What Is Dissertation Proposal

The reader is likely to be grateful to learn sooner rather than later what the project is all about and is likely to attach greater weight to what comes first.

This means having a strong but succinct opening paragraph(s), in which all the major points of the proposal are presented in a concise nut-shell fashion, with further elaboration postponed for subsequent paragraphs.

This is the single most important aspect of the proposal, and needs to be stated early.

In this case, it is especially important to include a subsequent paragraph that deals at greater length with the existing literature.

In fact, the opening paragraph(s), structured in hierarchic fashion, can then serve as an outline for the rest of the proposal where you elaborate on the opening points in a highly structured fashion.

Another common tendency is to present the main topic in multiple versions that are just different enough from one another to leave the reader confused (all too frequently, there are even versions that contradict one another); once a topic is clearly and concisely presented at the opening, there is no need to repeatedly tell what the topic is.

The Bulletin is the student newsletter of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

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The order in which you present your points should be a hierarchic order, with the most important items placed first, as early as the opening paragraph.In terms of effective hierarchic order, it is important to pin down the topic as early as possible, at the very opening of the proposal.This essentially means stating the central argument or question as early as possible.When further elaboration is presented subsequently, stay as close as possible to your opening formulation and then elaborate.Once you have accomplished the difficult task of making a concise and compelling statement about your topic, your opening should present a concise statement of how the project will contribute to the field, emphasizing how the project will fill a gap and make a difference in how we think about the subject.It is also important to make all statements concise and compelling.The use of fewer words is the best path to clarity.There is common tendency for the writer to engage in preliminaries, often providing extensive background material and saving the actual topic for last.This deprives the proposal of much of its meaning until the main point is reached.Recognize that the reader’s main interest in the proposal is to find out what the writer intends to do with the topic, rather than the topic itself.There is a common tendency for the writer to hold back, avoiding a direct statement of intent, avoiding the use of the active voice.

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