Essential Rules Of Writing A Dissertation Prospectus

When you are preparing your dissertation prospectus you need to just spend a few minutes reminding yourself why you are producing the document.

  • It acts as a medium for showcasing your thesis, research and methodology in your field of study.
  • It provides the committee with an outline of your proposed work; an overall view of your knowledge and understanding in you field of study and possibly your knowledge of how it relates to others areas of study.
  • It acts as a basis that may shape your future career.
  • There are a few simple rules that you can follow that will ensure positive outcomes when your prospectus is presented to the academic committee.

    1. Criteria. Each school or University will have their own set of criteria for the work, which will be based on your field of study and also on your future career.
      • Take the time to familiarise yourself with the criteria. If in doubt confer with your professor as soon as you have a concern.
      • Based on your prospectus, the academic committee, will offer advice and guidance based on their knowledge and expertise.
      • The advice you receive is not designed to deliberately cause you unnecessary work or stress, although sometimes it may feel that way.
    2. Give as much detail and information as you can.
      • What is the main question you are aiming to acknowledge?
      • Make sure that you set out to illustrate the question in the form of a verifiable problem that can give rise to a theoretical debate.
      • Relate to similar works that have been published and give an up to date view of the current status as well as the historical viewpoint. This can be done in the form of the Literature review.
    3. Identify where past research has not been successful.
      • Explore the reasons why past research was not successful. Include any work that has focussed on difficulties that have arisen as well as research that has been misunderstood.
      • Question whether that research can contribute to your work.
      • Focus on why your work will be able to support progress in your area of study.
    4. Convincing Methodology.
      • Acknowledge the methodology that has been used by similar studies.
      • Give the committee evidence that you have considered your methodology systematically.
      • Consider the information that you will use that illustrates both the depth and diversity of your research and knowledge.

    Additional rules

    1. Your project will be part of your life for a long time so make sure that you are happy with the topic.
    2. If you get stuck; are unsure or need clarification ask for help as soon as possible before a concern becomes and issue.
    3. Be prepared to make changes. The process is a learning curve, you will need to change aspects of your topic as you progress.

Helpful Links

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Use this online resource in order to have a clearer perception of how the Ph.D academic paper should be written