Preparation of a dissertation proposal

How to write a dissertation proposal

Sticking closely to a plan will help you remain focused without getting too overambitious with your research, which increases your chances of developing a strong and coherent argument. Knowing where your ideas are headed will ensure that you remain on track and only relevant points are made.

Research Proposal video presentation

If the direction does shift somewhat, there's no problem with adjusting your plan - but your title, headings and content will have to be revised accordingly. Talking through your revised dissertation plan or structure with your supervisor can help you stay focused on the research, and determine if it's logical. As you consider what needs to be achieved by the submission deadline, Christie recommends that you factor in time for:. This careful approach can be rewarded by the end result, suggests Alex, who also recommends Gantt charts as a useful tool for planning the research and writing process for some writers.

When you're ready to begin writing, aim for a suitable target - for example 1, words each week, as this can be both motivating and productive. Start writing straight away, and use the writing process as a tool to help you better understand the topic. Check that you've addressed everything you want to cover once a section is complete. Each should serve its own particular function, linking well with the rest of the content. Editing can be the beginning, not the endpoint of your writing,' says Alex. You should frequently back up, make research notes and maintain a comprehensive list of your sources.

Guidelines for Preparation of the Dissertation Proposal

Alex's colleague, Marta Ulanicka, also a learning development adviser at Leicester, stresses the importance of maintaining a questioning and critical mindset throughout the dissertation writing process - both in relation to your own work and findings, as well as those of others. You'll also need to explain your reasoning to the reader.

An assessor cannot give you the credit for forming a strong argument unless you provide evidence of how you reached a particular conclusion. As well as ensuring your bibliography contains plenty of references, make sure you've paid attention to the correct spelling of names and theories.

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A thorough editing process is vital to ensuring you produce a well-structured, coherent and polished piece of work. Leave yourself sufficient time to engage with your writing at a number of levels - from reassessing the logic of the whole piece, to proofreading, to checking you've paid attention to aspects such as the correct spelling of names and theories and the required referencing format. The University of Leicester's The art of editing study guide suggests a five stage process to dissertation writing and provides further guidance on what might be involved at each stage.

In addition to ensuring your main argument is supported by relevant citations, also make it clear to the reader that you're aware of the contributions of the most influential theories and research within your topic - as not doing so might make a writer appear ill-informed. If you've used your time efficiently and adhered to a plan, even if things don't go exactly how you envisaged, there's no need to panic. Remember, you've chosen your dissertation topic after careful consideration, so ignore any irrational thoughts about possibly starting again from scratch.

Ultimately, your dissertation will become one of your greatest-ever achievements. All rights reserved.

What Is the Purpose of a Proposal?

We review your entire dissertation and ensure the full alignment of all chapters We pinpoint areas needed for revision and confirm all dissertation requirements are addressed. Summarize previous literature on your topic. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. As you undertake your research you are likely to come up with lots of ideas. They are, however, one of the resources that you can call on during your research.

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A quick tip—dissertation formatting

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The proposal defense serves two functions. First, the defense allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic and the research process. Second, the defense ensures that you move forward with the dissertation in the strongest possible position. Your chair and committee should make sure you are prepared to complete the study, and that the study is feasible in terms of research design and timeline Lei, In effect, a successful proposal defense and the resulting faculty signatures of approval constitutes an agreement between the student, the chair, and the committee.

For the committee, the agreement codifies that you have done the proper due diligence and can produce a quality dissertation; for you, the approval provides the security of knowing that the committee supports the intended research design and direction. After setting the defense date and providing a copy of the proposal to the committee, you should prepare for the defense. In most cases, you should not make edits or changes to the proposal after sending it to the committee, even if you notice typographical errors or other small issues.

The committee takes care and time to read and prepare questions based on the document they receive; making changes after the document is sent defeats this purpose. While you should not change the document itself, you do need spend time preparing your oral remarks for the proposal defense. The committee will have read your proposal at this point, so prepare a talk that summarizes just the main ideas of your dissertation.

You may want to divide this time into thirds and spend minutes on each chapter of your proposal. Additionally, check with your chair to determine if technology is available in the room, if you are expected to use technology, or if handouts or other written materials are expected or preferred.

Faculty & Staff

In addition to preparing for the proposal defense, you may also spend the time between the proposal submission and defense by preparing documents for eventual submission for human subjects research review. Approval from this university office, in addition to the dissertation committee, must be received before moving to data collection. You should enter a proposal defense with the expectation of edits.

A student rarely if ever leaves a defense without edits.

The amount and extent of edits may vary, but feedback that clarifies and strengthens the dissertation serves as the primary outcome of a proposal defense. Edits do not necessarily mean that the original dissertation design was weak; rather, you should think of the defense and feedback from the committee as a collaborative process resulting in an even stronger study Lei, After you present an oral summary of the proposal at the defense, committee members often take turns asking questions, sometimes in round-robin style, but other times in conversation with you and each other.

You may be asked why you made specific choices as opposed to alternative options in the research design or to explain the logic that led to a specific design feature. The conversation can last for over an hour depending on the topic and the committee members. When the defense reaches a stopping point, you may be asked to leave the room for the committee to deliberate about next steps.

How to Cite

While what happens inside the room once you leave may seem mysterious, it is actually straightforward.