But it would be crazy to give up at the writing stage, after years of work on the research, and it would be something to regret for a long time.Writing a thesis is tough work.
Whatever the University's policy on single or double-sided copies, the distribution copies could be double-sided paper, or digital, so that forests and postage accounts are not excessively depleted by the exercise.
However, it is difficult to write an abstractuntil you know your most important results. Sometimes, it is possibleto write the introduction first. Most often the introduction shouldbe written next to last.
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11. What is a proposal anyway? A good proposal should consist of thefirst three chapters of the dissertation. It should begin with a statementof the problem/background information (typically Chapter I of the dissertation),then move on to a review of the literature (Chapter 2), and conclude witha defining of the research methodology (Chapter 3). Of course, it shouldbe written in a future tense since it is a proposal. To turn a good proposalinto the first three chapters of the dissertation consists of changingthe tense from future tense to past tense (from "This is what I wouldlike to do" to "This is what I did") and making any changesbased on the way you actually carried out the research when compared tohow you proposed to do it. Often the intentions we state in our proposalturn out different in reality and we then have to make appropriate editorialchanges to move it from proposal to dissertation.
We are well aware that the best laid out research plans may go awry,and that the best completed theses sometimes bear only little resemblanceto the thesis planned during the proposal.
The purpose of writing a thesis proposal is to demonstrate thatIf you can outline these points clearly in a proposal, then you willbe able to focus on a research topic and finish it rapidly. A secondary purpose of the proposal is to train you in the art of proposalwriting. Any future career in Environmental Sciences, whether itbe in industry or academia will require these skills in some form.
Therefore, when evaluating athesis proposal, we are not trying to assure ourselves that you have clearlydescribed a sure-fire research project with 0% risk of failure.
The "thinking about it stage" is when you are finallyfaced with the reality of completing your degree. Usually the early phasesof a graduate program proceed in clear and very structured ways. The beginningphases of a graduate program proceed in much the same manner as an undergraduatedegree program. There are clear requirements and expectations, and the graduatestudent moves along, step by step, getting ever closer to the completionof the program. One day, however, the clear structure begins to diminishand now you're approaching the thesis/dissertation stage. This is a newand different time. These next steps are more and more defined by youand not your adviser, the program, or the department.
(If therewas no risk of failure, it wouldn't be research.)Instead, what we're interested in seeing is if you have a clear handleon the and of research as it's practicedby our discipline.
If you can present a clear and reasonable thesis idea,if you can clearly relate it to other relevant literature, if you can justifyits significance, if you can describe a method for investigating it, andif you can decompose it into a sequence of steps that lead toward a reasonableconclusion, then the thesis proposal is a success regardless of whetheryou modify or even scrap the actual idea down the line and start off ina different direction.
What a successful thesis proposal demonstrates isthat, regardless of the eventual idea you pursue, you know the steps involvedin turning it into a thesis.
2. Write down your ideas. This will allow you to revisit anidea later on. Or, you can modify and change an idea. If you don't writeyour ideas they tend to be in a continual state of change and you will probablyhave the feeling that you're not going anywhere. What a great feeling itis to be able to sit down and scan the many ideas you have been thinkingabout, if they're written down.
3. Try not to be overly influenced at this time bywhat you feel others expect from you (your colleagues, your profession,your academic department, etc.). You have a much better chance of selectinga topic that will be really of interest to you if it is your topic. Thiswill be one of the few opportunities you may have in your professionallife to focus in on a research topic that is really of your own choosing.