• Postgraduate

Research degrees

  • Examples of Research proposals
  • Apply for 2024
  • Find a course
  • Accessibility

Examples of research proposals

How to write your research proposal, with examples of good proposals.

Research proposals

Your research proposal is a key part of your application. It tells us about the question you want to answer through your research. It is a chance for you to show your knowledge of the subject area and tell us about the methods you want to use.

We use your research proposal to match you with a supervisor or team of supervisors.

In your proposal, please tell us if you have an interest in the work of a specific academic at York St John. You can get in touch with this academic to discuss your proposal. You can also speak to one of our Research Leads. There is a list of our Research Leads on the Apply page.

When you write your proposal you need to:

  • Highlight how it is original or significant
  • Explain how it will develop or challenge current knowledge of your subject
  • Identify the importance of your research
  • Show why you are the right person to do this research
  • Research Proposal Example 1 (DOC, 49kB)
  • Research Proposal Example 2 (DOC, 0.9MB)
  • Research Proposal Example 3 (DOC, 55.5kB)
  • Research Proposal Example 4 (DOC, 49.5kB)

Subject specific guidance

  • Writing a Humanities PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB)
  • Writing a Creative Writing PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB)
  • About the University
  • Our culture and values
  • Academic schools
  • Academic dates
  • Press office

Our wider work

  • Business support
  • Work in the community
  • Donate or support

Connect with us

York St John University

Lord Mayor’s Walk

[email protected]

01904 624 624

York St John London Campus

6th Floor Export Building

1 Clove Crescent

[email protected]

01904 876 944

A graphic showing the United Kingdom and Ireland

  • Policies and documents
  • Module documents
  • Programme specifications
  • Quality gateway
  • Admissions documents
  • Access and Participation Plan
  • Freedom of information
  • Accessibility statement
  • Modern slavery and human trafficking statement

© York St John University 2024

Colour Picker

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Dui id ornare arcu odio.

Felis bibendum ut tristique et egestas quis ipsum. Et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Faucibus pulvinar elementum integer enim neque volutpat ac. Hac habitasse platea dictumst vestibulum rhoncus.

Nec ullamcorper sit amet risus nullam eget felis eget. Eget felis eget nunc lobortis mattis aliquam faucibus purus.

We use cookies on reading.ac.uk to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

This site may not work correctly on Internet Explorer. We recommend switching to a different browser for a better experience.

Writing your research proposal

When applying to study for a PhD or MPhil in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, you will typically need to send us an initial 500-word research proposal.

The content and structure of your research proposal will be influenced by the nature of the project you wish to pursue. The guidance and suggested headings provided here should help you to structure and present your ideas clearly.

Your initial research proposal

When writing your initial research proposal, you can either address it to the School generally, or to a specific supervisor if you have one in mind. 

Potential supervisors in the School will review your initial research proposal, and get in touch with you to discuss it. Your proposal may change following this conversation. Depending on the supervisor and the outcome of this discussion, you may be asked to produce a longer research proposal of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.

Tips on writing a research proposal

Before you write your research proposal, we strongly recommend that you check our  research page  and  individual supervisor profiles  to view our areas of expertise.

  • You should avoid the use of overly long sentences and technical jargon.
  • It is important that the proposed research is realistic and feasible so that the outcomes can be achieved within the scale of a typical research degree programme. This is usually three years full-time for a PhD (or two years for an MPhil). 
  • A strong research proposal can and should make a positive first impression about your potential to become a good researcher. It should demonstrate that your ideas are focused, interesting and realistic.

Although you should write your proposal yourself, it is best if you discuss its contents with your proposed supervisor before you submit it. If this is not possible, then try to get someone else (such as an academic at your current or previous institution) to read and comment on it to ensure that it is sufficiently clear.

Your proposal needs a clear working title that gives an indication of what you want to study. You are not committed to continuing with the same title once you begin your studies.

Research question

For many projects, you'll usually address one main question, which can sometimes be broken down into several sub-questions. However, it's OK to have two or three research questions where appropriate.

In your research proposal, you'll need to state your main research question(s), explain its significance, and locate it within the relevant literature, in order to set out the context into which your research will fit. You should only refer to research that is directly relevant to your proposal. 

Questions to address in your research proposal

You will need to address questions such as:

  • What is the general area in which you will be working, and the specific aspect(s) of that area that will be your focus of inquiry?
  • What is the problem, shortcoming, or gap in this area that you would like to address?
  • What is the main research question or aim that you want to address?
  • What are the specific objectives for the proposed research that follow from this?
  • Why is the proposed research significant, why does it matter (either theoretically or practically), and why does it excite you?
  • How does your work relate to other relevant research in the department?


You will need to explain how you will go about answering your question (or achieving your aim), and why you will use your intended approach to address the question/aim. 

Questions you might need to address include:

  • What steps will you take and what methods will you use to address your question? For instance, do you plan to use quantitative or qualitative methods?
  • How will your proposed method provide a reliable answer to your question?
  • What sources or data will you use?
  • If your project involves an experimental approach, what specific hypothesis or hypotheses will you address?
  • What specific techniques will you use to test the hypothesis? For example, laboratory procedures, interviews, questionnaires, modelling, simulation, text analysis, use of secondary data sources.
  • What practical considerations are there? For example, what equipment, facilities, and other resources will be required?
  • What relevant skills and experience do you have with the proposed methods?
  • Will you need to collaborate with other researchers and organisations?
  • Are there particular ethical issues that will need to be considered (for example, all projects using human participants require ethical approval)?
  • Are there any potential problems or difficulties that you foresee (for example, delays in gaining access to special populations or materials) that might affect your rate of progress?

You will need to provide a rough timeline for the completion of your research to show that the project is achievable (given the facilities and resources required) in no more than three years of full-time study (or part-time equivalent) for a PhD, and two years for an MPhil.

Expected outcomes

You need to say something about what the expected outcomes of your project would be.

How, for example, does it make a contribution to knowledge? How does it advance theoretical understanding? How might it contribute to policy or practice?

If you are aiming to study for a PhD, then you need to say how your proposed research will make an original contribution to knowledge. This is not essential if you are aiming to study for an MPhil, although you will still need to show originality in the application of knowledge.

List of references

You will need to provide a list of any key articles or texts that you have referred to in your proposal.

References should be listed in the appropriate style for your subject area (e.g. Harvard). You should only reference texts that you think are central to your proposed work, rather than a bibliography listing everything written on the subject. 

Format and proofreading

Make sure that your proposal is well structured and clearly written. It is important that you carefully check your proposal for typographical and spelling errors, consistency of style, and accuracy of references, before submitting it.

The proposal should be aesthetically well presented, and look professional (e.g. no font inconsistencies, headings clearly identifiable). If you include figures, then they should be accompanied by captions underneath).

How to apply for a PhD

psychology phd research proposal example

PhD opportunities


Our research


Take the next step

  • How to apply
  • Get a prospectus
  • Ask us a question
  • Learn about the Doctoral and Researcher College

Glenn Geher Ph.D.

How to Write a Psychology Research Proposal

Writing a brief research proposal cultivates all kinds of intellectual skills..

Posted May 3, 2018 | Reviewed by Matt Huston

Kelsey Newhook

NOTE: This post was co-authored with the SUNY New Paltz students in PSY 307 (1) of Spring 2018 (in particular, Zachary Ertrachter, Mariah Griffin, and Gianna Petrera).

A solid psychology education should lead to all kinds of outcomes related to analytical skills, statistical reasoning, and research design. One of the core skills that I try to cultivate in my students is the ability to write a clear and concise research proposal. Being able to write a solid research proposal demonstrates the following qualities:

* An understanding of some theoretical concepts in the behavioral sciences

* The ability to organize one's ideas in a coherent and efficient way

* The ability to get to the foundation of a set of research ideas

* The ability to write clearly and concisely in a scientific manner

* The ability to describe a hypothesis, proposed methodology, and proposed set of statistical analyses

* The ability to efficiently contextualize one's ideas in the existing scientific literature in some area

* The ability to think about how statistics can be used to examine some research-based predictions

* and probably more

Toward this end, I tend to give the following assignment to students in my undergraduate class in evolutionary psychology :

"Evolutionary psychology is a research-based enterprise. And learning about evolutionary psychology tends to lead people to develop hypotheses about human nature. For this assignment, you are to write a brief paper that does the following:

  • Articulates a hypothesis based on evolutionary reasoning
  • Describes methods that would test this hypothesis
  • Includes predicted outcomes and implications

Importantly, this paper is to be no more than two pages—printed on two sides of a single page. And it should be double-spaced.

