Research Plan

When applying for doctoral degree studies, a research plan must be enclosed with the application. The student prepares the plan with his/her supervisors, and it must be approved by them. The research plan must cover the entire licentiate thesis or doctoral dissertation. If the research topic and materials change substantially, a new plan must be made. If the changes are significant, approval must be sought from the faculty. The research plan is usually drafted in Finnish or English.


The research plan can include the following information, for example:

  1. Title of the research and the name and contact information of the postgraduate student
  2. Background
    • a short summary of the background to the research with necessary sources (including the theoretical and methodological basis)
    • a description of earlier research related to the topic
    • a description of what remains unknown about the research topic and an explanation of the research’s relevance on a national and/or international scale
  3. Aims
    • the research hypotheses
    • the aims of the research clearly defined and presented
  4. Materials and methods
    • a description of the research methods and materials used, and the grounds for choosing the particular methods
    • a description of how the materials will be handled and used (also after the research has been completed)
    • a working plan, a plan for different stages of the work
  5.  Schedule and funding plans
    • a description and a schedule for the different stages of the work
    • the funding plan and funding sources of the research
  6. The ethical aspects of the research
    • the ethical aspects of the research (e.g. whether the research requires statements from ethics committees or statutory research permits; possible permits should be attached to the research plan)
  7. Publication plan
    • the means and mode of publishing and/or presenting the research results
  8. Applications of research results
    • an estimation of the applications and the social significance of the research results
  9. References
    • a list of the research field’s principal literature used for the research
  10. The names of the persons and units participating in the research project