Outline for Ph.D. Project Proposal
(adapted from Lynn Santelmann, 2001)
When writing, please use section headings to indicate where the information can be found.
Subheadings need not be used, though in long sections they may facilitate organization.
1. Objective of the Research
Explain the issue you are examining and why it is significant.
• Describe the general area to be studied
• Explain why this area is important to the general area under study (e.g., psychology of
language, second language acquisition, teaching methods)
2. Background/Review of the Literature
A description of what has already known about this area and short discussion of why the
background studies are not sufficient.
• Summarize what is already known about the field. Include a summary of the basic
background information on the topic gleaned from your literature review (you can include
information from the book and class, but the bulk should be outside sources)
• Discuss several critical studies that have already been done in this area (cite according to
• Point out why these background studies are insufficient. In other words, what question(s)
do they leave unresolved that you would like to study?
• Choose (at least) one of these questions you might like to pursue yourself. (Make sure you
do not choose too many questions)
3. Hypotheses and Predictions
A description of the questions you are examining and an exploration of the claims.
• List the specific question(s) that you are exploring.
o Explain how these research questions are related to the larger issues raised in
o Describe what specific claim, hypothesis, and/or model of psycholinguistics
you will evaluate with these questions.
• Explain what it will show about the psychology of language if your hypothesis is
• Explain what it will suggest about the psychology of language if your hypothesis is
4. Method and Design
A description of how you would go about collecting data and test the questions your are
examining. You are not required to come up with a new or original method (though you can