This kind of assignment, forcing you to get your ideas reduced in a small space matches the kinds of assignments that professionals have all the time—this assignment will help prepare you for this kind of assignment in your future."

As an end-of-the-semester activity, to demonstrate the process of writing a research proposal, we actually worked together today (5/3/2018) as a class to develop and to fully create a research proposal. The document below is the result of this work. Nice job, evolutionary psychology students!

Research Proposal: A Proposed Study on the Mental Health Effects of Outdoor Experiences

Written by the SUNY New Paltz Spring 2018 Evolutionary Psychology Class

The evolutionary psychological perspective on human behavior suggests that instances of evolutionary mismatch may lead to adverse psychological functioning (e.g., Geher, 2014). Mismatch can exist in multiple domains, including nutritional offerings, exercise, community size, technology, transportation, and the nature of one’s physical environment—among many others.

One important way that modern environments are mismatched to ancestral environments pertains to the proportion of time that people spend in the out of doors. In fact, many evolutionists have made the case that humans have a natural love of the living world (see Wilson, 1984). Based on this reasoning, it may be the case that increased time spent in the outdoors leads to positive mental health outcomes. On the other hand, we might predict that increased time spent in human-made, non-natural environments might have adverse mental health outcomes.

Several mental health outcomes have been documented as important in all kinds of human psychological functioning. In particular, this research will focus on depressive tendencies, tendencies toward anxiety , and general psychological well-being. The basic prediction is that increased out-of-door experiences will correspond to less depression and anxiety and higher scores on a measure of well-being.

psychology phd research proposal example

This study will utilize a randomized between-groups design using 200 relatively fit American adults ranging in age from 18-34 selected from Southern California. Using a random-assignment process, participants will be assigned to either (a) the outdoor condition or (b) the indoor condition.

Participants in the two experimental conditions will all be included in a climbing camp for two weeks. The outdoor participants will be at an all-outside version of the camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern California in September. The indoor participants will be at an all-indoor version of the camp at an indoor climbing gym for the same two weeks. Importantly, these climbing experiences will be overseen by the same Climbing Camp with the same activities and personnel.

This methodology would allow for the isolation of the “out of doors” variable and will have participants across groups have the same experiences otherwise. Given the random assignment to experimental conditions, this methodology would allow for an examination of the specific effects of the outdoor experience.

To measure anxiety, Liebowitz’s (1987) measure of social anxiety will be used. To measure depressive tendencies, Kessler et al.’s (2003) measure will be used. We will create a 5-item Likert scale of subjective well-being that participants will also complete.

Anticipated Results

Across the three outcome measures, including social anxiety, depressive tendencies, and subjective well-being, it is predicted that the outdoor group will score as less anxious, less depressed, and as higher in subjective well-being. These results will be examined using three between-groups t-tests.

Potential Implications

Evolutionists are interested in the mismatches between modern conditions and ancestral conditions. Simply being in the out-of-doors or not is a classic mismatch that surrounds us all the time, often unbeknownst to ourselves. The experimental design here would allow us to zero in on the effects of the outdoor experience as it relates to mental health outcomes, controlling for individual differences between groups.

If the predicted pattern of results is obtained, then we would have strong evidence suggesting that people function best when they are provided with outdoor experiences. Such a pattern would support an evolutionary-mismatch approach to understanding the interface of people with their physical environments.

Here is a PDF link to the two-page paper. Enjoy!

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer.

Kessler, R .C., Andrews, G., Colpe, L.J., Hiripi, E., Mroczek, D.K., Normand, S.L....Zaslavsky,A.M. (2002) Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine, 32, 959-956.

Liebowitz, M. R . (1987). Social phobia. Modern Problems of Pharmacopsychiatry, 22, 141-173.

Wilson, Edward O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Glenn Geher Ph.D.

Glenn Geher, Ph.D. , is professor of psychology at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is founding director of the campus’ Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program.

  • Find a Therapist
  • Find a Treatment Center
  • Find a Psychiatrist
  • Find a Support Group
  • Find Online Therapy
  • United States
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Chicago, IL
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Portland, OR
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, DC
  • Asperger's
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Chronic Pain
  • Eating Disorders
  • Passive Aggression
  • Personality
  • Goal Setting
  • Positive Psychology
  • Stopping Smoking
  • Low Sexual Desire
  • Relationships
  • Child Development
  • Self Tests NEW
  • Therapy Center
  • Diagnosis Dictionary
  • Types of Therapy

May 2024 magazine cover

At any moment, someone’s aggravating behavior or our own bad luck can set us off on an emotional spiral that threatens to derail our entire day. Here’s how we can face our triggers with less reactivity so that we can get on with our lives.

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Gaslighting
  • Affective Forecasting
  • Neuroscience

University of Cambridge

Study at Cambridge

About the university, research at cambridge.

  • Undergraduate courses
  • Events and open days
  • Fees and finance
  • Postgraduate courses
  • How to apply
  • Postgraduate events
  • Fees and funding
  • International students
  • Continuing education
  • Executive and professional education
  • Courses in education
  • How the University and Colleges work
  • Term dates and calendars
  • Visiting the University
  • Annual reports
  • Equality and diversity
  • A global university
  • Public engagement
  • Give to Cambridge
  • For Cambridge students
  • For our researchers
  • Business and enterprise
  • Colleges & departments
  • Email & phone search
  • Museums & collections

