An MPhil research proposal should be 500 words long. It needs to give those assessing your application an impression of the strength and originality of your proposed research, and its potential to make a contribution to knowledge. It should be written in clear, jargon-free, and unexceptionable prose. Grammatical mistakes and typographical errors give a very bad impression. You should make sure you cover the following areas (without explicitly dividing the proposal into headings).
The research topic
- Briefly outline the area and topic of your proposed research.
The research context
- Relate your proposed research to other work in its field or related fields, and indicate in what ways your research will differ; you might mention monographs on the subject, as well as important theoretical models or methodological exemplars: this is a chance to show your understanding of the background against which your research will be defined.
The contribution you will make
- This is your chance to show how you have arrived at your position and recognised the need for your research, and what it is that makes it both new and important; you should indicate what areas and debates it will have an impact on, what methodological example it sets (if appropriate) – in short how it contributes to knowledge and to the practice of Digital Humanities. Give examples of the sort of evidence you might consider, and of the questions it might help you to raise. Show that you are already thinking about the area in detail and not only in outline.
- You do not necessarily need to define a methodology but if there is something striking about your proposed methodology, and this is central to your proposal you should point to this.
The sources and resources you will use
- You should delimit your field of enquiry, showing where the project begins and ends; in certain cases, Cambridge will have unique collections and resources of central relevance to your project, and you should mention these if they are relevant.
How the project will develop
- You might indicate some of the possible ways in which the project could develop, perhaps by giving a broader or narrower version depending on what materials and issues you uncover, or which critical, theoretical or methodological approaches you decide to pursue.