Post Doctoral

How to write your research proposal?


A good research proposal is mandatory for admission to any doctoral and post doctoral programmes within the country and abroad. It will demonstrate your abilities in putting together the ideas and knowledge in the chosen field. A poorly written proposal is likely to end with your application being rejected. A clearly thought out research will certainly help you in the right direction.

The structure of your proposal would typically include:

  • What you see to be the current developments in your choice of research topic
  • Why they are of interest to you
  • A statement of your research questions or hypotheses
  • Your research objectives
  • Your reading and understanding of the field in which you wish to conduct research, by showing some contemporary work from the literature, eg a literature review of at least six pages
  • Explanations of what gaps, limitations or areas that have not been covered adequately, in your opinion, from your initial reading of the literature
  • What you hope to contribute by covering these gaps and doing research in the particular area
  • How you would go about your data collection and whether you would use either qualitative or quantitative methods or a mixture of both
  • Your sampling method for your field investigation. A time plan to carry out your activities for desk and field data collection, analysis and writing for the years in which you are registered for the research degree
  • Conclusions that reflect the quality of your ideas as expressed in your writing.

The quality of research proposal is important because the thinking and writing for it will help you in guiding your work from the beginning - rather like a good project brief. It will be the focus for the discussions between you and your supervisor(s). Doctoral research can be undertaken part-time or full-time, depending on your circumstances - it is up to you as the applicant to choose the mode of study that is most appropriate for you. If you are employed full-time, you might wish to embark on doctoral research on a part-time basis.


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