposal is to take it one task at a time, formulate an idea, find some supporting evidence and see if there’s enough there to conduct a project on, if not then start again with a new idea. One of the most common questions asked by PhD applicants is "How do I write a research proposal"? In order to answer this question it is important to understand the following. Check out PhD worldwide. What is a research proposal? A research proposal is a document of around words outlining the research you are going to undertake. Writing a PhD research proposal: A 6‐step general guide for prospective PhD researchers Introduction This short guide is aimed at helping you to write a good research proposal. It is intended to help you to think about your proposed PhD research in a clear, structured and meaningful way.


How to Write a Research Proposal for PhD


In this section some ideas are presented about the process of designing a research proposal and the elements that a research proposal preferably contains. More details about designing are to be found in: Verschuren P. Designing a Research Project. Lemma, Utrecht These six elements should be linked in a logical and understandable way. That is, the task of a research designer is to formulate a clear and feasible objective, to derive research questions from this objective, to decide what data or research material is needed to answer the questions, how he or she plans to process and analyse this research material in order to find these answers, and finally a work plan that tells what activities are planned to do when, with what aimed results.

All this should be steered and inspired as much as is possible by existing theory and the knowledge the researcher already has. The designing process should be carried out in an iterative way. That is, during the designing process the designer has to go continuously back and forth between the five elements of the design plus existing theory in order to see whether reflections on or a provisional decision as to one element have repercussions for the other elements.

For instance, in thinking about the research questions after the research objective has been provisionally formulatedthe designer may perceive that he or she failed to notice something when formulating the research objective, how to write phd research proposal.

Thus it should be reformulated. Make sure that, once you changed the objective, you have to check the rest of the design! This is where iterative designing is about. Or, in selecting the research material new ideas about research questions may arise or existing ones may change.

If so, the designer has to check whether a change in the research questions asks for a fit of the rest of the design in the making. Designing research thus is a matter of trial and error before the researcher achieves a well-balanced design. It is impossible how to write phd research proposal do this adequately in a linear-serial way. You are strongly advised to cooperate with your supervisor in developing your research design in an iterative way.

The reason for this is that you need some creativity and fantasy to make the design, and a critical eye as well. These are easier how to write phd research proposal realise by brainstorming with another person than doing this all by yourself, behind your desk and an empty paper!

Below the six elements of a research design presented above are elaborated. Depending upon your discipline and the research tradition of your group or the particular research area, how to write phd research proposal, in fact the entire designing process may be guided by existing theory if any.

For instance, the selection and exact formulation of the research objective may be derived from theory, from a generalisation of results, but also from new ideas, how to write phd research proposal. The same goes for deriving the research questions, how to write phd research proposal. This is especially the case if the research issue is not only built up of research questions, but also of hypotheses.

This is called hypothesis testing research. This is a much more interesting and fruitful way to write the latter part of a thesis than simply to sum up your findings.

They even may make part of your design. Theory may also be helpful in defining the main concepts, how to write phd research proposal thus in selecting the empirical data that are needed to cover these concepts and to make it possible to find an answer to the research questions. A research project in principle focuses on one of the three products how to write phd research proposal. Of course this main product may force the researcher first to produce one or both of the other products.

The project may also generate one or both of the other products as a by product. But in principle the best thing to do is to decide at the beginning on which of the three possible objectives you will put an accent.

The production of insights, knowledge or a theory. These may be descriptive how exactly does the phenomenon look like or how is it built up exactly? What is exactly the phenomenon that you want to how to write phd research proposal or explain? What type of insights, knowledge or theory are you aiming at?

To formulate and argument recommendations to improve something. What type of recommendations do you want to make? For achieving what exactly? And why is this valuable or useful? The development of a new object, how to write phd research proposal, a tool, an instrument, a policy, a plan or something like that.

Describe shortly this object, tool, instrument, policy, plan to be developed. Give also a short description of what the tool, instrument et cetera is aiming at and what functions, demands and side conditions it exactly has to fulfil, how to write phd research proposal. Warning: Defining the objective of your research only makes sense if you are as clear, concrete and realistic as possible!

Please check these three criteria! The development of research questions is by far the most complicated and important part of the designing process.

You are advised to do this in three steps, followed by checks: 1 Formulate what type of information or knowledge about what exactly? This should be done in such a way that the answers to these sub questions together are the answer to the central question from which they were derived, neither less nor more.

