Writing a Research Proposal


Course Objective

The aim of this course is to provide Master’s students with the
essential linguistic know-how for composing a successful research
proposal in English that is well organized, idiomatically and
stylistically appropriate and grammatically correct.
At the end of the course students
- know how to structure a research proposal;
- know what the information elements are in parts of their research
- know how to produce clear and well-structured texts on complex
- know how to write well-structured and coherent paragraphs;
- know how to construct effective sentences;
- know what collocations are and how to use them appropriately;
- know how to adopt the right style (formal style, cohesive
- know how to avoid the pitfalls of English grammar;
- know how to use punctuation marks correctly;
- know how to cite sources effectively;
- know what their own strengths and weaknesses are in writing;
- know how to give effective peer feedback.

Course Content

The course will start with a general introduction to writing a research
proposal in English. Taking a top-down approach, we will then analyse
the structure of a research proposal in more detail. As we examine
several sections of a research proposal, we will peel back the layers
and discover how paragraphs are structured, what tools are available to
ensure coherence within and among paragraphs, how to write effective and
grammatically correct sentences and how to choose words carefully and
use them effectively.

Topics addressed during the course include the following:
- What makes a good proposal?
o 5 crucial questions you must always answer
- Considering your readers: who are they? What do they expect? How do
read your text? How does that affect your writing?
o The importance of considering reading strategies
- What is the basic structure of a research proposal and what are they
elements of each section?
- How do you "sell" your project / research? Why language matters!
Strategies for writing successful research proposals: using the English
language effectively and enhancing readability
o Keeping it brief: don’t waste words
o Writing well-structured and coherent paragraphs
o Writing effective sentences (sophisticated word order, information
o Using modality and boosters to your advantage
o Using appropriate and effective vocabulary
o Arguing convincingly
o Using active constructions (but also using the passive effectively)
- Understanding grammar (tenses, basic word order,
- Understanding punctuation
- Referring to sources: summarising, paraphrasing, quoting (how and
- Avoiding plagiarism

Teaching Methods

Writing a Research proposal in English is a six-week course that
consists of 2.5 contact hours a week. Students are required to spend at
least 6 to 8 hours of homework per week. They will work through a phased
series of exercises that conclude with the requirement to write several
text parts (e.g. Introduction/Relevance section, Summary).
Feedback on the writing assignments is given by the course teacher and
by peers.

Method of Assessment

Students will receive 3 course credits when they meet the following
- Students hand in three writing assignments (e.g.Introduction,Relevance
Summary) and get a pass mark for all writing assignments;
- Students provide elaborate peer feedback;
- Students attend at least 7 out of 8 sessions (or, in case of 6
sessions, they attend
at least 5);
- Students are well prepared for each session (i.e. do all homework
- Students actively participate in class;
- Students do not plagiarise or self-plagiarise

Target Audience

This course is only open to students of the two-year Master's program
Oncology and Cardiovascular. These students are only eligible to the
course if they have already conducted scientific research (e.g. for
their Bachelor’s thesis) or if they will be working on a research
project when taking Scientific Writing in English.

Custom Course Registration

This course is compulsory and you must register through VUnet.vu.nl This way, you will find out immediately if a place is available. All activities for which you are registered will be displayed in your personal timetable, which also includes any timetable changes. If you have not registered for a course then you will not be admitted to that course, you will not be assigned to a group, you will not be able to use CANVAS, you will have no timetable, your grades will not be recorded, etc. In short, you will not be able to take part. From the moment that you are conditionally registered for a programme, you can sign up for specific courses via VUnet.vu.nl This course is intended for Master Oncology and Cardiovascular students

Explanation Canvas

A CANVAS course is available for this module. Students will be enrolled
automatically when they register for the module via VUnet. The lecturers
will post information such as presentations slides and literature links
in the course.

General Information

Course Code M_FWRP18
Credits 3 EC
Period P3
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty VUmc School of Medical Sciences
Course Coordinator M. van den Hoorn
Examiner drs. J.K.A. Meijer
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: