A key part of your application is your research proposal.
Whether you are applying for a self-funded or studentship you should follow the guidance below.
Depending on the field you’re in, you may have a list of potential projects you’re applying for – or a list of ideas for projects of your own, fine-tuned (or not so much), inspired and perhaps a little confused after the conversations you’ve had so far.
You want to start your proposal with an introduction and a brief literature review to highlight your understanding of the subject matter (and the fact that you’ve actually looked around).
This is also your chance to demonstrate that you have the skillset to investigate a topic, critically evaluate the research already conducted and then summarise and comment on what you found.
If you think you are a good match for some of the supervisors you’ve already spoken to, and you believe they’d be happy to assist you, you can ask them for proposal advice, including any relevant reading.So, you’ve decided to join our ranks as a Ph D cadet – excellent.Prepare for the eye-opening experience of learning everything there is to know about the cosmos, your favourite bacteria, a socio-political issue that might just bring about world peace, or something else of massive importance to your subject If you’ve never written anything like a research proposal before, then you’re probably quite intimidated by the prospect.You’ve now reviewed the literature, you’ve said what you (more or less) want to investigate – now the question is how.It’s important to be able to describe a plan – even if this plan changes (which it probably will) as you get a better understanding of the project and It might be tempting to jump into defending a research method you’re very well familiar with, but before you do, check that this method is actually appropriate.However, not every field is likely to make it easy for you to be specific about your research goals (this can be particularly tricky in sciences, like maths or engineering).If you can identify a gap in the literature – great!Alternatively, browse their recent publications, specifically the introduction, discussion and references. I also found it useful to read review articles for summaries of important findings.Ideally, you want to know (and state) what question you are aiming to answer during your Ph D: this can be achieved by talking to the potential supervisor (yep, ‘talk to potential supervisors’ is a recurring theme here), picking apart an advertised project or just by being, kind of, .It’s surprisingly easy to get lost in the literature and end up rambling about everything even remotely related to your title.Try and create links between what you are suggesting and the work / interests of the research lab, supervisor or project you are going for.