Research degrees at Leeds Beckett
Writing a research proposal
Writing your research proposal is an important element of your application for postgraduate research study with us. Here are some tips to help you prepare a successful application:
What is a research proposal?
A research proposal is a concise summary of your proposed research that sets out the key issues or questions you plan to address. This is an opportunity to demonstrate the originality of your proposal by outlining the general area of study that your research falls under and referencing the current knowledge on this topic.
Your proposal is a chance to prove your ability to communicate complex ideas clearly, concisely and critically. It also helps us in The Graduate School to match your research interest with the right supervisor.
Research proposal template
What should you include in your research proposal? Use our recommended template below to get you started:
You can change your title once you get started on your project, but we recommend you sum up your proposed idea with a working title at this stage.
This explains the context in which you will conduct your research. Show how familiar you are with the field by including a brief overview of the general area of study, summarising the current state of knowledge and recent debates on the topic.
What are the central aims and questions that will guide your research? Before writing your proposal, it is a good idea to reflect on the key issues and questions that your work will concentrate on. This will help to make sure your project is sufficiently focused for you to complete it within the time limits.
We also recommend outlining the approach you intend to take in answering your research questions: for example, will it be empirical, doctrinal or theoretical?
What are the methods you plan use to conduct your research? This could include accessing specific archives or libraries, field work or interviews.
If your proposed research is library-based, explain where your key resources (for example, law reports and journal articles) are located. If you plan on doing field work or collecting empirical data, provide details about this (for example, if you want to do interviews, who you will interview and how many interviews you will do). You should also explain how you are going to analyse your research findings.
Significance of your research
Tell us why your proposed research is original and important. How will it add to existing knowledge in the field? Why is it timely to research your proposed topic?
Scale and scope of the proposed research
You will need to outline how you will be able to complete on time.
Be sure to include a short bibliography citing the most relevant works for your topic.
How long should my research proposal be?
Your research proposal should be approximately four sides of A4.
If you are applying to a specific funding body, please check its requirements as to word counts, which may be different to ours.
Once I've written my proposal, what next?
Once you've completed your research proposal you'll need to complete an application form. View our simple how to apply guide to download the form you need.