Writing a Humanities PhD Proposal:
A PhD proposal is structured to describe your project in an objective manner. Clear-cut and to the point, information is to be given. Your project should be given its due highlights and its originality explained.
However, describing your project is not enough, you have to impress upon its potential to advance in the field of humanities. In addition, you have to convince the supervisors and benefactors that you are the right person for the job.
Structure of your proposal:
A research proposal is expected to be of 1500-2000 words. Therefore, you have to be very precise in using your words in the following section of the proposal-to-be.
- A working title:
This should include the keywords of your research. It should be able to show what your projects all about. Remember it will be your first idea, so make it your greatest.
In this section you will shortly summarize your whole proposal, giving its context and significance. Also you have to identify the area and discipline of study in which your projects comes. You can use about 150 words in this section.
- Identifying existing relevant literature:
Complete this section within 100-200
Use this section to show your knowledge on existing debates and researches in the relevant field, by referring to texts already available in this field. Link your research with those already done.
Then show how your research uniquely adds to the existing literature. Remember a PhD is something new and original.
- Research Questions:
Show what questions you seek to answer by doing this research, identify the importance of these questions. Demonstrate that your solution is effective and manageable.
Keep your focus within your area of study. Use about 100 words for this section.
Use 400-600 words in this section to summarize your proposed research. Explain what you are going to research and exactly why this research is needed and why you think this is an optimal solution.
Remember this is the core part of your proposal.
- Research Design and Methodology:
Having described what and why you will research the topic of your proposal, now you have to elaborate how you would do it. Explain the methods you are going to use in your research and how you are going to structure it.
Identify what information you will access and what data would be collected for your research. And where and how you will get them. Refer the research text material you will need and what techniques you will use to acquire the required data.
The methods you could employ can be exploratory research like interviews, statistical modeled research, or even a combination of both. You have to choose and identify what method you are going to use clearly.
In about 200 word you should be able to effectively identify the above requirements.
You should identify shortly but accurately what milestones you hope to achieve in what duration of time. Distribute your milestones according to your research and your time of PhD ( part-time or full-time PhD).
Just make sure that the milestones you assign are reasonable and manageable. Take into account your ability and what your research is, in order to get an overview of what can be done in how long?
Give a short list of key texts, books and articles you will be consulting. In choosing, these be considerate to your subject and method only.
Go for quality rather than quantity. And emphasize on the reader that you have a good grasp on the relevant field and you have knowledge of the subject-specific literature.
Points to consider:
- Be clear and precise when explaining your research ideas. Use an open-end question or an hypothesis approach.
- Emphasize on your research’s “whys” and “hows”.
- Stress discretely on why you are qualified to carry out this research, by showing your knowledge of current literature and debates on the area of study.
- Be practical and clear when giving your methodology for your research. Be sure of its effectiveness and identify that to the user.
- Make sure your methodology is able to find effective answers to your research question.
- Suggest the possible effects and impacts of your research.
- Your timescale must show efficient handling of your project within the given time period.
- Finally for good piece of composition take great care of your grammar.
Points to watch out:
- Do not choose broad topics for your PhD. It becomes unmanageable.
- Do not leave any doubt as in what you are researching and in what area and context are you researching.
- Make sure your research question and ideas are clearly reflecting what you are about to do, and they present your project in spotlight. Put time into constructing these, as they will have a profound impact on the reader.