Guide to the Contents of the Research Plan

The Guide of contents of the Plan of Investigation (PDF) has for object give a general orientation to the doctorando with respect to how to present his Plan of Investigation.

It must offer sufficient information to the evaluating Commission -including the work already done- so that it can judge whether the proposal is viable in all aspects, and if it will result in a work likely to be defended as a Doctoral Thesis.

Provisional title and keywords that describe the topic of the investigation.

Objectives: Explain succinctly, clearly and directly what the work proposes, and why it is important and interesting. Description of the central problem, reasons that lead to the choice of chronological and geographical frames that will constitute the universe of analysis. It can be articulated in hypotheses, questions or problems to solve.

Background, current status of the topic and perspectives

Historiographic review in which the thematic evolution and its problems are presented. When, how and by whom the topic was initiated; how it developed; with what methodology and techniques; what state you are in today; and what are the new perspectives to develop. Does the project confirm or question other investigations? In conclusion: the relationship between the central problem of the thesis and the historiographical debates must be established. Finally: how does the chosen topic relate to the research line of the program in which it is inserted?

Index (provisional) commented, with description and justification of the internal organization and division into chapters with explanation of what is intended to be included in each of them.

Sources that will be used: explanation, and not just list. The explanation should include: a) location (archives, libraries, information centers, portals, etc.); b) Institution that has produced them; c) Analysis (typology, contents); d) Information that he hopes to extract and be able to use to prove his thesis; e) Relationship between sources and provisional work plan. It must also include, if it is the case, use of databases.

Methodology: description of the methodological procedures, their justification and their adaptation to the objectives of the project; employment, where appropriate, of methodology supported by comparative analysis.

Timeline, which should include: main phases of the project; estimated time for each phase; Schedule ordered in annuities. It is advisable to present it in the form of a Table.

Basic and secondary bibliographical references. They must be listed following the conventions of the area of knowledge.

Summary in English of about 200 words (optional)

Some final recommendations:

  • All the sections are important, but 2, 3 and 5 are especially important, since in any research project it should be made clear the objective pursued (2), the opportunity and
  • relevance of it (3) and its viability (5). In fact, the value of the proposal will be evaluated according to these parameters.

A well-done project should give the evaluator the clear impression that previous research has been done on the subject and that, therefore, they are prepared to develop it. This does not mean that everything is known at this time. It must also be flexible: it is not a closed contract.

The project must be clear and orderly. That the evaluator does not have to read it twice to understand it.

A research plan should be as long as necessary, although for a guide that is sufficiently oriented, it may be possible to think of a text of between 3,000 and 5,000 words. A project is not a thesis, but it is necessary to offer the evaluators enough details to understand and value it.

References should be used in the research plan to show that you have read and understood the work of others.

Before submitting it, it must be reviewed as many times as deemed necessary. The evaluators must be shown that they have worked and that they have been given the attention they deserve

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