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There are three major reasons why research proposals fail.

1. Ethics clearance

Some studies will require ethics clearance through the Research Integrity and Animal Care Services before the research proposal is submitted. Consult your supervisor to verify whether you need this clearance.

If you do not need it for your research proposal, then list this as a designated task in your formal confirmation of candidature schedule. This means you must obtain ethics clearance within 12 months from enrolment date (for full-time PhD candidates).

2. Failure to follow guidelines

You need to follow the guidelines for preparing research proposals. Carefully read the guidelines, address all the relevant sections and obtain the relevant signatures before submitting your research proposal.

3. Reviewer concern

The reviewer may take issue with certain aspects of the research proposal which relate specifically to content. The review process highlights some of the more prevalent areas of concern.