Your research proposal

Research writing

One of the most important parts of an application to our research degrees, both MA by Research and PhD, is your research proposal - it's how we assess the merit of your research topic and match it with the research specialisms of potential supervisors. Here you can find some advice on what to include and what to consider when writing this part of your application.

Your proposal should be around 1000-2000 words in length and present a clear, focused description of what you would like to research. Although it should flow in a single, continuous statement, it should address the following:

What is your proposed research area?

Outline what you wish to focus your research on - perhaps you're fascinated by a particular literary movement, field of theory, or underappreciated author.

Why have you chosen this research area?

Explain what makes your chosen area worth researching, and how your research will represent a useful and original contribution to the field.

Which issues within this area will you investigate?

Detail which issues you'll need to address or investigate in the process of your research in order to move forward and draw your final conclusions.

Which methods will you use in your research? 

Summarise what methods you'll use in conducting your research, demonstrating how these are appropriate to your purposes and will help you to achieve your aim.

How will you achieve your research aims in the time you have? 

Give an indicative timetable of how you'll achieve your research within the time constraints of your degree and demonstrate that your plan is realistic.