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How to Prepare a PhD Research Plan/Schedule?

PhD research plan is a structured schedule for completing different objectives and milestones during a given timeframe. Scholars are usually unaware of it. Let us find out how to prepare it. 

Between March 2021 to 2022, I read almost 15 different research proposals from students (for their projects) and only a single one, I found, with a comprehensive research plan for 3 years. Which is still not, kind of practical, probably copied from other students. 

Such entities are not known to over 90% of students, if some know that because their university asked for but unfortunately, this basic procedure lacks penetration among students. I don’t know the exact reason, but students lack a basic understanding of the research process. 

Meaning, that they don’t know or perhaps don’t complete their course work needly. PhD research requires many documents, SOPs and write-ups, before even starting it. For example, a rough research plan, research proposal, initial interview, competence screening, grant proposal and so on. 

However, the requirement varies among universities and thus knowledge regarding basic procedures often also varies among students. So I’m not blaming students but certainly, it is the fault of the university side, as well.  

When you come up with a research proposal with a research schedule or entire plant, certainly it will create a positive image and good reputation. So it is important. But how to prepare it? 

Hey, there I’m Dr Tushar, a PhD tutor and coach. In this article, we will understand how we can prepare a structured plan for the PhD research and how to execute it. 

So let’s get started.  

How to prepare a PhD research plan/schedule?

A PhD research plan or schedule can be prepared using the GANTT chart which includes a month, semester or year-wise planning of the entire PhD research work. 

First, enlist goals and objectives.

It’s not about your research objective enlisted in your proposal. I’m talking about the objectives of your PhD. Take a look at some of the objectives.

Note that these are all the objectives that should be completed during the PhD, but not limited to a specific subject. Note you have to show how you can complete or achieve each objective during the entire tenure of your work. 

And that is what the plan/schedule is all about. Next, explain the time duration. The time required to complete each goal, roughly. For example, a semester or a year to complete the course work or 4 to 8 months for completion of ethical approval. 

Now two things must be known to you, at this point in time. 

  • First, enlist the time required to complete each objective, as aforementioned. 
  • Second, what goals would you complete during each semester?

For instance, course work takes a semester to complete, but during the period a scholar can also craft their PhD research title, research proposal, ethical approval and grant proposals. 

Now it is also crucial to know that there is no time bound to complete goals, but it should be completed as you explained. Let’s say you can plant it for 3 years, 4 or even 5 years depending on the weightage of your work. 

In summary, the answer to the question of how to prepare a research plan is, 

  • Enlist your goals or objectives. 
  • Decide the time required to complete each goal.
  • Prepare a GANTT chart.  

Now you have prepared zero-date planning for your research but how to present it? The answer is a GANTT chart.   

GANTT chart for PhD research plan: 

GANTT chart is a task manager and graphical presentation of how and how many tasks are completed or should be completed against a given time duration. Take a look at the image below. 

The example of the GANTT chart.

How can you prepare one?

Open MS Excel (on Windows) or numbers (on Mac).

Enlist goals or objectives in a column. 

Enlist years (duration of PhD) in a row and bifurcate them into individual semesters. You can also prepare a month-wise plan, that’s totally up to you. In my opinion, semester-wise planning is good because research is a lengthy and time-consuming process. So monthly planning would not work. 

To make a chart more attractive and readable use colors, as I used. Now mark a ‘cell’ against a column and row showing the objective which you are going to complete in a semester. Take a look. 

After the end of this, your GANTT chart would look like this. 

A screenshot of an ideal GANTT chart.

You can prepare a month-wise planning, individual semester-wise planning and goal-wise planning etc. I will explain these things in upcoming articles on 5 different types of GANTT charts for PhD.  

Custom writing services: 

If you find difficulties in preparing a research plan, synopsis, proposal or GANTT chart. We can work on behalf of you. Our costume services are, 

  • Synopsis writing 
  • Project writing 
  • Research proposal writing 
  • Research planning and GANTT chart preparation. 

You can contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] to get more information. 

Wrapping up: 

Planning and executing a research schedule are two different things. Oftentimes, students just prepare as per the requirements and then do work as per their convenience. Then they are stuck in one place and just work around the time. 

Plan things. Make your own GANTT chart, put it on your work table or stick it on a wall so that you can see it daily. Try to achieve each goal in time. Trust me things will work and you will complete your PhD before anyone else.  

Dr Tushar Chauhan

Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.

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How to write a PhD thesis: a step-by-step guide

A draft isn’t a perfect, finished product; it is your opportunity to start getting words down on paper, writes Kelly Louise Preece

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Congratulations; you’ve finished your research! Time to write your PhD thesis. This resource will take you through an eight-step plan for drafting your chapters and your thesis as a whole. 

Infographic with steps on how to draft your PhD thesis

Organise your material

Before you start, it’s important to get organised. Take a step back and look at the data you have, then reorganise your research. Which parts of it are central to your thesis and which bits need putting to one side? Label and organise everything using logical folders – make it easy for yourself! Academic and blogger Pat Thomson calls this  “Clean up to get clearer” . Thomson suggests these questions to ask yourself before you start writing:

  • What data do you have? You might find it useful to write out a list of types of data (your supervisor will find this list useful too.) This list is also an audit document that can go in your thesis. Do you have any for the “cutting room floor”? Take a deep breath and put it in a separate non-thesis file. You can easily retrieve it if it turns out you need it.
  • What do you have already written? What chunks of material have you written so far that could form the basis of pieces of the thesis text? They will most likely need to be revised but they are useful starting points. Do you have any holding text? That is material you already know has to be rewritten but contains information that will be the basis of a new piece of text.
  • What have you read and what do you still need to read? Are there new texts that you need to consult now after your analysis? What readings can you now put to one side, knowing that they aren’t useful for this thesis – although they might be useful at another time?
  • What goes with what? Can you create chunks or themes of materials that are going to form the basis of some chunks of your text, perhaps even chapters?

Once you have assessed and sorted what you have collected and generated you will be in much better shape to approach the big task of composing the dissertation. 

Decide on a key message

A key message is a summary of new information communicated in your thesis. You should have started to map this out already in the section on argument and contribution – an overarching argument with building blocks that you will flesh out in individual chapters.

You have already mapped your argument visually, now you need to begin writing it in prose. Following another of Pat Thomson’s exercises, write a “tiny text” thesis abstract. This doesn’t have to be elegant, or indeed the finished product, but it will help you articulate the argument you want your thesis to make. You create a tiny text using a five-paragraph structure:

  • The first sentence addresses the broad context. This locates the study in a policy, practice or research field.
  • The second sentence establishes a problem related to the broad context you have set out. It often starts with “But”, “Yet” or “However”.
  • The third sentence says what specific research has been done. This often starts with “This research” or “I report…”
  • The fourth sentence reports the results. Don’t try to be too tricky here, just start with something like: “This study shows,” or “Analysis of the data suggests that…”
  • The fifth and final sentence addresses the “So What?” question and makes clear the claim to contribution.

Here’s an example that Thomson provides:

Secondary school arts are in trouble, as the fall in enrolments in arts subjects dramatically attests. However, there is patchy evidence about the benefits of studying arts subjects at school and this makes it hard to argue why the drop in arts enrolments matters. This thesis reports on research which attempts to provide some answers to this problem – a longitudinal study which followed two groups of senior secondary students, one group enrolled in arts subjects and the other not, for three years. The results of the study demonstrate the benefits of young people’s engagement in arts activities, both in and out of school, as well as the connections between the two. The study not only adds to what is known about the benefits of both formal and informal arts education but also provides robust evidence for policymakers and practitioners arguing for the benefits of the arts. You can  find out more about tiny texts and thesis abstracts on Thomson’s blog.

  • Writing tips for higher education professionals
  • Resource collection on academic writing
  • What is your academic writing temperament?

Write a plan

You might not be a planner when it comes to writing. You might prefer to sit, type and think through ideas as you go. That’s OK. Everybody works differently. But one of the benefits of planning your writing is that your plan can help you when you get stuck. It can help with writer’s block (more on this shortly!) but also maintain clarity of intention and purpose in your writing.

You can do this by creating a  thesis skeleton or storyboard , planning the order of your chapters, thinking of potential titles (which may change at a later stage), noting down what each chapter/section will cover and considering how many words you will dedicate to each chapter (make sure the total doesn’t exceed the maximum word limit allowed).

Use your plan to help prompt your writing when you get stuck and to develop clarity in your writing.

Some starting points include:

  • This chapter will argue that…
  • This section illustrates that…
  • This paragraph provides evidence that…

Of course, we wish it werethat easy. But you need to approach your first draft as exactly that: a draft. It isn’t a perfect, finished product; it is your opportunity to start getting words down on paper. Start with whichever chapter you feel you want to write first; you don’t necessarily have to write the introduction first. Depending on your research, you may find it easier to begin with your empirical/data chapters.

Vitae advocates for the “three draft approach” to help with this and to stop you from focusing on finding exactly the right word or transition as part of your first draft.

Infographic of the three draft approach

This resource originally appeared on Researcher Development .

Kelly Louse Preece is head of educator development at the University of Exeter.

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how to write a phd plan of study

Authoring a PhD

How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation

  • © 2003
  • Latest edition
  • Patrick Dunleavy 0

London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

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  • Covers all the core aspects of doctoral research, from forming research questions through to final submission
  • Includes a chapter on getting published, with practical guidance on writing and submitting journal papers and reshaping a thesis into a monograph
  • Draws on the author’s own experience of supervising over 30 PhD students

Part of the book series: Macmillan Study Skills (MASTSK)

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Table of contents (9 chapters)

Front matter, becoming an author.

