A research proposal

You are required to submit a research proposal as part of your application, demonstrating your capacity to undertake research to doctoral level (this will also be evaluated through consideration of your prior research learning and experience). The research proposal should be original and not related to previously conducted research, and no more than 1000 words. Proposals that exceed this wordcount will not be reviewed. Your proposal should include the following: Research Question, Methodology, Ethical Considerations, Analytic Strategy and Potential Implications for Counselling Psychology Research and Practice.
In addition to your 1000-word research proposal, you are required to outline a strategy for how you will involve/ consult with/ incorporate the views and perspectives of mental health service users in your research. These may or may not be study participants. This can be considered in relation to each stage of the research process including design, evaluation and dissemination. This service user involvement strategy should be no more than 300 words.
To note, submission of this proposal will not be considered a final choice of research topic if you are successful in your application.
In developing your research proposal, you should consider the following:
Your research should make a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge within Counselling Psychology. In general, you should focus your research on an area that has clear applicability to clinical practice; that is likely to engage practitioners; and that will add to the knowledge base underpinning the clinical practice of Counselling Psychology. This requires consideration of how service user populations might benefit from the outcomes, and how service delivery might be enhanced. You are encouraged to read the British Psychological Society guidance on impact for doctoral research in developing your proposal.
In considering the above, it is important to understand that the existing body of research in Counselling Psychology in the UK, due to the relative youth of the discipline, has often been internally focused on the profession and its practitioners, using small-scale qualitative projects. Rather than perpetuate this in doctoral projects currently undertaken in universities, the drive from the profession is to broaden the considerable annual research effort into areas that are applicable to, and will be valued and esteemed more generally by, applied psychologists working in many different settings including the NHS, forensics, independent and Third Sector services. Methodological choices should also be more widely considered with this in mind.
Where you plan to carry out your research should also be thought about carefully. There is a common belief that to do research with clinical populations in a service setting (especially the NHS) will be difficult and take time to get the necessary approvals. This is largely a myth. Where there are large, well-organised research and development departments, considerable assistance is often afforded to trainee researchers; student projects are often expedited; and service managers and clinical leads are eager to sponsor research in their services. We encourage trainees to carry out their research in conjunction with one of their clinical placements, though this is not a requirement.