Research Application

As part of the online application, all potential Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates must submit a research proposal.  It is highly recommended that you discuss your research proposal with your potential principal supervisor before completing your application.


The research proposal should be approximately 5 pages or 2000 words, accompanied by a covering letter and a reference list.  It should include:

Title of your proposed project:  This should be a clear description of your proposed research project.

Introduction: This section should provide a brief summary of the proposed project, explaining the background and context of the proposed research work and indicating why this topic is an important area for research – that is, the significance of the project.  It may include a list of  your proposed research questions.

Literature review: This section should give an overview of the current and/or relevant research on your topic area. It should identify a gap in the research. This is important because it shows why your topic is of interest and provides a rationale for why this topic should be researched further.  

Research design/methodology: This section should describe the type of study you propose to do as well as how you will go about doing it. This may include:

  • research methodology
  • any broad theoretical framework you may be using (if known at this stage)
  • if data is to be collected, a description of your participants/subjects, your data collection procedure and method of data analysis, and any potential ethical considerations
  • the limitations of your project. 

Research plan and timeframe: This section should summarise the steps and approximate timing using six-monthly intervals over the number of years of candidature for your degree.

Expected outcomes: In this section you should spell out the specific aims/objectives for your research, explaining what you hope to achieve  - that is, what contribution your project will make to the your chosen field in higher education studies.

References: This section is a list of all the references that have been referred to in the proposal. This is not included in your page or word count. The Author-date (Harvard) is the recommended style (although not mandatory). 


Last reviewed: 11 April, 2016