Guidance about the research project

Information to help you with the research project timeline, the research cycle, and structure of the proposal.


The research project timeline

A research project should meet the following targets.

September – January (Year 2)
  • Develop the research proposal
February (Year 2)
  • Submit the research proposal
March – April (Year 2)
  • Write protocol
May – June – September (Year 2)
  • Finalise protocol and Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) application.
  • Allow a minimum of 4 months to get all approvals in place.
  • Submit ethics and governance applications in May/June.
October (Year 2)
  • Data collection starts in October.
  • Dissertation submitted in April (Year 3).
May (Year 3)
  • Presentations

Structure of the research proposal

  1. A title that clearly conveys the theme of the research project.
  2. A main research question that will be the focus of the research project.
  3. An explanation of why the research topic is important.
  4. A brief literature review of reading around the subject.
  5. A proposed methodology for answering the research question.
  6. Time scheduled for the research project.

What is the research cycle?

A research project should follow this cycle.

A graphic showing 7 small circles in a circular shape representing a research cycle


Student research approval and COVID-19

In March 2020, the Health Research Authority (HRA) and devolved administrations announced their decision to stop reviewing applications for individual undergraduate and master’s student projects to create capacity for urgent COVID-19 research. From 1 September 2021, the HRA have introduced new eligibility criteria for standalone student research.


Last updated on 29th March 2022