Proposal #XXX

Research Proposal Template

4. Literature Review

Notes

Length can vary immensely, but probably 300-1500 words or more, depending on the nature of your research. Note: this is one of the most important sections of your research proposal. It demonstrates that you know your field, who the key research players are in it, what has been said in the past and what is being said at the moment. You will want to mention, and where appropriate quote from, key works in your area. This is the section that requires the most preliminary research: make sure you spend some time in an academic library and using search engines for relevant academic papers before presenting this. You do not need to discuss every work in your area, but you need to present a competent outline, and, especially if this is a proposal for doctoral research, you need to be sure that no-one else has already done the same project. A good way of presenting a literature review coherently is in the form of a narrative, which can either be chronological or thematic.

Example

There has been a <small / considerable / state value here> amount of previous academic research in this field.

<for a chronological narrative>

I will outline how the understanding of <this topic> has developed over the last <number of> years.

<insert chronological narrative, remembering to introduce key players, dates, and academic works, and end with the state of the field as it is today.>

<for a thematic narrative>

I will outline the major themes that are of relevance in this field, and go through them each in turn:

  • <use a bulleted list to outline what themes / topics you are planning on covering>

<After your bulleted list, you can use the themes from your list as subtitles to split up your literature review. Put them in bold, like this. You could also add them as subsections in your contents page.>

<Under each subtitle, describe the state of the field of research in this area, including the most important researchers and works in this area.>

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