Prospective Postgraduates

Department of Psychology

  • About Us overview
  • Wellbeing, Equality and Diversity overview
  • Athena SWAN overview
  • Career Development
  • Celebrating Women in the Department overview
  • Professor of Comparative Cognition, Nicola Clayton FRS FSB FAPS C Psychol
  • Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience, Usha Goswami FBA
  • Professor of Psychology, Melissa Hines
  • Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Lorraine K. Tyler
  • Professor of Experimental Psychology, Zoe Kourtzi
  • Professor of Developmental Psychology, Claire Hughes
  • Professor of Family Research and Director of the Centre for Family Research, Susan Golombok
  • Dignity At Work
  • Race Equality
  • Neurodivergent Socialities Discussion Group
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Visitors to the Department overview
  • Guidance for Visitors and their Supervisors
  • Visitor Application Form
  • People overview
  • Head of Department
  • Professional Services Team
  • Academic Staff
  • Research Professors
  • Researchers and Visitors
  • Artist in Residence
  • Postgraduate Students
  • Psychology Analytical Laboratory Staff
  • Study overview
  • Psychology A-Z
  • Prospective Undergraduates overview
  • Applying to Cambridge
  • Letter from an undergraduate
  • PBS Tripos FAQ
  • PBS alumni profiles
  • Current Undergraduates overview
  • Natural Sciences Tripos Part IB Experimental Psychology
  • Natural Sciences Tripos Part II Courses overview
  • Data Retention Policy - University Examinations
  • Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos
  • Letter from an Undergraduate
  • Prospective Postgraduates overview
  • Introduction to Graduate Courses
  • PhD in Psychology (Course Code BLPC22) overview
  • Available projects
  • Potential PhD Psychology supervisor
  • MPhil in Psychology (Course Code BLPCM1)
  • Application procedure
  • Postgraduate Funding
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Current Postgraduates overview
  • Research overview
  • Research Centres & Groups overview
  • Adaptive Brain Lab
  • ADPRG overview
  • Psychology, Public Policy, and Law
  • The New Parents Study overview
  • New Parents Study Recruitment Partners
  • Hayden Henderson
  • Auditory Perception Group - Hearing overview
  • Auditory demonstrations and useful software
  • Publications of Brian C. J. Moore: Books
  • BCJM papers in refereed journals
  • BCJM Book chapters
  • CAM2 (CAMEQ2-HF) Hearing AID fitting software
  • CDs for Diagnosis of Dead Regions in the Cochlea – TEN(HL) and TEN(ER3)
  • CD of audio demonstrations
  • Measuring psychophysical tuning curves
  • Two methods for determining TFS sensitivity
  • Determining binaural TFS sensitivity: The TFS-AF test
  • Software for running psychoacoustic experiments
  • Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute - BCNI overview
  • About us - BCNI
  • About us BCNI
  • Research BCNI overview
  • BCNI Publications 2003 onwards.doc
  • Past events - BCNI
  • BCNI Find us
  • Contact BCNI
  • Online Resources BCNI overview
  • Get involved BCNI
  • Believing Brain Project overview
  • Brain, Language and Bilingualism overview
  • Opportunities and Contact - Brain, Language and Bilingualism
  • People - Brain, Language and Bilingualism
  • Publications - Brain, Language and Bilingualism
  • Research at Brain, Language and Bilingualism
  • Cambridge Babylab overview
  • Meet the Members - BabyLab
  • Research Methods - Babylab
  • Get Involved!
  • Where to Find Us - Babylab
  • FAQ's - Babylab
  • BabyLab News overview
  • BabyPaL Principal Investigator, Dr Rebecca Lawson is a selected performer for the Wellcome Leap, $45M 1kD program!
  • Check out the new paper on bilingualism in infants by our own Dr Hana D'Souza!
  • Dianna publishes a new paper in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews: Infant social interactions and brain development: A systematic review!
  • Dr Ellie Smith publishes new paper in Infant Behavior and Development!
  • Dr Hana D'Souza & the Embodied Lab are moving to Cardiff University!
  • Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox writes about "Generation COVID: pregnancy, birth and postnatal life in the pandemic".
  • Dr Sinead Rocha-Thomas presented some BabyRhythm data at a Conference!
  • Dr. Borja Blanco publishes paper on bilingual adaptations in resting state functional connectivity!
  • Ellie & Addie finish data collection for the BabyPaL-GiggleDOT Collaboration!
  • Ellie & Addie present at the Society of fNIRS Virtual Conference 2021!
  • The BabyPaL monkey-LEAP Project has begun!
  • The CNE Babylab's paper was chosen as Editor's Choice in Brain & Language!
  • The PIPKIN Project: at home!!
  • COVID-19 Changes: How are we making the Babylab safe for our Researchers & your Family to visit?
  • Meet Labs - BabyLab
  • ANIMATE - Babylab
  • Brain Imaging for Global HealTh (BRIGHT)
  • Baby Prediction and Learning Lab
  • CNE Babylab
  • Embodied Attention & Learning - BabyLab overview
  • Selected publications
  • Summaries of our research
  • Current Projects overview
  • How does infant social behaviour develop neurologically over the first year of life: using a wearable, baby-friendly brain imaging system? - BabyLab
  • Baby Prediction and Learning Lab - Babylab
  • How do infants' learn about their environment?
  • How has COVID-19 effected the experience of pregnancy for young families?
  • Does your Little Scientist like to move? - BabyLab
  • Cambridge Body, Mind and Behaviour Laboratory
  • Cambridge Centre for the Integration of Science, Technology and Culture
  • Cambridge Laboratory for Research into Autism
  • Cambridge Personality and Social Dynamics Research Group
  • Cambridge Political Psychology Lab overview
  • Join the Lab
  • Lab Resources
  • Publications
  • Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab
  • Cambridge University Behavioural Insights Team - CUBIT
  • Centre for Family Research
  • Centre for Neuroscience in Education
  • Centre for Speech, Language and the Brain
  • Cognition and Motivated Behaviour Lab
  • Comparative Cognition Lab. overview
  • Research Output
  • Consciousness and Cognition Lab
  • Higher Values: Aesthetic Experiences, Transcendence, and Prosociality overview
  • Project Publications - Higher Values
  • Project Team - Higher Values
  • IC Thinking Research Group
  • Memory Laboratory
  • Research Funding
  • Study Participation
  • Applying for Research Fellowships
  • COVID-19 Research
  • Work with us overview
  • Current vacancies
  • Guidance for Applications
  • New Starters
  • Current Staff
  • Professional Development
  • Retirement & Pensions
  • Visas & Immigration
  • Services overview
  • The Archive
  • Psychology Analytical Laboratory
  • Staff Intranet (Raven Login)
  • Biotronix Electronics Workshop
  • Intranet overview
  • DA Monday updates overview
  • Committee meetings
  • Ethics Committee
  • Undergraduate Teaching
  • Postgraduate Supervisors

Research proposal

Your research proposal is your opportunity to show your prospective supervisor that you have interesting ideas, and that you have some idea of how to test them.

It should consist of about two sides of A4, including references and it should include:

  • clear empirical objective
  • some idea of the research methods you would use
  • some theoretical background

Firstly you need to lay out the theoretical background to your research question, and then provide a rationale for testing a hypothesis or two. You should briefly outline your methods, your sample, and the various techniques you hope to use. Finally give a brief statement of how the data will be analysed, and outline what various findings might lead to.

Current Postgraduates​ ​​​​​ ​

Introduction, open day 2024, application procedure​, mphil in psychology, phd in psychology, application deadline - to start october 2024.

Applications for October 2024 will open in September 2023.

The Department will continue to accept applications up until Wednesday 24 April 2024 for October 2024 start date. 

Any application submitted after 5 December 2023 will not be considered for the funding round.

Research Councils​

Downing Street, Cambridge


  • Downing Site
  • New Museums Site

Data Protection

Privacy policy.

Information on personal information we gather when you visit the website and how that information is used.

© 2024 University of Cambridge

  • Contact the University
  • Accessibility
  • Freedom of information
  • Privacy policy and cookies
  • Statement on Modern Slavery
  • Terms and conditions
  • University A-Z
  • Undergraduate
  • Postgraduate
  • Research news
  • About research at Cambridge
  • Spotlight on...

The University of Edinburgh home

  • Schools & departments

Moray House School of Education and Sport

Writing your PhD research proposal

Find guidance on how to write your PhD research proposal and a template form for you to use to submit your research proposal.

By asking you for an outline  research proposal we hope to get a good picture of your research interests and your understanding of what such research is likely to entail.

The University's application form is designed to enable you to give an overview of your academic experience and qualifications for study at postgraduate level. Your outline research proposal then gives us an idea of the kind of research you want to undertake. This, together with information from your referees, will help us assess whether the Moray House School of Education and Sport would be the appropriate place for you to pursue your research interests.

At  the application stage, you are unlikely to be in a position to provide a comprehensive research proposal; the detailed shaping up of a research plan would be done in conjunction with your supervisor(s). But it is important for us to appreciate what you are hoping to investigate, how you plan to carry out the research, and what the results might be expected to contribute to current knowledge and understanding in the relevant academic field(s) of study. In writing your proposal, please indicate any prior academic or employment experience relevant to your planned research.

In your research proposal, please also ensure that you clearly identify the Moray House research cluster your proposal falls under, as well as two to three staff members  with expertise in this area. We also encourage you to contact potential supervisors within your area of proposed research before submitting your application to gauge their interest and availability.

How to write your research proposal

The description of your proposed research should consist of 4-5 typed A4 sheets. It can take whatever form seems best, but should include some information about the following:

  • The general area within which you wish to conduct research, and why (you might find it helpful to explain what stimulated your interest in your chosen research field, and any study or research in the area that you have already undertaken)
  • The kind of research questions that you would hope to address, and why (in explaining what is likely to be the main focus of your research, it may be helpful to indicate, for example, why these issues are of particular concern and the way in which they relate to existing literature)
  • The sources of information and type of research methods you plan to use (for example, how you plan to collect your data, which sources you will be targeting and how you will access these data sources).

In addition to the above, please include any comments you are able to make concerning:

  • The approach that you will take to analyse your research data
  • The general timetable you would follow for carrying out and writing up your research
  • Any plans you may have for undertaking fieldwork away from Edinburgh
  • Any problems that might be anticipated in carrying out your proposed research

Please note: This guidance applies to all candidates, except those applying to conduct PhD research as part of a larger, already established research project (for example, in the Institute for Sport, Physical Education & Health Sciences).

In this case, you should provide a two- to three-page description of a research project you have undertaken, to complement information in the application form. If you are in any doubt as to what is appropriate, please contact us:

Email: Education@[email protected]

All doctoral proposals submitted as part of an application will be run through plagiarism detection software.

