Your research proposal should provide a clear outline of the research and the context in which it sits.
Your application should answer:
Make the language accessible to non-specialists. And in the case of an MPhil/PhD or PhD registration, indicate the anticipated contribution to knowledge.
Applications that are not approved tend to fall down in one or more of the areas above.
For example, in a scientific or technological project, a particular quantity is proposed for measurement but it is not clear how it will be measured or why this quantity is important. This is just a question of getting the level of detail right.
The same is true of projects involving questionnaires, where it is often unclear as to how many people will be polled and the anticipated response rate.
For creative projects, a good indication of the number of artefacts and their complexity may be appropriate.
If in doubt, include more detail but exercise common sense. A research proposal which runs to up to two pages of single-spaced A4 (possibly with an appended reading list and/or a project management sheet such as a Gantt chart) is fine but a ten-sheet application of unfocussed repetition is not!
Omoboyede is a PhD student from Nigeria in South Wales Business School. He says: “Before you start writing your proposal, do as much research as possible into the topic, including reading through publications, working papers and abstracts. Search and understand relevant methodologies and decide on which one to adopt in your research.
“Before applying to USW, it is a good idea to search for academics / researchers who might be interested in your topic. Email these potential supervisors with your abstract to ask for their initial thoughts and guidance. Finally, if you are an international student, ensure you can pay half of the fees upfront if you are successful or have a reliable funding sponsor.”
Rachel, a Masters by Research in English Literature student, said: "The application process was easy to follow, with the bulk of the application lying in my research proposal. Proposal writing is not something I had done before, and at first I was apprehensive. I soon found that the process of writing a research proposal was not dissimilar to writing my undergraduate essays. It involved an extensive literature search on the novels I was interested in writing about and seeing where my ideas could fit in in the existing work.
"After the initial research was done, I drafted my research proposal, making sure to make clear what my methodology for the research project would be, and how my work would fit in to the wider literary sphere.”