Research proposal Guidelines July 2022
Students must submit a research proposal no later than the end of the first year of their studies. The research proposal will be submitted to the department’s secretary by e-mail, after it has been approved by the supervisor(s) and will be sent for evaluation by an examiner in addition to the supervisor.
Structure of the research proposal:
The research proposal will be written in English and its length will not exceed 10 pages (double space, minimum font size 11, excluding bibliography and schedule). The number of references should not exceed 20, and will focus on articles directly related to the research topic. The proposal should be written in a clear manner, while avoiding, as much as possible, the use of terms specific to the field of research (jargon).
The research proposal will include:
Title: At the top of the first page of the research proposal, the following details will appear: name, student ID number, supervisor name and signature confirming the submission, title of the proposal in English and Hebrew, statement: “Submitted as an M.Sc. research proposal in the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology”, date of submission.
Introduction: The purpose of this section is to present the relevant scientific background that forms the basis for the questions and research methods presented in the proposal. The Introduction should be written in a critical and reliable manner. The Introduction will constitute no more than half the length of the proposal. Citations in the text will be either in a numerical form (for example: ), either by the writers’ last names when there are only one or two writers: (Shoham and Zelikovich, 2018) or by using et al for a number of writers greater than two, as done in scientific journals (Shoham et al., 2020).
Questions, hypothesis, and objectives: In this section, the student should clearly define the research questions and objectives. Discussing research methods should be avoided, as the focus is the biological goals of the research. A clear research hypothesis must be formulated. Specific predictions can be outlined.
Experimental Design, Materials and Methods: This section will describe the experiments that will be performed to achieve the research objectives described above. In experiments that require the approval of the Ethics Committee (human and animal research) – the status of the approval should be written (submitted, resubmitted, approved). A brief description of the experimental program should be included, and the necessary methods and materials should be included and briefly described. The methods should be appropriate to the type of the proposed study.
Focus on the design of the experiments (including controls and an alternative research plan in case the experiments fail), rather than creating a list of all the materials and instruments that will be used in each experiment. If there are preliminary results that support some of the goals, they should be shown in a separate section at the end of the methods chapter. Presentation of preliminary results in the research proposal is not mandatory and the proposal must be submitted within one year from the beginning of the degree, even if there are no preliminary results yet. Preliminary results will include a brief description of these results, including graphs and illustrations that support the results (each illustration should be accompanied by a short legend explaining it).
Importance of the research: Describe how this research and its findings will contribute to the specific field of research and to biology in general. Avoid generalization, and (briefly) explain the specific importance of the research objectives.
Bibliography: Please format the bibliographic list with full details of the sources you have used. The bibliographic list should follow a generally accepted format, preferably of a specific journal that is approved by the supervisor. Please be consistent in the formatting of all the bibliographic items according to their specific category (journal article, book chapter, book, website, etc.) as described in the guidelines of the journal.
Schedule: A Gantt chart should be included detailing the planned schedule of all the research stages (including thesis writing).
Master’s degree Thesis
There are two acceptable thesis formats: a monograph or a scientific article. A thesis formatted as a scientific article can only be submitted in English. A monograph thesis should be submitted in English, and in special cases it can be submitted in Hebrew after permission from the departmental Master’s Committee. The following are instructions for the two formats of the thesis. For detailed instructions on formatting the thesis, please consult the website of the Graduate Studies Authority. Guidelines for submitting a thesis + thesis format website of the Graduate Studies Authority
Thesis submission in monograph format (in English):
- External cover page
- Internal cover page
- Table of contents
- List of tables
- List of figures
- List of acronyms
- Main body: Introduction, Hypothesis and Research Goals, Methodology, Results, Discussion and bibliography
- Abstract in Hebrew
- Internal cover page in Hebrew
- External cover page in Hebrew
1. The abstract should be written in both Hebrew and English, and must include: background and hypothesis, key methods, summary of results, discussion and significance of the research. The length of the two abstracts (Hebrew and English) should not exceed two pages.
2. The hypothesis should include the idea behind the work and the research questions.
3. The description of the methodology should be detailed, so that the research can be replicated.
4. The results should be presented in detail and in a structured manner, combining graphs and illustrations, in a way that allows for the replication of the study. Tables, graphs and illustrations should be incorporated into the text in the appropriate locations. The results should be presented after statistical analysis, and statistical significance should be clearly indicated.
5. The findings will form the basis for the discussion in the context of scientific knowledge in the field. The discussion will emphasize the importance of the research and its contribution to the field of research. When possible, future research directions should be presented.
Submitting a thesis formatted as an academic article:
- This format is an alternative to the standard format described above. The supervisor will decide which format to use. The purpose of this format is to organize the thesis in a way that will shorten the process of writing an article based on the research presented in the thesis. The general requirements in terms of the scope of writing, the results, the methodology and the formatting (e.g., title pages, etc.) presented in it should remain as described in the requirements for a thesis in monograph format.
- The main difference in the structure of this thesis is that the main body (Introduction / Methodology / Results / Discussion) will be executed in the format of a known scientific journal, and will comply with the journal’s “guidelines for article writers” (the journal must be approved by the departmental Master’s Committee). Any additional information regarding the methods and results of the research, which are not part of the main body of the “article”, should be provided as appendices. The illustrations and tables should appear in the appropriate places within the body of the text, even if the chosen journal’s instructions require placing them at the end of the file.
- The article format thesis must include mainly the work of the student submitting the thesis.
- The introduction and literature review should have a scope suitable for an article in the journal. In some cases, in accordance with the supervisor’s decision, an appendix will be added containing a literature review clarifying the background and/or methods relevant to the work in an elaborated way.
- Quotations from scientific literature will be presented according to the format of the chosen journal.
- The journal that will be chosen as the thesis format, should be well known in the field of research. The format of the thesis should be of a full research article (or equivalent structure) in the chosen journal, and not a review article or short communications.
88 and above – the research is thorough and comprehensive. The student is a suitable candidate for doctoral studies.
90 and above – very good research.
96 and above – excell