Aiming for 1, words or more, your proposal will give an outline of the topic of your dissertation, some of the questions you hope to answer with your research, what sort of studies and type of data you aim to employ in your research, the sort of analysis you will carry out. Different courses may have different requirements for things like length and the specific information to include, as well as what structure is preferred, so be sure to check what special requirements your course may have.
Your dissertation proposal should have several key aspects, regardless of the structure: The introduction will state your central research question and give background on the subject, as well as relating it contextually to any broader issues surrounding it. Read more about picking a topic for your dissertation.
You may also want to include how you will analyse the data you gather and what if any bias there may be in your chosen methods. Depending on the level of detail that your specific course requires, you may also want to explain why your chosen approaches to gathering data are more appropriate to your research than others. Your dissertation proposal should also include the aims and objectives of your research.
Be sure to state what your research hopes to achieve, and what outcomes you predict. Do as much preliminary reading around the subject area as you can to make sure there is plenty of literature out there to support your initial ideas. Take a good look at the most recent writings in your areas of interest. They will help you to identify the best angle to take and could highlight the gaps in current inquiry that you can address. What will your line of inquiry be? You may, for example, wish to extend a study that has already been carried out, apply a theory to some practical experience and critique how successful it is, or closely analyse an idea or object using a particular approach.
Your approach will inform your title. The title should clearly present the line of inquiry your dissertation will take. You could even compose a few different titles each with a slightly different emphasis, and keep them all in mind as you do your research.
Remember to run your title by your dissertation tutor. They will be able to give you advice, help you refine any grey areas and suggest reading for research. A dissertation is an extended project that asks you to manage your time and undertake a variety of tasks. Some courses schedule the dissertation at the end, while others have it running along concurrently with other modules.
Whichever way your course is organised, it is essential that you create a plan that helps you allocate enough time to each task you have to complete. It is useful to work out how many weeks you have until you need to submit your completed dissertation, and draw a chart showing these weeks. Block out the weeks when you know you will be unable to work, and mark in other main commitments you have that will take time during this period.
Then allocate research tasks to the remaining time. It is very important to be realistic about how long each task is likely to take.
Some focused thought at the beginning, then at the planning stage of each phase, could save hours later on. Write down the resources needed for each stage. It could be time in the library; the resource of your working hours; or the use of equipment or room space that needs to be booked in advance. Some people find that they procrastinate more than they would like. This is a common problem, so it is probably best to be well-prepared to identify it and deal with it if it does start to happen.
People procrastinate for various reasons for example:. Early identification of the signs of procrastination will give you the best chance of minimising any negative effects. Once you suspect that you are procrastinating, it can be helpful to review what you are expecting of yourself, and check that those expectations are realistic.
This is where planning is vital. Your research plan should also include information about what equipment you will need to complete your project, and any travel costs or other expenses that you are likely to incur through the pursuit of your research. You should also think about whether you are dependent on any one else to complete your project, and think about what you are going to do if they are unable to help you.
Once you have created your plan it is a good idea to show it to someone else. Ideally you will be able to show it to a member of academic staff or bring it to the Learning Development, but talking it over with a friend may also help you to spot anything that you have forgotten or anywhere that you have been unrealistic in your planning.
Although a dissertation is an opportunity for you to work independently, you will usually be allocated a member of academic staff as a supervisor. Supervisors are there to help you shape your ideas and give you advice on how to conduct the research for your dissertation. They are not there to teach you the topic you have chosen to investigate: They are, however, one of the resources that you can call on during your research. Academics are busy people, so to get the most out of your supervisor you will need to be organised and to take responsibility for the relationship.
To ensure that you get the most out of your supervisor you need to:. If you are not happy with the way you are being supervised, explain why to your supervisor or discuss the issue with your personal tutor.
Regardless of whether you have been given a dissertation topic or you have developed your own ideas, you will need to be able to demonstrate the rationale for your research, and to describe how it fits within the wider research context in your area.
To support you in doing this you will need to undertake a literature review, which is a review of material that has already been published, either in hard copy or electronically, that may be relevant for your research project. Key tools that are available to help you, include:. It is a good idea to make an appointment to see the librarian specialising in your subject.
An information librarian should be able to give you advice on your literature search, and on how to manage the information that you generate. You will probably generate more references than you can read. Use the titles and abstracts to decide whether the reference is worth reading in detail.
Be selective by concentrating on references that:. Once you start reading, ensure that you think about what you are trying to get out of each article or book that you read.
Your notes should enable you to write up your literature search without returning to the books you have read. Refer to the guides Effective Note Making , Referencing and Bibliographies , and Avoiding Plagiarism , for further help with note-making.
For most research projects the data collection phase feels like the most important part. However, you should avoid jumping straight into this phase until you have adequately defined your research problem, and the extent and limitations of your research. If you are too hasty you risk collecting data that you will not be able to use. Consider how you are going to store and retrieve your data. You should set up a system that allows you to:. There are many systems that support effective data collection and retrieval.
These range from card indexes and cross-referenced exercise books, through electronic tools like spreadsheets, databases and bibliographic software, to discipline-specific tools. You should talk about how you plan to store your data with your supervisor, an information librarian, or a study adviser in the Learning Development.
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Having to write a dissertation proposal depends upon the university or institution that you’re attending. Even if a dissertation proposal isn’t a requirement, however, it’s a very useful exercise (and is certainly going to impress your supervisor, especially if it’s not part of your.
How to Plan a Dissertation Proposal. How you have to write a dissertation proposal depends on your college or university's requirements. While some colleges do not insist on a proposal, in many colleges proposals need to be submitted along with the final dissertation for assessment and grading. Help is here for writing your dissertation proposal. If done correctly, a dissertation proposal works in much the same way as an in-depth essay plan, providing you with guidance when beginning to actually write your dissertation.
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