Patrick Dunleavy

Envisioning the Thesis as a Whole

Planning an integrated thesis: the macro-structure, organizing a chapter or paper: the micro-structure, writing clearly: style and referencing issues, developing your text and managing the writing process, handling attention points: data, charts and graphics, the end-game: finishing your doctorate, publishing your research, back matter.

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About this book

This engaging and highly regarded book takes readers through the key stages of their PhD research journey, from the initial ideas through to successful completion and publication. It gives helpful guidance on forming research questions, organising ideas, pulling together a final draft, handling the viva and getting published. Each chapter contains a wealth of practical suggestions and tips for readers to try out and adapt to their own research needs and disciplinary style.

Authors and Affiliations

About the author, bibliographic information.

Book Title : Authoring a PhD

Book Subtitle : How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation

Authors : Patrick Dunleavy

Series Title : Macmillan Study Skills

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-230-80208-7

Publisher : Red Globe Press London

eBook Packages : Palgrave Social & Cultural Studies Collection , Social Sciences (R0)

Copyright Information : The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2003

Edition Number : 1

Number of Pages : XIII, 297

Additional Information : Previously published under the imprint Palgrave

Topics : Research Methods in Education

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how to write a phd plan of study

How to Write a PhD Research Proposal

  • Applying to a PhD
  • A research proposal summarises your intended research.
  • Your research proposal is used to confirm you understand the topic, and that the university has the expertise to support your study.
  • The length of a research proposal varies. It is usually specified by either the programme requirements or the supervisor upon request. 1500 to 3500 words is common.
  • The typical research proposal structure consists of: Title, Abstract, Background and Rationale, Research Aims and Objectives, Research Design and Methodology, Timetable, and a Bibliography.

What is a Research Proposal?

A research proposal is a supporting document that may be required when applying to a research degree. It summarises your intended research by outlining what your research questions are, why they’re important to your field and what knowledge gaps surround your topic. It also outlines your research in terms of your aims, methods and proposed timetable .

What Is It Used for and Why Is It Important?

A research proposal will be used to:

  • Confirm whether you understand the topic and can communicate complex ideas.
  • Confirm whether the university has adequate expertise to support you in your research topic.
  • Apply for funding or research grants to external bodies.

How Long Should a PhD Research Proposal Be?

Some universities will specify a word count all students will need to adhere to. You will typically find these in the description of the PhD listing. If they haven’t stated a word count limit, you should contact the potential supervisor to clarify whether there are any requirements. If not, aim for 1500 to 3500 words (3 to 7 pages).

Your title should indicate clearly what your research question is. It needs to be simple and to the point; if the reader needs to read further into your proposal to understand your question, your working title isn’t clear enough.

Directly below your title, state the topic your research question relates to. Whether you include this information at the top of your proposal or insert a dedicated title page is your choice and will come down to personal preference.

2. Abstract

If your research proposal is over 2000 words, consider providing an abstract. Your abstract should summarise your question, why it’s important to your field and how you intend to answer it; in other words, explain your research context.

Only include crucial information in this section – 250 words should be sufficient to get across your main points.

3. Background & Rationale

First, specify which subject area your research problem falls in. This will help set the context of your study and will help the reader anticipate the direction of your proposed research.

Following this, include a literature review . A literature review summarises the existing knowledge which surrounds your research topic. This should include a discussion of the theories, models and bodies of text which directly relate to your research problem. As well as discussing the information available, discuss those which aren’t. In other words, identify what the current gaps in knowledge are and discuss how this will influence your research. Your aim here is to convince the potential supervisor and funding providers of why your intended research is worth investing time and money into.

Last, discuss the key debates and developments currently at the centre of your research area.

4. Research Aims & Objectives

Identify the aims and objectives of your research. The aims are the problems your project intends to solve; the objectives are the measurable steps and outcomes required to achieve the aim.

In outlining your aims and objectives, you will need to explain why your proposed research is worth exploring. Consider these aspects:

  • Will your research solve a problem?
  • Will your research address a current gap in knowledge?
  • Will your research have any social or practical benefits?

If you fail to address the above questions, it’s unlikely they will accept your proposal – all PhD research projects must show originality and value to be considered.

5. Research Design and Methodology

The following structure is recommended when discussing your research design:

  • Sample/Population – Discuss your sample size, target populations, specimen types etc.
  • Methods – What research methods have you considered, how did you evaluate them and how did you decide on your chosen one?
  • Data Collection – How are you going to collect and validate your data? Are there any limitations?
  • Data Analysis – How are you going to interpret your results and obtain a meaningful conclusion from them?
  • Ethical Considerations – Are there any potential implications associated with your research approach? This could either be to research participants or to your field as a whole on the outcome of your findings (i.e. if you’re researching a particularly controversial area). How are you going to monitor for these implications and what types of preventive steps will you need to put into place?

6. Timetable

PhD Project Plan - PhD research proposal

We’ve outlined the various stages of a PhD and the approximate duration of a PhD programme which you can refer to when designing your own research study.

7. Bibliography

Plagiarism is taken seriously across all academic levels, but even more so for doctorates. Therefore, ensure you reference the existing literature you have used in writing your PhD proposal. Besides this, try to adopt the same referencing style as the University you’re applying to uses. You can easily find this information in the PhD Thesis formatting guidelines published on the University’s website.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

Questions & Answers

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we’re asked about the Research Proposal:

Can You Change a Research Proposal?

Yes, your PhD research proposal outlines the start of your project only. It’s well accepted that the direction of your research will develop with time, therefore, you can revise it at later dates.

Can the Potential Supervisor Review My Draft Proposal?

Whether the potential supervisor will review your draft will depend on the individual. However, it is highly advisable that you at least attempt to discuss your draft with them. Even if they can’t review it, they may provide you with useful information regarding their department’s expertise which could help shape your PhD proposal. For example, you may amend your methodology should you come to learn that their laboratory is better equipped for an alternative method.

How Should I Structure and Format My Proposal?

Ensure you follow the same order as the headings given above. This is the most logical structure and will be the order your proposed supervisor will expect.

Most universities don’t provide formatting requirements for research proposals on the basis that they are a supporting document only, however, we recommend that you follow the same format they require for their PhD thesis submissions. This will give your reader familiarity and their guidelines should be readily available on their website.

Last, try to have someone within the same academic field or discipline area to review your proposal. The key is to confirm that they understand the importance of your work and how you intend to execute it. If they don’t, it’s likely a sign you need to rewrite some of your sections to be more coherent.

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How to write a successful research proposal

As the competition for PhD places is incredibly fierce, your research proposal can have a strong bearing on the success of your application - so discover how to make the best impression

What is a research proposal?

Research proposals are used to persuade potential supervisors and funders that your work is worthy of their support. These documents set out your proposed research that will result in a Doctoral thesis. They are typically between 1,500 and 3,000 words.

Your PhD research proposal must passionately articulate what you want to research and why, convey your understanding of existing literature, and clearly define at least one research question that could lead to new or original knowledge and how you propose to answer it.

Professor Leigh Wilson, head of the graduate school at the University of Westminster , explains that while the research proposal is about work that hasn't been done yet, what prospective supervisors and funders are focusing on just as strongly is evidence of what you've done.

This includes how well you know existing literature in the area, including very recent publications and debates, and how clearly you've seen what's missing from this and so what your research can do that's new. Giving a strong sense of this background or frame for the proposed work is crucial.

'Although it's tempting to make large claims and propose research that sweeps across time and space, narrower, more focused research is much more convincing,' she adds. 'To be thorough and rigorous in the way that academic work needs to be, even something as long as a PhD thesis can only cover a fairly narrow topic. Depth not breadth is called for.'

The structure of your research proposal is therefore important to achieving this goal, yet it should still retain sufficient flexibility to comfortably accommodate any changes you need to make as your PhD progresses.

Layout and formats vary, so it's advisable to consult your potential PhD supervisor before you begin. Here's what to bear in mind when writing a research proposal.

Your provisional title should be around ten words in length, and clearly and accurately indicate your area of study and/or proposed approach. It should be catchy, informative and interesting.

The title page should also include personal information, such as:

  • academic title
  • date of birth
  • nationality
  • contact details.

Aims and objectives

This is a summary of your project. Your aims should be two or three broad statements that emphasise what you want to achieve, complemented by several focused, feasible and measurable objectives - the steps that you'll take to answer each of your research questions.

You'll need to clearly and briefly outline:

  • how your research addresses a gap in, or builds upon, existing knowledge
  • how your research links to the department that you're applying to
  • the academic, cultural, political and/or social significance of your research questions.

Literature review

This section of your PhD proposal discusses the most important theories, models and texts that surround and influence your research questions, conveying your understanding and awareness of the key issues and debates.

It should focus on the theoretical and practical knowledge gaps that your work aims to address, as this ultimately justifies and provides the motivation for your project.

Methodology

Here, you're expected to outline how you'll answer each of your research questions. A strong, well-written methodology is crucial, but especially so if your project involves extensive collection and significant analysis of primary data.

In disciplines such as humanities, the research proposal methodology identifies the data collection and analytical techniques available to you, before justifying the ones you'll use in greater detail. You'll also define the population that you're intending to examine.

You should also show that you're aware of the limitations of your research, qualifying the parameters you plan to introduce. Remember, it's more impressive to do a fantastic job of exploring a narrower topic than a decent job of exploring a wider one.