Template form for your research proposal

All applicants for a PhD or MSc by Research must submit a research proposal as part of their application. Applicants  must   use the template form below for their research proposal. This research proposal should then be submitted online as part of your application. Please use Calibri size 11 font size and do not change the paragraph spacing (single, with 6pt after each paragraph) or the page margins.

psychology phd research proposal example

Grad Coach

Research Proposal Example/Sample

Detailed Walkthrough + Free Proposal Template

If you’re getting started crafting your research proposal and are looking for a few examples of research proposals , you’ve come to the right place.

In this video, we walk you through two successful (approved) research proposals , one for a Master’s-level project, and one for a PhD-level dissertation. We also start off by unpacking our free research proposal template and discussing the four core sections of a research proposal, so that you have a clear understanding of the basics before diving into the actual proposals.

  • Research proposal example/sample – Master’s-level (PDF/Word)
  • Research proposal example/sample – PhD-level (PDF/Word)
  • Proposal template (Fully editable) 

If you’re working on a research proposal for a dissertation or thesis, you may also find the following useful:

  • Research Proposal Bootcamp : Learn how to write a research proposal as efficiently and effectively as possible
  • 1:1 Proposal Coaching : Get hands-on help with your research proposal

Free Webinar: How To Write A Research Proposal

PS – If you’re working on a dissertation, be sure to also check out our collection of dissertation and thesis examples here .

FAQ: Research Proposal Example

Research proposal example: frequently asked questions, are the sample proposals real.

Yes. The proposals are real and were approved by the respective universities.

Can I copy one of these proposals for my own research?

As we discuss in the video, every research proposal will be slightly different, depending on the university’s unique requirements, as well as the nature of the research itself. Therefore, you’ll need to tailor your research proposal to suit your specific context.

You can learn more about the basics of writing a research proposal here .

How do I get the research proposal template?

You can access our free proposal template here .

Is the proposal template really free?

Yes. There is no cost for the proposal template and you are free to use it as a foundation for your research proposal.

Where can I learn more about proposal writing?

For self-directed learners, our Research Proposal Bootcamp is a great starting point.

For students that want hands-on guidance, our private coaching service is recommended.

Literature Review Course

Psst… there’s more!

This post is an extract from our bestselling short course, Research Proposal Bootcamp . If you want to work smart, you don't want to miss this .

You Might Also Like:

Example of a literature review


Lam Oryem Cosmas

I am at the stage of writing my thesis proposal for a PhD in Management at Altantic International University. I checked on the coaching services, but it indicates that it’s not available in my area. I am in South Sudan. My proposed topic is: “Leadership Behavior in Local Government Governance Ecosystem and Service Delivery Effectiveness in Post Conflict Districts of Northern Uganda”. I will appreciate your guidance and support


GRADCOCH is very grateful motivated and helpful for all students etc. it is very accorporated and provide easy access way strongly agree from GRADCOCH.

Tamasgen desta

Proposal research departemet management


I am at the stage of writing my thesis proposal for a masters in Analysis of w heat commercialisation by small holders householdrs at Hawassa International University. I will appreciate your guidance and support

Abrar Shouket

please provide a attractive proposal about foreign universities .It would be your highness.

habitamu abayneh

comparative constitutional law

Kabir Abubakar

Kindly guide me through writing a good proposal on the thesis topic; Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Financial Inclusion in Nigeria. Thank you

Tatenda Mpofu

Kindly help me write a research proposal on the topic of impacts of artisanal gold panning on the environment

Bunrosy Lan

I am in the process of research proposal for my Master of Art with a topic : “factors influence on first-year students’s academic adjustment”. I am absorbing in GRADCOACH and interested in such proposal sample. However, it is great for me to learn and seeking for more new updated proposal framework from GRADCAOCH.

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Print Friendly
  • Department of Sociological Studies

Writing a research proposal

Guidelines on preparing a thesis proposal to support your application.

Student in seminar typing on laptop

These guidelines are intended to assist you in developing and writing a thesis proposal. Applications for admission to a research degree cannot be dealt with unless they contain a proposal.

Your proposal will help us to make sure that:

  • The topic is viable
  • That the department can provide appropriate supervision and other necessary support
  • You have thought through your interest in and commitment to a piece of research
  • You are a suitable candidate for admission

The process of producing a proposal is usually also essential if you need to apply for funding to pay your fees or support yourself whilst doing your research. Funding bodies will often need to be reassured that you are committed to a viable project at a suitable university.

The research proposal – an outline

Your proposal should be typed double-spaced, if possible, and be between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Your PhD proposal can be added under the 'Supporting Documents' section of the Postgraduate Applications Online System .

Your proposal should contain at least the following elements:

  • A provisional title
  • A key question, hypothesis or the broad topic for investigation
  • An outline of the key aims of the research
  • A brief outline of key literature in the area [what we already know]
  • A description of the topic and an explanation of why further research in the area is important [the gap in the literature - what we need to know]
  • Details of how the research will be carried out, including any special facilities / resources etc. which would be required and any necessary skills which you either have already or would need to acquire [the tools that will enable us to fill the gap you have identified]
  • A plan and timetable of the work you will carry out

For more detailed information on each element of your research proposal, see our extended guidance document .

Three additional points:

  • Try to be concise. Do not write too much – be as specific as you can but not wordy. It is a difficult balance to strike.
  • Bear in mind that the proposal is a starting point. If you are registered to read for a PhD you will be able to work the proposal through with your supervisor in more detail in the early months.
  • Take a look at the Department’s staff profiles, research centres, and research clusters. Can you identify possible supervisors and intellectual support networks within the Department?

Examples of Successful PhD Proposals

  • PhD sample proposal 1
  • PhD sample proposal 2
  • PhD sample proposal 3
  • PhD sample proposal 4
  • PhD sample proposal 5
  • PhD sample proposal 6
  • PhD sample proposal 7
  • PhD sample proposal 8

Related information

Applying for a PhD

Our Research Themes

Our Research Areas

Search for PhD opportunities at Sheffield and be part of our world-leading research.


Psychology Research Proposal

Proposal maker.

psychology phd research proposal example

Proposals, whatever they may be, may it be a wedding proposal , business proposal , or a research proposal , all have a similar goal. It is to hear the word “yes” from the mouths of the recipient. Despite that, these proposals give different feelings to the proposer. If you are here to get tips on coming up with a research proposal, you get what I mean. Don’t worry, this article will help you get ideas on how to devise your psychology research proposal.

6+ Psychology Research Proposal Examples

1. cognitive psychology research proposal.

cognitive Psychology Research

2.  Psychology Counselling Research Proposal

couselling psychology research proposal

3. Undergraduate Psychology Research Proposal

Undergraduate Psychology research proposal

Size: 94 KB

4. PhD Psychology Research Proposal

phd pyschology research proposal

Size: 174 KB

5. Forensic Psychology Research Proposal

forensic pyschology research proposal

Size: 353 KB

6. Social Psychology Research Proposal

social pyschology research proposal

Size: 683 KB

7. Psychology Research Grant Proposal

psychology research grant proposal

Size: 599 KB

What Is a Psychology Research Proposal?

A psychology research proposal is an academic document that a person submits to propose a research project, specifically in the field of clinical psychology. The purpose of research proposals is to outline the research questions and summarize your selected research topic. Another necessary reason for creating this proposal is to present ways that you think would be best in conducting the study and justifying it.

How to Compose a Reliable Psychology Research Proposal

There’s a time psychology students dread. It’s the moment that signifies the beginning of hell week or maybe hell month. It is when the professors ask their students to submit their research proposals.  Coming up with a psychology research proposal might cost you a lot of sleepless nights. To get back the sleep that you deserve, instead of pulling your hair out, read this article and follow the steps mentioned below. 

1. Formulate a Working Title

The title of your educational research should reflect what your study will discuss. Omit unnecessary words. Only keep those words that contribute to the meaning and the impact of your title. Make your title engaging to attract the attention of the readers. It is necessary to take a moment to think about a research title that is both powerful and meaningful.

2. Construct Your Abstract

Abstracts should be short and concise. That said, it should be at least a hundred words and three hundred words at most. Describe your research in your proposal but don’t include too many details yet. A good abstract would provide an introduction to the key objectives and the hypothesis of your proposed research.

