Your research proposal should clearly outline the main components of your PhD project, and allow you to communicate the originality and relevance of the research to the selection panel. The following is a suggestion on how you might structure your proposal – which of course, will evolve as the research progresses – with indicated word count for each section (a PhD proposal is normally between 1000–1500 words).
Title: descriptive and informative – what is your project about?
Overview (250 words)
Provide a brief overview of your research project, outline the main research question(s), consider the project’s aims and objectives, and justify why Artistic Research is an appropriate avenue for the investigation. For support on developing the research question(s), see Paulo de Assis On Research Questions:
Artistic Context & Literature Review (500 words)
Demonstrate both your understanding of the Artistic Research context of your project, and the landscape where it is situated as appropriate (for example, theoretical, philosophical, or historical). You should show your project’s relevance in the field, relation to key debates / practices / practitioners, and how it may contribute to those discourses. Where is the gap in knowledge that your project will address and how does it relate to current artistic practices? Include references and demonstrate critical engagement with relevant resources.
Methodology & Processes of Enquiry (300 words)
Consider how you might address your research question and area of enquiry: which methods/procedures/analytical processes might be more suitable to your research study? Justify your approach and clearly articulate the relationships between distinct critical components of your project – arts practice, experiential aspects, writing and discourse, for example.
Potential outcomes (250 words)
Consider the project’s potential contribution to your field of study, how it may manifest, what you might produce, and for whom. What do you hope to achieve with your research, and how may it impact others? What potential outcomes do you envisage, and which different forms might those outcomes take?
Other relevant aspects
Include a bibliography and a project timeline. You may consider discussing in your proposal other aspects as appropriate to your project. For example: reflect on the impact your project might have and for whom; consider whether there may be ethical implications and briefly outline those; reflect on how your work might engage with the audience, who the audience is, and what forms might that engagement take; outline which specialist facilities and/or resources you may require. See Applying for an Artistic Research PhD for further guidance on thinking through your project structure and requirements.
Use these guidelines as a starting point and check the requirements of the institutions you are applying for to tailor your proposal.