Concluding or following on from your methodology, your timetable should identify how long you'll need to complete each step - perhaps using bi-weekly or monthly timeslots. This helps the reader to evaluate the feasibility of your project and shows that you've considered how you'll go about putting the PhD proposal into practice.

Bibliography

Finally, you'll provide a list of the most significant texts, plus any attachments such as your academic CV .

Demonstrate your skills in critical reflection by selecting only those resources that are most appropriate.

Final checks

Before submitting this document along with your PhD application, you'll need to ensure that you've adhered to the research proposal format. This means that:

  • every page is numbered
  • it's professional, interesting and informative
  • the research proposal has been proofread by both an experienced academic (to confirm that it conforms to academic standards) and a layperson (to correct any grammatical or spelling errors)
  • it has a contents page
  • you've used a clear and easy-to-read structure, with appropriate headings.

Research proposal examples

To get a better idea of how your PhD proposal may look, some universities have provided examples of research proposals for specific subjects, including:

  • The Open University - Social Policy and Criminology
  • Queen's University Belfast - Nursing and Midwifery
  • University of Sheffield - Sociological Studies
  • University of Sussex
  • University of York - Politics
  • York St John University

Find out more

  • Explore PhD studentships .
  • For tips on writing a thesis, see 7 steps to writing a dissertation .
  • Consider your PhD, what next?

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Writing your research proposal

How to write a PhD research proposal

Creating a focused and well-written research proposal - a concise and coherent summary of your proposed research - is an essential part of a successful PhD application.

A research proposal is normally required for self-funded PhDs (where you develop your own idea for a thesis), but isn't usually needed for funded studentships or pre-defined research projects.

What is a research proposal?

A research proposal sets out the central issues or questions that you intend to address. It outlines the general area of study within which your research falls, referring to the current state of knowledge and any recent debates on the topic. It should also demonstrate the originality of your proposed research.

What it should include

As a guide, research proposals should be around 2,000-3,000 words and contain:

  • A title – this is just tentative and can be revised over the course of your research
  • An abstract – a concise statement of your intended research
  • Context - a brief overview of the general area of study within which your proposed research falls, summarising the current state of knowledge and recent debates on the topic
  • Research questions - central aims and questions that will guide your research
  • Research methods - outline of how you are going to conduct your research, for example, visiting particular libraries or archives, field work or interviews
  • Research significance - demonstrate the originality of your intended research
  • A bibliography.

Crucially, it is also an opportunity for you to communicate your passion for the subject area and to make a persuasive argument about the impact your project can achieve.

Your research proposal will be assessed by our academic schools to assess the quality of your proposed research and  to establish whether they have the expertise to support your proposed area of PhD study.

Thesis writing classes and support for international research students

The University’s English Language Centre (ELC)  provides thesis writing support for international PhD students. Classes run throughout semesters one and two and are designed to help develop the academic writing skills needed to write up research effectively.

The sessions are taught by tutors with their own research experience. They have PhDs themselves and have many years of experience in analysing writing in different disciplines.

The course also provides an opportunity for students to receive individual feedback on samples of their own writing.

The following classes are available:

  • Thesis Writing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine
  • Thesis Writing for Humanities and Social Sciences

In addition to these thesis writing classes, the ELC also provides a 1:1 Academic Writing Consultation service.

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How to write a research proposal

What is a research proposal.

A research proposal should present your idea or question and expected outcomes with clarity and definition – the what.

It should also make a case for why your question is significant and what value it will bring to your discipline – the why. 

What it shouldn't do is answer the question – that's what your research will do.

Why is it important?

Research proposals are significant because Another reason why it formally outlines your intended research. Which means you need to provide details on how you will go about your research, including:

  • your approach and methodology
  • timeline and feasibility
  • all other considerations needed to progress your research, such as resources.

Think of it as a tool that will help you clarify your idea and make conducting your research easier.

How long should it be?

Usually no more than 2000 words, but check the requirements of your degree, and your supervisor or research coordinator.

Presenting your idea clearly and concisely demonstrates that you can write this way – an attribute of a potential research candidate that is valued by assessors.

What should it include?

Project title.

Your title should clearly indicate what your proposed research is about.

Research supervisor

State the name, department and faculty or school of the academic who has agreed to supervise you. Rest assured, your research supervisor will work with you to refine your research proposal ahead of submission to ensure it meets the needs of your discipline.

Proposed mode of research

Describe your proposed mode of research. Which may be closely linked to your discipline, and is where you will describe the style or format of your research, e.g. data, field research, composition, written work, social performance and mixed media etc. 

This is not required for research in the sciences, but your research supervisor will be able to guide you on discipline-specific requirements.

Aims and objectives

What are you trying to achieve with your research? What is the purpose? This section should reference why you're applying for a research degree. Are you addressing a gap in the current research? Do you want to look at a theory more closely and test it out? Is there something you're trying to prove or disprove? To help you clarify this, think about the potential outcome of your research if you were successful – that is your aim. Make sure that this is a focused statement.

Your objectives will be your aim broken down – the steps to achieving the intended outcome. They are the smaller proof points that will underpin your research's purpose. Be logical in the order of how you present these so that each succeeds the previous, i.e. if you need to achieve 'a' before 'b' before 'c', then make sure you order your objectives a, b, c.

A concise summary of what your research is about. It outlines the key aspects of what you will investigate as well as the expected outcomes. It briefly covers the what, why and how of your research. 

A good way to evaluate if you have written a strong synopsis, is to get somebody to read it without reading the rest of your research proposal. Would they know what your research is about?

Now that you have your question clarified, it is time to explain the why. Here, you need to demonstrate an understanding of the current research climate in your area of interest.

Providing context around your research topic through a literature review will show the assessor that you understand current dialogue around your research, and what is published.

Demonstrate you have a strong understanding of the key topics, significant studies and notable researchers in your area of research and how these have contributed to the current landscape.

Expected research contribution

In this section, you should consider the following:

  • Why is your research question or hypothesis worth asking?
  • How is the current research lacking or falling short?
  • What impact will your research have on the discipline?
  • Will you be extending an area of knowledge, applying it to new contexts, solving a problem, testing a theory, or challenging an existing one?
  • Establish why your research is important by convincing your audience there is a gap.
  • What will be the outcome of your research contribution?
  • Demonstrate both your current level of knowledge and how the pursuit of your question or hypothesis will create a new understanding and generate new information.
  • Show how your research is innovative and original.

Draw links between your research and the faculty or school you are applying at, and explain why you have chosen your supervisor, and what research have they or their school done to reinforce and support your own work. Cite these reasons to demonstrate how your research will benefit and contribute to the current body of knowledge.

Proposed methodology

Provide an overview of the methodology and techniques you will use to conduct your research. Cover what materials and equipment you will use, what theoretical frameworks will you draw on, and how will you collect data.

Highlight why you have chosen this particular methodology, but also why others may not have been as suitable. You need to demonstrate that you have put thought into your approach and why it's the most appropriate way to carry out your research. 

It should also highlight potential limitations you anticipate, feasibility within time and other constraints, ethical considerations and how you will address these, as well as general resources.

A work plan is a critical component of your research proposal because it indicates the feasibility of completion within the timeframe and supports you in achieving your objectives throughout your degree.

Consider the milestones you aim to achieve at each stage of your research. A PhD or master's degree by research can take two to four years of full-time study to complete. It might be helpful to offer year one in detail and the following years in broader terms. Ultimately you have to show that your research is likely to be both original and finished – and that you understand the time involved.

Provide details of the resources you will need to carry out your research project. Consider equipment, fieldwork expenses, travel and a proposed budget, to indicate how realistic your research proposal is in terms of financial requirements and whether any adjustments are needed.

Bibliography

Provide a list of references that you've made throughout your research proposal. 

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Writing your research proposal

Your proposal is your chance to tell us why you want to study your PhD at Sussex. Follow our guide to making your research proposal as strong as possible.

Your research proposal

If you are considering studying a PhD, there are two options available to you.

  • apply for a funded PhD where you research a set project
  • design your own research project, which you can either fund yourself, or apply for external funding.

If you decide to design your own research project, you need to write a research proposal which will form a central part of your PhD application.

Follow our step-by-step guide below to help you through the process of writing your research proposal.

Plan your research proposal

You should contact the relevant academic department before applying to Sussex and check if there are any additional requirements for your research proposal.

Even at this early stage, you may be asked questions regarding your research, and so you should start thinking about:

  • the questions driving your research
  • how your research makes 'an original contribution' to your field and how will you achieve this
  • if your research provides new knowledge, or reinterprets existing ideas in an original way
  • how you intend to do the research i.e. the methodology you'll use and how you'll structure your work
  • how Sussex can aid you in your research and what you want to study here.

Ask for advice

If you need further advice you can contact our academic staff working in your field.

You can also ask research students and academic staff at your current university for help. It is good practice to discuss your ideas with others in your research area and use their suggestions to further your understanding and strengthen your proposal.

During this process you should start making detailed notes. You might also want to start planning your research proposal. If so, breaking it down into the traditional sections below may help you organise and manage your thoughts:

  • introduction
  • research background
  • research methods
  • bibliography.

Find a supervisor

Choosing the right supervisor is one of the most important steps towards a successful and rewarding PhD.

Before approaching a supervisor, you'll need to have a clear idea of the research you hope to undertake.

Once you have established a relationship with a potential supervisor, you can ask them to read the first draft of your research proposal. They can give you valuable feedback and help you refine your ideas before you submit your application.