3. Include Necessary Components

There are necessary components that make an abstract complete. After your title and abstract statement, you should also include the research scope and your methodology. This segment will explain who your respondents are and how you will deal with possible problems you will encounter while conducting your study. Also, you should include the resources that you will use in the process.

4. Devise Your Appendices

Appendices have sections A to E. Appendix A is where you should cite a list of your sources. In the second section, Appendix B is where you should present your project timeline . Your list of skills and achievements relevant to the research belongs in Appendix C. You should detail your budget plan in Appendix D and print your approval letter in the last appendix.

What are interesting psychology research topics?

You can choose from plenty of compelling topics. Discrimination, social cognition, propaganda, gender roles, and bullying are some examples of it. Whatever topic you choose, the quality of your paper depends on how well you carry out your research. Even the most boring topics can be made interesting by a good researcher.

What are the differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches?

These approaches are two very different things. Qualitative research focuses more on analyzing and interpreting ideas, theories, and data. The methods employed in this approach are discourse analysis, content analysis, and thematic analysis. In contrast, quantitative research deals more with statistics and numbers and often involves a research survey , experiment, and testing hypotheses.

What are the qualitative approaches?

You can apply different approaches in conducting qualitative research. The most common ones are narrative research, action research , ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenological research. Although all of these falls under the qualitative approach, they incorporate different data collection. Researchers implementing these approaches have varying aims. They also have different perspectives in the direction they should take in conducting their thesis.

The study of psychology focuses on people’s minds and cognitive behavior and how they function in different social settings and environments. That said, there are still a lot of mysteries about how people process their thoughts. If your goal is to uncover one of them, take your first step by composing a foolproof psychology research proposal and get it approved.


Text prompt

  • Instructive
  • Professional

Generate a proposal for a new school recycling program

Compose a proposal for a school field trip to a science museum.

helpful professor logo

17 Research Proposal Examples

research proposal example sections definition and purpose, explained below

A research proposal systematically and transparently outlines a proposed research project.

The purpose of a research proposal is to demonstrate a project’s viability and the researcher’s preparedness to conduct an academic study. It serves as a roadmap for the researcher.

The process holds value both externally (for accountability purposes and often as a requirement for a grant application) and intrinsic value (for helping the researcher to clarify the mechanics, purpose, and potential signficance of the study).

Key sections of a research proposal include: the title, abstract, introduction, literature review, research design and methods, timeline, budget, outcomes and implications, references, and appendix. Each is briefly explained below.

Watch my Guide: How to Write a Research Proposal

Get your Template for Writing your Research Proposal Here (With AI Prompts!)

Research Proposal Sample Structure

Title: The title should present a concise and descriptive statement that clearly conveys the core idea of the research projects. Make it as specific as possible. The reader should immediately be able to grasp the core idea of the intended research project. Often, the title is left too vague and does not help give an understanding of what exactly the study looks at.

Abstract: Abstracts are usually around 250-300 words and provide an overview of what is to follow – including the research problem , objectives, methods, expected outcomes, and significance of the study. Use it as a roadmap and ensure that, if the abstract is the only thing someone reads, they’ll get a good fly-by of what will be discussed in the peice.

Introduction: Introductions are all about contextualization. They often set the background information with a statement of the problem. At the end of the introduction, the reader should understand what the rationale for the study truly is. I like to see the research questions or hypotheses included in the introduction and I like to get a good understanding of what the significance of the research will be. It’s often easiest to write the introduction last

Literature Review: The literature review dives deep into the existing literature on the topic, demosntrating your thorough understanding of the existing literature including themes, strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the literature. It serves both to demonstrate your knowledge of the field and, to demonstrate how the proposed study will fit alongside the literature on the topic. A good literature review concludes by clearly demonstrating how your research will contribute something new and innovative to the conversation in the literature.

Research Design and Methods: This section needs to clearly demonstrate how the data will be gathered and analyzed in a systematic and academically sound manner. Here, you need to demonstrate that the conclusions of your research will be both valid and reliable. Common points discussed in the research design and methods section include highlighting the research paradigm, methodologies, intended population or sample to be studied, data collection techniques, and data analysis procedures . Toward the end of this section, you are encouraged to also address ethical considerations and limitations of the research process , but also to explain why you chose your research design and how you are mitigating the identified risks and limitations.

Timeline: Provide an outline of the anticipated timeline for the study. Break it down into its various stages (including data collection, data analysis, and report writing). The goal of this section is firstly to establish a reasonable breakdown of steps for you to follow and secondly to demonstrate to the assessors that your project is practicable and feasible.

Budget: Estimate the costs associated with the research project and include evidence for your estimations. Typical costs include staffing costs, equipment, travel, and data collection tools. When applying for a scholarship, the budget should demonstrate that you are being responsible with your expensive and that your funding application is reasonable.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: A discussion of the anticipated findings or results of the research, as well as the potential contributions to the existing knowledge, theory, or practice in the field. This section should also address the potential impact of the research on relevant stakeholders and any broader implications for policy or practice.

References: A complete list of all the sources cited in the research proposal, formatted according to the required citation style. This demonstrates the researcher’s familiarity with the relevant literature and ensures proper attribution of ideas and information.

Appendices (if applicable): Any additional materials, such as questionnaires, interview guides, or consent forms, that provide further information or support for the research proposal. These materials should be included as appendices at the end of the document.

Research Proposal Examples

Research proposals often extend anywhere between 2,000 and 15,000 words in length. The following snippets are samples designed to briefly demonstrate what might be discussed in each section.

1. Education Studies Research Proposals

See some real sample pieces:

  • Assessment of the perceptions of teachers towards a new grading system
  • Does ICT use in secondary classrooms help or hinder student learning?
  • Digital technologies in focus project
  • Urban Middle School Teachers’ Experiences of the Implementation of
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Experiences of students of color in service learning

Consider this hypothetical education research proposal:

The Impact of Game-Based Learning on Student Engagement and Academic Performance in Middle School Mathematics

Abstract: The proposed study will explore multiplayer game-based learning techniques in middle school mathematics curricula and their effects on student engagement. The study aims to contribute to the current literature on game-based learning by examining the effects of multiplayer gaming in learning.

Introduction: Digital game-based learning has long been shunned within mathematics education for fears that it may distract students or lower the academic integrity of the classrooms. However, there is emerging evidence that digital games in math have emerging benefits not only for engagement but also academic skill development. Contributing to this discourse, this study seeks to explore the potential benefits of multiplayer digital game-based learning by examining its impact on middle school students’ engagement and academic performance in a mathematics class.

Literature Review: The literature review has identified gaps in the current knowledge, namely, while game-based learning has been extensively explored, the role of multiplayer games in supporting learning has not been studied.

Research Design and Methods: This study will employ a mixed-methods research design based upon action research in the classroom. A quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test control group design will first be used to compare the academic performance and engagement of middle school students exposed to game-based learning techniques with those in a control group receiving instruction without the aid of technology. Students will also be observed and interviewed in regard to the effect of communication and collaboration during gameplay on their learning.

Timeline: The study will take place across the second term of the school year with a pre-test taking place on the first day of the term and the post-test taking place on Wednesday in Week 10.

Budget: The key budgetary requirements will be the technologies required, including the subscription cost for the identified games and computers.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: It is expected that the findings will contribute to the current literature on game-based learning and inform educational practices, providing educators and policymakers with insights into how to better support student achievement in mathematics.

2. Psychology Research Proposals

See some real examples:

  • A situational analysis of shared leadership in a self-managing team
  • The effect of musical preference on running performance
  • Relationship between self-esteem and disordered eating amongst adolescent females

Consider this hypothetical psychology research proposal:

The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Stress Reduction in College Students

Abstract: This research proposal examines the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on stress reduction among college students, using a pre-test/post-test experimental design with both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods .

Introduction: College students face heightened stress levels during exam weeks. This can affect both mental health and test performance. This study explores the potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions such as meditation as a way to mediate stress levels in the weeks leading up to exam time.

Literature Review: Existing research on mindfulness-based meditation has shown the ability for mindfulness to increase metacognition, decrease anxiety levels, and decrease stress. Existing literature has looked at workplace, high school and general college-level applications. This study will contribute to the corpus of literature by exploring the effects of mindfulness directly in the context of exam weeks.

