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Dissertation proposals & writing dissertations

Graduate Students

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Dissertation proposals & writing dissertations

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How is the argument sequenced and subordinated? A proposal outlines methodology. How will you make your argument? What theoretical, historical, contextual, and interpretative tools will you use? Will you employ any particular approach? Your proposal should fit your dissertation topic. A proposal to edit a scholarly edition, to pick one exceptional possibility, will require a different presentation than a dissertation laid out in the model of a monograph introduction plus four chapters on related topics.

The shoe must fit the foot and not the other way around. You need to show the place of your dissertation in the critical field. Which field and subfield conversations will your project enter, and how? Which critics will you be building on, and which ones will you be revising?

Your dissertation marks your formal entry into the community of scholars, a world of intellectuals engaging in overlapping conversations of varying size and scope. Your proposal must show your awareness of those multiple discourses and show the place your research will occupy within them. Accordingly, you should include a thorough bibliography in your proposal so that readers may look at what works you plan to consult, as well as those you have consulted already.

Staff reviewing your application will review that list and use it as the basis for further suggestions. Consult prospective supervisors as you develop your proposal. The myth of the writer as solitary genius striving away in the garret has surprising persistence.

I've seen many graduate students teach their undergraduates to collaborate without realizing that they're not following their own advice. That is a mistake I made often enough myself. You should not imagine that you will be writing your proposal on your own. Your dissertation will be different from your proposal. Manhood Up in the Air: Whose Immortal Picture Stories?: Undercutting the Realism-Irrealism Debate: John Dewey and the Neo-Pragmatists.

Curriculum and Instruction, degree program - Curriculum Studies. The Acquisition of Intellectual Expertise: The Ulysses Approach to Sustainable Development.

The first step in creating your dissertation proposal should be planning its structure. Like the dissertation itself, your proposal will require an introduction, a main section and a conclusion. As a brief guide:. Methodology The methodology section is where you will outline the methods through which you will collect and process your data.

You should include how and what you are going to do. If your research is quantitative in nature, this will probably include a reference to a questionnaire, survey, or data source, and you should make clear the scope of your research e. You will also need to explain why you have selected the methods that you have — are they more specific to your research area? Aims and Objectives Here you will highlight the main issues that you are attempting to explore. What is it that you want to achieve?

What are the main questions that you are looking to answer? What predictions can you make? Literature Review The literature review gives you the opportunity to make a really good argument for the importance of your research, and connect it to similar research, or present it as an extension to other existing studies.

You will need to list the most important sources that you have consulted thus far in your research, and how they helped you to guide your own research. If you can, placing your work alongside others to show how it further elaborates or contributes to the more general field will show that you have adequately prepared for your proposal.

There is potential to include any flaws that you may have identified within this existing work, and how you will avoid this in your own dissertation. Only include sources that you can show will add value to your work. Limitations Part of writing an effective and informative piece of research is recognising the limits that are imposed upon your ability to explore and present your findings. Some limitations may refer directly to the word count, explaining that there are further issues that you will not have a chance to or space to address.

Completing this section clearly shows that you have engaged with your subject matter and are familiar with the wider concepts relating to your topic. Ethical Considerations Are there any ethical concerns relating to your research? More information on ethics can be found in the following section below.

Timeframe Often, dissertation proposals will include an estimated timeframe for the delivery of work to their supervisor. This may be on a chapter-by-chapter basis, or you may begin with the actual research, so that you are able to perfect this part before moving on to writing about it. Make sure that you are realistic, and allow some time for your initial research before jumping straight in to getting words on the page.

After having identified the limitations of previous studies in this field, I have worked on producing a methodology that will avoid these same pitfalls, and predict that the research will portray a strong enough relationship between the two factors to encourage further scholarship. Although this might sound complicated, once you begin to go over the basics, and continue to repeat the process for each of the studies you incorporate into your work, it will soon become second nature.

When writing a PhD thesis proposal, however, you must remember that you are now expected to do more than simply regurgitate the theories and studies of others. You are now required to show that you are able to adequately extend the existing literature, rather than simply interpret and criticise it. This may mean that you spend a lot longer searching for a topic, as you will want to identify a concept that still has room for exploration. There are several things that you will need to include that have not already been mentioned above, however: As a PhD research proposal is usually submitted directly to your department of choice, you should make clear your reasons for choosing that particular university over other competitors.

Does this department have a history of research in the specific area you are writing in? Is there a research grant you are hoping to apply for? Within your methodology section, it is important to include a description of the research techniques that you are planning to use. Or have they been used effectively in similar studies previously?

Every research passes some universal stages in its development:

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Sample Dissertation Proposals. Doctoral Student Dissertation Title Area/Methodology Graduate Program; Arts and Humanities: Shannon Baley Observation, Recorded Interviews, Archival Research, Analysis of Musical Performance Practice.

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A typical dissertation/research proposal consists of three chapters or parts: the Introduction (Chapter 1), the Review of Related Literature and/or Research (Chapter 2), and the Methodology (Chapter 3).

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Producing a coherent dissertation proposal helps you to communicate with your supervisor the aims and objectives for your research, and the methods you intend to use in making an assessment of your topic. A research proposal is not a mini-dissertation. If a dissertation is a small world that you (as god of the microcosm) will bring into being, a proposal is a map of that space within the larger universe. The emphasis here is on the idea of mapping rather than creating.

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Dissertation Proposal Examples Remember, you should not hand in any of these proposals as your own work, as we do not condone plagiarism! If you use any of these free dissertation proposals as source material for your own work, then remember to reference them correctly. Research proposal is a small-scale research in itself. With full-fledged consequences. Do you experience any difficulties with your research proposal? We are proud to offer you well-seasoned help in doing this.