8. Read through someone else's research proposal. Very oftena real stumbling block is that we don't have an image in our mind of whatthe finished research proposal should look like. How has the other proposalbeen organized? What are the headings that have been used? Does the otherproposal seem clear? Does it seem to suggest that the writer knows thesubject area? Can I model my proposal after one of the ones thatI've seen? If you can't readily find a proposal or two to look at, askyour adviser to see some. Chances are your adviser has a file drawer filled withthem.
You should also make sure to do your home work well, which is being shown to the committee through the dissertation proposal as the reviewing committee can be of great help for you in your dissertation development.
The book explains the sections required for both proposal and dissertation, and Writing both your dissertation proposal and your dissertation will utilise the
Time spent putting your dissertation proposal together is an investment. You reap rewards because the proposal stops you wasting time and also forms the basis of your dissertation outline.
Writing a dissertation proposal, even if it’s not a requirement, is still worth doing. You can submit the proposal to your supervisor (with her agreement) and get some valuable feedback.
Joseph Levine, Ph.D.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan USA
This Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal was created to help empower people to be successful in gaining funds for projects that provide worthwhile social service.
22. Dissertation-style writing is not designed to be entertaining. Dissertationwriting should be clear and unambiguous. To do this well you should preparea list of key words that are important to your research and then your writingshould use this set of key words throughout. There is nothing so frustratingto a reader as a manuscript that keeps using alternate words to mean thesame thing. If you've decided that a key phrase for your research is "educationalworkshop", then do not try substituting other phrases like "in-serviceprogram", "learning workshop", "educational institute",or "educational program." Always stay with the same phrase -"educational workshop." It will be very clear to the reader exactlywhat you are referring to.
21. The one area where I would caution you about using a word processoris in the initial creation of elaborate graphs or tables. I've seen too many studentsspend too many hours in trying to use their word processor to create an elaborate graph that could have been done by hand in 15 minutes. So, the simple ruleis to use hand drawing for elaborate tables and graphs for the early draft ofyour dissertation. Make sure your data are presented accurately so your advisor can clearly understand yourgraph/table, but don't waste the time trying to make it look word processor perfect at this time. Once you and your advisor agree upon how the data should be graphically represented it is time to prepare "perfect" lookinggraphs and tables.
19. I must assume you're using some form of word processing on a computerto write your dissertation. (if you aren't, you've missed a major partof your doctoral preparation!) If your study has specific names of people,institutions and places that must be changed to provide anonymity don'tdo it too soon. Go ahead and write your dissertation using the real names.Then at the end of the writing stage you can easily have the computer makeall of the appropriate name substitutions. If you make these substitutionstoo early it can really confuse your writing.
17. The major myth in writing a dissertation is that you start writingat Chapter One and then finish your writing at Chapter Five. This is seldomthe case. The most productive approach in writing the dissertation is tobegin writing those parts of the dissertation that you aremost comfortable with. Then move about in your writing by completing varioussections as you think of them. At some point you will be able to spreadout in front of you all of the sections that you have written. You willbe able to sequence them in the best order and then see what is missingand should be added to the dissertation. This way seems to make sense andbuilds on those aspects of your study that are of most interest to you at any particulartime. Go with what interests you, start your writing there, and then keep building!
Now this is the part we've been waiting for. I must assume that youhave come up with a good idea for research, had your proposal approved,collected the data, conducted your analyses and now you're about to startwriting the dissertation. If you've done the first steps well this partshouldn't be too bad. In fact it might even be enjoyable!
27. If you are including a Conclusions/Implications section in yourdissertation make sure you really present conclusions and implications.Often the writer uses the conclusions/implications section to merely restatethe research findings. Don't waste my time. I've already read the findingsand now, at the Conclusion/Implication section, I want you to help me understandwhat it all means. This is a key section of the dissertation and is sometimesbest done after you've had a few days to step away from your research andallow yourself to put your research into perspective. If you do this youwill no doubt be able to draw a variety of insights that help link yourresearch to other areas. I usually think of conclusions/implications asthe "So what" statements. In other words, what are the key ideasthat we can draw from your study to apply to my areas of concern.