Cannot specifically address Trinners. When applying to PhD programmes in the States for fall 2012 admission, I used this outline, and was accepted in 3-out-of-5 universities where I applied.
- Chapter 1: Problem
- Chapter 2: Literature Review
- Chapter 3: Methodology
- Chapter 4: Results
- Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions
Essentially it's a mini-version of a 5-chapter dissertation/outline. The first three chapters very briefly define the research problem (including proposed theoretical model, research and null hypotheses, assumptions, and parameters), a small part of the relevant literature (including a definition of concepts), and offer a rather complete research methodology. The remaining Results, and Summary and Conclusions chapters 4-5 are shells with a proposed framework, but obviously lack any data, analysis, summary, or conclusions.
I did venture to spell out the anticipated limitations that I may experience in the conduct of the study in Chapter 5. Of course the references were limited to what sources I used in this very brief outline of proposed research.
When introducing Chapter 1 "Problem," I did note that the proposal was preliminary, and that it would be subject to many revisions as I progressed through the doctoral curriculum, along with changes as a result of faculty guidance and interactions.
My proposal was obviously deductive, and quantitative, whereas yours (if literary criticism) will probably be qualitative, and may be inductive, examining emergent patterns in the data (see Wallace's Wheel of Science for a diagram of approaches to research).