If you are starting an advanced graduate program, you probably already have a sense of what interests you in your field. Think about unanswered questions that came up in past reading or coursework that piqued your curiosity, and write down a few ideas.
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For example, say you are studying animal behavior with a focus on mollusks. Perhaps you have noticed that there is not a lot of published information about the reproductive habits of the lesser Fauxlandian howling snail. This could be a good starting point for your research. Do some preliminary research on your topic s. This will not only help familiarize you with each potential topic, but it will also give you a better idea of whether there is really a need for more research on that topic. Consider whether these sources are up-to-date, thorough, and methodologically sound.
Use databases like ProQuest to find out if any other graduate students have recently done dissertations or theses on your potential topic s.
Talk to your advisor or committee chair about potential topics. Your academic advisor can help you decide whether your potential topic is feasible and appropriate or not. Set up an appointment to chat with them about topics you are interested in, but make sure to have a list of topic ideas ready before the meeting. Be prepared to discuss more than 1 possible topic with your advisor. Narrow your focus once you have a general topic. Do some more in-depth reading and look at the aspects of your topic that merit a closer examination. This can help you narrow your topic from a general examination of howling snail reproductive habits to a study of mate selection based on shell color.
Select a working title.
The title of your dissertation should provide a brief and clear snapshot of the nature of your research. Developing a good working title early on can help orient and focus both you and your readers.
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However, keep in mind that you can continue to adjust your title as you continue to research and write. Write an abstract if your program requires it. An abstract is a brief summary of your proposal, usually words long. The main problem s or question s that you plan to address in your research.
Start with a general introduction to your topic. Your introduction should:  Summarize the general context and scope of your topic. Briefly refer to previous literature on the topic and address the types of evidence available.
Main components of a master’s thesis or dissertation – Language Center
Summarize, very briefly, the specific questions and issues you will address in your proposal. State the major problem your dissertation will address. Explain your major research aims and objectives. This section of your proposal should discuss, in greater detail, which aspects of the problem you plan to explore. In a few short paragraphs, discuss:  The major goals of your research. Do you have any particular expectations about what you will find? How you believe your research will fill a gap or provide an original contribution to your field.
The specific focus of your study, including which areas you are choosing NOT to address and why. Summarize previous literature on your topic. The literature review is an opportunity to demonstrate your familiarity with previous research on the subject and to show that your dissertation will be a unique contribution. The major established theories, hypotheses, and research trends related to your topic. Any problems you have identified with previous works on the subject e.
The main gaps in current or previous research, and which research needs still remain to be filled.
Describe your methodology. The methodology section is a vital part of any dissertation proposal. This is where you will describe the nuts and bolts of how you plan to carry out your research and address the major problems and questions of your dissertation. The types of methodology you use will depend on your specific project and your field. Discuss any problems and limitations you anticipate. For example, you might point out that you expect to have trouble finding large sample sizes, which could make your results less statistically significant or harder to replicate than they would be if you had a bigger sample size.
Demonstrate the significance of your research. Summarize the impact your research will have on your field, and how your contribution differs from previous work on the topic. In clear and straightforward terms, describe how you think your research will be useful or beneficial, both within and outside your field of study. Outline your plan of action if your program requires it. Some programs may require you to include a timeline for completing the different phases of your dissertation.
This may be particularly important for dissertations that involve designing and conducting experiments or carrying out field research. Be aware that your timeline may change as your work evolves and progresses—this is not meant to be a hard-and-fast schedule for completing your work.
As you write your timeline, keep in mind practical considerations such as time needed for making travel arrangements or securing equipment for experiments or fieldwork.
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Present a list of your sources. Like any research paper, your dissertation proposal will need to include a full bibliography.
This may depend on the requirements of your program or the complexity of your proposed research. Most dissertation proposals are pages long, however. Yes No. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 1. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Be sure to state what your research hopes to achieve, and what outcomes you predict. You may also need to clearly state what your main research objectives are, in other words, how you plan to obtain those achievements and outcomes. The literature review will list the books and materials that you used to do your research.
http://blacksmithsurgical.com/t3-assets/feather/the-fire-walker-elements-volume.php This is where you can list materials that give you more background on your topic, or contain research carried out previously that you refer to in your own studies. Lastly, you will also need to include the constraints of your research. Many topics will have broad links to numerous larger and more complex issues, so by clearly stating the constraints of your research, you are displaying your understanding and acknowledgment of these larger issues, and the role they play by focusing your research on just one section or part of the subject.
The structure of your dissertation proposal will depend on your specific course requirements. Some courses may specify that the aims and objectives of your research be a separate section in your proposal, or that you do not need to include a methodology or literature review section. Once you know what sections you need or do not need to include, then it may help focus your writing to break the proposal up into the separate headings, and tackle each piece individually.
You may also want to consider including a title. Writing a title for your proposal will help you make sure that your topic is narrow enough, as well as help keep your writing focused and on topic. One example of a dissertation proposal structure is the following headings, either broken up into sections or chapters depending on the required word count:. Dissertation Methodology. Choosing A Dissertation Topic. Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries. Take 2 minutes to sign up to PGS student services and reap the benefits… The chance to apply for one of our 15 exclusive PGS Bursaries Fantastic scholarship updates Latest Postgrad news sent directly to you.
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