Discover how to find a supervisor

Write your proposal

You may now be in a position to start writing your proposal. This is central to your final application.

A strong research proposal:

  • formulates a precise, interesting research question
  • establishes the relevance and value of the proposed research question in the context of current academic thinking
  • describes the data or source material your research requires
  • outlines a clear and practical methodology, which enables you to answer the research question
  • states clearly what you hope to discover at the end of your research and what new areas it might open up.

The exact content and structure of your research proposal will depend on your subject area.

Below you can see information from each academic school which shows what they expect a research proposal to contain:

Length: 8-10 pages

Your research proposal should include the following sections:

Introduction

You should:

  • include a short summary of the central question behind your research
  • explain the background of your proposed project
  • describe the expected outcome of your project.

Thesis statement

Write a summary of your overarching research question and include:

  • why your research area is of academic and practical interest
  • how your research builds on existing work
  • what has inspired you to pursue your area of research
  • your knowledge of the research area.

Literature review

You must show you have the ability to review current research (literature and papers) within your field of study. Your literature review should demonstrate that your research question is relevant, you are aware of the work of others in your field, and how your research will contribute new findings to the subject area.

Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework provides the rationale behind your research proposal. You must provide a critical review of existing theories, which are closely related to your research topic. Show how these theories frame your research questions and the overall structure of your research proposal.

Methodology

You must show how you will carry out the research and analyse your findings. Include potential sources, how data will be collected, and any difficulties there may be in conducting your research.

Ethical considerations

Outline any ethical concerns which arise from your research topic or your proposed methods. Read the existing codes of conduct in the social sciences before writing this part of your research proposal.

Bibliography

List the sources you have used in your literature review and any potential sources you may use for your research.

For more information visit the Business School .

Length: 2,000 - 3,000 words excluding references

Your research proposal should describe what you want to research, why it is important to do this research, and how you plan to conduct your study. Here is a suggested structure:

Provide a clear working title for your research.

The introduction will indicate the focus of your research and your main research question. It should also address:

  • why this topic is an important area of research
  • why the subject is important to you
  • how your research will contribute to our knowledge and understanding.

Research context

Provide a concise overview of the context in which you plan to conduct your research.

This section provides a concise review of related research within your field of study. It demonstrates that you are aware of the work of others and how your research will contribute new knowledge. It should also demonstrate critical engagement with relevant conceptual and theoretical frameworks and make clear your theoretical position about the issues you are researching, how this frames your research questions and your methodological approach.

Methodology and methods

Indicate your methodological approach, followed by details of how you plan to answer your research questions. This should include information about:

  • how you plan to collect data (through which research methods)
  • how you plan to select participants
  • how you plan to analyse the data
  • how you will address ethical considerations.

Provide a timeline, including time to conduct the research, process and analyse your data and write your final thesis.

Provide a bibliography of all citations used in your proposal.

For more information visit the School of Education and Social Work .

Length: 2,000 words

You should identify which research group you want to work with and check that we can support your area of research before writing your research proposal.

Your research proposal should include:

  • your interest in the particular research area and the topic you want to study
  • the specific research questions you want to investigate
  • a description of your knowledge of the subject
  • the relevant research literature you have read
  • the methods and techniques you will use for your research
  • an explanation of your motivations for applying for a PhD degree and an outline of your career aspirations
  • a timetable for your project (monthly for the first year, and quarterly for subsequent years).

For more information visit the School of Engineering and Informatics

Length: about 2,000 words

You must provide a working title for your research. This is likely to change over time, but provides a good starting point.

You should introduce the questions and issues central to your research and explain how your research will benefit the field.

Research background

Expand on the information you have given in your introduction and try to answer the following questions:

  • what are the key texts already existing in your field?
  • how does your proposal differ from existing research?
  • what will your project contribute to existing work in the field?
  • how does your project expand our understanding and knowledge of the subject?

You must set out your research questions as clearly as possible and explain the problems you want to explore.

Research methods

Show how you plan to carry out your research:

  • does your project involve archives, databases or specialist libraries?
  • is your study interdisciplinary?
  • what are the theoretical resources you intend to use and why?
  • is your research based on a single author or a group of writers and texts?

Set out your timescale for completing your study. You need to think about dividing your research into sections and indicate how you plan to write up each section.

Include a bibliography, which lists the books and articles, you have referred to in the proposal.

Extra information

Some of these sections will be easier to write than others at this preliminary stage. The selectors who read your proposal know that it is a provisional statement and that your ideas, questions, and approaches will change during the course of your research.

You should treat the proposal as an opportunity to show that you have begun to explore an important area of study and that you have a question, or questions, that challenge and develop that area. It is also necessary to demonstrate that you can express your ideas in clear and precise English, accessible to a non-specialist.

For more information visit the Department of English

Length: 1,000-2,000 words

Include a short summary of your central question. You should tell us what you are attempting to research and why it is significant.

Thesis statement and literature review

Explain the subject matter of your project, and why you think the issues raised are important. You should also show us you are familiar with texts in the field, and can show how your research area is relevant, and in context to current academic thinking.

You must explain how your proposed project is original and will increase our understanding of the subject matter.

You must state clearly what you hope to discover at the end of your research.

Theoretical framework

Show how you plan to carry out your research and how you will analyse the findings.

Outline any ethical concerns which arise from either your research topic or your proposed methods of collating data.

List the sources you have used in your literature review and point to potential sources for your research.

For more information visit the School of Global Studies

You must provide a working title for your research, this is likely to change over time, but provides a good starting point for your proposal.

Include a bibliography, which lists the books and articles you have referred to in the proposal.

For more information visit the School of History, Art History and Philosophy

Length: 2000-3500 words (excluding bibliography)

Your title should give a clear indication of your proposed research approach or key question.

Include a short summary of your central question. You should tell us what you are attempting to research and why it is significant. You must state clearly what you hope to discover at the end of your research.

Explain the subject matter of your project and why you think the issues raised are important. Provide a summary of the key debates and developments in your chosen area and demonstrate your knowledge and grasp of the specific literature (global) that you will be engaging with during your research. You should show that you are familiar with texts in your chosen area, and what are the gaps in the literature that your research is attempting to fill, i.e., how your proposed research is original and will increase our understanding of the subject matter. Through this, you should detail how your research area fits into current academic thinking and/or policy discourse.

The theoretical framework provides the rationale behind your research proposal. You must provide a critical review of existing theories or concepts (global), which are closely related to your research topic. Show how these theories/concepts frame your research questions and the overall structure of your research proposal, and clearly state the specific theoretical concepts/analytical frameworks that you are engaging with.

You should outline your draft overall research question and any relevant sub-research questions and hypotheses through engagement with the theoretical literature.

State to what extent your approach is distinctive or new or builds on/deepens existing theoretical literature in your chosen area.

Research Design

Show how you plan to carry out your research (including fieldwork) and how you will analyse the findings. You should also show how this relates to your hypothesis. Put details of your research design in terms of approaches, methods and tools, along with some indication of specifics such as sample size (i.e., give an idea of the scope of your research project).

Outline any ethical concerns that arise from either your research topic or your proposed methods of collecting and collating data.

List the sources you have used in your literature review. Also, separately, point to potential sources that will be appropriate for your proposed research.

For more information about the PhD in Development Studies by Research visit the Institute of Development Studies website .

Length: 2,000-3,000 words

  • what has inspired you to pursue your area of research.

You must show you have the ability to review current research within your field of study. Your literature review should demonstrate that your research question is relevant, you are aware of the work of others in your field, and show how your research will contribute new findings to the subject area.

Outline any ethical concerns which arise from your research topic or your proposed methods.

For more information visit the School of Law, Politics and Sociology

Length: 1,500-2,000 words

You should identify the research group you want to work with and ensure that we can support your area of research before writing your research proposal.

  • a general personal statement, which describes a broad topic of interest to you and how your areas of academic strength would benefit the topic
  • a specific personal statement, which shows us why you are the right person for one of our advertised research projects
  • explain your motivation for applying for a PhD degree and outline your career aspirations
  • your knowledge of the subject and relevant research literature you have read
  • the methods and techniques you will use for your research.

If you are applying for an advertised research project you should tell us:

  • which project or PhD scholarship you want to be considered for in the financial information session
  • if you have another way of funding your studies if we are unable to offer you a place on a funded project
  • the name of your sponsor, if you will be funded by a third party.

For more information visit the School of Life Sciences

You should identify the research area (and/or the researchers) you want to be involved with.

You should either:

  • write a new research proposal
  • write a general personal statement, which describes a broad topic of interest to you and how your areas of academic strength would benefit the topic
  • write a specific personal statement, which shows us why you are the right person for one of our advertised research projects.
  • explain your interest in the research area, your motivation for carrying out the research and your career aspirations
  • describe the questions you want to investigate
  • describe your knowledge of the subject and relevant previous research experience and skills
  • tell us about the relevant research literature you've read
  • describe the methods and techniques you will use to achieve your aims.

If you are applying for advertised funding you should tell us:

  • which project or PhD scholarship you want to be considered for in the financial information section

For more information visit the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Length: about 2,000 words (not including bibliography)

You must provide a working title for your research. This is likely to change over time but provides a good starting point for your proposal.

Brief abstract

Write a paragraph summarising your proposed project.

Research questions and rationale

Introduce your main research questions and why you think your research matters. Indicate how you think your research will be an original contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the subject. Describe the form of your anticipated outputs if your proposal includes creative practice. You may want to explain how you think your research will connect with existing research interests at Sussex.

