Friday 30 July 2021

Writing a Master's Research Proposal (English Literature)

Writing a proposal for a research master's application can be tricky, especially when you're in third year with a lot going on. Below are my tips on how to get started.

Highlight the Obvious 

Whoever is reading your proposal may not be as clued up on your chosen topic or texts as you are. Therefore, make sure you include definitions of key movements your texts belong to, as well as any details of the key historical backgrounds and contexts of your texts, even if you think they're obvious to your reader.

Be Clear on Your Details (Literary Movements etc.)

One important thing to remember, especially when dealing with texts and their contexts, is to be clear on your finer details. It's worth reminding yourself of the dates the texts were published and when they are actually set, as sometimes there can be an overlap of contexts, and you should be showing your reader you've considered these minute details. 

Look at Theoretical and Philosophical Backgrounds

Delving deeper into the theoretical and philosophical backgrounds of any literary movements you are including is also important. As Master's level is a step up from Bachelors, showing your reader you have a wide and deep knowledge of your texts and their backgrounds will stand you in good stead.

Refine Your Intentions / Research Outcomes 

Being clear in your intentions for your research is also important. Having a clear research outcome, with one or two sub-questions you want to explore will make your proposal clear and concise. It forces you to be confident in what you're exploring, and stops your proposal being too long. 

Why is Your Project Important?

As you move from undergraduate to postgraduate level, when thinking about your dissertation, it's important to think about where you work would fit into the current climate. To do this, even just simply explaining why you think your project is important and what led you to want to write about your topic is a good starting point. 

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