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Research Proposal CADS


Course Description

The Research Proposal is a paper of at least 15 pages, to be written before starting fieldwork.

The Research Proposal must deal with the following:

  • Motivation and justification of the research question.

  • Knowledge of the area of research (literature survey).

  • Theoretical embedding of the research question.

  • Further specification and operationalization of the research question.

  • Motivation of the proposed fieldwork methodologies and research techniques, and their implications for the research process.

  • Motivation of the methodologies and their implications.

  • Ethical implications of the research methods envisaged.

  • Preliminary plan for data analysis following field research.

  • Work plan, time schedule, and budget.

These issues can be integrated within the research proposal as follows:

I Introduction

  • Motivation and justification of the topic of research.

  • Short social scientific description of the area and topic of research based on a survey of the literature.

II Theoretical Foundation

  • The theories and theoretical debates related to the research topic should be addressed on the basis of a literature survey,.

  • The concepts used should be defined. In most cases, decisions regarding the research population and relevant research methods and techniques precede the research question.

  • Exposition of the conceptual model on the basis of the literature survey.

  • Description of specific questions and hypotheses. These should be related to the research population and the selected methods and techniques.

III Problem Definition and Operationalization of Research Concepts

  • Definition of the problem: research question, as well as sub-questions.

  • The concepts used in the research questions should be defined and operationalized.

IV Research Methods and Their Ethical Implications

  • What are the ethical implications of the research methods proposed? How are the interests of the interlocutors taken into account, and what measures will be taken to safeguard the data collected?

V Organization of the Research

Both a time schedule and a budget are required.

  • The time schedule should cover all three phases of the research period, comprising: preparation, field research, data analysis and thesis writing.

  • The budget should be submitted with the research proposal. Budgets should include such costs as travel expenses, accommodation, insurance, cost of maintenance, research materials, costs of an interpreter etc.

Methods of Instruction

Individual supervision.


Dependent on research topic and area.


The research proposal is assessed by the individual supervisors. If the requirements listed above are met, the proposal will receive a “pass” grade (6-10).
Only students who receive a “pass” grade for their research proposal will gain permission from the study coordinator to begin fieldwork.


September intake: September/October-December, by individual appointment with the supervisor.
February intake: February-March, by individual appointment with the supervisor.


All participants must register in uSis for this course. Registration for the exam is not required since there is no classical examination.


Master's programme coördinator: Dr. Erik de Maaker