• University of Leicester

Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal

Learn how to research and write a high-quality research proposal for postgraduate applications.

40,867 enrolled on this course

Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal

Learn how to write an excellent research proposal for a postgraduate application

A carefully prepared and thorough research proposal is usually crucial for applications for advanced or doctoral study, and can provide the launchpad for the first stages of that postgraduate study.

This online course will give you the awareness, skills and tools to write a well thought-out and achievable research proposal, helping you improve the quality of your postgraduate applications. It will also give you a taste of the self-study required in postgraduate doctoral research.

The course focuses on Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, but much of the content is relevant to all disciplines.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds Well, we understand that writing an application for a PhD is quite a hard thing to do, and this course is there to help individuals who would like to apply for a PhD to write their proposal. It will give you an idea of who to approach as well, because what’s really important is to talk to academics in the relevant department, because so frequently we find students will submit proposal, have a rough idea, but not really talk it through. So in the five weeks of this course, you’ll run through all the components that you need to write a PhD proposal. So you’ll start off with establishing a research problem.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds We’ll talk about how to phrase a good research question that is realistic and doable. We’ll look at how to approach a literature review and where to find literature to undertake that. It’s about methodology. And often, a prospective PhD student will have an end result in terms of submitting a thesis, but this allows you to build up a series of different units, foundation blocks to undertake the PhD research. And in each of those five weeks, there will be little exercises to do so that by the end of the five weeks, you have a draft of a complete research proposal.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds So if you are interested in doing a PhD, then this course will help you prepare for that, both in practical terms– writing the proposal itself– and in developing your ideas for what the research will be about.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to doctoral research
  • Funding your study
  • Defining the problem and writing a research question
  • Writing a literature review
  • Research design and methodology
  • How to construct your proposal

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

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

  • Identify why you want to do a PhD and whether your expectations are realistic
  • Explore the main requirements, structures and problems with aiming to undertake a PhD
  • Demonstrate how to set a realistic, manageable and impactful research question
  • Compare deductive and inductive research questions
  • Describe and be able to implement the steps required to writing a literature review, including: doing a literature search, planning, organising and writing the literature review
  • Discuss what kind of theoretical approach would be useful for your research proposal
  • Compare the differences between ontology, epistemology, different research designs and methodology.
  • Summarise what you have learned from this course into a first draft of a research proposal

Who is the course for?

This course has been created primarily for postgraduate research applicants, but it might also be useful for those who want to learn more about developing well-founded and challenging research bids for purposes other than postgraduate research degrees.

Who will you learn with?

Professor Neil Christie works at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, and has long been that department’s PGR Tutor, overseeing all the research students there

Who developed the course?

University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is a leading research led university with a strong tradition of excellence in teaching. It is consistently ranked amongst the top 20 universities in the United Kingdom.

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Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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