Professional Guideline to Writing a Dissertation Prospectus

Wouldn’t it be frustrating to realize that the dissertation you’ve worked on for months was unfeasible? All that time, resources, and hopes have gone down the drain. 

Fortunately, your faculty committee puts various measures in place to protect you against this. The dissertation prospectus is a key document that helps you bring your dissertation into perspective. After gauging your argument, you can overcome overambitious claims and settle for arguments you can sufficiently investigate and provide findings of great scientific value. 

Read on to discover the importance of the prospectus in a dissertation and various steps to help you in writing your dissertation prospectus.

What is a dissertation prospectus?

A dissertation prospectus is a document that analyses the feasibility of research based on your objectives, existing research, and your intended methodologies. The prospectus is thus a blueprint of your dissertation, highlighting when, how, and why your research should be conducted.

This document gives your faculty committee the justification for your research and shows that your work is grounded on factual claims and will yield findings of some scientific value. The prospectus highlights the themes and topics to feature in your dissertation and also lists the sources related to your dissertation objectives.

It also highlights the methodologies you intend to implement in investigating your problem and a justification for the methodologies. After investigating these parameters, you can easily establish whether your approach is workable and postulate hypothetical answers to your research questions.

Why use a dissertation prospectus?

A dissertation prospectus serves a more important task than helping the faculty committee to gauge the relevance of your dissertation research. The prospectus helps align your efforts reducing confusion along the way. 

Like the blueprint, the prospectus helps you gain a clear understanding of the end goal, directing your efforts towards investigating your objectives. Also, the prospectus allows you to make various considerations prior to writing your paper, thus streamlining your writing process.

The prospectus may highlight the glaring issues in your research, helping you to rethink various angles before you set out on the dissertation. This improvement is made possible by the feedback from your committee who offer a green light after establishing that your research is practicable.

Dissertation prospectus guide: how to write a dissertation prospectus

Creating a dissertation prospectus may seem like a hard task at first. With multiple pieces of information to gather, you may be confused about where to start. These steps should guide you in writing your prospectus and overcoming confusion along the way.

  1. Conduct research

What gap have you identified in a topic? Has it been studied before? If so, what were the weaknesses in prior studies on your subject? Are there studies that can support your argument? 

The research phase of your writing should expose you to various primary and secondary sources, giving you a broad and specific understanding of the topic. As a result, you can weigh your hypothesis and identify methods to fill gaps on the topic.

Also, existing research helps you to consult studies that took similar approaches to your intended methodologies, helping you gauge how practical your approach is to the research. 

  1. Organize your ideas

There are many smaller objectives to address when going about the larger objective of your dissertation. After gaining the background information on your topic, organize various ideas to see the flow of your arguments.

Through this, you can identify the gaps in your research and consult materials that help you to bring your argument into perspective.

  1. Focus on the outcome

When writing your prospectus, remain objective on what you intend to unveil in your research. Analyse each angle on how the material may support your claims and identify experiments that can test your suppositions. 

These considerations will guide your research, helping you prepare a quality prospectus that tackles essential questions and covers relevant research for your claims. 

Dissertation prospectus outline

Now that you know what your dissertation prospectus ought to entail, here’s a structure you could follow.

  • Title: the heading of your dissertation. Should tackle the thesis for your paper.
  • Body: a justification for your research and an analysis of the sources that validate your claims and hypothesis. Also, the body should highlight the gaps that warrant your study and the hypothesis you hope to achieve.
  • Chapter breakdown: what topics will your tackle in your paper? Here, outline the chapters in your work and highlight the idea to be investigated/ discussed in each chapter.
  • Research plan: outline your intended methodologies and highlight reasons you believe the methods of data collection and analysis are applicable to the topic.
  • Timeline: here, outline the process of writing your dissertation, giving estimates for each stage of your dissertation development.
  • Special needs: this part states any special tools/ benefits you may require to better investigate your ideas. 
  • Working bibliography: a list of all sources you have encountered and potential sources that could be formative for ideas in your dissertation.

Final take

A dissertation prospectus is quite different from your abstract. This document is more of a plan detailing how you intend to approach your research. We hope that this guide helps you to overcome various challenges you encounter along the way. Also, ensure to consult a sample dissertation prospectus to have a better grasp of how the prospectus ought to look.

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