15 tips to write PhD research proposal with an outline,sample & example

15 tips to write PhD research proposal with an outline,sample & example

Research needs a proposal that is captivation to your PhD supervisor. Here is my strong template and sample suggestion on how to write your PhD research proposal stronger than other researchers around you. With this type of format and PhD research proposal template, you can easily impress your Supervisor and this research proposal stands outside the box in the way you have developed.

  • Title
  • Brief Introduction
  • Background and statement of the problem (this in the light of a thorough literature review)
  • Research question or hypothesis, aim and objectives
  • Study design (type of study)
  • Study population and sampling
  • Data collection methods and instruments
  • Data analysis methods –
  • Mechanisms to assure the quality of the study
  • Participants in the study
  • Ethical Values and considerations
  • Resources required for the Research
  • References
  • Appendices (copy of questionnaire, consent forms, etc.)

My Top Suggestions while using the PhD Research Proposal Template

A good PhD research proposal requires a sample template.

Mention your area of interest in your PhD research proposal.

Show examples of research in your PhD proposal.

Write clearly about some experiments in your proposal.

Mention the clear plan of execution of PhD in the future.

Reveal which sources are you going to refer.

Take note of giving details of methodology.

Use a long-form research proposal.

Do not exceed PhD proposal more than 2500 words.

Clarity in PhD Research Proposal

A research proposal is linked with dissertation which is a long paper that may consist of up to 100,000 words and therefore compressing all these details in less than 2000 words yet including all the vital information may be tricky to some researchers.

This requires a lot of summarizing skills to ensure that only relevant information is addressed in the proposal. The scholar must ensure that they only discuss the main ideas intended for the research while at the same time identifying supporting ideas and leaving them out.

It is necessary to do this to ensure that the proposal is not too long. The best way to achieve this is to provide that one is straight to the point and clearly states the topic as well as the main ideas as briefly as possible.

Being clear and straightforward enables the scholar to communicate effectively with the faculty members and will allow them to see the importance of the topic for research.

  • Writing Title of your PhD Research proposal

Most dissertations are written using the APA, Chicago or Harvard writing formats, and it is necessary to include a title page which happens to be at the beginning of the paper.

The first item that the scholar must write is the title of the proposal because as it turns out, it is probably the first thing that the reviewers will see when they open the proposal.

It is recommended that the title is written in capital letters. The title is essential because it sheds light on the topic that the thesis will base its research.

The title in your PhD research proposal provides a brief overview of the entire dissertation in one sentence. It is essential for the scholar to note that the title should be included on two sections namely; the title page and on the first page where the proposal begins.

Most Read Post
What is the Eligibility for PhD in English

It is advised that the scholar should take their time to come up with the most appropriate title since it lays boundaries for the research. The title page should also include other relevant information such as course identity and dates.

  • Who is your PhD. Guide while doing research proposal.

Aside from the scholar’s dissertation, the second most important thing to the candidate is the supervisor or adviser. The supervisor can also be referred to as a guide and is charged by the university to guide the scholar every step of the way towards writing a good research paper.

The supervisor is an experienced faculty member that has a PhD, and in most cases, they are specialized in the field that the scholar has selected. During the entire period that the scholar will work on their dissertation, they will be in touch with the supervisor for advice and generation of ideas.

In most cases, the guide is also recognized as a co-author of the research paper and therefore it is necessary to include them in the proposal as well as the research paper. It is recommended that scholar should dedicate a page to acknowledge the guide.

  • Method of your research in your PhD research proposal.

The research topic has a direct influence on the ways that will be used for them, and this is the section that the scholar should state how the research questions and background will be achieved.

There are research questions that guide the scholar as to what problems the dissertation wishes to identify and their causes. This section should include the sources that the research intends to use such as databases and theoretical resources.

The research methods section gives that audience or readers a visualization of the techniques that will be used in addressing the research topic. It involves making the problem(s), sources, methods used for gathering and analyzing information known to the examiners.

The scholar may also opt to state if other rhetorical visualizations are relevant to the dissertation and how they will be used to enhance and facilitate effective communication.

  • Objective of PhD Research Proposal.

The objectives section while writing your research proposal provides the section where the scholar should state the goals or objectives that they wish to achieve by conducting the study which should be done in a manner that is clear.

In the proposal, this section should clearly state the problem being addressed by the investigation, and it should also come out openly and state why it is necessary for the issue to be resolved.

Although ideas must be original and the researcher should be able to identify new problems that need creative and innovative solutions, it is always true that all new research is interconnected with previous research done by other scholars.

