Writing Research Proposals
Today, English is the main – and most widely internationally accepted – language used for writing research proposals, yet not everyone is academically fluent in English. Even native English speakers can often benefit from improving their English academic writing skills, the lack of which can lead to lack of clarity, confusion and rejection. In other words, the quality of the English used can make or break your research proposal.
In this online course, which is specifically aimed at professionals, you will enhance your skills in writing a research proposal in English, both in terms of information elements and language. We will analyze the structure, vocabulary and grammatical structures of research proposals, including word order, articles, verb tenses, punctuation marks, modal verbs, hedging, referencing styles, and the use of transitional words and phrases. We will also address the concept of plagiarism and how to avoid it.
Write your own research proposal
Your own (draft) research proposal will be central to this course. Beside practicing on model research proposals from your own academic domain and doing exercises in grammar and vocabulary topics, you will work on your proposal and receive feedback on this from both your peers and the moderator. At the end of the course, your research proposal will be reviewed both by a content and an English expert.
In addition to improving your English writing skills, you will enlarge your academic vocabulary and gain experience in critical reading. You will learn to better understand your own strengths and weaknesses in writing in English, and be able to familiarize yourself with vocabulary and self-study strategies that will enable you to improve your own writing.
Please note: participants in this course are required to hand in assignments every week, deadlines will be on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Writing Research Proposals is part of the online medical courses offered through the MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate Online; the online MSc program in Epidemiology offered by Utrecht University, University Medical Center Utrecht, MSc Epidemiology and Elevate Health.
By the end of this Writing Research Proposals course, you will be able to:
- Display sufficient academic writing skills to write a successful research proposal
- Correctly structure a research proposal, and be able to assemble the correct information elements
In particular, you will be able to:
- Make good use of a range of relevant vocabulary
- Understand how to recognize and avoid plagiarism
- Grasp the use of transitional words and phrases
- Use correct grammar and syntax, e.g. word order, articles, verb tenses and punctuation
- Work with different referencing styles, and select the correct one for your own proposal
- Write using an enlarged academic vocabulary
- Recognize and use modal verbs for hedging
- Have gained experience in critical reading
- Be familiar with your own strengths and weaknesses in writing academic English
- Develop self-study strategies to further improve your own writing
- Getting started
Learning objectives; pre-writing stage; vocabulary development strategies; grammar review: verb tenses
- Analysis of model texts parts 1 & 2
Analyzing for information elements, vocabulary and grammar; transitional words and phrases; vocabulary portfolio; writing and peer reviewing
- Analysis of model texts part 3
Analyzing for information elements, vocabulary and grammar; plagiarism; grammar review: articles; vocabulary portfolio; writing and peer reviewing
- Analysis of model texts part 4
Analyzing for information elements, vocabulary and grammar; inventory of personal error types; grammar review: punctuation, modal verbs; vocabulary portfolio; writing and peer reviewing
- Analysis of model texts parts 5 & 6
Analyzing for information elements, vocabulary and grammar; referencing styles; vocabulary portfolio: finalizing; writing and peer reviewing; revisiting learning objectives; course evaluation
- Final proposal
Finalizing text research proposal; peer, lecturer and expert feedback; learning objectives revisited; course evaluation
The whole course will take place online. The following learning methods will be used:
- Individual study (reading and exercises)
- Pair and group work
Please note that you are required to hand in assignments during some of the learning units in this course:
Sunday before start date - introduce yourself
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 1
Thursday – submit Part 1 and 2 of proposal
Friday – peer feedback on Part 1 and 2 of proposal
Saturday – submit Part 1 and 2 of proposal for teacher feedback
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 2
Thursday – submit Part 3 of proposal
Friday – provide peer feedback on Part 3 of proposal
Saturday – submit Part 3 of proposal for teacher feedback
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 3
Thursday – submit Part 4 of proposal
Friday – provide peer feedback on Part 4 of proposal
Saturday – submit Part 4 of proposal for teacher feedback
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 4
Thursday – submit Part 5 and 6 of proposal
Friday – provide peer feedback on Part 3 of proposal
Saturday – submit Part 5 and 6 of proposal for teacher feedback
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 5
Saturday – submit Vocabulary Portfolio for grading
Sunday – submit proposal for grading
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 6
Completing all required assignments and meeting the deadlines are requirements to take the final exam.
To successfully complete this Writing Research Proposals course, you need to actively participate in the discussion forums and complete the learning unit assignments, including:
- Vocabulary portfolio (25% of the final mark)
- Research proposal (75% of the final mark), your text will be marked on your use of English (50%) and on the content (50%)
As Writing Research Proposals is a university course, it is covered by academic accreditation. Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a recognized certificate from Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht.
To enroll in this course, you need:
- A Bachelor’s degree
- Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing (B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference)
- Your own (draft) research proposal (if you do not have this, you will have to spend more time on the course than indicated)
Compulsory study materials
- 'Practical English Usage' by Michael Swan, Oxford University Press, third revised edition, 2005, ISBN-13: 978-01-94-420983.
As this is an online course, you do need access to an internet connection in order to be able to complete assignments and communicate with fellow participants.
'Practical English Usage' by Michael Swan, Oxford University Press, third revised edition, 2005, ISBN-13: 978-01-94-420983.