How to Write a Research Project for Students Abroad?

How to Write a Research Project for Students Abroad?

8 mins read80 Views Comment
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on May 7, 2024 13:05 IST

Research projects taken up in universities abroad can be quite an extensive task. However, upon completing a research project abroad, the students are awarded a doctoral degree. Research projects can extend from 2-4 years and some even get a 2 years extension. Get all the details about research projects abroad.

research projects abroad

International students who pursue a doctoral degree abroad may be offered a stipend for their research, experiments, travel, accommodation and even tuition. The students upon completing their research projects in the universities abroad can submit their projects and join their universities as teaching assistants. CheckMasters vs PhD: Which one is right for you?

What is a Research Project in Universities Abroad?

A research project is a comprehensive compilation of findings that are based on a particular topic in abroad universities. The students who pursue an MPhil or PhD have to ideally submit a research project. Those who apply for an MPhil or PhD abroad have to shortlist their topics and then submit an admission application. Applications for admission will be selected based on the research topics in universities abroad.

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Research Project vs Research Paper

While both research projects and research papers are a part of the research, they both hold different meanings and are used differently. They cannot be interchangeably used, and here’s the reason why:

Research Project

Research Paper

Typed, official document

Handwritten paper can also be typed

More from an official purpose

For unofficial purposes, for testing students 

Time-bound, around 2-4 years

Not time-bound, but mostly based on deadlines like an assignment 

This is a project with multiple findings and comes down to justifying the topic of research or the hypothesis. 

This is more like an academic paper (scholarly paper), stating facts and key references to support arguments based on the topic.

Research project topic selection is important to completing a project

A lot of times, topics are provided and students have to choose to write a paper on them. 

Can include qualitative or quantitative methods for doing research

This is mostly research based on the internet or reference books.

The research project is more comprehensive and can cross 15,000+ words

A research paper is not as comprehensive as a research project. Can be around 2,000 - 3,000 words.

Upon completion, a doctoral degree is awarded. 

Upon completion, grades or marks are awarded. May be a part of degree completion also.

Hopefully, students can now differentiate between a research paper and a research project. Thus, a research project is more detailed, comprehensive and time-consuming in comparison to a research paper. 

Check: Trending Research Paper Topics for Students

How to Write a Research Project in Universities Abroad?

The first step towards a PhD is to apply for a PhD abroad. Then coming to the research project, there is a typical or a uniform way of going about and more or less all universities abroad follow a similar pattern. So when the question comes up about how to do research, then this is the ideal way of going about it:

Select Your Research Project Topics

First, and foremost is selecting your topic for a research project. The research topic must be of interest and within the manageable bandwidth. Applicants can check out the universities which have specialised faculties in the areas of their research topics and then apply. Since this is the most essential step towards taking up the project, applicants should choose a topic which will:

  • Keep them engaged and motivated till the end.
  • Help them build their knowledge in and around the field and topic.
  • Be able to gather information based on correct methodologies.
  • Have a good scope for future research based on the current research topic. 

Organizing Your Research Project

When writing a research report, applicants must know what all elements are covered in a research report. The following table gives a chronology of elements that form a part of the research project writing:

Elements in a Research Project


Topic (title)

The topic of the research is specific but self-explanatory.

Abstract (Summary)

The abstract of the research project is a concise paragraph or two about the topic, what methodologies will be used, results, conclusions and references.


This section will include the context of the topic of the research project. This section should ideally include answers to these questions:

  • Reason for the topic undertaken for research
  • If covered the important abbreviations, terms and their definitions
  • Which methods of research have been used
  • Why should the topic be taken up?

Literature Review

The following areas should be included:

  • Description of publication
  • Summary of key pointers
  • Evaluation of contributions made in the area of study
  • Identify if there are any potential flaws or gaps in research 

Research Methodology

To be able to devise a research methodology for the project is essential to help the guide (professors under whom research will be conducted) understand how the research will take place. The research can be conducted through:

  • Survey
  • Focus groups
  • Experiments 
  • Interviews
  • Observing participants

These methodologies can be based on the problem or hypothesis the applicants are looking at for their research projects. 


