Research Proposal November 2009
(Student Name) Student ID: 0123456789
Note that this outline is indicative – it should be changed to suit the purpose of a particular project
and/or to reflect the personal style of the student. The total length of the proposal will vary from student
to student, but will normally be perhaps 5 to 10 pages.
This Research Proposal is conceived as being potentially a public document, something that will
accompany the confirmation process, something to append to the Ethics Application, something to send to
a Project Steering Committee, something to send to the Institute Director, Head of School, Dean of
Faculty, Pro Vice Chancellor-Research, etc.
Insert Registered Title of Thesis Here
Synopsis (ie Abstract)
A short overview of proposed research, perhaps 200 to 300 words or so. Give a sense of
what the research is about, why it is important, and how it will be done.
Give a short background statement about you and why you have a special connection to
this research. Identify any background experience and skills that may be relevant.
Student Name and Contact Details:
Supervisor(s) Name and Contact Details:
Prof Frank Vanclay
Professor of rural sociology and Leader, Rural Social Research Group
Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research, University of Tasmania
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Introduction/Problem Statement/Research Context
Describe the problem/issue that you seek to research. Why is it an issue? What makes it
a worthwhile problem to research?
Maybe 2 to 3 paragraphs.
Define any key terms, either here or in the Lit Review section, or (if there are many
terms to be defined) have a glossary at the end of the proposal.
Research Aim and Question(s)
When the research problem (above) is adequately described, the research questions will
Literature to be reviewed
Here, we want a bit of a description about the type of literature that you will review. At
this stage, it is too early to expect you to have reviewed the literature, but it is expected
that you would have an idea about the areas of literature that you will need to review.
You should also know the main theorists/writers and any major controversies.
About half to one page.
Theory and Methodology
Describe in full every detail of the proposed methodology. This is needed to ensure that
it is a researchable project, and to enable assessment of the ethical considerations.
Also, if you are guided by a particular theoretical position, this should be stated too.
Discuss any ethical issues that might be raised by the research.
Perhaps provide a Gantt chart of activities and a list of milestones.
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Outline what all the costs of the research will be. Also provide a
Outputs and Outcomes
Some something about the expected outputs (papers, reports etc), and any other
outcomes that might be achieved.
If appropriate, please a list of key terms with definitions to assist a lay person
understand the terminology/jargon of the field of research.
List here all the key references that you are likely to use in the thesis. It is just to give an
idea of the direction(s) you are taking. This list will of course include any references
mentioned in this proposal, but will include other key references as well. Other the cited
references, only include KEY references, no need to list all the likely references.
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