Published on May 2, by Shona McCombes. Revised on December 8, The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals should contain at least these elements:. There may be some variation in how the sections are named or divided, but the overall goals are always the same. This article takes you through a basic research proposal template and explains what you need to include in each part.
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For your application, you will write a research proposal that summarizes your research idea, justifies the need for such a project, and explains how you intend to complete your research within the time frame of the program. Along with the rest of the application, your research proposal will be used to determine the following: whether you are a suitable candidate for PhD studies, whether your research interest matches the needs and interests of the Program, whether the Program has suitably qualified supervisors, and whether you possess the requisite ability to complete a project of this nature. Overall, then, the primary objective of your research proposal is to communicate that you are proposing a project that adds to the existing body of knowledge, that you have the necessary academic skills to accomplish the project, and that the project can be achieved in the requisite timeframe.