Thursday, November 10, 2011

Writing a statement of intent/proposed research to get into graduate studies

A former student of mine, preparing for application to graduate studies, requested information about how to do a proposal for getting into a Thesis/Research based Masters. I know that when I was seeking to get into a PhD and MPhil programme, there was little documentation about how to produce such a document. However, I conducted my research through asking faculty and administrators for the particular programme that I was interested in and getting a basic outline of what I must put in such a document. Here I will generally share what I have done, which has been successful thus far in landing me into my current PhD programme.

You will definitely need to include the following in your document (statement of intent/research proposal/proposed research), whatever name or label it is called or referred to.

1.An interesting title: one that will appeal to the faculty that you are interested in. Usually something that is in line with what they already research but also something novel and kind of innovative/creative.

2. The problem - This is essentially your introduction/background to the topic that you are interested in studying; what it is and why is it significant and ought to be studied

3. A brief literature review to relate the issue you want to study in other literature/scholarship in the field.

4. A proposed method for discovering the data - who you are going to talk to/observe and/or what are some of the documents/sources that you will consult. Also make explicit some possible research objectives and questions.

5. References - sources you used throughout. the proposal/document.

Hope you will find this useful.

Edited: November 4, 2013

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