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How to Write a PhD Research Proposal

Understand and harness the key elements of a succinct research plan while preparing your PhD proposal.

How to Write a PhD Research Proposal
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study5 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $44Find out more

Learn how to develop a successful PhD proposal

Successful PhD research requires preparation, planning, critical thinking, and dedication. On this course, you will explore the key elements in a research proposal and solve common planning and writing challenges.

You will learn how to structure, define, and present your research idea in writing. You will develop your own research objectives and sub-questions and outline the context of the study. You will also learn how to manage a project. This course focuses on health sciences, but the content of the PhD proposal and the planning process of a research study is relevant to other disciplines.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second Do you want to take a major and the final educational step? Do you want to explore things that are unknown to you and others? Do you want to become a researcher? I feel as if the PhD is very important in my career so that in the PhD I can learn a lot of things which I can use in my future life. During this course, we will guide you through the initial steps of becoming a researcher. You will learn about the key elements needed to describe a research plan. Together, we will work hard to write, plan, and prepare the first draft of your proposal.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds Join us because we know, from many years of experience, what it takes to develop a successful research plan. We know how you can become a postgraduate student. I remember the first day I started to write my PhD proposal. And even if I do have an idea, I didn’t know where to start and what to write, and I was lost.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds We will show you how to present and argue for your innovative idea, how to outline your ideas as a realistic research plan. During the next four weeks, you will learn how to develop your research statement, formulate a clear research objective, and write relevant subquestions.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds We want research to be beneficial for society. So what are you bringing with your research?

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds You will collaborate with peers and discuss how to choose the most useful research design and method, how to answer your subquestions analytically, and how to plan the data collection for your future PhD study. We want to work with you. Together with you and your peers, other aspiring researchers worldwide, we can help you create your PhD proposal. Why not take the first step towards becoming a researcher? Welcome to this mooc on how to write the PhD proposal developed by us at University of Oslo in Norway, together with our partner, Jimma University in Ethiopia.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    From 17 Aug 2020

    Research statement, objectives and sub questions

    • Welcome to the course and the Futurelearn platform

      An introduction to the course, learning objectives and the Futurelearn platform.

    • Research statement, objectives and sub-questions - how to proceed from your research idea to a researchable question

      How to proceed from your research idea to a researchable question.

    • Weekly assignment: Research statement, objective and question

      Written assignment with feedback from your peers.

    • Summary of week 1

      A short summary of the week that has gone by.

  • Week 2

    From 24 Aug 2020

    Literature search, synopsis, conceptual/empirical foundation and ethics

    • Welcome to week 2

      What will you learn this week?

    • Literature review

      What it really is and why it is important to your reserach

    • Searching the literature

      Learn how to set up, structure and do relevant literature searches in different databases

    • Conceptual and empirical foundation

      What it is, and why its relevant for my PhD proposal

    • Research ethics

      What it is and why it matters to your research

    • Weekly assignment

      Literature synopsis, conceptual/empirical framing and ethical considerations

    • Summary of week 2

      Wrap-up of week 2

  • Week 3

    From 31 Aug 2020

    Design and methods

    • Welcome to week 3

      A short introduction to this weeks topic

    • Research design and methods

      Explore research designs and choices of methods for your PhD

    • Data collections strategies, sampling, instruments and bias

      Considerations when collecting data for you for PhD proposal

    • Validity and reliability

      Rigor and trustworthiness in PhD studies

    • Weekly assignment: Research design and methods

      This weeks assignment is on research design and methods. Good luck!

    • Summary of week 3

      A brief summary of this weeks topics

  • Week 4

    From 7 Sep 2020

    Project organization and resources/tools

    • Welcome to week 4

      What will you learn this week?

    • Organizing your PhD project

      Resources and tools to make the work easier

    • Your research group and supervisors

      Important considerations when finding a research group.

    • Weekly assignment: Project organization

      Present how you will organize your PhD studies, identify potential supervisors and include a GANTT chart with progress plans, milestones.

    • Summary of week 4 and end of course

      A brief overview of what we've looked at during this week, and end of course.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop your research statement with objectives and sub-questions
  • Discuss sample data collection strategies and analysis of the empirical material that you will collect
  • Assess ways to ensure that the proposed PhD-study will follow conventions that help ensure reliability, validity, and ethical conduct
  • Evaluate and use what you have learned by submitting and receiving feedback on your proposal draft each week
  • Evaluate and reflect on your work with help from your peers, course educators, and mentors
  • Collaborate with your peers and find ways to solve possible challenges during your PhD studies
  • Explain how you will organize and structure your PhD
  • Identify previous relevant research to discover gaps and why your research matters

Who is the course for?

The course will give future PhD students insight into developing a PhD proposal and improving their skills in research proposal writing and junior researchers working on harnessing their small research grant application skills.

Who will you learn with?

Professor, lead educator in "How to write your PhD proposal". I have experience from seminars in scientific writing for development of project proposals for PhD projects and other small projects.

Who developed the course?

University of Oslo

Founded in 1811, the University of Oslo (UiO) is the highest ranked institution of education and research in Norway.

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