Conceptual framework

The conceptual framework should elaborate the rationale behind your research proposal. You should demonstrate a critical engagement with theories and secondary literature or other artefacts that are relevant to your research topic. Show how these theories frame your research questions and the overall structure of your research proposal. If relevant, reflect on the research dimension of your creative practice.

Methodology and Research Ethics

Show us how you intend to achieve your research aims and outcomes and how you will answer your research questions. Include information about specific methods and access to relevant sources. If your project involves creative practice in some way, it is important that you describe what facilities you will need and indicate your experience in the relevant production techniques. You may want to include a practice portfolio, or provide links to online examples of your work. Reflect on any ethical considerations relevant to the conduct of your research.

Indicative timeline

Provide an account of how you envisage conducting your research to completion within the period of registration. Note that we fully expect proposals and attendant timelines to evolve in practice, but we are keen to see your ability to design a research project, bearing this in mind.

Include any literature, audiovisual or online resources you have referenced in the proposal.

For more information visit the School of Media, Film and Music

Length: 1,000-1,500 words Your research proposal should contain the following sections:

  • why your research topic is interesting and important
  • what we know already about the research area and how your study will expand our knowledge of it.

You should assume you are writing your research proposal for someone who has a good understanding of psychology, but not an expert in your area of research.

You should identify any gaps in our knowledge in your research area, and how your research will fill them. At the end of the section outline your aims and hypotheses.

We are interested in your ability to think critically. You should answer the following questions:

  • what kind of control conditions are needed for your research?
  • what do you need to measure and how?
  • do you need to run any pilot studies?
  • what difficulties might you have carrying out your research, and how can these be overcome?

You are expected to show how your initial idea can be developed and expanded over the duration of your PhD degree.

Reference list

You must add in a reference list in American Psychological Association format.

For more information visit the School of Psychology.

Proofread your research proposal

Once you have completed your proposal, check it through thoroughly. You should make sure all the information you have cited is accurate. Correct spelling and punctuation is also essential.

Write in clear sentences and structure your research proposal in a logical format that is easy for the reader to follow.

It is easy to miss errors in your own work, so ask someone else to proofread your research proposal before submitting it to Sussex.

You might also be interested in:

  • finding a supervisor
  • using our postgraduate application system
  • how to apply for a PhD

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  • Manuscript Preparation

Know How to Structure Your PhD Thesis

  • 4 minute read

Table of Contents

In your academic career, few projects are more important than your PhD thesis. Unfortunately, many university professors and advisors assume that their students know how to structure a PhD. Books have literally been written on the subject, but there’s no need to read a book in order to know about PhD thesis paper format and structure. With that said, however, it’s important to understand that your PhD thesis format requirement may not be the same as another student’s. The bottom line is that how to structure a PhD thesis often depends on your university and department guidelines.

But, let’s take a look at a general PhD thesis format. We’ll look at the main sections, and how to connect them to each other. We’ll also examine different hints and tips for each of the sections. As you read through this toolkit, compare it to published PhD theses in your area of study to see how a real-life example looks.

Main Sections of a PhD Thesis

In almost every PhD thesis or dissertation, there are standard sections. Of course, some of these may differ, depending on your university or department requirements, as well as your topic of study, but this will give you a good idea of the basic components of a PhD thesis format.

  • Abstract : The abstract is a brief summary that quickly outlines your research, touches on each of the main sections of your thesis, and clearly outlines your contribution to the field by way of your PhD thesis. Even though the abstract is very short, similar to what you’ve seen in published research articles, its impact shouldn’t be underestimated. The abstract is there to answer the most important question to the reviewer. “Why is this important?”
  • Introduction : In this section, you help the reviewer understand your entire dissertation, including what your paper is about, why it’s important to the field, a brief description of your methodology, and how your research and the thesis are laid out. Think of your introduction as an expansion of your abstract.
  • Literature Review : Within the literature review, you are making a case for your new research by telling the story of the work that’s already been done. You’ll cover a bit about the history of the topic at hand, and how your study fits into the present and future.
  • Theory Framework : Here, you explain assumptions related to your study. Here you’re explaining to the review what theoretical concepts you might have used in your research, how it relates to existing knowledge and ideas.
  • Methods : This section of a PhD thesis is typically the most detailed and descriptive, depending of course on your research design. Here you’ll discuss the specific techniques you used to get the information you were looking for, in addition to how those methods are relevant and appropriate, as well as how you specifically used each method described.
  • Results : Here you present your empirical findings. This section is sometimes also called the “empiracles” chapter. This section is usually pretty straightforward and technical, and full of details. Don’t shortcut this chapter.
  • Discussion : This can be a tricky chapter, because it’s where you want to show the reviewer that you know what you’re talking about. You need to speak as a PhD versus a student. The discussion chapter is similar to the empirical/results chapter, but you’re building on those results to push the new information that you learned, prior to making your conclusion.
  • Conclusion : Here, you take a step back and reflect on what your original goals and intentions for the research were. You’ll outline them in context of your new findings and expertise.

Tips for your PhD Thesis Format

As you put together your PhD thesis, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. Here are some tips that might keep you on track.

  • Don’t try to write your PhD as a first-draft. Every great masterwork has typically been edited, and edited, and…edited.
  • Work with your thesis supervisor to plan the structure and format of your PhD thesis. Be prepared to rewrite each section, as you work out rough drafts. Don’t get discouraged by this process. It’s typical.
  • Make your writing interesting. Academic writing has a reputation of being very dry.
  • You don’t have to necessarily work on the chapters and sections outlined above in chronological order. Work on each section as things come up, and while your work on that section is relevant to what you’re doing.
  • Don’t rush things. Write a first draft, and leave it for a few days, so you can come back to it with a more critical take. Look at it objectively and carefully grammatical errors, clarity, logic and flow.
  • Know what style your references need to be in, and utilize tools out there to organize them in the required format.
  • It’s easier to accidentally plagiarize than you think. Make sure you’re referencing appropriately, and check your document for inadvertent plagiarism throughout your writing process.

PhD Thesis Editing Plus

Want some support during your PhD writing process? Our PhD Thesis Editing Plus service includes extensive and detailed editing of your thesis to improve the flow and quality of your writing. Unlimited editing support for guaranteed results. Learn more here , and get started today!

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How to Write a Study Plan for a Scholarship

Last Updated: October 25, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed. . Alexander Ruiz is an Educational Consultant and the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute, a tutoring business based in Claremont, California that provides customizable educational plans, subject and test prep tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while achieving skills and the goal of achieving skills and higher education. He holds a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 244,960 times.

If you are asked to write a study plan for a scholarship, you may not know where to begin. Basically, a study plan describes what you'll be studying and why. One common scholarship committee that asks for study plans is the China Scholarship Council (CSC). Start by establishing your main educational goals, and then talk about how you plan to achieve them. Conclude your study plan, and spend time refining your writing.

What to Write About

Step 1 Explain your main educational goals.

  • For instance, maybe your main goals for studying in China are to gain a bachelor's degree in business and learn Chinese because it's becoming a global language. You could write, "My main two educational objectives are to gain a bachelor's degree in business and to learn to speak Chinese. Chinese is becoming a global language, so I feel it's necessary to learn it."

Step 2 Explain why you chose a particular school or program.

  • For instance, you might write, "I was born in the United States, but my grandparents on both sides are Chinese. I chose this business program because I want to connect with my heritage, improve my Chinese, and eventually, help establish better relations between China and the U.S. by improving trade relations."

Step 3 Discuss your future research if you're a postgraduate student.

  • For example, you might say, "As a PhD candidate, I plan to conduct research on how ancient tradition and ritual influence contemporary Chinese culture, which will include a literature review and extensive interviews with historians and a small sampling of the Chinese population."

Step 4 Narrow your research to show you're serious.

  • It can help to draw a conceptual model. Start with the antecedents (the causes) and the mediators (the processes that change the antecedents). Finish with the outcomes. Draw lines between them to help you see which variables are more central to your problem.
  • Consider asking peers or professors to look at your research proposal. They may be able to help you narrow.

Step 5 Talk about how your studies will help your long-term goals.

  • For instance, you might say, "One of my long-term goals is to open an import business from China to the United States, and learning about business in China will be essential to making my endeavors a success."

Explaining Your Plans

Step 1 Establish how you plan to meet each goal.

  • For instance, if you plan on doing a PhD where you'll need participants, discuss how you'll find people for your study. You might say, "I plan to put out an ad to gain participants for a focus group, as well as contact historians by phone and email for interviews."

Step 2 Talk about how you plan to overcome obstacles.

  • For example, you might write, "I anticipate the language barrier will be an issue at first. However, I plan to work hard early on to learn the language, and I am already taking intensive classes now."

Step 3 Establish the methodology you plan to use.

  • To help you choose, do a thorough literature review. Look at the research that has been done in the area you plan to study. Note the primary methods used to do the research and the pros and cons of each. Choose a method based on what you think will work best for your research. [6] X Trustworthy Source American Psychological Association Leading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologists Go to source

Step 4 Establish your sampling strategy if you plan on using one.

  • For instance, you might use simple random sampling or systematic sampling when the whole population is similar based on the variables for your study. On the other hand, a stratified random sample is often used when you have people who are different from each other based on your variables.

Concluding and Refining Your Writing

Step 1 Wrap up your study plan with a short summary.

  • For example, you might write, "Thank you for considering me for this scholarship. If I receive this award, I can focus solely on my studies. I will work hard to implement my goals of learning Chinese and gaining a business degree at a Chinese university, and your trust in me will not be wasted."

