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Others to consult are experts in the area, and your Ph D student colleagues.
These pages should not be taken as guidance in isolation of your own university regulations, which should be studied most carefully.
Paul Oliver (2004) has defined a research proposal as a synopsis of proposed research which has to be submitted for approval before data collection can be started, that should set out clearly the research intended and the methods to be used.
It gives you an opportunity to demonstrate that you have the aptitude for graduate level research, for example, by demonstrating that you have the ability to communicate complex ideas clearly, concisely and critically.
The proposal also helps us to match your research interest with an appropriate supervisor.
If there is more than one possible topic, then probably the best deciding factor is the value of the research.
A similar approach is suggested by Punch (2000), who also proposes writing a two-page document which focuses on the basic questions – what is your topic, how are you going to research it, why is it important.
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, Ph D.
Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas.
These can help evaluate the research and provide guidance.
It thus gives the researcher the assurance that they are not doing a piece of research in isolation: the document outlining their research has been seen and approved by others.