Therefore, under this section, the scholar should clearly state the problem, its importance and what they hope to achieve from the study.

  • Research Outline of your Proposal.

The outline is the most flexible part of the proposal because it continually changes with changes in the actual dissertation as they occur. The outline is the paper’s skeleton as it provides information on how the research paper looks both outward and inward.

Most Read Post
Top 29 Benefits and Advantages of doing PhD in Australia

The outline contains the details that comprise the study, and it is important to note that it should include the time frame of research.

As stated earlier, even new research utilizes other scholars’ works, and therefore this section should consist of what is also known as the literature review. Under this section, the scholar should provide a list of all sources that will be used in the research paper as well as stating their credibility.

The technique that will be used in analyzing the gathered data should also be indicated. The outline must have information on the methods that will be used to collect data as well as statistical methods used to analyze the data to bring out meaningful data.

It is also worth noting that the timetable that will be used during the research duration should be included.

  • The motivation behind your research Proposal.

Love for writing a research paper is not the primary reason why most PhD. candidates choose to pursue a doctorate program. For most students, they do so because it is the only way of achieving the ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ title and the significant amount of money that one can earn in the job market.

However, this is not the place to demonstrate this as the motivating factor. Under this section, the scholar must ensure that they clearly state the reason(s) why they have decided to select the topic among others.

The scholar may provide personal reasons that make them interested in the field of study and the topic. The reviewers must be able to relate with or feel the connection between the candidate and the subject of the research paper.

The candidate may state how the society or give examples of people they know have been affected by the problem. This should be accompanied by how the problem’s implications have caught their attention thus motivation.

  • End Results of your PhD research proposal.

In every research work, there must be findings that reflect what the researcher has discovered from the investigation. The logic is that for every objective, there must be results which enable the researcher to determine whether they have achieved their goal or not.

Under this section, the scholar should include the results and findings and also make a point of adding the discussions. The information that has been collected from different scholarly sources is analyzed and translated.

The underlying information intended for audience or readers by the authors of the various sources is brought together and summarized to show how the references relate with the dissertation’s topic.

This section involves restating the problem and stating the causes that have been identified from the different literature. The scholar also presents their recommendations for the problem(s) in question.

  • Write about Duration of Work in your PhD research proposal.

Although it may seem unnecessary, it is to indicate the time that will be spent on the research. As stated in the title section, it is necessary to include dates which show when the project is scheduled to begin and completed.

Most Read Post
How to write a PhD Literature Review in your thesis or dissertation effectively

However, this section should be more detailed and contain more information. Conducting research should be an organized process, and the use of a timetable can illustrate this.

The schedule should divide the project into phases and appointed different time-frames. Estimation should be done of the time that each stage is expected to require.

A timetable enables the scholar to be organized and can make writing the research paper a step by step process with a time span for each step

  • Writing Bibliography in your PhD research proposal.

Not only is the work cited section critical to a proposal paper but all academic papers regardless of how big or small they are regarding the number of words.

The bibliography includes all the sources where content will be researched, and it is essential that all sources should be reputable by ensuring that all sources are reliable and credible. The references in this section must also be cited within the text according to the format requirement.

The list of sources must be arranged in alphabetical order from A to Z which can be done quickly using Microsoft Word. References can be books or scholarly journal articles.

  • Check for spelling errors while writing your PhD research proposal.

After the phd research proposal has been written and the scholar is satisfied that they have included all the vital information, it should not be submitted hastily.

As the saying ‘man is to error’ goes, it is almost certain that the candidate has made spelling errors within the text. Fortunately, there is a computer application called Grammarly that makes it easy to identify and correct spelling errors quickly.

All that is required is to open the app and paste the contents of the proposal, and it scans and makes suggestions. By so doing, the candidate can correct all errors in a few minutes. After spelling mistakes are fixed, the content on the application is copied and pasted on a word document.

  • Check for spacing gap errors in your research proposal.

In most cases, the default spacing for a Microsoft Word document is either single spacing or may not be indicated. The required spacing for the proposal is double spacing, and the scholar must ensure that the entire text is double-spaced. This is also an easy process that can be completed in a matter of seconds.

The candidate should highlight the whole document by pressing CTRL+A then clicking on the paragraph option followed by selecting 2.0. Once this simple process is completed, the entire text is double-spaced as per requirement.

A good paper should display uniformity and therefore highlighting the whole document makes the paper uniform. Proper spacing ensures that sentences and paragraphs are evenly spread within the text and enables readability. It also makes the proposal appealing and appears organized.