Research Design and Methods: Participants ( n= 234 ) will be randomly assigned to either an experimental group, receiving 5 days per week of 10-minute mindfulness-based interventions, or a control group, receiving no intervention. Data will be collected through self-report questionnaires, measuring stress levels, semi-structured interviews exploring participants’ experiences, and students’ test scores.

Timeline: The study will begin three weeks before the students’ exam week and conclude after each student’s final exam. Data collection will occur at the beginning (pre-test of self-reported stress levels) and end (post-test) of the three weeks.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: The study aims to provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in reducing stress among college students in the lead up to exams, with potential implications for mental health support and stress management programs on college campuses.

3. Sociology Research Proposals

  • Understanding emerging social movements: A case study of ‘Jersey in Transition’
  • The interaction of health, education and employment in Western China
  • Can we preserve lower-income affordable neighbourhoods in the face of rising costs?

Consider this hypothetical sociology research proposal:

The Impact of Social Media Usage on Interpersonal Relationships among Young Adults

Abstract: This research proposal investigates the effects of social media usage on interpersonal relationships among young adults, using a longitudinal mixed-methods approach with ongoing semi-structured interviews to collect qualitative data.

Introduction: Social media platforms have become a key medium for the development of interpersonal relationships, particularly for young adults. This study examines the potential positive and negative effects of social media usage on young adults’ relationships and development over time.

Literature Review: A preliminary review of relevant literature has demonstrated that social media usage is central to development of a personal identity and relationships with others with similar subcultural interests. However, it has also been accompanied by data on mental health deline and deteriorating off-screen relationships. The literature is to-date lacking important longitudinal data on these topics.

Research Design and Methods: Participants ( n = 454 ) will be young adults aged 18-24. Ongoing self-report surveys will assess participants’ social media usage, relationship satisfaction, and communication patterns. A subset of participants will be selected for longitudinal in-depth interviews starting at age 18 and continuing for 5 years.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of five years, including recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide insights into the complex relationship between social media usage and interpersonal relationships among young adults, potentially informing social policies and mental health support related to social media use.

4. Nursing Research Proposals

  • Does Orthopaedic Pre-assessment clinic prepare the patient for admission to hospital?
  • Nurses’ perceptions and experiences of providing psychological care to burns patients
  • Registered psychiatric nurse’s practice with mentally ill parents and their children

Consider this hypothetical nursing research proposal:

The Influence of Nurse-Patient Communication on Patient Satisfaction and Health Outcomes following Emergency Cesarians

Abstract: This research will examines the impact of effective nurse-patient communication on patient satisfaction and health outcomes for women following c-sections, utilizing a mixed-methods approach with patient surveys and semi-structured interviews.

Introduction: It has long been known that effective communication between nurses and patients is crucial for quality care. However, additional complications arise following emergency c-sections due to the interaction between new mother’s changing roles and recovery from surgery.

Literature Review: A review of the literature demonstrates the importance of nurse-patient communication, its impact on patient satisfaction, and potential links to health outcomes. However, communication between nurses and new mothers is less examined, and the specific experiences of those who have given birth via emergency c-section are to date unexamined.

Research Design and Methods: Participants will be patients in a hospital setting who have recently had an emergency c-section. A self-report survey will assess their satisfaction with nurse-patient communication and perceived health outcomes. A subset of participants will be selected for in-depth interviews to explore their experiences and perceptions of the communication with their nurses.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of six months, including rolling recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing within the hospital.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide evidence for the significance of nurse-patient communication in supporting new mothers who have had an emergency c-section. Recommendations will be presented for supporting nurses and midwives in improving outcomes for new mothers who had complications during birth.

5. Social Work Research Proposals

  • Experiences of negotiating employment and caring responsibilities of fathers post-divorce
  • Exploring kinship care in the north region of British Columbia

Consider this hypothetical social work research proposal:

The Role of a Family-Centered Intervention in Preventing Homelessness Among At-Risk Youthin a working-class town in Northern England

Abstract: This research proposal investigates the effectiveness of a family-centered intervention provided by a local council area in preventing homelessness among at-risk youth. This case study will use a mixed-methods approach with program evaluation data and semi-structured interviews to collect quantitative and qualitative data .

Introduction: Homelessness among youth remains a significant social issue. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of family-centered interventions in addressing this problem and identify factors that contribute to successful prevention strategies.

Literature Review: A review of the literature has demonstrated several key factors contributing to youth homelessness including lack of parental support, lack of social support, and low levels of family involvement. It also demonstrates the important role of family-centered interventions in addressing this issue. Drawing on current evidence, this study explores the effectiveness of one such intervention in preventing homelessness among at-risk youth in a working-class town in Northern England.

Research Design and Methods: The study will evaluate a new family-centered intervention program targeting at-risk youth and their families. Quantitative data on program outcomes, including housing stability and family functioning, will be collected through program records and evaluation reports. Semi-structured interviews with program staff, participants, and relevant stakeholders will provide qualitative insights into the factors contributing to program success or failure.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of six months, including recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing.

Budget: Expenses include access to program evaluation data, interview materials, data analysis software, and any related travel costs for in-person interviews.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide evidence for the effectiveness of family-centered interventions in preventing youth homelessness, potentially informing the expansion of or necessary changes to social work practices in Northern England.

Research Proposal Template

Get your Detailed Template for Writing your Research Proposal Here (With AI Prompts!)

This is a template for a 2500-word research proposal. You may find it difficult to squeeze everything into this wordcount, but it’s a common wordcount for Honors and MA-level dissertations.

Your research proposal is where you really get going with your study. I’d strongly recommend working closely with your teacher in developing a research proposal that’s consistent with the requirements and culture of your institution, as in my experience it varies considerably. The above template is from my own courses that walk students through research proposals in a British School of Education.


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 10 Elaborative Rehearsal Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ Maintenance Rehearsal - Definition & Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ Piaget vs Vygotsky: Similarities and Differences
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 10 Conditioned Response Examples

8 thoughts on “17 Research Proposal Examples”

' src=

Very excellent research proposals

' src=

very helpful

' src=

Very helpful

' src=

Dear Sir, I need some help to write an educational research proposal. Thank you.

' src=

Hi Levi, use the site search bar to ask a question and I’ll likely have a guide already written for your specific question. Thanks for reading!

' src=

very good research proposal

' src=

Thank you so much sir! ❤️

' src=

Very helpful 👌

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


UCL Doctorate In Clinical Psychology

Guidelines for the Research Proposal


The purpose of the research proposal is to help you organise your ideas about your major research project, and to enable you to get feedback on what you are planning to do. It is worth putting in careful thought at this stage: it will mean that the project is more likely to run smoothly in the long run, and much of what you write in it can eventually be recycled into the final thesis write-up. The proposal is also needed for NHS ethics applications.

The proposal is a course requirement, but is not an assessed piece of work. It is due early in Term 1 of Year 2 (the date will be announced). Please submit an electronic copy to the Research Administrator (following the procedure detailed on the Project Support Moodle site).

There is no formal word limit (but conciseness is essential): we suggest that you aim for around 2500 words, plus references and any necessary appendices. Format it double-spaced, and include page numbers so that reviewers can easily refer back to specific points. Since it is not assessed work, it does not need your code number; please put your name on it.

Some sample proposals from previous years are available on the 'Proposal' (Topic 4) section of the Research Project Support Moodle. 

The structure and content of the proposal is similar to that of the introduction and method sections of a journal article:

A title page with (1) the provisional title of the project (this can be modified later on), (2) your name, (3) your internal and external supervisors, (4) the setting where the study is likely to take place and (5) the date. If you are doing a joint project with other trainees, this should be stated here and the other trainees should be named. (Including all of this information on the title page is very helpful for the course's administrative purposes.)

The introduction (3 or 4 pages) states what the research topic is and why it is important. It succinctly reviews previous research in the area and relevant psychological theory, and summarises the rationale for the intended study. The introduction should end with one or more clearly stated research questions or hypotheses.

The method section (3 or 4 pages) describes in detail the proposed research methods: the setting, participants, sample size, research design, measures, ethical considerations, and data analysis procedures. For quantitative research, the sample size needs to be determined by a power calculation, which should be reported here (a separate document on power calculations is on the Project Support Moodle site). Measures that are not well known should be included as an appendix. For qualitative research, describe your interview schedule (append a draft) and your proposed method of analysis, including the types of "credibility checks" that you propose to use.

