Collect the following required documents:
- Certified copies of academic transcripts and graduation degree for all programs you have completed;
- Evidence of English language proficiency;
- Curriculum vitae (CV);
- Research proposal
The proposal is a key part of the process where you must demonstrate the value of your research topic.
The potential supervisor(s) will read and comment on your proposal, and indicate if they are willing to supervise you before you submit your application. Your proposal should be presented as a two to five page overview of your research, divided under the following headings:
- Title and topic
- Research questions you plan to investigate in the context of existing research/literature in the area|
- Significance and impact of the research
- Methodology/research tasks required to undertake the research
- Any particular needs, if applicable (e.g. resources, facilities, fieldwork or equipment that are necessary for your proposed research program).
A good way to start your proposal is to think about your potential audience.
- Who is your academic audience and how might this work affect their understanding of the field?
- Is there an audience beyond academics, such as practitioners or the general public, who might care about your work? Why should they care?
In most cases it is sufficient to demonstrate that there is academic interest, but identifying the potential broader interest in your findings can be a way to help you find the most relevant and pressing problems.
Unsuccessful proposals tend to suffer from a number of common problems. The most common is that the researcher is not really asking a genuine research question, but seeking supporting evidence for a preconceived idea. Ask yourself: are you seeking new knowledge or trying to prove something you think you know?
The research proposal (format, sample) can be a difficult document to write. If you are already in contact with potential supervisors they may read over early drafts and provide advice.
These books might also be helpful in understanding research degrees and how to write a research proposal:
||Evans and Gruba (2002), How to write a better thesis, Melbourne University Press.
||Denholm and Evans (ed) (2006), Doctorates Downunder, ACER Press
||Booth, Colomb and Williams (2003), The craft of research, University of Chicago Press.
||Dunleavy, P (2003), Authoring a PhD, Palgrave Macmillan.
||Rugg and Petre (2004), The unwritten rules of PhD research, Open University Press.