Research Design and Proposal in International Development

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kate Meagher


This course is compulsory on the MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Students will work with their academic supervisors to structure a doctoral research proposal that has the potential to make a significant contribution to knowledge and that reflects a sophisticated mastery of advanced theoretical and methodological tools from one or more academic disciplines related to international development.  They will learn how to identify good research questions that are embedded in the current academic literature, and how to apply recognisable, defensible and academically sophisticated methodologies to address those questions.  The doctoral research proposal itself will identify a key research question(s) for investigation, a justification well embedded in existing academic literature for why the topic is theoretically and empirically important, and a well-developed theoretical and methodological framework for researching the question(s).


Students will meet their supervisors three times a term during their first year of study in accordance with the LSE's regulations for Research Degrees.  Their proposals will be developed over the course of these meetings. There will be one DV510 proposal writing workshop in the Summer Term at which students will present their draft proposals and receive feedback.

Formative coursework

Students will submit at least one full draft of their proposal to their supervisors, for detailed feedback.  Partial drafts may also be submitted, along with preparatory work that the supervisor may assign in the course of MT, LT and ST, all of which will receive detailed feedback.

Indicative reading

The reading list for each student will be determined by the research they propose undertaking.


Research proposal (100%) in August.

A research proposal of 10,000 words to be submitted in August.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2020/21: 7

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills