Oxbridge Research proposal for DPhil/PhD in History Watch

Sokratis88
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Hello to everyone! Congratulations for this amazing community you have built here. So, I guess now is my turn to ask for your wisdom.

I understand that it may be a little bit early but currently I am preparing my application for doctoral studies at Oxbridge. While I managed to graduate with 1st from a major European university and I already have come to an understanding with my referees for favorable reference letters.

However, I am encountering some difficulties with my research proposal. It is not that I lack the idea or how to put it on paper but rather the format of the structure that Oxbridge asks for.

At their website the only information they provide concerns only the word limitation and nothing else. Hence, I was wondering if there is any successful applicant on here who would be willing to share her or his proposal?

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you!
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Sokratis88)
Hello to everyone! Congratulations for this amazing community you have built here. So, I guess now is my turn to ask for your wisdom.

I understand that it may be a little bit early but currently I am preparing my application for doctoral studies at Oxbridge. While I managed to graduate with 1st from a major European university and I already have come to an understanding with my referees for favorable reference letters.

However, I am encountering some difficulties with my research proposal. It is not that I lack the idea or how to put it on paper but rather the format of the structure that Oxbridge asks for.

At their website the only information they provide concerns only the word limitation and nothing else. Hence, I was wondering if there is any successful applicant on here who would be willing to share her or his proposal?

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you!
There's no specific structure. However, you would be wise to

  • State your research question
  • Explain why it is worth answering
  • Explain where it sits in the current academic field ie who is writing about it, from what aspect, how your work differs etc
  • What approach/method you will use
  • What resources you will need and how you can access them
  • That you have any additional skills eg languages, techniques etc
  • An approximate timeline, that evidences it can be completed in 3 years
  • Any alternate ideas (but only if problems are met in the above) and contingencies
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Sokratis88
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Thank you for your answer. It was very useful.
(Original post by threeportdrift)
There's no specific structure. However, you would be wise to

  • State your research question
  • Explain why it is worth answering
  • Explain where it sits in the current academic field ie who is writing about it, from what aspect, how your work differs etc
  • What approach/method you will use
  • What resources you will need and how you can access them
  • That you have any additional skills eg languages, techniques etc
  • An approximate timeline, that evidences it can be completed in 3 years
  • Any alternate ideas (but only if problems are met in the above) and contingencies
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TraineeHistorian
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Oxford give pretty clear instructions on the course page, if you check the 'how to apply tab': https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/grad...history?wssl=1

Research proposal:
500 to 1,000 words, typically two to four pages double spaced

Your research proposal must be written in English. A bibliography may also be provided and is not included in the word count, though any footnotes should be included.

This should be a developed proposal of your individual research project. It will provide crucial evidence of your readiness for doctoral research. Your proposal should cover all of the following:

- a research question: the central issue or problem with which you intend to grapple, and a working title;
- historiography: some account of the current state of scholarship in this area. You may want to explain why you are dissatisfied with existing scholarship: is it limited, dated or unconvincing? What kind of contribution will your work make?
- sources: an indication of the sources you expect to use, where these can be found, how they will contribute to your research, what if any technical skills you will need to work with them (eg language, quantitative, use of specialist software), and whether you already have, or will need to acquire, those skills; and
- method: some discussion of your approach to dealing with sources and constructing your thesis. Some of the following considerations may apply. At what level is your inquiry: micro or local, regional or national, comparative or transnational? Will you be using qualitative or quantitative techniques? Samples or case studies? Will your research draw on a body of theory? Does your approach draw on the agenda or methods of related disciplines such as anthropology, or literary studies?

This will be assessed for:

- your reasons for applying
- the coherence of the proposal
- the originality of the project
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- the ability to present a reasoned case in English
- the feasibility of successfully completing the project within three years
- preliminary knowledge of research techniques
- capacity for sustained and intense work
- the ability to contextualise, and analyse the evidence.

It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at this moment.

I basically wrote four paragraphs (of varying lengths): introducing the project and outlining my research questions, a review of current historiography and identified gaps, the sources I'm planning to use and and my methodology.
(Original post by Sokratis88)
Hello to everyone! Congratulations for this amazing community you have built here. So, I guess now is my turn to ask for your wisdom.

I understand that it may be a little bit early but currently I am preparing my application for doctoral studies at Oxbridge. While I managed to graduate with 1st from a major European university and I already have come to an understanding with my referees for favorable reference letters.

However, I am encountering some difficulties with my research proposal. It is not that I lack the idea or how to put it on paper but rather the format of the structure that Oxbridge asks for.

At their website the only information they provide concerns only the word limitation and nothing else. Hence, I was wondering if there is any successful applicant on here who would be willing to share her or his proposal?

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you!
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