  • Take care of jumbling of Titles in your PhD research proposal

Although a proposal is not as long as the dissertation, it should be remembered that it contains data that will be in the final paper. The topic may be a simple sentence, but it includes headings and subheadings that divide the document into sections.

Most Read Post
PhD age limit for Australia

For a paper to be considered good, it must be coherent and written in an orderly fashion. This is only possible if the headings are arranged chronologically thus jumbling titles make the paper confusing to the reader and the intended message may end up lost.

Disorganized titles make the reader confused, and they cannot understand what the researcher has written. If the proposal cannot be understood chances that the proposal will be rejected are 100%.

  • Never submit your PhD research proposal in haste

Proper care should be taken by formulating headings, and if possible, the candidate should spend considerable time identifying relevant ones.

Presenting academic papers hastily is highly discouraged, and scholars are encouraged to take their time before doing so. A paper submitted quickly is bound to have errors that the examiners will translate as carelessness, and that is not good for the research proposal which should serve the purpose of creating a good impression of the scholar.

When a candidate takes time to go through or proofread the paper, they are in an excellent position to identify errors as well as areas that may need improvement. If possible, the candidate should go through the proposal more three times, after all, it is just 2000 words or less.

When the proposal is submitted with errors, examiners get the impression that the candidate is lazy and they project that the same unavoidable errors will find their way into the dissertation.

To facilitate adequate time for proofreading, the researcher should take time to think through the headings that comprise the paper and research on the same. Before submitting, the candidate must ensure that they have checked the paper for all errors.

  • Take advice from teachers while writing and finishing your research proposal.

Writing the research proposal may not be as easy as many candidates perceive and they should seek help from the supervisor and other faculty members. Teachers have more experience in writing dissertations and therefore have valuable advice that will be useful to the researcher.

Likewise, teachers are aware what Ph.D. panel is interested in when it comes to the proposal, and therefore if the student listens to the teachers, they will place themselves in a better position of writing a proposal that has minimal chances of rejection.

The candidate should remember that for teachers to be in their current jobs, they once wrote proposals that were accepted. Furthermore, they may share personal experiences of writing rejected proposals and can, therefore, identify mistakes that should be rectified before submission.

  • Use time new roman font for better reading in your research proposal.

The default Ms. Word font upon opening a new document is Calibri, but it may not be as readable as Times New Roman. The standard format for all academic papers is Times

New Roman unless otherwise stated which is rare. This should be the font for the research paper used by the candidate as it also makes the work appear organized and neat.

The candidate should make a point of ensuring that the whole paper is written in the same font. Mixing fonts are discouraged and to eliminate this error, it is advised that once the proposal is written, the entire paper should be highlighted and the font selected as Times New Roman.

  • Use the font size 12 while editing your research proposal.

After the font has been selected as Times New Roman, the size should be set at 12 which is the standard size for academic scripts.

Most Read Post
What is the PhD fee structure in India

There are instances where candidates are tempted to use different font sizes in different sections of the proposal. For example, some students tend to think that making headings and subheadings larger by using bigger font sizes makes the paper look more appealing, but this is not true.

On the contrary, doing so makes the paper lose uniformity and furthermore, it is a deviation from writing guidelines. It is recommended that before submission, the candidate must ensure that the entire document is font size 12. This applies to all pages of the proposal paper from the title page to the last page. NOTE: All text should be font size 12.

  • Use the updated version of MS Office while writing your PhD research proposal.

Computer programs may vary depending on the version used, and therefore it is possible to find that they are using a different version of Ms. Office from the one used by those who evaluate.

Different versions have various features, and therefore some components may fail to open when the document is opened in another version that differs from the one where the document was typed.

This aspect is important because currently, submissions are expected to be made in soft copy form. It is safe to assume that you are using the latest version of Ms. Office and therefore candidates are highly recommended to use the same.

The newest version is essential because it ensures compatibility and examiners can view the proposal paper as the candidate intended.

  • Save a copy with you to defend your writing of PhD research proposal

It is not enough that the proposal has been completed and submitted thus the candidate is encouraged to save a copy of the same on their computer, an external hard disk and preferably a cloud-based storage application such as Gmail.

This prevents the candidate from losing their work in case of unforeseen accidents such as crashing of the PC or laptop.

Candidates must also keep in mind that submitting the proposal paper is just the beginning of the venture for the PhD. program. Furthermore, they are required to defend their proposal; thus they should maintain a copy of the same.