This in fact means that you can leave out the central question once you formulated the sub questions. This may be a nice check on the adequacy of your sub questions. The reader should make clear that an iterative strategy means that this fit may be achieved by adapting either the sub questions, or the central question from which they are derived, or both.

The sub questions form your final research questions. As the reader may check, in fact this how-can type of formulation mostly regards the research objective. For formulating research questions you have to derive from the research objective what information, knowledge and insights are needed or useful to achieve this objective.

Examples are: What literature or theory do I need? How must the central concepts be operationalised? What is the optimal sample size? Et cetera. The first ones are afterwards to be derived from the latter ones! If this is not clear for somebody else and or asks for much explanation and elaboration, your research question is not yet clear enough. Continue the process of finding questions that have a clear contribution to achieving your research objective and or adapt the research objective.

If these questions can not be answered in a straightforward way, either the question is not adequate see warnings above or answering how to write phd research proposal is not feasible.

You then have to reformulate your question and thus most probably also your research objective. Answer the next three questions for each research question!

Where will you find these data and or how are you going to gather or generate these data observation, questioning, and content analysis of written and audio-visual documents?

Describe shortly how from these data the answer to your research questions can be found. Besides you have to answer the next question for the project as a whole, i. This is a matter of sampling, how to write phd research proposal, either random sampling or strategic sampling. The first alternative regards a quantitative research with many data sourcesthe second fits a qualitative research with only a few cases.

To answer this question you must in any of the two cases define your population of interest, i. Describing carefully the boundaries of this population helps a lot in getting clear where your research exactly is about and what is the reach of it, how to write phd research proposal.

Try to be realistic at this point! This forces you to reduce your project to a feasible size, which is a first condition for its success. Next you define criteria that will be used in the selection process. If you plan to do a quantitative research you have to specify what type of quantitative research you plan to do one shot survey, a panel research, a trend study, an experiment and the like. You also specify what type of data analysis you plan to do and what methods you are how to write phd research proposal to use multivariate analysis techniques, optimisation methods, etc.

In case of a qualitative research please specify what type of research it is a comparative case study, a field research, interpretative research or so. And how do you plan to process and to analyse the research material in order to find an answer to your research questions? Your research strategy may also consist of building and handling a computer model, gaming simulation with people or computer simulation.

A final aspect of a research design here to be mentioned is a work plan. The art of making a plan for your PhD project is to cut the how to write phd research proposal job into pieces, and to do this in a reasonable and realistic way. This plan must make clear what activities should be done within certain time limits. It should also specify what is the product or what are the results of a given time period. There are several possibilities for this unravelling into pieces.

However, this is a very linear way of proceeding. It often fits a quantitative type of research better. In case of a qualitative type of research you may prefer to carry out the research in a more or less iterative way. So you not only do the designing in an iterative way as this was the advice above, but also the carrying out of the research! In that case you might for instance prefer to split up the project in subprojects, each consisting of answering one of the research questions or one of the hypotheses to be tested.

A PhD project can either lead to: 1. A number of published papers with an introduction, possibly one or more supportive chapters and a discussion and conclusions at the end. An integrated thesis. PhD research is non-repetitive: it should contain at least some new elements, how to write phd research proposal, either in theory, in methodology or in application. Still it is possible to test a theory, to estimate a model or to do a case study that has quite some similarities with previous research.

For case studies, the estimation of models and the testing of theories or of the findings of previous research, it is important that the researcher links her or his results with all the available knowledge there is, how to write phd research proposal. PhD research is intended to contribute to proceedings of conferences and other scientific meetings, to journals preferably international scientific journals or books published by scientific publishers.

Besides that, it is important to communicate results in professional journals or newspapers whenever these results raise interest. Graduate Schools encourage practice oriented research that has a clear link with actual problems in society and with other disciplines: working within a multidisciplinary framework is encouraged.

 

 

how to write phd research proposal

 

Sep 25,  · How to write a PhD research proposal Designing a PhD-project. In this section some ideas are presented about the process of designing a research proposal and the elements that a research proposal preferably contains.5/5. How to write a PhD research proposal? The best way to approach writing a PhD research proposal is to take it one task at a time, formulate an idea, find some supporting evidence and see if there’s enough there to conduct a project on, if not then start again with a new idea. Writing a PhD research proposal: A 6‐step general guide for prospective PhD researchers Introduction This short guide is aimed at helping you to write a good research proposal. It is intended to help you to think about your proposed PhD research in a clear, structured and meaningful way.