Course User Guide


This online, moderated short course is delivered through four modules over four weeks by the RMIT Study and Learning Centre. It is aimed at graduate researchers (PhD or Masters by Research) who are seeking to understand why and how to write and present their research proposal.

In this project-based course, you will draft your research proposal and presentation with the benefit of peer and facilitator feedback and support. The course materials include videos of highly experienced researchers from a range of academic disciplines discussing their expectations of research proposals and the key elements they look for as reviewers.

Once you’ve completed the course you can request a Certificate of Completion from your facilitator.

We hope you find this course useful and stimulating. We wish you all the best for your Confirmation of Candidature – your first milestone!

Intended Learning Outcomes

Each of the four modules covered in this course addresses one or more of these learning outcomes. On successful completion of the entire course you will be able to:

  1. understand the purpose and importance of the research proposal
  2. create a problem statement and research questions
  3. understand the structure and components of a research proposal in your discipline
  4. draft a research proposal using a range of writing strategies
  5. prepare and present an authoritative presentation of your research proposal.

Time commitment

Each module is designed to take up to two hours of online engagement per week (8 hours in total); in addition, you are encouraged to undertake self-paced planning and writing at your own discretion. 

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*The page also includes procedures, statements, contacts, links and tips.


Please do not hesitate to contact your facilitator and course coordinator, Dr Ken Manson at for any content-related enquiries during this module.

How to use this course

A range of activities is included in this course to help you learn about writing your research proposal, share your ideas with each other and prepare a draft proposal. Your facilitator will guide you through the four topics consecutively and moderate the interactive Forums. It’s recommended that you join your facilitator and peers and work through the material together to create a cohort experience.

Whatever you do, however, please keep in touch and engage with your peers in the course by actively participating in the Forums – we really want to hear from you!

Each week your facilitator will make an announcement through your RMIT student email introducing the week’s module and summarising the activities and exercises for the week. 

Successful completion of the course requires that you complete all activities listed below. Your facilitator will advise you if you have completed the course requirements and are eligible for a certificate of completion.

Overview of course activities

  • Course materials: These include written material, videos and links to other resources. There are times throughout the course where we ask you to reflect on issues. Please spend a little time doing this; it will help you engage in the learning process.
  • Discussion Forum: Use the discussion forum to ask questions, make suggestions and enter into conversations with the facilitator and course participants. We all have questions, experiences and concerns that if shared can provide really valuable learning or discussion opportunities.
  • Workspace Forum:  Each week you’ll be asked to submit two or three paragraphs which will form part of your draft research proposal or improve upon an existing draft. You’ll get feedback from the facilitator and other course participants.

  Dr Ken Manson


Work Phone: 61 (3) 9925 4008

Office Location: Melbourne City Campus Building 94, level 3.

Ken is a learning adviser in the Study and Learning Centre, part of the RMIT Library & Student Success. He supports graduate researchers across RMIT University, teaches in PhD Up and other workshops, facilitates research writing groups, develops online resources and supports graduate researchers individually.

Qualifications: PhD 

Booth, W., Colomb, G. & Williams, J. (2016). The craft of research (4th. Ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 3-5

Gray, C. & Malins, J. (2004). Visualizing research: a guide to the research process in art and design. Aldershot,UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Available online:

Petre, M. & Rugg. G. (2010). The unwritten rules of PhD research: Open Up Study Skills. Berkshire: Open University Press.

Rugg, G. & Petre, M. (2004). The unwritten rules of PhD research. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.