I am serving on a faculty search committee right now and reading a bunch of applications. Some of these fucken dipshitte applicants are providing research plans–the summary of current research and future directions to be taken when the applicant starts her own labbe–that are nearly fifteen motherfucken pages long with nearly one hundred motherfucken references to the literature. Who the fucken fucke is telling these poor fuckes that this is reasonable!?!?!?!?
A research plan should be an absolute maximum of three pages, including the references list. If you can’t explain why I should give a fucke about your research in three pages or less, then I probably *shouldn’t* give a fucke.
UPDATE: Effective research plans *do* have a few figures–three or four–frequently including model schematics, as well as a modest number of references (fewer than ten). The point is to make it as easy and efficient as possible for the reader to get the gist of what your research is all about and why it is going to exert a sustained substantial impact on your field.