  • Prepare well and learn new things about your writing of research proposal

As stated earlier, candidates should spend considerable time preparing themselves for writing the proposal since it should be accurate and perfect. Before starting to write the proposal, the candidate must prepare adequately by making a list of research topics.

The most appropriate one is selected from the list after which the researcher should conduct thorough research to familiarize with the subject. Candidates must keep in mind that the proposal is only a portion of the dissertation and therefore they should acquire vast knowledge in the field under which the topic lies.

Although the subject may fall under their areas of specialization regarding the master’s or undergraduate degree, they should ensure that they learn as many new things as possible before writing the proposal.

  • Stick to your research proposal writing.

The reason why the proposal is essential is that it provides information on what is expected on the dissertation paper. Once the proposal is submitted and accepted, the scholar must ensure that they stick to it to the latter.

Most Read Post
How to Correctly Write PhD After Your Name as a Title

Although it is necessary to make changes to the proposal after the dissertation process has begun, they must be in line with the proposal.

It should be noted that officials only accept proposals that they have carefully considered and deemed eligible. Therefore, making changes that may present an entirely new proposal is unacceptable and candidates are discouraged from doing so.

It is recommended that before making significant changes, the candidate should consult the supervisor.

  • Respect supervisor’s advice in changing topic of research while writing .

The role of the supervisor is to guide the candidate and aid them in generating fresh ideas that exhibit originality. Usually, supervisors are lecturers specialized in the field chosen by the candidate, and therefore they have significant knowledge on the same.

This is backed by experience acquired from working in the same profession. Supervisors are in an excellent position to offer valuable advice to the candidate especially when it comes to choosing the topic.

Although the process must be independent, candidates should not brush aside the supervisor’s opinion on changing the subject if they feel that it is necessary.

  • Work hard from the beginning

The dissertation is not the only paper that requires hard work and effort from the candidate since it also applies to the research proposal. The research paper dictates how the dissertation will be written as it is responsible for highlighting the topic, problem under investigation, objectives, literature review, research methods and the timetable among others. Furthermore, the research proposal also requires a lot of extensive research.

All these factors are determinants whether the research paper will be good or bad. Consequently, candidates are advised to work hard from the start if they are going to be accepted for a PhD. program.

For all subjects of PhD, one needs to prepare SOP i.e Statement of Purpose. Here are some tips on how to write it effectively. Mention the purpose of doing PhD clearly.

  • Name the person to whom are you writing a statement of Purpose.
  • Introduce who you are in SOP.
  • Tell how passionate are you in your statement of purpose.
  • Explain the area of interest in SOP.
  • Tell about your Extra Curricular Activities in sop.
  • Any active participation on your research topic in the past.
  • Quote, any conferences attended in the statement of purpose.
  • Mention about your Published Papers in your sop.
  • Tell Why do you want to apply to that university.
  • Mention clearly to who are you writing in Statement of Purpose.

You have to clearly mention in your PhD statement of purpose when writing makes sure, that to whom you are writing and mention their names and addresses clearly.

Otherwise, we don’t know exactly to whom are you writing. And the university administration also clearly understands that you have no knowledge about how to prepare PhD application letter.

This will bring all together with a bad impression to you that which is not acceptable.

  • Introduce who you are in Statement of Purpose

Secondly, introduce who you are. Why are you doing your PhD and from where are you exactly located in your statement of purpose?

Most Read Post
How to Prepare for PhD Entrance Exam in Your Subject. 4 Tips to Crack

Tell about yourself clearly and showcase your talent and possibilities of doing research in the future. Give the impression that you are eligible to continue your research work with all worthiness.

Your self-introduction will play a key role because it may impress in the beginning and so you are in a position to get admission very easily.

If you do not introduce properly, then they may not really agree with you. University Authorities do not know exactly what your talents are like.

  • Tell how passionate are you in Statement of Purpose

You must tell how passionate are you while doing PhD research while writing your statement of purpose. If you are not able to tell how passionate are you then how can the administration realize that you are really intelligent and passionate to do in the Future all the PhD related Coursework or research? So your passion Speaks a lot while writing PhD application letter.

  • Explain the area of interest in Statement of Purpose

The area of interest is one of the crucial points while writing a statement of purpose for PhD

I tell this because your area of interest could really impress if that is very much related to the trending topic.

So while preparing your area of interest, kindly choose those areas which are trending in the present generation.

This will really put you in greater competition among others who apply along with you.

  • Tell about  your Extra Curricular Activities in SOP

You must also mention how good are you at another activity. Extracurricular activities are one of the impressive points in your statement of purpose for PhD.

