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3/2/2019 School of Education : Writing a Research Proposal - Durham University

Writing a Research Proposal


A PhD proposal is an outline of your proposed project that is designed to:

Define a clear question and approach to answering it
Highlight its originality and/or significance
Explain how it adds to, develops (or challenges) existing literature in the field
Persuade potential supervisors and/or funders of the importance of the work, and why you are the right person to undertake i

We will use your research proposal to assess the quality and originality of your ideas, your skills in critical thinking and the
feasibility of the research project. Please bear in mind that our programme is designed to be completed in three years (full time) o
six years (part time), so think carefully about the scope of your research and be prepared to explain how you will complete it with
this timeframe.

The proposal should demonstrate that you have thought carefully about the topic and done some preliminary investigation of its
feasibility and suitability. It should include a review of the literature in the field and outline the methodology to be adopted; for
example: small­scale case­studies; larger­scale surveys; historical analyses; biographical studies; policy analysis studies, etc. In
addition, we will be looking for the following elements:

A clear research focus, with some researchable questions
A topic that is theoretically interesting and/or practically important
A literature review that is up to date
Appropriate methodology
Ideas on appropriate tools/participants/analysis
A plausible timeline

Most proposals should contain references to some recent research. Here are some useful sources of information:

Databases

ERIC http://www.eric.ed.gov/
British education INDEX http://www.leeds.ac.uk/bei/

Systematic reviews of research

The Best Evidence Encyclopaedia www.bestevidence.org.uk
The EPPI Centre http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms
The Campbell Collaboration www.campbellcollaboration.org
The What Works Clearinghouse http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/
The Promising Practices Network www.promisingpractices.net
John Hattie's book reviews 800 meta analyses of studies in education: Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning. Abingdon:
Routledge.

Open Access journals

http://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs­journals
http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=home

The University Study Business Services Research and


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