What should your PhD proposal contain? It is best to structure your proposal as follows: A working title – Your title should give a clear indication of the intent of your project, directing attention explicitly to the central issue that you will address. Overview of the research – In this section you should provide a short overview of your research: the key issue(s) that you wish to investigate, and why these are important. You should state why you have chosen to apply to our Division at the University of Southampton. If you want to, you can refer to the research areas and priorities of a particular research grouping or supervisor. Ground your research in existing literature – It is unlikely that you can review all the relevant literature at this stage, but you should be able to reflect some major debates and issues and to show your familiarity with some of the main works addressing the research issue that you are proposing. In this part of the proposal, you should reference the most important texts related to the research, demonstrate your understanding of the research issues, and identify existing gaps (both theoretical and practical) that your research is intended to address. A PhD is an original piece of research, so you should demonstrate that your proposed topic has not been studied before, or that you are taking a new perspective on an issue. Research design, methodology and timescale – This section should identify the information or data that you will need in order to address the central issue of your research, how you are going to access the material and the possible research methods or techniques that you will use. You should also include some reflection on potential problems that you may face in the research process (access to interviews, primary material etc). Timescale – Provide a realistic time plan for completing your research degree study in, three years full-time or six years part-time for a PhD. Indicative list of references and sources – Here you should list the main published literature that you envisage using to guide your research (with reference to the theoretical framework and the substance of the research), as well any available data sources you may draw on. The keys to writing a strong research proposal are to: clearly state and explain your research idea. This may take the form of a hypothesis or you may identify a more open-ended question or issue establish the relevance and value of the proposed research question in the context of current academic thinking describe and evaluate the data or source material you need for your research outline a clear and practical methodology which enables you to address your research topic and to answer your research questions suggest what you sort of impact your research might have, and what new areas your work might open up demonstrate that your research will not take longer than three years full-time or six years part-time explain why you are qualified and capable of conducting the proposed research, and finally do the above in a concise, unambiguous and grammatical manner.