If you clearly tell in which activities are you good at, maybe it being an outdoor activity or indoor activities, you mention all the prizes and awards that you have received regarding your outdoor or indoor activities.

Your extracurricular activities are one of the strongest points when the administration tries to consider to whom admission must be given.

  • Tell participation of events in your Statement of Purpose

If at all you have participated in any activities that are held in the society, you have to also tell that in your statement of purpose for PhD

You might have participated in some educational campaigns on behalf of the government.

You might have undertaken some important educational activities to help society. You might have helped the poor in the process of giving education freely.

These things will surely consider your admission. If there are any certificate given to you regarding your societal activities, then you can submit those certificates which will bring much closer to get admission into the Ph.D. course.

  • Quote, any conferences attended in Statement of Purpose.

Before doing PhD itself, you must have attended some conferences nationally or internationally. So take the time to mention those names of the conferences clearly.

This type of conferences is very powerful. If the university sees that you have already attended some important conferences, your admission is 100% sure to get.

  • Mention about your Published Papers in Statement of Purpose.

If at all you have published any research papers in reputed journals, also mention those papers clearly.

Most Read Post
Abstract Writing Guide for a PhD Dissertation and thesis

This is the most powerful among all the points that I have been telling you today. Who does not want to give admission with a kind of publishing experience? So think clearly.

This may not be possible for you to publish papers and apply for PhD but if at all you have any published papers either in normal journals or reputed journals, take a chance to mention those things.

You have to realize this before mention without forgetting. You will stand first in the competition of attaining your PhD admission. You can make your PhD application letter stand out there.

  • Tell Why do you want to apply to that university in SOP.

Most of the times the one question that University asks is why do you want to apply to our university?

So you must be ready to answer this question. What is the difference between the other university that you do not want to join and this university that you want to join?

This is the difference that you must clearly mention in your application letter. Probably you can tell about the achievements of the university and the benefits of joining in that particular University.

  • Be clear and concise in your statement.

While writing your PhD application letter, try to be clear and concise and short. Use most of the sentences in a simpler way. Use shorter sentences. Use clear sentences.

Do not use passive voice so much. Use active voice and make sure that whatever you write, check with for complete grammar mistakes and check for any other sentence formation mistakes and check for Tense consistency levels throughout the application letter.

If you are not able to do this, give to an English teacher who can proofread your application letter once and twice before sending it to the university.

  • Be truthful to all that you write in Statement of Purpose.

Most of the times I have seen PhD aspirants giving wrong information to the University administration in the statement of purpose for PhD

This is not at all correct. Be careful not to mention false acclamation.  Anyhow you need to prove them when the time comes. If you are not able to prove after some days of your application process, your time gets wasted once you get rejected from the admission process.

So make sure whatever you tell or write or mention in the application letter, it must be very genuine and truthful to the cause for which you are applying for.

  • Never apply after the deadline given while applying through sop.

There is always a deadline before you send your application to any university.

Do not miss the deadline. Once you miss the deadline and even then you send your application letter to the university, they will not accept you.

You may waste your time waiting for their reply but you never get apply from that side for having been lately applied.

So make sure that you apply to the university within the deadline that they have given in the notification.

  • Use the well-dignified font style throughout your statement of purpose.

When you write a letter don’t use too big letters or too small letters. Use a good font. The best font could be times new Roman. Make the size into 12.

  • Do not use rude words in SOP.

Check the words that you use in your application letter.  never used to ridiculous words that will allow the administration to misunderstand what you have written.

Most Read Post
PhD age limit for Australia

I have seen much time that some are writing wrong words during the letter writing. These words may be not apt and correct. You cannot use some words where they are not applicable.

If you struggle with language problems. Get it done with any language expert who can assist you.

Try reading some sample application letters which are available online. These letters are so useful and will give you an idea on how to write PhD application letter easily.

You can also use some tools that are available online which can check easily for any mistakes or using words wrongly.  These tools are very smart and can catch your wrong work and correct them.

  • Express your long-term goals in the statement of purpose.

Always mention what are your long-term goals and what you want to achieve by doing this PhD course with University.

If you mention the long-term goals that will be a great benefit to you to understand clearly what you exactly want to become in the future with the PhD admission.

When you mention your long-term goals you are very clear to get admission.

The university will surely understand your sincerity. They will be impressed with your letter and the goals that you have mentioned.

If they feel it is quite genuine, they will give admission and your PhD application will be highly successful.

Leave a Comment