research proposal liverpool

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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Right here on Collegelearners, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on phd research proposal example, what is research proposal, how to write a research proposal, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Writing your research proposal

Research Proposal Liverpool

A research proposal is normally required for self-funded PhDs (where you develop your own idea for a thesis), but isn’t usually needed for funded studentships or pre-defined research projects.

What it should include

As a guide, research proposals should be around 2,000-3,000 words and contain:

  • A title – this is just tentative and can be revised over the course of your research
  • An abstract – a concise statement of your intended research
  • Context – a brief overview of the general area of study within which your proposed research falls, summarising the current state of knowledge and recent debates on the topic
  • Research questions – central aims and questions that will guide your research
  • Research methods – outline of how you are going to conduct your research, for example, visiting particular libraries or archives, field work or interviews
  • Research significance – demonstrate the originality of your intended research
  • A bibliography.

Crucially, it is also an opportunity for you to communicate your passion for the subject area and to make a persuasive argument about the impact your project can achieve.

Your research proposal will be assessed by our academic schools to assess the quality of your proposed research and  to establish whether they have the expertise to support your proposed area of PhD study.

To apply for a self-funded or externally funded research degree (MPhil/PhD/MD):

Find a research opportunity which matches your research interests
Identify potential supervisors for your research project. You can do this by contacting the institute or school’s postgraduate research student support team and by viewing the staff and research pages of their website. This isn’t obligatory, but you are encouraged to indicate your preferred supervisor(s) in your application. It’s also a good idea to contact potential supervisors before making an application. They may indicate an interest in your research proposal, but this does not guarantee entry to the programme
Finalise a research proposal to outline the research you would like to undertake. You will need this for your application and may also need it for funding applications
Register and apply online.
If you’re considering applying for a University of Liverpool PhD based at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), China, you should contact their Graduate School Office.

Making your application
Applying online for a self-funded postgraduate degree is fast and easy. You’ll need to submit a full application with all supporting documentation, including how you intend to fund your research degree.

To complete the online application, you’ll need:

School or college transcripts/ certificates
University transcripts
Degree certificates
English language certificates (International applicants only)
Personal statement
Two references signed and on letterheaded paper (these should be academic references if you have been in full-time education in the last three years)
Research proposal (may be tested for plagiarism, collusion and other irregularities).
Applications are assessed primarily on the basis of prior and predicted academic achievement, so you should complete the application form without any omissions. If you wish to apply for a degree under a collaborative agreement with another institution, you must state this in your application.

References can be either uploaded directly to the application form by the applicant or emailed to the Department Admissions team (details below).

For any admissions related queries please contact the School/Institute Admissions Teams:

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Institute of Life Course & Medical Sciences: [email protected]

Institute of Infection, Veterinary & Ecological Sciences: [email protected]

Institute of Population Health: [email protected]

Institute of Systems, Molecular & Integrative Biology: [email protected]

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

School of the Arts: [email protected]

School of Histories, Languages and Cultures: [email protected]

School of Law and Social Justice: [email protected]

Management School: [email protected]

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Scchool of Engineering: [email protected]

School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science: [email protected]

School of Physical Sciences: [email protected]

School of Environmental Sciences: [email protected]

How to apply for a PhD - University of Liverpool

how to write a research proposal

Creating a focused and well-written research proposal – a concise and coherent summary of your proposed research – is an essential part of a successful PhD application.

A research proposal is normally required for self-funded PhDs (where you develop your own idea for a thesis), but isn’t usually needed for funded studentships or pre-defined research projects.

What is a research proposal?

A research proposal sets out the central issues or questions that you intend to address. It outlines the general area of study within which your research falls, referring to the current state of knowledge and any recent debates on the topic. It should also demonstrate the originality of your proposed research.

A research proposal is a simply a structured, formal document that explains what you plan to research (i.e. your research topic), why it’s worth researching (i.e. your justification), and how you plan to investigate it (i.e. your practical approach). 

The purpose of the research proposal (it’s job, so to speak) is to convince your research supervisor, committee or university that your research is suitable (for the requirements of the degree program) and manageable (given the time and resource constraints you will face). 

The most important word here is “convince” – in other words, your research proposal needs to sell your research idea (to whoever is going to approve it). If it doesn’t convince them (of its suitability and manageability), you’ll need to revise and resubmit. This will cost you valuable time, which will either delay the start of your research or eat into its time allowance (which is bad news). 

A research proposal is a  formal document that explains what you plan to research , why it's worth researching and how you'll do it.

What goes into a research proposal?

As we mentioned earlier, a good dissertation or thesis proposal needs to cover the “what”, the “why” and the “how” of the research. Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail:

WHAT – Your research topic

Your proposal needs to clearly articulate your research topic. This needs to be specific and unambiguous. Your research topic should make it clear exactly what you plan to research and in what context. Here’s an example: Topic: An investigation into the factors which impact female Generation Y consumer’s likelihood to promote a specific makeup brand to their peers: a British context As you can see, this topic is extremely clear. From this one line we can see exactly:

  • What’s being investigated – factors that make people promote a brand of makeup
  • Who it involves – female Gen Y consumers
  • In what context – the United Kingdom

So, make sure that your research proposal provides a detailed explanation of your research topic. It should go without saying, but don’t start writing your proposal until you have a crystal-clear topic in mind, or you’ll end up waffling away a few thousand words.

WHY – Your justification

As we touched on earlier, it’s not good enough to simply propose a research topic – you need to justify why your topic is original. In other words, what makes it unique? What gap in the current literature does it fill? If it’s simply a rehash of the existing research, it’s probably not going to get approval – it needs to be fresh.

But, originality alone is not enough. Once you’ve ticked that box, you also need to justify why your proposed topic is important. In other words, what value will it add to the world if you manage to find answers to your research questions? 

For example, let’s look at the sample research topic we mentioned earlier (factors impacting brand advocacy). In this case, if the research could uncover relevant factors, these findings would be very useful to marketers in the cosmetics industry, and would, therefore, have commercial value. That is a clear justification for the research.

So, when you’re crafting your research proposal, remember that it’s not enough for a topic to simply be unique. It needs to be useful and value-creating – and you need to convey that value in your proposal. If you’re struggling to find a research topic that makes the cut, watch our video covering how to find a research topic.

HOW – Your methodology

It’s all good and well to have a great topic that’s original and important, but you’re not going to convince anyone to approve it without discussing the practicalities – in other words:

  • How will you undertake your research? 
  • Is your research design appropriate for your topic?
  • Is your plan manageable given your constraints (time, money, expertise)?

While it’s generally not expected that you’ll have a fully fleshed out research strategy at the proposal stage, you will need to provide a high-level view of your research methodology and some key design decisions. Here are some important questions you’ll need to address in your proposal:

  • Will you take a qualitative or quantitative approach? 
  • Will your design be cross-sectional or longitudinal? 
  • How will you collect your data (interviews, surveys, etc)? 
  • How will you analyse your data (e.g. statistical analysis, qualitative data analysis, etc)?

So, make sure you give some thought to the practicalities of your research and have at least a basic understanding of research methodologies before you start writing up your proposal. The video below provides a good introduction to methodology.

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