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I am currently writing my "research proposal" for my PhD in Statistics application. I'm using quotes because technically this is not (or could not be) the actual research that I will perform during my PhD, but some sort of exercise to prove your writing skills. By the end of the template I have a slot under the name "References", and I've seen this kind of thing in other research.project templates that I've submitted.

I have some doubts regarding this, should I include all the references I've used while writing the research-proposal, or instead should I include the bibliography that I consider relevant, even thought it wasn't explicitly used in the text.

Furthermore, should I also include there the references regarding my statement of purpose, or is it better to write them down after the letter itself?

I am worried because I am asked to provide a "State of the Art" and of course I am citing a lot of articles, even thought I don't consider them strictly necessary for my research and I don't want to write down those references in the slot "References" if not needed (given that I can at most include 10 articles).

Hope you can give me some clue. Thanks in advance.

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    For a paper, I would say if a reference seems relevant, use it. Even if only in the introduction like "For further detail on this topic, see [1,2,5,9,126,5*10^12,3]." As here you have a limit of 10 references, things might be different. Try to ask someone involved in the process to make sure. – Dirk May 2 at 7:33
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    Do you have a potential advisor picked out yet? Is this proposal something you are writing alone (and applying for) alone, or is there an advisor / more senior researcher involved? – penelope May 2 at 14:52
  • @penelope I am actually applying on my own, so unfortunately there's no one I can ask (besides the secretary of the PhD program). – RScrlli May 2 at 15:04
  • @Dirk I've just contacted the PhD office to ask for clarification on this, hopefully I'll receive an answer soon cause the deadline is not far – RScrlli May 2 at 15:05

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