Another good way to begin a proposal is by stating, where possible, your central point, idea, or claim.
Keep in mind that most social scientists are interested in causal explanations.
The 1000-character abstract (part of the online application form) will be included in the summary of your dossier separately from the research proposal, and most faculty members will make a first pre-selection of the proposals they want to read more carefully on the basis of the abstract.
Try to focus there on your research question and to explain why it is an innovative and interesting question to ask. Proposals should be in either good English or French (proofreading is always a good strategy), well-structured with suitable headings, and be clear and legible. ) Begin the proposal by clearly stating either the central problem or puzzle which the dissertation will address, be this empirical, theoretical or both.
THE “IDEAL” RESEARCH PROPOSAL General recommendations A proposal should be as general as possible in order for it to be reviewed by (and capture the attention of) any social scientist, but it should also be as specific as possible in order to trigger the interest of the faculty member(s) who could potentially become your supervisor(s).
Try to make clear which parts of your project are conventional wisdom, and which are innovative.If your topic (or theory or method) has been very widely discussed in your field, you should highlight the novelty (theoretical, empirical or both) that your project represents with respect to previous works.The feasibility of the project is not an issue in many proposals, but could become a potential concern in some of them.Highlighting paradoxes and unexpected results can also be a powerful tool to motivate readers whose research interests are far from yours.Try to keep the spotlight on the main idea(s) of your project along the whole text while clearly spelling out your concrete plans.If you think that this might be the case, you might say a few words about it.This is also probably a good moment to make explicit any caveats and limitations of your project.Your research proposal does not commit you to researching in a specific area if your application is successful.Following a successful application, you need to provide a more comprehensive proposal which will be useful reference as your research develops.The state of the field Present and discuss the answers that the available literature offers the research question addressed in the proposal succinctly. ) List the research operations you will conduct, and justify why these are the best solutions to tackle your research question.If you choose to examine only one case, you should provide a careful indication of the relevance of your case and its potential for generalization.