Research Top Tips

Write a ‘summary for the public’ for your proposal, even if it is not required. Explaining what you will do in your research, why and how to people who are not experts will help you write a better proposal.

Once you have drafted your research proposal, imagine yourself actually doing each part of it in detail (recruiting people, doing the interviews, analyzing the data) as a feasibility check to make sure it will all work in practice as well as theory.

Ask colleagues not for their general feedback on your proposal, but to specifically tell you three weaknesses.

Your research questions and aims are likely to evolve as you work up your proposal, so don’t forget to do a final check that they are still lined up with other components of the proposal: do the ‘methods’ cover all of them? Do the outputs/ outcomes expected reflect them? Is the background still relevant to the aims?

If you are applying for funding for your research, remember that most funding panels will not be made up of experts in your area – although experts may be asked to review. Your proposal therefore has to be written for a general as well as a specialist audience.