The service user involvement section (one or two or paragraphs) describes how the needs and views of service users or other relevant members of the public have shaped or will shape your project. This could include examples of service users influencing: (1) the choice of topic to be researched; (2) decisions about methodology; (3) the design of materials such as invitation letters and participant information sheets; (4) the design of a qualitative interview schedule, and (5) the ethics of the research. Please outline any plans for service user involvement later in the project.  Remember, whilst there are formal ways of eliciting service user views, such as the use of focus groups and services such as FAST-R ( Feasibility And Support to Timely recruitment for Research ), informal sources of information are also valuable, and can be described here. This might include conversations with individual service users, experiences from clinical work, or interactions that take place on-line.

Whilst we strongly encourage trainees to use service user input when developing their research, this is not obligatory. Sometimes consultation with service users and other members of the public is not necessary, for example in some studies of healthy volunteers. If there has been no input from service users or members of the public, please use this section to state this, and briefly (a couple of sentences) explain why. 

The feasibility section has a brief appraisal of how realistic your project is in practical terms, particularly with regard to recruiting participants. Many trainees (and their supervisors!) tend to be over-optimistic at this stage of the project, and it is a good idea to address potential recruitment problems at the outset. You should also include a fallback plan in case things go pear-shaped (which, sadly, in clinical research they often do). It would be helpful if you provided an estimate of what the smallest viable sample size would be, so that we (and you) have an idea of what a worst-case scenario might look like. A general timetable for the project is given in the guidelines for the major research project . If you anticipate any major departures from this, give details and a rationale.

The joint working section is, of course, only required if you are proposing a joint project. In this section provide a brief outline of what your anticipated contribution to the overall study will be, and what will be done by others. There should be a statement of how your research question(s) and analyses will be distinct from those of other students involved in the project. It will be helpful to consult the course guidelines on joint projects when planning any joint study. 

The institutional arrangements , e.g., the setting, and who has agreed to be your internal and external supervisors.

The costings section sets out any substantial expenses that the project may entail. Note that the Department has limited funds and does not normally fund projects costing more than £250 over two years (see the course document on research funding ). If your project is likely to cost more than this,  the course may possibly  be able to provide some additional funding up to £400, although this cannot be guaranteed. It is your responsibility to secure additional funding for expenses beyond that allocated by the course.

The reference list gives all cited works. (It is important to check that this is complete, because reviewers may consult some of your references to understand the background to your study.)

Appendices include measures not in common use, draft qualitative interview schedules, etc.

Supervisors' input

Research proposals usually need to go through several drafts. Show your internal and external supervisors a draft early enough so that you can incorporate their comments into a revised draft before submission.

Review of the proposal

The proposal will be read by one of the academic staff, and will be discussed at a proposals review meeting in October. The resultant written feedback that you receive (towards the end of October) will give you a clear indication of the general feasibility of your project, and suggest any changes that will need to be made before it goes ahead. 

This process counts as the "peer review" that is required for all NHS ethics applications. Therefore, once your proposal has passed the review stage, those of you applying for NHS ethics should contact Will Mandy to ask for a letter confirming that your project has been successfully peer reviewed.  

Printable version of this page

  • Business Templates
  • Sample Proposals

FREE 10+ Psychology Research Proposal Samples in PDF | DOC

sample psychology research proposal templates

A research study needs to undergo a proposal first before it could officially start. This is true to all fields of study and different industries, and the psychology field is no exception to that. Whether you are a psychology student, or an expert in the field, conducting a research proposal can help you prepare for the actual research work. You will face a lot of limitations such as time, money, environment, equipment, and ethics, your research is not feasible, or you’re not just ready to do a more in-depth study of your research. To prepare yourself to write a research proposal, you need to plan your strategy and think of the steps you need to do. To give you an idea how to create research proposal , read the article below.

Psychology Research Proposal

10+ psychology research proposal samples, 1. psychology research proposal report, 2. psychology research method proposal, 3. psychology research project proposal, 4. psychology research grant proposal, 5. clinical psychology research proposal, 6. educational psychology research proposal, 7. funded psychology research proposal, 8. community psychology research proposal, 9. psychology research conference proposal, 10. psychology research honors program proposal, 11. psychology research dissertation proposal, what is a psychology research, how to write a psychology  research proposal, 1. make the title, 2. create the research question, 3. identify the research objectives, 4. present the literature review, 5. describe the research methodology, 6. explain the expected outcome, what are the five types of psychological research, what are the types of research methodology, what are some good research topics for psychology.

psychology research proposal report

Size: 253 KB

psychology research method proposal

Size: 138 KB

psychology research project proposal

Size: 150 KB

psychology research grant proposal

Size: 108 KB

clinical psychology research proposal

Size: 590 KB

funded psychology research proposal

Size: 89 KB

community psychology research proposal

Size: 156 KB

psychology research conference proposal

Size: 591 KB

psychology research honors program proposal

Size: 225 KB

psychology research dissertation proposal

Size: 24 KB

Psychology research refers to a scientific method of research in the psychology field where psychologists, psychology students, or anyone in the psychology field conducting a systematic study for analysis of various experiences and behaviors of individuals or groups of people. Psychology research can be used in educational, occupational, and clinical applications.

Research proposals are usually required to make and submit before you can commence to the actual research. The proposals are evaluated to improve the research study and to see if the research is practical and ethical, and if the researcher understands the study well and has enough resources to pursue the research study.

The sections below discuss the general format of a research proposal:

The first of the proposal s to create a title that indicates what will your study be about. Remember the title of your study can still be changed while you’re conducting your research, so the title that you will create now is still the initial title.

The next part of your research proposal is stating your main research questions . Explain its significance, and relate it with the relevant literature review. Most format of the typical research questions usually addresses one main question, and be broken down into several sub-questions. However, some researchers have two or three research questions where appropriate.

The next part of your research proposal is to state your research objectives must contain the following: the topic of your research and its general significance and the key ideas that led you to create your research question, and the hypotheses you conjured in your study based on your analysis from your literature review.

This part of the research proposal is where you lay out all the studies, such as published studies, journals, articles, books, magazines, and laboratory results of experiments, that will support and justify the necessity of your research.

The next part of your research proposal is to describe how you will do your research methodology to answer your research questions and why you will use this approach to address the question. Furthermore, you need to discuss who will be your target audience to be the participants of the study, what will be the procedure to be done, and the materials, instruments, equipment, and budget you will need for your research.

You will also need to provide a timeline of when your research will start until when it will be completed.

The last part of your proposal is explaining what will be the expected outcomes of your research. Explain how your research makes a contribution to the field of psychology knowledge,  how it contributes to advance theoretical understanding, and how it contributes to psychology policies or practices.

The five types of psychological research are naturalist observation, survey method, case study , correlational design, and experimental method.

There are various types of research methodology. These are quantitative , qualitative, descriptive, analytical , applied, fundamental, and exploratory.

  • Types of disorder: Examples could be about e ating disorders, depression, phobias, or personality disorders.
  • Topics related to human cognition: Examples could be dreams, false memories, attention, perception, speech disorders, problem-solving, or judgment.
  • Analysis of a famous experiment: In your research paper, you can choose to summarize the experiment, analyze the ethics of the research, or evaluate the implications of the study.

Once you’re done writing the proposal don’t forget to include a bibliography where you will list all the materials that you used as reference of your research study proposal.The reference is usually done in APA style, but you can ask your professor if there are other references style that they want you to follow. Make sure you follow the proper format of the APA citation since evaluators are also critical about that. If you’re planning to start your research proposal now, you can download our free sample templates to guide you!

