ChatGPT for PhD Proposal: How to write a Winning Research Proposal with AI in 7 Simple Steps

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ChatGPT for Phd

ChatGPT for PhD: Intoduction

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on using ChatGPT to craft a winning Ph.D. research proposal. Writing a Ph.D. proposal is a crucial step in your academic journey, and it can be a daunting task. However, with the power of AI, specifically ChatGPT, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, making it an exciting and productive experience.

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Before we dive into the steps, let’s briefly cover some general formatting guidelines that you need to keep in mind while preparing your proposal. Adhering to these guidelines ensures that your proposal is well-structured and professional.

General Formatting Guidelines

  1. Page Numbers: Place page numbers at the bottom and centre of each page in Arabic numerical format (1, 2, 3, etc.).
  2. Binding: Staple your proposal, avoid binding.
  3. Paragraph Alignment: Ensure that the text of your proposal is justified.
  4. Abbreviations: If you use any abbreviations, explain them the first time they appear.
  5. Page Orientation: Use portrait orientation for your proposal.
  6. Page Size: Use Letter or A4 size paper.
  7. Margins: Maintain a 1-inch margin from all sides of the page.
  8. Headings: Use Times New Roman, size 14, bold, and title case for headings.
  9. Sub-Headings: Use Times New Roman, size 12, bold for sub-headings.
  10. Body Text: Use Times New Roman, size 12, and justify the paragraphs.

Now that we have the formatting guidelines covered let’s delve into the seven steps of writing an outstanding Ph.D. proposal using ChatGPT.

Note that we are using a generalized template and various universities may change the formatting. However, if the template is not given you can use the formatting and Ph.D. proposal structure given in this blog.

Ph.D. Proposal structure

Before we dive into the details, let’s take a moment to understand the structure of a typical Ph.D. research proposal. Generally, a Ph.D. proposal is organized into seven main sections:

  1. Summary of the Research Proposal
    1. Proposed Topic of Research (Max. 25 words)
    2. Objective of the Proposed Research (Max. 25 words)
    3. Background (Max. 100 words)
    4. Methodology (Max. 100 words)
    5. Expected Outcome (Max. 50 words)
  2. Outline of the Proposed Topic of Research
    1. Proposed Topic of Research
    2. Objective of the Proposed Research
    3. Background of Proposed Research
      1. Introduction
      2. Literature Review of Research Topic
      3. Gap in Existing Research
    4. Methodology
    5. Work Plan
    6. References

Step 1: Summary of the Research Proposal

Setting your targets always helps us in finding the optimal path to achieve our goals. Hence, if we are able to present the need, goals and methodology used in our Ph.D. research, we will be able to stray true to our ultimatums. Hence, summary section is used to determine if the researcher if setting measurable, achievable and productive goals. Hence, with defineit targets and roadmap, we shall be in better position to present a pertinent Ph.D. thesis title.

ChatGPT के लिए सैम्पल प्रॉम्प्ट / Sample prompt for ChatGPT

Output from ChatGPT (Note, the actual content might change based on previous conversation of user with ChatGPT)

In the above response we shall modify the topic with a more engaging title.

Step 2: Proposed Topic of Research

The first section of your Ph.D. proposal is all about introducing the topic of your research. This section is crucial as it sets the tone for the rest of your proposal. Let’s create a chat prompt for ChatGPT to help us with this section.

ChatGPT के लिए सैम्पल प्रॉम्प्ट / Sample prompt for ChatGPT

Output from ChatGPT (Note, the actual content might change based on previous conversation of user with ChatGPT)

Based on your plan and previous experience in the given area, you can choose a topic title. It is always helpful to take the guidance of Ph.D. supervisors or University Academic counsellors in finalizing the titles. Often a professor might be interested in a specific research topic in the domain that you wish to work. Hence, the inputs from other stakeholders will certainly help you in long run.

Step 3: Objective of the Proposed Research

In this section, you need to outline the specific objectives of your research. Let’s proceed with the chat prompt to get some guidance from ChatGPT.

