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An research proposal that gives a summary of key references, research question, and proposed research design. See below for further guidance on writing the research proposal.
Two references, one of which should be an academic reference from your most recent educational institution.
If English language is not your first language, then an IELTS of 6.5+, or equivalent.
An aptitude for sustained supervised research.
Writing a PhD/MPhil research proposal for Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh
Applying to study for a higher degree requires the writing of a concise and clear research proposal. This short guide is intended to help you write a good research proposal. However, please note that the following is a general guide and will not guarantee acceptance to any of our higher degree programmes. Your research proposal should consist of four to five A4 pages and not exceed this length. Please be aware of and pay attention to the need for your proposal to demonstrate your critical thinking skills as well as your ability to communicate your research idea clearly.
Your proposal should cover the following areas:
1- A clear and indicative title for your proposed research: It is essential that your title is concise and contains some key words that indicate your area of study.
2- Background and rationale: In this section we are looking for your awareness of the current evidence/ literature and your ability to identify where the knowledge gaps are and how this fits with your proposed study. You also should say something about your motivation for studying for a higher degree and why you proposed this study/ topic.
3- Research questions/ objectives: There needs to be a clear statement on what your proposed study is setting out to achieve. What are the objectives? What is the research question? What is the overall aim of this study?
4- Some consideration of method(s) and approach to your study: This section sets out your research plan. It details your approach to answering your research questions. It should have some information on whether you are intending to use a theoretical framework and if so, which one. Will you be using exiting theory or develop theory? What methods will you be using? Or are you intending to develop new methods? It is this kind of detail that needs to be here and that is important for us to consider supervision and supervision needs for prospective postgraduate students.
5- Indication of challenges, ethical consideration you might face: Every research has its challenges and in this section we are looking for your awareness of the challenges you might face conducting your proposed study. What are the ethical issues you might face? How will you address these?
6- Indication of timetable for your proposed study: Give an overview of the main stages of your proposed study and time needed for the different research stages. Link these stages to the degree you are applying for (e.g. PhD – first year – literature review, writing a research protocol and so on).
7- Key references: Here you need to demonstrate awareness of key references that support your proposal. References should be evident throughout your proposal and they should be referenced using an appropriate academic style (e.g. Harvard).
In summary, your research proposal should be concise and written in such a way that it leaves the reader with a clear idea what your study is about and how you want to approach answering the research question(s). Proposals take time to develop and we would recommend that you take the time to develop yours.