THE ACADEMIC PROPOSAL An academic proposal is the first step in producing a thesis or major project. Its intent is to convince a supervisor or academic committee that your topic and approach are sound, so that you gain approval to proceed with the actual research. (Sometimes you are outlining hypothetical research, and just want recognition that it would be worth doing.) As well as indicating your plan of action, an academic proposal should show your theoretical positioning and your relationship to past work in the area. An academic proposal is expected to contain these elements: • a rationale for the choice of topic, showing why it is important or useful within the concerns of the discipline or course. It is sensible also to indicate the limitations of your aims—don’t promise what you can’t possibly deliver. • a review of existing published work (“the literature”) that relates to the topic. Here you need to tell how your proposed work will build on existing studies and yet explore new
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