Your research questions/aims can appear in any form, and certainly do not need to be expressed in the form of testable hypotheses.
Do ensure however that they are sufficiently narrow – one of the reasons why many research degree applications are not successful is because the terrain outlined in the relevant proposal is simply too broad for a doctoral project.
You should also provide details of your proposed sample/s (numbers of respondents and type of sample) and/or secondary data sets, and again offer justification for these choices.
Further you should indicate how and why you will achieve empirical access, if this is a pertinent issue.
In other words, it should establish the rationale for your proposed thesis, and should therefore proceed smoothly into Research Questions or Aims.
(Suggested Word Count: 750-1,000) Provide a statement of your research question/aim, ideally in the form of a central over-arching question/aim and two or three sub-questions/aims.
(Suggested Word Count: 100-200) A brief outline of the timetable for completion of the thesis, remembering that activities can run concurrently and ensuring you include any mandatory research training.
(Suggested Word Count: 750-1,000) Here you should include reflections on potential practical and empirical obstacles, conceptual/theoretical problems and difficulties, ethics, your own perspective on the issues at hand - and how these issues may impact on your studies.
One of the things all Schools/Departments look for in a potential postgraduate researcher is an awareness of some of the challenges they will face in progressing their proposed thesis project and of the extent to which these represent unavoidable limitations.
You may want to use a title and a subtitle separated by a colon.
(Suggested Word Count: 15) Explain the academic context from which your research emerges.