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4. Research proposal

BA Art History

  • name of the researcher: 

[= author’s name, so your name]

  • working title: 

[= provisional title of the thesis]

  • brief description of the research field (about 30 words): 

[= e.g.: changes in the artistry at the end of the 19th century in relation to social developments; the reception of abstract art in the Netherlands in the inter-war period; ...]


  • research question:

[= the main question that you introduce in the Introduction and answer in the Conclusion. The research question covers a small part of the research field described above and is as specific as possible.]


  • two subquestions

(which will determine the content of the two chapters and each relate to the selected work of art/object and an aspect of the topic):

1. ........

2. ........

 [A subquestion is central to a chapter (= sub-research). The subquestion is mentioned in the main body of the introductory paragraphs of a chapter. The title of a chapter is different from the subquestion: the title concerns the topic of the chapter and can point in the direction of the conclusion of a chapter.]


  • the theoretical framework (about 30 words):  

[position your research within the existing research field by indicating what type of literature you want to use to answer the main question, who the key authors are in your research field and which terms and theories are common within the field.]


  • the methodological framework (about 30 words):

[explain how you are going to answer your main question using the literature described above. How will you use these sources to come to an answer? For instance, via interdisciplinary research, cultural-historical research, art-sociological research, using an auxiliary field (like film studies, media studies, social geography, psychoanalysis), preferably divided related to the three subquestions.]


  • brief description of the research object (about 30 words):

[the research object can be a work of art or different object or an ‘issue’. Mention the title and year(s) of the object, the name and date of birth (and, if applicable, death) of the artist, and some important keywords that characterise the object, provided that these are important to your research]

  • bibliography:

[approximately five titles, to begin with, which will probably be interesting for your research. Note: reference literature consistently, according to a stylesheet!


Make clear in your research proposal and in the final paper that it concerns the relationship between the representation (image, materiality, design, etc.) of the work of art (or a specific ‘issue’) and your (theoretical) approach. This allows you to interweave the research object and the theoretical framework into a coherent whole that answers the main question. A common mistake is that the object is discussed in one part of the research and theory in another part. 

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