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The research proposal

The research proposal

The research proposal is a formal requirement of the University. It is central to achieving your first milestone, your Confirmation of Candidature. It’s useful for both you and the University: you will get valuable feedback from a scholarly review panel about your intended research aims, objectives and design; this puts you on track a successful candidature supported by the School and the University.

A research proposal maps out a research problem and a suggested approach to its investigation. The central elements of a research proposal are:

  • what you propose to research
  • why the topic needs to be researched, and
  • how you plan to research it.

Your written research proposal will be presented to the review panel within the first year of study for PhD candidates, and within the first six months for Masters by Research candidates. When you’ve achieved this milestone you will move from probationary candidature to full candidature status.You will be known as a graduate researcher, or sometimes, an HDR candidate (higher degrees by research)..

Your review panel will expect you to demonstrate:

  • a clearly defined and feasible research project
  • a clearly explained rationale for your research
  • evidence that your research will make an original contribution through a critical review of the literature
  • written and oral presentation skills appropriate to graduate research study.

This section has the following resources:

As an RMIT student you might also consider registering for our four-week moderated online course on writing and presenting your research proposal. Some of the materials under the Writing your Research Proposal are from this course.

Other resources you might find useful are:

  • the literature review resources on this site
  • a list of publications on writing the research proposal and literature review
  • the video below; although it is from a US university, it has good general advice.

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