ChatGPT के लिए सैम्पल प्रॉम्प्ट / Sample prompt for ChatGPT

Output from ChatGPT (Note, the actual content might change based on previous conversation of user with ChatGPT)

Step 4: Background of Proposed Research

The background section provides the necessary context and justification for your research. Let’s seek help from ChatGPT to understand how to construct this section effectively. Currently the free version of AI tool is not connected to internet and hence, will not be able to provided you will latest research papers and content. For this we will use Research Rabbit. We will identify specific technical keywords that identify or domain of research. Using these keywords, we shall collect 40 to 50 research papers from reputed journals along with their publication details and abstract. Abstracts of any research papers gives us the essence, methodology and results in a nutshell.  This information is very valuable for us to forma sturdy platform for our research.

For our sample topic ‘Analyzing the Impact of Renewable Energy Policies on Economic Growth.’ and title “Green Energy Policies and Economic Growth: A Quantitative Analysis”. Our focus keyword can be Renewable Energy Policies. Let us try to gather literature for our keyword using Research Rabbit.

Step 4a: Research Rabbit

Using Research Rabbit, we collected more than 40 papers related to our research area. We exported the details of our collection in CSV format. We used MS EXCEL to extract the titles and abstract from the collection. We shall use ChatGPT for our background section. ChatGPT has a word limit to the input prompt. Hence, we shall split the instructions in to multiple parts and ask ChatGPT to combine multiple prompts. The complete sample prompt is available in the compressed file containing the sample prompt and Research proposal using ChatGPT response. You may edit the prompts for different topic and domain. (Check Research Rabbit Tutorial)

Step 4b: Introduction

In the introduction subsection, you set the stage for your research by presenting the broader context of your study. Let’s create a chat prompt to help us structure this section effectively.

ChatGPT के लिए सैम्पल प्रॉम्प्ट / Sample prompt for ChatGPT

The sample ChatGPT prompt and response is given in the compressed file.

Step 4c: Literature Review of Research Topic

In the literature review section, you analyze and synthesize existing research related to your topic. Let’s ask ChatGPT for advice on how to approach this critical part of the proposal.

ChatGPT Prompt: “Hi, ChatGPT! I’m working on the literature review section of my proposal. Can you guide me on how to conduct an effective literature review and structure this part of my research?”

ChatGPT Response: “Certainly! The literature review is crucial as it demonstrates your understanding of the existing body of knowledge related to renewable energy policies and economic growth. Start by organizing your review thematically or chronologically based on your research objectives. Summarize and critically analyze each relevant study, highlighting the key findings and methodologies. Identify the gaps or limitations in previous research that your study aims to address. Be sure to include recent and relevant references to ensure your literature review is up-to-date and comprehensive.”

The sample ChatGPT prompt and response is given in the compressed file.

Step 4d: Gap in Existing Research

In this subsection, you need to clearly articulate the gap in existing research that your study intends to fill. Let’s seek advice from ChatGPT on how to effectively communicate this aspect.

ChatGPT Prompt: “Greetings, ChatGPT! I’m having trouble pinpointing the gap in existing research for my proposal. Can you help me identify and describe the research gap in a way that is compelling and persuasive?”

ChatGPT Response: “Certainly! To identify the research gap, review the literature and critically assess the existing studies related to renewable energy policies and economic growth. Look for areas where prior research might be limited, outdated, or not fully addressing certain aspects. Once you identify the gap, provide a clear and concise explanation of how your study aims to fill that gap. Emphasize the potential contributions and significance of your research in addressing real-world challenges. Use evidence and logical reasoning to convince the reader that your study is both timely and valuable.”

The sample ChatGPT prompt and response is given in the compressed file.

Step 5: Methodology

The methodology section outlines the approach and methods you will use to conduct your research. Let’s seek guidance from ChatGPT to create a well-structured and comprehensive methodology.

ChatGPT Prompt: “Hi, ChatGPT! I’m working on the methodology section of my proposal. Can you guide me on how to present my research approach and methods effectively?”

ChatGPT Response: “Of course! In the methodology section, present your research approach in a phase-wise or step-wise manner to provide a clear roadmap. Start with the first phase, which could be a literature review or data collection. Briefly describe each phase and the methods you will use to accomplish the objectives. Be specific about the data sources, research instruments, or models you plan to employ. Explain how you will analyze the data and interpret the results. Ensure that each phase is relevant to your research topic and aligns with your objectives. Use diagrams or flowcharts if necessary to visually represent the methodology.”

The sample ChatGPT prompt and response is given in the compressed file.

