Research Proposal

Summary of Research Intentions

The Summary of Research Intentions is submitted at the time of applying for admission into a postgraduate (research) degree. The information provided must indicate the broad outlines of your proposed thesis topic to allow the Research Committee to determine the general suitability of the topic for the degree and the availability of appropriate resources and supervision.

You may wish to write about 500 words. In thinking about your 500 words coverage, you might like to adopt the following structure:

  1. Title of thesis (Provide a provisional title for your projected thesis that sums up what might be the overall focus of your research.)
  2. Aim of thesis (State in 150 words what is the overall purpose of your research and what you hope to accomplish through our investigation.)
  3. Methodology of thesis (State in 150 words what types of evidence you will be investigating in your thesis and the methodology/methodologies you might be using to understand the evidence. The latter can be a difficult task initially and you are most welcome to ask the Research Director for clarification and help.)
    • For example, a Biblical study might use grammatical/historical exegesis, as well as sociological, historical, theological, feminist, literary, and post-colonial analyses.
    • For example, a Church History study might use a primary source approach, concentrating on particular writings of the Church Fathers or documents of the Vatican councils, accompanied by theological, sociological, historical or Marxist analyses of the evidence.
    • For example, a Theology study might adopt a ‘biblical theology’ approach involving elements of concentrate on the primary sources (original writings) of particular theologians or theological movements; a ‘philosophical’ theology approach might incorporate existentialist, post-modern, or scientific perspectives on an issue or doctrine, or approach the topic from the perspective of a particular philosophical thinker (e.g. Heidegger; Derrida; René Girard).
    • For example, a pastoral study might employ clinical analysis based on secondary literature casestudies, or employ evidence gained by interview or conduct clinical analysis (requiring thereby clearance from the SCD Research Ethics Committee), accompanied by sociological, biblical and theological analyses.

Thesis Proposal (Research Proposal)

The thesis proposal should be developed with the guidance of the appointed supervisor and submitted within one semester, for full-time candidates, and no longer than two semesters, for part-time candidates. MPhil, PhD and ThD candidates submit the proposal to the Research Committee within one semester of admission, for full-time candidates, and two semesters, for part-time candidates. DMin candidates submit their proposal to the Research Committee within one semester of completion of coursework, for full-time candidates, and two semesters, for part-time candidates. In both cases the proposal is submitted through the Research Director.

The Research Committee readers will review the proposal closely to ensure that your topic is something that can be completed within the parameters of the particular degree program. Not all proposals are accepted outright when first submitted. The Committee concerned may find a number of minor problems and require the proposal be adjusted. This is quite common. If the Committee has serious reservations then it is signalling to you that the topic as presented will be very difficult both to complete and to be passed by your examiners. While this is a setback at one level, it allows you to rethink and re-submit a proposal that has a greater likelihood of success.

Your research topic cannot be altered significantly except with the permission of the Research Committee.

The proposal should be about 1000 words including the bibliography. It should be tightly written, not a minor essay but a compact, technically competent and compelling presentation. Your proposal will be assessed on the basis of information under the headings indicated below.

 Research question
 Description of the topic and the original contribution it makes to the field
 Ethical considerations around the research
 Outline of the chapters, with allocation of word length
 Timeline for completion of the thesis
 Bibliography, in standard form

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