This is mostly the section where key findings are stated in a concise manner across different headings. Be consistent with the way of results representation - like in percentages or decimals or any other format. Whichever format is chosen, it should be in a uniform manner. You can also use the following representations for data:

  • Graphs
  • Pie charts
  • Tables
  • Figures 


This section of the research report comprises of the following questions:

  • To what extent has the hypothesis been supported?
  • Was your research method appropriate based on the research?
  • Was there an unexpected data/occurence which affected the results of the project?
  • To what extent was the research validated by external sources?

Once these questions are answered, applicants can get to the next section. 


The conclusion is like any other conclusion for a research report. This will include everything that you stated in your topic and abstract and relate everything and bring it to a close. 

List of References

The list of references can be added as either footnotes or in marked in sections. This is an important aspect of closing a research project. Thus, without references, a research report is incomplete.


This section is for pointing out additional or supporting materials for the research project. These may include:

  • Background Reporting
  • Raw data
  • Letters to participants stating instructions or other related details
  • Calculations done

The elements of the research project given above must be followed in its actual chronological order. Plus, the description given correspondingly can help students with forming a structure of their project undertaken. 

Begin Writing your Research Project

After discussion with the guide, the applicants can begin formulating their research methods and create an outline of the research project. Once the process begins, students can jot down their findings, make notes of it and get in touch with a guide from time to time. After all materials are gathered, begin writing your research. Include all the elements given above in the research and keep a note of the descriptions as well. 

Note: While facing challenges in writing the research, the students should keep in sync with their guides for further guidance. 

Prepare your Presentation & Submit the Research Project

Once the research writing is done, applicants have to prepare their presentation and may be required to appear before a board that tests the applicants (may vary with the university in question). In case they have to, here’s what they might be asked to explain:

  • What is the research project about and the reason for choosing the topic?
  • What were the research methodologies and why were they chosen?
  • How was the research conducted?
  • Are the results based on the applicant's initial assumption or were they different later?
  • How were the results calculated based on the abstract?
  • A few questions on the difficulties faced while experimenting or surveying when doing a research project.

After the board asks these questions, and they are answered satisfactorily, students can be given a thumbs up for submitting the project. 

After Submitting Research Projects

International students who submit their research projects can stay on in the country and apply for teaching jobs in the country of residence or abroad. Visa extensions can be requested for and applicants can rigorously apply for opportunities after they submit their research and complete their degree programs. Apart from teaching, the students can also look for opportunities in:

  • Government sectors
  • Corporate sectors
  • Banking & Finance sectors
  • Consultancies
  • Media & PR
  • Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)
  • IT & Software
  • Entrepreneurship 

Check: What are Dissertations?

World’s Top Research Universities

International students who are interested in going for research in universities abroad can go to the following top research universities in the world:

Top Research Universities Abroad

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Oxford

University of Cambridge

University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

ETH Zurich

Princeton University

Columbia University

University of Toronto

Peking University

Seoul National University

Carnegie Mellon University

Yale University

University of Chicago

University of Michigan

Technical University of Denmark

Nanyang Technological University

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

University of Copenhagen

Are are 1000+ research universities apart from the above-mentioned ones and international students can choose them based on the topic and faculty’s expertise. 

While submitting a research project as part of the doctoral degree program abroad may not be easy, the students attract various opportunities for themselves. Admission to PhD may not be easy, and will require a lot of hard work, but once admitted, completing the doctoral degree from abroad can be a good learning curve for the students.

Writing Research Projects Abroad FAQs

Q. Are research projects approved in one go always in universities abroad?

A. In case, the board is not happy with the answers and feel there are a few gaps and something is lacking, they might not pass the project and may give the student some more time to re-work upon it.

Q. How long is a research project in universities abroad?

A. The research projects in abroad can go beyond 15,000+ words also. Thus, the word count completely depends on the topic chosen for completing a research project topic abroad.

Q. How to Choose a Research Project Topic?

A. A good research project topic is one where the applicant is comfortable to take up research. They can take up research project topics on education or go for economics research project topics, again whichever suits the applicants the best, they can go for it.

While choosing a research project topic, the student should also consider the scope of research, methods for research and how will it be beneficial in the long run.

About the Author
Written by
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

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