Step 6: Work Plan

The work plan section presents a timeline for the various phases of your research. Let’s ask ChatGPT for assistance in creating an activity chart to organize our work plan effectively.

ChatGPT Prompt: “Greetings, ChatGPT! I’m unsure how to structure the work plan section of my proposal. Can you help me create an activity chart to present my research timeline?”

ChatGPT Response: “Absolutely! A work plan in the form of an activity chart (bar chart) can be an effective way to showcase your research timeline. Start by listing the phases of your research on the y-axis, and on the x-axis, plot the time frame (months or weeks). Assign different colors to each phase for visual clarity. Make sure the time allocation for each phase is realistic and consider potential contingencies. The work plan should align with the methodology you’ve presented earlier. A well-organized work plan demonstrates your project management skills and the feasibility of your research.”

The sample ChatGPT prompt and response is given in the compressed file.

Step 7: References

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in your proposal. At each step we have asked Chat GPT to provide references at the end of each response. Hence, by merging all the references in a systematically manner will do the job.


Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to use ChatGPT to craft a winning Ph.D. research proposal in 7 simple steps. By following this comprehensive guide and incorporating the Ph.D. research proposal checklist, you can create a well-structured and compelling proposal that impresses your evaluators.

Remember to utilize ChatGPT’s assistance for generating ideas, refining your writing, and ensuring your proposal adheres to the required guidelines. The power of AI can be a game-changer in your academic journey, making the process of writing a Ph.D. proposal a more efficient and enjoyable experience.

Good luck with your Ph.D. proposal, and may your research journey be filled with exciting discoveries and contributions to your field of study!

Note to all Ph. D. candidates: Role of AI tools in Ph.D. research

PhD candidates must utilize AI tools as support rather than relying on them to generate complete research results or proposals because maintaining the essence of originality is paramount in the pursuit of doctoral research. The fundamental purpose of a PhD is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge by generating novel insights and advancing the understanding of a specific field. Originality is the cornerstone of academic excellence, and it distinguishes a PhD candidate’s work from pre-existing knowledge.

While AI tools undoubtedly offer valuable assistance in data analysis, literature review, and even hypothesis generation, they should not become a substitute for human creativity and critical thinking. The ability to think independently, conceptualize novel research questions, and design innovative experiments are skills that form the bedrock of a PhD journey. Relying solely on AI-generated outcomes might lead to a loss of intellectual rigor and could undermine the authenticity of the research.

Moreover, the academic community values the uniqueness and novelty of contributions made by PhD candidates. Original research adds value by challenging existing assumptions, proposing new theories, or uncovering previously unrecognized phenomena. Embracing AI as a support tool can enhance research efficiency and productivity, but it should never replace the role of the researcher as the driving force behind the exploration of new frontiers in their field.

By leveraging AI tools responsibly, PhD candidates can harness the power of machine learning, natural language processing, and data analytics to augment their research capabilities. However, the responsibility of interpreting and contextualizing the AI-generated insights ultimately lies with the researcher. Acknowledging the limitations and biases of AI tools is vital to ensure that the research remains grounded in robust scientific principles.

In summary, originality in PhD research is indispensable. The integration of AI as a supplementary tool can undoubtedly facilitate research progress, but it should not become a crutch that diminishes the researcher’s creative and intellectual contribution. Balancing the benefits of AI with the importance of original thinking enables PhD candidates to uphold the highest standards of academic excellence and make meaningful contributions to their respective fields.

Dr. Honey Durgaprasad Tiwari, both the CTO at INKOR Technologies Private Limited, India, and a dedicated academic researcher, brings a wealth of expertise. With a Post-Doctoral stint at Sungkyunkwan University, Ph.D. in Electronic, Information and Communication Engineering from Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea, and M.Tech in Embedded Electronic Systems from VNIT Nagpur, his research legacy spans wireless power transfer, medical imaging, and FPGA innovation. Notably, he has authored 40+ SCI papers, conference contributions, and patents, leaving an indelible mark on these fields. Holding pivotal Academic Administrative roles, including Head of Department and IQAC Coordinator, he passionately channels his insights into concise and impactful blogs, enriching the tech discourse. 🚀🔬📚

ChatGPT for PhD Proposal: How to write a Winning R…

by Dr. Honey Durgaprasad Tiwari time to read: 12 min