Step 2 Write plainly and eliminate jargon.

  • You don't need to write as if you're talking to a child. However, you should write so someone outside of your discipline can easily understand your plan.

Step 3 Be as detailed as possible.

  • The space for the study plan on the CSC application is only a couple of lines. However, the application suggests you attach more paper as needed.

Step 4 Have someone proofread the study plan after you.

Scholarship Study Plan Template

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  • ↑ https://www.ecpi.edu/blog/how-to-set-educational-goals-and-meet-them
  • ↑ https://bangalorestudy.com/blog/factors-to-consider-while-choosing-a-school
  • ↑ Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.. Educational Consultant. Expert Interview. 18 June 2020.
  • ↑ http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2005/03/methods.aspx
  • ↑ https://www.collegedata.com/resources/money-matters/10-ways-to-stand-out-when-applying-for-scholarships
  • ↑ http://www.natco1.org/research/files/SamplingStrategies.pdf

About This Article

Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.

If you’re unsure how to go about writing a study plan for a scholarship, focus on explaining your educational goals and discussing how you’ll achieve them. Begin by briefly stating what you want to study and why. For example, you might say you want to study business management in China so you can learn Chinese, because it will soon be a global language. Then, provide some personalized reasons as to why you chose the school you want to go to, such as research interests or long-term goals. After laying out your goals, show the scholarship committee how you’ll achieve them. If you’ll be carrying out research, for instance, write about how you’ll find participants for your study. You should also try to mention possible obstacles and how you’ll overcome them, since the committee will be impressed to see you’re thinking ahead. For tips on how to proofread your study plan before sending it off, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How To Structure A PhD Thesis

Nov 21, 2019

How To Structure A PhD Thesis

Introduction

Universities and supervisors often assume that PhD students know how to structure their PhD theses. But often this assumption is false, which can cause considerable headache and uncertainty.  It can also waste a lot of time and money as you engage in a process of trial and error working out what goes where.

If you go to your university’s library, you’ll find whole shelves of   books on how to structure or write your PhD . Many of these are great, and I highly recommend you check them out, but here I want to present to you a thesis structure 101 lesson.

I’ve read those books,   proofread hundreds of PhDs   and   coached   dozens of students and want to take what I know and run you through a basic introduction to structuring your PhD   thesis .

In what follows, I’ll talk you through the basic outline of a typical thesis. This mirrors and expands upon the   PhD Writing Template   I’ve created. If you haven’t already downloaded it, you can find it   here .  

Now, I want to make an important observation: what I present below is an outline of the   typical   thesis. Yours may differ, whether considerably or just a little. That’s fine. The purpose is to give you an overarching summary so that when you do approach the books and guides that exist, you’ve already got a basic understanding of what goes where and why.

So, in what follows, I’ll walk you through each of the main sections and talk about what the purpose of each is, offer some tips for planning and writing them, and show you how they relate to one another.

At the end, I’ll tell you about an   email based course   I’ve put together that will teach you how to plan, structure and write your thesis. It goes into a lot more detail than I’ve presented here, so check it out if you’d like to learn more. 

How to Structure an Abstract

Your abstract should be a short summary at the beginning of the thesis that sums up the research, summarises the separate sections of the thesis and outlines the contribution.

Above all, your PhD abstract should answer the question: ‘So what?’ In other words, what is the contribution of your thesis to the field?

  • What is the reason for writing the thesis?
  • What are the current approaches and gaps in the literature?
  • What are your research question(s) and aims?
  • Which methodology have you used?
  • What are the main findings?
  • What are the main conclusions and implications?

One thing that should be obvious is that you can’t write your abstract until the study itself has been written. It’ll typically be the last thing you write (alongside the acknowledgements).

The tricky thing about writing a great PhD abstract is that you haven’t got much space to answer the six questions above. There are a few things to consider though that will help to elevate your writing and make your abstract as efficient as possible:

  • Give a good first impression by writing in short clear sentences.
  • Don’t repeat the title in the abstract.
  • Don’t cite references.
  • Use keywords from the document.
  • Respect the word limit.
  • Don’t be vague – the abstract should be a self-contained summary of the research, so don’t introduce ambiguous words or complex terms.
  • Focus on just four or five essential points, concepts, or findings. Don’t, for example, try to explain your entire theoretical framework.
  • Edit it carefully. Make sure every word is relevant (you haven’t got room for wasted words) and that each sentence has maximum impact.
  • Avoid lengthy background information.
  • Don’t mention anything that isn’t discussed in the thesis.
  • Avoid overstatements.
  • Don’t spin your findings, contribution or significance to make your research sound grander or more influential that it actually is.

How to Structure an Introduction

The introduction serves three purposes:

  • Establish your territory.
  • Establish and justify your niche.
  • Explain the significance of your research.

The reader should be able to understand the whole thesis just by reading the introduction. It should tell them all they need to know about:

  • What your thesis is about
  • Why it is important
  • How it was conducted
  • How it is laid out

How to Structure a Literature Review

Imagine you’re making a new model of mobile phone. You’d need to look at old models to see how other people are designing them (and so you know how yours will differ) and to see how they are made. You’ll need to look for their flaws, and get an idea of where they can be improved.

That’s because you can’t make something new if you don’t know what the old one looks like.

The literature review is the same. You use it to make the case for your research by surveying the work that’s already been done in your discipline (and sometimes beyond). It’s a bit like a family tree. You use it to trace the lineage of your study. Putting it in its place.

A literature review has three objectives:

  • Summarise what has already been discussed in your field, both to demonstrate that you understand your field and to show how your study relates to it.
  • Highlight gaps, problems or shortcomings in existing research to show the original contribution that your thesis makes.
  • Identify important studies, theories, methods or theoretical frameworks that can be applied in your research.
  • Pick a broad topic
  • Find the way in
  • Who’s saying what and when
  • Narrow down the field
  • Narrow does the sources
  • Think about questions that haven’t been asked
  • Write early, write quickly and write relevantly

how to write a phd plan of study

Your PhD Thesis. On one page.

Use our free PhD Structure Template to quickly visualise every element of your thesis.

How to Structure a Theory Framework Chapter

The theory framework is the scaffolding upon which your thesis is built. When you’re done writing your theory framework chapter or section, your reader should be able to answer these questions:

  • What theoretical concepts are used in the research? What hypotheses, if any, are you using?
  • Why have you chosen this theory?
  • What are the implications of using this theory?
  • How does the theory relate to the existing literature, your problem statement and your epistemological and ontological positions? How has this theory has been applied by others in similar contexts? What can you learn from them and how do you differ?
  • How do you apply the theory and measure the concepts (with reference to the literature review/problem statement)?
  • What is the relationship between the various elements and concepts within the model? Can you depict this visually?

That means that a theory framework can take different forms: 

It can state the theoretical assumptions underpinning the study.

  • It can connect the empirical data to existing knowledge.
  • It can allow you to come up with propositions, concepts or hypotheses that you can use to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions.

Broadly speaking, a theory framework can be used to either derive certain testable assumptions or as a way of making sense of your data. In both cases, it structures your data collection by focusing your attention on a small subset of concepts.

You can, therefore, think of it as a toolbox. In your literature review, you outlined the problem that needs ‘fixing’. The theory framework is a toolbox stuffed full of concepts, variables, or hypotheses (your tools) that you’ll then use to address the problem and do the fixing.

You can find an   extended guide on creating your theory framework . Check it out if you’re still struggling.

When you discuss theory, you are seeking to provide a background examination of what other researchers think about a phenomenon and how they have conceptualised it. You should discuss the relevance of particular theoretical approaches for your study, and you should take care to consider the dominant theoretical schools in your field. This shows the examiner you have understood the state of the art.

But, you should do so critically, and question the suitability of any theories that exist or that you are creating to your particular study. That means that you should discuss previous applications of theory in order to discuss what implications they have for your own research.

The reason you do this is that your discipline likely has accepted and ’tried and tested’ ways of doing things. In many cases, this is an advantage, because it can serve as inspiration for your choice of concepts, hypotheses or variables, and can influence your choice of methods.

In other cases, it may be that the existing theory is ill-equipped to account for your particular phenomenon. In either case, you need to demonstrate a good understanding of what that theory is discussing, both to demonstrate your skills as a researcher and scholar, but also to justify your own theoretical and methodological position. 

How to Structure a Methods Chapter

The job of a methods chapter is:

  • To summarise, explain and recount how you answered your research questions and to explain how this relates to the methods used by other scholars in similar contexts and similar studies
  • To discuss – in detail – the techniques you used to collect the data used to answer your research questions 
  • To discuss why the techniques are relevant to the study’s aims and objectives
  • To explain how you used them

Your reader should be able to answer the following questions when they’re done reading it:

  • What did you did do to achieve the research aims?
  • Why did you choose this particular approach over others?
  • How does it relate to your epistemological and ontological positions?
  • What tools did you use to collect data and why? What are the implications?
  • When did you collect data, and from whom?
  • What tools have you used to analyze the data and why? What are the implications? Are there ethical considerations to take into account?

How to Structure an Empirical Chapter

  • What are the results of your investigations?  
  • How do the findings relate to previous studies?  
  • Was there anything surprising or that didn’t work out as planned?  
  • Are there any themes or categories that emerge from the data?   
  • Have you explained to the reader why you have reached particular conclusions?
  • Have you explained the results?

Having your PhD proofread will save you time and money

Our top-rated PhD proofreaders check your writing, formatting, references and readability. The goal? To make sure your research is written and presented in the most compelling manner possible. 