Related Posts

Free 34 research papers, free 30+ research paper samples, free 27+ research paper formats, free 20+ research paper outlines, free 12+ sample research reports, free 11+ basic proposal outline templates, free 10+ thesis evaluation samples, free 10+ rejection letter samples, free 10+ quantitative research report samples, free 10+ research assistant cv samples, free 59+ sample letter of intent, free 58+ letter of intent, free 14+ sample proposal cover page, free 12+ research report templates, free 10+ clinical research project plan samples, free 10+ career research report samples, free 6+ sample of apa paper, free 82+ project proposal samples, free 41+ sample paper.

psychology phd research proposal example

  • Future Annual Meetings
  • 2024 Annual Meeting
  • 2023 Annual Meeting
  • 2022 Annual Meeting
  • 2021 Annual Meeting
  • April 19 AERA Gathering and Presidential Presentation
  • 2019 Annual Meeting
  • 2018 Annual Meeting
  • 2017 Annual Meeting
  • 2016 Annual Meeting
  • 2015 Annual Meeting
  • 2014 Annual Meeting
  • Leveraged Knowledge and Cyclical Inequality
  • Demonizing the Undeserving Poor
  • Does that Sound Like Meritocracy to You?
  • A Global “HEADS UP”
  • What’s Race Got to Do with It
  • Education Policy is Social Policy
  • Reading History and Learning about Policy and Peop
  • Poverty and Impoverishment in the Bay Area of Cali
  • Poverty and Education: Reflections on the AERA Con
  • Trying to Fix an Urban School - 2013 AM Theme
  • The Poverty of Capitalism
  • Myth of Poverty
  • On Poverty and Systemic Collapse
  • Poverty has an iPhone
  • Media at Annual Meeting
  • 2012 Annual Meeting
  • 2011 Annual Meeting
  • Past Brown Lectures
  • Virtual Events
  • AERA Centennial
  • Webcasts of Lectures & Events

psychology phd research proposal example



  1. Examples of Research proposals

    Show why you are the right person to do this research; Examples of research proposals. Research Proposal Example 1 (DOC, 49kB) Research Proposal Example 2 (DOC, 0.9MB) Research Proposal Example 3 (DOC, 55.5kB) Research Proposal Example 4 (DOC, 49.5kB) Subject specific guidance. Writing a Humanities PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB) Writing a Creative ...

  2. Writing your research proposal

    When applying to study for a PhD or MPhil in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, you will typically need to send us an initial 500-word research proposal. The content and structure of your research proposal will be influenced by the nature of the project you wish to pursue. The guidance and suggested headings provided here ...

  3. PDF Research Proposal Format Example

    Research Proposal Format Example. 1. Research Proposal Format Example. Following is a general outline of the material that should be included in your project proposal. I. Title Page II. Introduction and Literature Review (Chapters 2 and 3) A. Identification of specific problem area (e.g., what is it, why it is important). B.

  4. How to Write a Psychology Research Proposal

    Being able to write a solid research proposal demonstrates the following qualities: * An understanding of some theoretical concepts in the behavioral sciences. * The ability to organize one's ...

  5. PDF Preparing Research Proposals in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: The

    graduate students that describes predoctoral opportunities, and also provides guidance for postdoctoral and early career funding. It covers promising sources of funding, proposal development and submission, examples of successful proposals, and strategies for success. Considerable space is devoted to discussing National Institutes of

  6. How to Make PhD Psychology Research Proposal That Impresses

    Structural Components of a Psychology Research Proposal Example. Now that we understand how to choose a topic and formulate a question, let's review the main components of a research proposal in psychology. Title page; Abstract; The abstract, typically 250 to 350 words in length, provides a concise summary of your entire PhD proposal psychology.

  7. Guidelines for the Research Proposal

    Some sample proposals from previous years are available on the 'Proposal' (Topic 5) section of the Research Project Support Moodle. However, we have shifted to a novel format using a standardised form recently. The content in the prior example will be useful to filling in this form, but you should rely on the form itself to guide what you write.

  8. PDF A Guide to Writing your PhD Proposal

    Therefore, in a good research proposal you will need to demonstrate two main things: 1. that you are capable of independent critical thinking and analysis. 2. that you are capable of communicating your ideas clearly. Applying for a PhD is like applying for a job, you are not applying for a taught programme.

  9. How to Write a Great PhD Research Proposal

    Written by Mark Bennett. You'll need to write a research proposal if you're submitting your own project plan as part of a PhD application. A good PhD proposal outlines the scope and significance of your topic and explains how you plan to research it. It's helpful to think about the proposal like this: if the rest of your application explains ...

  10. Research proposal

    Research proposal. Your research proposal is your opportunity to show your prospective supervisor that you have interesting ideas, and that you have some idea of how to test them. It should consist of about two sides of A4, including references and it should include: clear empirical objective. some idea of the research methods you would use.

  11. PDF PSY410-Example Research Proposal

    Microsoft Word - PSY410-Example Research Proposal.doc. PSY 410 - Cognitive Psychology. J. P. Toth. Example Research Proposal (note: the study describe here is not meant to be perfect, but rather to give you an idea of the level of detail that would be most useful for evaluating & commenting on your proposal). 1.

  12. Writing your PhD research proposal

    All applicants for a PhD or MSc by Research must submit a research proposal as part of their application. Applicants must use the template form below for their research proposal. This research proposal should then be submitted online as part of your application. Please use Calibri size 11 font size and do not change the paragraph spacing ...

  13. PDF Annotated Sample Research Proposal: Process and Product

    The basic purposes of all research proposals are to. convince. the reader that: (a) the research project has clear objectives; (b) the research project is worth doing (it is significant. / important in some sense and will make an original. contribution to knowledge / understanding in the. field)

  14. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Research proposal examples. Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We've included a few for you below. Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management" Example research proposal #2: "Medical Students as Mediators of ...

  15. Research Proposal Example (PDF + Template)

    Detailed Walkthrough + Free Proposal Template. If you're getting started crafting your research proposal and are looking for a few examples of research proposals, you've come to the right place. In this video, we walk you through two successful (approved) research proposals, one for a Master's-level project, and one for a PhD-level ...

  16. Writing a research proposal

    Your proposal should be typed double-spaced, if possible, and be between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Your PhD proposal can be added under the 'Supporting Documents' section of the Postgraduate Applications Online System. Your proposal should contain at least the following elements: A provisional title. A key question, hypothesis or the broad topic ...

  17. Research Proposal Examples & Samples (Masters & PhD)

    We break down two research proposal examples/samples, as well as our popular research proposal template, piece by piece. Learn about the key components of a ...

  18. PDF Psychology Phd Research Proposal Sample

    Indeed, the role of a psychologist in a team of experts is often a guiding factor, and it is certainly safe and almost always cohesive. It is thus for at least two reasons: 1. Psychology is, as has already been said, a link to the understanding of biological, psychological and social factors in understanding the problem and 2.

  19. Psychology Research Proposal

    A psychology research proposal is an academic document that a person submits to propose a research project, specifically in the field of clinical psychology. The purpose of research proposals is to outline the research questions and summarize your selected research topic. Another necessary reason for creating this proposal is to present ways ...

  20. 17 Research Proposal Examples (2024)

    17 Research Proposal Examples. By Chris Drew (PhD) / January 12, 2024. A research proposal systematically and transparently outlines a proposed research project. The purpose of a research proposal is to demonstrate a project's viability and the researcher's preparedness to conduct an academic study. It serves as a roadmap for the researcher.

  21. PDF psychology phd research proposal sampleAdd a little bit of body text3

    A priori languages are those whose words (in a formal sense) are not based on any of the existing languages - such as Laadan. A priori languages are sometimes referred to as philosophical languages as some of them, besides morphine modifications, also want to radically differently assign meaning to words or segment reality in a different way.

  22. Guidelines for the Research Proposal

    Research proposals usually need to go through several drafts. Show your internal and external supervisors a draft early enough so that you can incorporate their comments into a revised draft before submission. Review of the proposal. The proposal will be read by one of the academic staff, and will be discussed at a proposals review meeting in ...

  23. FREE 10+ Psychology Research Proposal Samples in PDF

    3. Identify the Research Objectives. The next part of your research proposal is to state your research objectives must contain the following: the topic of your research and its general significance and the key ideas that led you to create your research question, and the hypotheses you conjured in your study based on your analysis from your literature review.

  24. 2025 Annual Meeting Call for Paper and Session Submissions

    Deadline for Submissions: July 26, 11:59 p.m. PT. The Call for Submissions for the 2025 AERA Annual Meeting is now open. The deadline for submissions will close on July 26 at 11:59 p.m. PT. The 2025 AERA Annual Meeting will be held in Denver, Colorado, from Thursday, April 23 to Sunday, April 27, 2025. The theme is " Research, Remedy, and ...