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Research Proposals for PhD in Psycholinguistics

In the 'Research Proposal' section of the main application form, please include only 100 words outlining your topic, and upload a fuller research proposal as a separate document, in the 'supporting documents' section.

This proposal should be between 1500 and 2500 words in length, and should contain at least the following:

1. Title of proposed research project

This should allow the reader to place the research, at a glance, within a sub-field of psycholinguistics (e.g., sentence processing, second language acquisition, etc.), as well as identifying the main issue to be addressed.  It should not be more than 20 words long.

2. Background

Outline the area of psycholinguistics in which you propose to conduct research.  Why is it important and interesting? What is the need for further research in this area? You should provide a context for your research.  Do this by referencing and briefly reviewing a number of key works in your chosen field, showing how your proposed project is built on this prior research.

3. Research questions

Give at least one overarching research question, plus a number of more specific sub-questions.  Make sure these questions all emerge from and are firmly grounded in the literature you have reviewed.  Ensure that these questions — particularly the specific sub-questions — are researchable; that is, they should not be too broad or too general.  You should also explain how these research questions can be considered original.

4. Data and data analysis

How will you collect the data that will answer your research questions? Explain your proposed methods: sample, data collection methods, and methods of analysis. Indicate how you will recruit participants, and whether the research will take place in a specific location or whether it can be conducted online. 

5. Timetable

Give an outline of the timeline for conducting the research.

6. Skills and training needs

Give an indication of the relevant skills and experience you already have, and of the skills you will need to develop and training you might need.

7. References

Provide a list of the references you have cited in the proposal.

8. Additional information

Your research proposal is a key part of your application: the better it is, the more likely you are to be accepted and the better your research will be. Although you will continue to develop the proposal for several months after you start the PhD, you still need to prepare a good proposal at the application stage. The proposal is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have immersed yourself well in the relevant background research and that you have identified a research gap that you are qualified to address. You should also ensure that your proposal fits with the expertise of psycholinguistics staff within at least one of the Language and Linguistic Science, Psychology and Education departments.