That way, you’ll have complete peace of mind prior to submission and save yourself months of costly revisions. 

How to Structure a Discussion Chapter 

The discussion chapter is the place in which you discuss your empirics. Many people find it the hardest chapter, primarily because it’s the stage at which you start to flex your academic muscles and speak like a doctor. It is here that you start to push the boundaries of knowledge.

That’s a hard thing to do, largely because you’ve probably never had to do it before. All through your masters and undergraduate work you’ve learnt what other people have found. Now you’re finding out things that no-one else knows.

The difference between a discussion and an empirical chapter is subtle, but I’ve written   a detailed guide   that will clear up any confusion you’ve got.

How to Structure a Conclusion

The job of the conclusion is to:

  • Fully and clearly articulate the answer to your research questions
  • Discuss how the research is related to your aims and objectives
  • Explain the significance of the work
  • Outline its shortcomings
  • Suggest avenues for future research

It is not the place to introduce new ideas and concepts, or to present new findings.

Your job is to reflect back on your original aims and intentions and discuss them in terms of your findings and new expertise.

Three things to do in a conclusion:

  • Own your research by speaking with authority! You’ve earned the right to do that by the time you reach your conclusion 
  • See the thesis and not the detail. Drive home the contribution that the thesis has made. Whatever it is, you need to shout about it. Loudly. Like an expert.
  • Each chapter is a piece of the puzzle and only when they are all slotted together do you have an entire thesis. That means that a great conclusion is one that shows that the thesis is bigger than the sum of its individual chapters. 
  • By the time the reader has finished reading the conclusion, they should be able to answer the following questions:
  • Have you briefly recapped the research questions and objectives?
  • Have you provided a brief recount of the answer to those questions?
  • Have you clearly discussed the significance and implications of those findings?
  • Have you discussed the contribution that the study has made?
  • Do the claims you are making align with the content of the results and discussion chapters?

Wrapping Up 

There’s clearly a lot more that can be said about how to structure each of these sections. Go to your university library and you’ll find dozens of books on how to write a PhD. Google it and you’ll find thousands of posts. It’s hard to know where to start.

That’s why  I’ve put together an  email based course on How To Write Your Thesis . Over twelve emails you’ll get detailed chapter guides that expand on the above, a ton of templates, checklist and worksheets, and lots of curated videos and external resources to really cement your learning. By the end, you’ll understand what goes where and why and would have saved yourself a bunch of time and energy sifting through all those books and posts.

That way, you can write more, worry less and graduate sooner.

To sign up,   click here . 

Hello, Doctor…

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Be able to call yourself Doctor sooner with our five-star rated How to Write A PhD email-course. Learn everything your supervisor should have taught you about planning and completing a PhD.

Now half price. Join hundreds of other students and become a better thesis writer, or your money back. 

Share this:

26 comments.

Abdullahi

This is seriously and absolutely helpful but some terminologies used may not be understood by most beginners in research methodology. Beginners would better understand the use of chapter1, etc. Thank you.

Dr. Max Lempriere

Thanks for the useful feedback. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Lallé M. ZOUBA

Wonderful…. It is really practical to have such tips… Many thanks….

You’re welcome!

Ahmed aldhafeeri

Well done Max, very informative post.

Great. Thanks for the kind words.

Dean -

Cheers Max! Sent it on to many friends starting the journey

Great. Thanks Dean!

Maureen

Hi Dr Lumpriere,

Thanks for creating this website, it is really helpful to situate oneself – I am really new to this. In your experience, how many hours does one (roughly. – of course depending on the scope of the project) have to dedicate to a PhD weekly on average?

Thanks again, Maureen

Hi Maureen – it really depends on so many factors, including how much familiarity you already have with research and how quickly you want to finish. It’s hard to say! I devoted around 3/4 of full time to mine per week – so roughly 30 hours. But then I had never conducted research before, didn’t have any caregiving responsibilities, and wanted to complete quickly.

Felix

Thanks a lot for dedicating your time and effort to helping those who are still struggling with writing up their PhD!

Best, Felix

You’re welcome Felix.

Adebayo Adeleye

Good job. Thanks for the information here.

You’re welcome! Glad you found it useful.

Eric

This is great, I am impressed by the guideline. I shall consult these steps as I work on my Thesis for my PhD.

Iram

Thanks for this information keep it up.

Carlo Butera

Very interesting and useful job!

Stephen Ubah

Well done Dr Max. Quite helpful, thanks

Adebanjo Babawale

I am really grateful for this tip. God bless the writer in Jesus’ name

Iyua Mbah

Thank you for this guide.

Salin Gurung

Thank you very much for the information. It’s very useful.

Marta

This article is insanely helpful. Especially the questions that should be answered in each part. Even though I was aware of most of it, seeing it all put together so neatly helps a lot. Thank you!

Wow. Such great praise. Thanks!

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  • How to Write Research Proposal for PhD in European Universities

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Meridean Overseas

Updated On 25 May 2024 & Read Time 9 minutes

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Have you ever thought about the role of a research proposal for a PhD or any other degree? As a student, you must have written it for the sake of your grades. Well, here we intend to tell you what a research proposal actually means.

A research proposal is an essential instrument that academics and college students may use to finish their dissertations, get financing for projects, or finish prerequisites for their courses. It highlights the significance of your investigation and provides an overview of your research problem-solving strategy. It's generally helpful to have some basic knowledge about this kind of document and the most effective ways to arrange it before beginning work on a project.

Therefore, today’s blog elaborates on the meaning and importance of a research proposal and describes how to write research proposal for PhD . So, without any more delays, let’s begin!  

Table of Contents

What is Research Proposal?

What is the purpose of the research proposal, how to write research proposal for phd, tips for research proposal for phd.

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A research proposal is a well-organised document that outlines the subject of your study and the methodology you will use to explore and evaluate a certain question. It usually thoroughly examines the ideas that back up your hypothesis, which is an anticipated response to this question.

how-to-write-research-proposal-for-phd-in-european-universities

It also demonstrates the research approaches, significance, data collection tools you intend to employ, and the useful actions you will take to carry out your research. In addition to introducing readers to your topic, a research proposal goes over the main goals of your study and how it could advance knowledge in an academic discipline or add value to the existing field of study. 

To get help with a research proposal for admission to European universities, you can contact our counsellors at Meridean Overseas

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There are various reasons for a person to write a research proposal; some of the reasons are-

Applying to work for a firm or research organisation.

Persuading a university or research supervisor that your work may fulfil the criteria for a degree program.

Demonstrating to institutions that might provide financial support for the significance of your study.

Proving your expertise in a topic of study and your capacity for research.

Outline the main ideas and aims of your research.

Claiming that the subject of your study has applications in the neighbourhood or in larger society.

Recognising potential obstacles in your research approach.

Bringing your project's topic closer to the readers' attention so they may comprehend your thoughts and methods.

Also, read: How to Write a Letter of Motivation? A Complete Guide with Example

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The section sheds light on the structure and formatting required for writing a research proposal for PhD; here is the guide for research proposals for PhD in European Universities and the essentials:

Research Proposal Guide for PhD in European Universities

The essential components of a strong research proposal are as follows. Below are the items that fit perfectly for a research proposal format for a Ph.D.:

Although this is subject to change, be careful to include crucial "keywords" that will connect your submission to funding opportunities, suitable supervisors, and other relevant details.

Project Summary

A reader who is not an expert in this topic should be able to understand the purpose, importance, and anticipated results of the study in this part.

Project Details

In this area, make sure to create a strong and engaging base for your study. The further subsections that need to be included in this are as follows:

Research Questions

This section should include the hypothesis or problem to be addressed along with an explanation of the research question(s) (1-3 should be sufficient).

Your main strategy and justification (conceptual, theoretical, empirical, and normative, where applicable);

Importance of the study (both in academic and, if applicable, extracurricular domains).

Aims/Objectives of the Project

What information, evidence, example, analysis, testing, investigation, or examination are you seeking? Set up your objectives logically, for example.

This project's objective is to:

Give a study project synopsis.

Make it possible for a potential student to draft a research project.

Significance/ Contribution to the Discipline

This section should provide justification for the project on the basis of a review of the relevant academic sources or literature. You should also explain which texts you think are most crucial to the project, show that you understand the research questions, and point out any gaps in the body of knowledge that the study aims to fill. 

Your Research Capabilities

Please provide proof of your suitability for the proposed research project (past academic work, experiences, completed projects, etc.).

References Cited/Bibliography of Planned Reading (no word limit applies)

The reader should be able to tell from your references how well-versed in the literature you are and how you can add to it. In addition to the readings you have scheduled, make sure to cite any texts and other sources that you believe will be important to your analysis.

NOTE: Research Proposals vary in length according to university requirements, and the word limit varies from university to university. 

Also, read: Study PhD in Europe

The following tips will help you draft a research proposal that most closely adheres to the requirements of the institution:

Make sure your remarks are brief and to the point. A typical study proposal is four to seven pages long, or 2,500 to 3,500 words. When writing, remember that you should utilise exact terminology and precise words to stay within this length.

Concentrate solely on important research topics. Try concentrating on important topics and broad questions in your study project. These can help readers, particularly those who are not knowledgeable about the subject, understand the goal of your project and its general emphasis.

Edit and proofread your work. To ensure you're correctly expressing the facts, proofread each section of your research proposal for spelling and grammar mistakes. To find these mistakes in a digital file, think about employing a proofreading service or program from a reputable source.

