Develop a research proposal
Once you have established that you meet entry requirements for your preferred program, you need to clarify your chosen area of study and identify a research area and/or research question, clarify its importance and prepare a research proposal. Your research question will provide the key research focus for the full duration of your degree so it is important that you consult a wide variety of resources and select a topic you feel highly motivated to investigate. Depending on your area of study and research, you may be starting at the very beginning or you may already have a research topic or area of focus from an already established research team.
How to choose your research topic
Choosing a research topic and writing your research proposal can be difficult when you're faced with a lot of choice. Current Griffith PhD candidates and supervisors give some advice to help you create a winning research proposal.
Narrow your focus to a single research topic. Once you have connected with your prospective supervisor (step 3 in this guide (PDF 1.4Mb), page 16), it is important that you seek their input and advice on your research proposal. Developing a research proposal is an iterative process, so expect to work on a number of drafts before you finalise your research proposal. You need to allow time to prepare multiple drafts and seek feedback along the way. Your potential supervisor is the best person to contact, so make sure you reach out to find one as soon as possible.
Your draft research proposal should include the following:
- Student name
- Dissertation/thesis title
- Summary of project (maximum 100 words)
- Rationale—brief review of relevant research in the field
- Statement of the principal focus of intended research
- Significance of the study
- Intended methodology and project feasibility
- Anticipated project costs (if required by your enrolling school or research centre)
- Any requirements for specialist equipment or resources.
Your proposal should be no longer than 2–3 pages.
In preparing a research proposal for your application, keep in mind the objective, which is to demonstrate that you have thought about the topic deeply, have some interesting ideas about the topic, and have considered possible methodologies of research and the project’s feasibility. It is advantageous to show why you think that your chosen topic is significant or interesting.
Professor Gerry Docherty