use the real research literature (peer reviewed journals and conferences)
know the papers you cite in detail
make a proposal that is feasible for you to carry out in three years
justify your research with results from the literature
you will be asked to present your proposal briefly; be prepared
you should be able to answer technical questions
you should be able to summarize and talk about the technical content of each of the papers you reference
understanding the mind / biology?
working with others?
what are Google / Facebook / ... hiring in?
what are the hot startups doing?
what skills are going to be automated / obsolete soon?
what do people give talks on at conferences / at university departments?
do you go to talks in our department?
Pick a good title.
Start with a preliminary title, then revise after the proposal is done.
research question / hypothesis
significance to science
STRATEGY, you're addressing both experts and non-experts, look for economic significance of area, look at the history of the question/topic, have any famous people looked at this?, does it relate to problems your reader might have?, think about what "inspired" the question; you can't necessarily put it in like that, but it is a good guide, e.g., the mind/body problem motivates ...; the Chinese room experiment motivates ...
prior work related to the topic
your prior publications on the topic
your preliminary work on the topic
unanswered questions (and show that they are unanswered)
STRATEGY, identify the primary conferences and journals related to the topic, identify the most important topics in the community, think about how they relate to your current topic, relate the literature to the research question(s) you identified in the introduction
step-by-step strategy, what are you going to do?, what are you going to deliver?, what do you do in case a step fails? what are your backup strategies?
required resources, what data do you need? how difficult is it to get?, what software/hardware do you need?
what statistical / mathematical techniques will you use for evaluation?
concisely list the results you expect to get from your experiments / theories
relate them to the hypotheses / questions in the introduction
address, success, risks, publication strategy
this summarizes in tabular form the strategy from the methodology section
the table should divide the thesis into 6 month blocks with 1-3 activities in parallel
at the end of each block, there should be a clear and verifiable deliverable
if there are significant expenses / hardware requirements, list a budget
this also includes a publication plan and publication-related travel
list of all the references from the rest of the proposal
sometimes, you might create an annotated bibliography that goes beyond what you cover in the introduction
research proposal are similar to scientific research papers
use future tense
there are lots of online resources about how to write proposal
there are lots of examples of research proposals on the web, many genuine, some constructed for demonstration purposes, NB: not all of them are good
expected research results
CV and prior publications of all researchers