Make use of an extensive vocabulary. Institutions frequently favour research proposals with academic language and formal terminology. Examining any publications your university has released could be beneficial if you want to know about its writing requirements and what your readership expects.

Make sure your research project has a distinct title. It is imperative that your project title utilises common language to ensure that readers grasp it right away. This strategy may help you obtain financing from an outside source.

Give credit to the authors of any works that are cited. It's critical to credit the writers of all books and articles you use in your work to prevent plagiarism concerns. Consider putting cited material in quotation marks or paraphrasing it in your own words, depending on the style you choose.

Do not send the same research proposal to several universities; this tends to affect the authenticity of the research.

Do not make the mistake of using online templates. As tempting as it sounds, evaluate the online research proposal templates and choose wisely.

Be very clear while writing your research proposal, as you are writing it for your PhD. If you wish to pursue your PhD and present a research proposal, in that case, you can exclude research findings, in-depth analysis and a comprehensive literature review.

Also, read: Upcoming Intakes in Europe

Get free IELTS Sample Papers to learn the type of questions asked in the IELTS (Speaking, writing, reading, and listening) section.

To sum up, a research proposal is an important document you should carefully draft. There are various kinds of research proposals, and they need a proper format and an in-depth study so that they remain authentic, accurate and reliable. Keep all the details in mind while drafting your research proposal for PhD in European universities , as your admission to the PhD degree depends mainly on the effectiveness of your research proposal.

We hope this blog will help you make a great research proposal for PhD in European Universities. However, if you have doubts and want to study in Europe , contact our expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). You can also take free online counselling through our website. Our expert counsellors will provide you with the best support and guidance you need for admission and visa. In addition, they will help you shortlist the universities according to your profile. For more information or any queries, contact [email protected] or 1800-1230-00011 .

Question: Is a research proposal necessary for PhD?

Answer: Yes, it is an important document for anyone wanting to pursue a PhD or who is already pursuing a PhD.

Question: Is there a set format for writing a research proposal?

Answer: Yes, all universities follow a standard structure for writing a research proposal, but a few headings may change according to their requirements.

Question: Is there a word limit to follow while writing a research proposal?

Answer: The word limit for writing a research proposal varies depending on the university guidelines and requirements. In general, the word count can be between 1550 to 3000 words.

Question: What is the requirement of a research proposal?

Answer: The prime aim of writing a research proposal for a PhD is to show the investors that your topic and research are relevant for them to invest in, along with making the institute affirm that it is relevant to your area of study and will help the neighbourhood.

Question: What are certain tips for writing a good research proposal?

Answer: There are many good tips that you can follow while starting your research proposal; some of them are that the topic be concise, you edit it after completion, make it crisp and detail-oriented, and many more; for more details, you can refer to our blog on MOEC.

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  1. How to Prepare a PhD Research Plan/Schedule?

    A PhD research plan or schedule can be prepared using the GANTT chart which includes a month, semester or year-wise planning of the entire PhD research work. First, enlist goals and objectives. It's not about your research objective enlisted in your proposal. I'm talking about the objectives of your PhD.

  2. How to Write a Great PhD Research Proposal

    Written by Mark Bennett. You'll need to write a research proposal if you're submitting your own project plan as part of a PhD application. A good PhD proposal outlines the scope and significance of your topic and explains how you plan to research it. It's helpful to think about the proposal like this: if the rest of your application explains ...

  3. PDF A Guide to Writing your PhD Proposal

    Therefore, in a good research proposal you will need to demonstrate two main things: 1. that you are capable of independent critical thinking and analysis. 2. that you are capable of communicating your ideas clearly. Applying for a PhD is like applying for a job, you are not applying for a taught programme.

  4. How to write a PhD thesis: a step-by-step guide

    You create a tiny text using a five-paragraph structure: The first sentence addresses the broad context. This locates the study in a policy, practice or research field. The second sentence establishes a problem related to the broad context you have set out. It often starts with "But", "Yet" or "However".

  5. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Research proposal examples. Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We've included a few for you below. Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management".

  6. PDF Guidelines for The PhD Dissertation

    A scanned copy of the DAC should appear before the title page of the PDF online submission of your dissertation; no page number should be assigned to the DAC. The title on the DAC must read exactly as it does on the title page of the dissertation. The DAC will be included in all copies of the dissertation.

  7. Guidelines for making a PhD study plan (CMMW, January 2019)

    Project description. The description should be one to three pages, written by the PhD student and approved by the supervisor. The description may be included in the form, or attached as an appendix. Start with an introduction describing the project in a broader context. Give the background and motivation for the topic of the PhD project.

  8. Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis

    This book draws on his experience in supervising more than 30 doctoral students over two decades, and in teaching a large inter-disciplinary course on 'Drafting and Writing a PhD' at the LSE over twelve years. In the field of study skills Patrick Dunleavy has also published Studying for A Degree (Macmillan, 1986).

  9. How to Write a PhD Research Proposal

    1. Title. Your title should indicate clearly what your research question is. It needs to be simple and to the point; if the reader needs to read further into your proposal to understand your question, your working title isn't clear enough. Directly below your title, state the topic your research question relates to.

  10. How to Prepare for and Start a PhD

    When starting a PhD, or as preparation beforehand, it will be helpful to plan your research. This means expanding upon the research proposal, if you have written one, or researching more of the proposed project.It is valuable to become more knowledgeable about the research field, even before you start the PhD research.

  11. How to nail your PhD proposal and get accepted

    When writing your PhD proposal you need to show that your PhD is worth it, achievable, and that you have the ability to do it at your chosen university. With all of that in mind, let's take a closer look at each section of a standard PhD research proposal and the overall structure. 1. Front matter.

  12. How to write a successful research proposal

    Research proposals are used to persuade potential supervisors and funders that your work is worthy of their support. These documents set out your proposed research that will result in a Doctoral thesis. They are typically between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Your PhD research proposal must passionately articulate what you want to research and why ...

  13. How to write a PhD research proposal

    What it should include. As a guide, research proposals should be around 2,000-3,000 words and contain: A title - this is just tentative and can be revised over the course of your research. An abstract - a concise statement of your intended research. Context - a brief overview of the general area of study within which your proposed research ...

  14. How to plan, structure and write your PhD

    A Template To Help You Structure Your PhD's Theoretical Framework Chapter. In this guide, I explain how to use the theory framework template. The focus is on the practical things to consider when you're working with the template and how you can give your theory framework the rockstar treatment. Use our free tools, guides and templates to ...

  15. How to write a research proposal for a strong PhD application

    A research proposal should present your idea or question and expected outcomes with clarity and definition - the what. It should also make a case for why your question is significant and what value it will bring to your discipline - the why. What it shouldn't do is answer the question - that's what your research will do.

  16. PDF PhD Plan of Study Template

    List all the courses you plan to take to complete your degree. List all the courses you plan to take to complete your degree. Please include any approved transfer classes (and institutions). Once you finish a course, update your plan to include the grade you received. We understand that this is a projection and that the courses will change.

  17. PhD Research Proposal Template With Examples

    Below you will find a research proposal template you can use to write your own PhD proposal, along with examples of specific sections. Note that your own research proposal should be specific and carefully tailored to your own project and no two proposals look the same. Use the template and examples below with that in mind.

  18. Writing your research proposal : Tips for applying for a PhD at Sussex

    You need to think about dividing your research into sections and indicate how you plan to write up each section. Bibliography. Include a bibliography, which lists the books and articles, you have referred to in the proposal. Extra information. Some of these sections will be easier to write than others at this preliminary stage.

  19. A Guide to Writing a PhD Thesis

    A Guide to Writing a PhD Thesis. A PhD thesis is a work of original research all students are requiured to submit in order to succesfully complete their PhD. The thesis details the research that you carried out during the course of your doctoral degree and highlights the outcomes and conclusions reached. The PhD thesis is the most important ...

  20. Know How to Structure Your PhD Thesis

    Work with your thesis supervisor to plan the structure and format of your PhD thesis. Be prepared to rewrite each section, as you work out rough drafts. Don't get discouraged by this process. It's typical. Make your writing interesting. Academic writing has a reputation of being very dry.

  21. How to Write a Study Plan for a Scholarship: 13 Steps

    1. Wrap up your study plan with a short summary. At the end of the plan, reiterate why you want to study at your chosen program, and repeat why it is important for meeting your goals. Also, add a few words about how the scholarship can help you achieve your goals.

  22. How To Structure A PhD Thesis

    Respect the word limit. Don't be vague - the abstract should be a self-contained summary of the research, so don't introduce ambiguous words or complex terms. Focus on just four or five essential points, concepts, or findings. Don't, for example, try to explain your entire theoretical framework. Edit it carefully.

  23. (PDF) PhD Study Plan

    It is a less. structured parallel to the Time Schedule that fo llows later. Phase 1: Get full and in depth understanding of the theoretical framework outlined in this study plan and the MC ...

  24. How to Write a PhD Thesis: A Step-by-Step Guide for Success

    Step 10: Prepare for the Viva. The final step is the viva, where you'll present your research to a panel of experts in your field. Thorough preparation, including a deep understanding of your research and readiness for potential questions, is essential. This presentation is your opportunity to highlight the significance and rigour of your work.

  25. How to Write PhD Research Proposal in European Universities?

    A typical study proposal is four to seven pages long, or 2,500 to 3,500 words. When writing, remember that you should utilise exact terminology and precise words to stay within this length. Concentrate solely on important research topics. Try concentrating on important topics and broad questions in your study project.