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Do you know what paper you will have most of the troubles with during your studies? Yes, it surely is a dissertation proposal. Students rarely anticipate what a nightmare awaits them when they are close to getting a degree. Most of the works you have completed by this time have been more simple, short, and primitive than the paper you are about to write. A dissertation proposal will take at least the year of your life to prepare, and you will have to work really hard if you want the committee to accept it.
What you are going to feel is hard to describe with other word but overwhelming. The proposal writing will require you to gather all your mental and physical efforts and dive deep into the work with a feeling like it never ends.
The most effective advice on proposal preparation that you should remember is to be organized and plan your research work. You have to understand that you most likely already have something to start with like a lot of papers on the subject your professor has given, or the recommended materials. So gather them all, read each piece, and be sure to follow the next set of advice.
- Know the purpose of the proposal. Understand why you are writing a proposal and create a plan you will follow during the time you are given to prepare the work.
- Create a folder with all files relevant to the subject. Store big documents like books, articles, and research papers in the special folder and be sure to keep it clean. You can also print out some parts of articles and notes you have on the topic and use them while brainstorming on your proposal.
- Organize your working space to keep you focused. Take away all things that can distract you while doing the research, especially your phone.
- Start researching big. If you have not the topic yet, it is crucial to decide what it is going to be. Even if you know the area approximately, it is not enough to start writing. Therefore, you have to begin with the research and make the decision later when you find something worthy. Firstly, you need to take the materials on the subject in general. Look for the news in the field and see if there is anything that should be researched or has already been researched. Try to read articles and papers, find gaps or illogical statements that have to be refuted, etc. After you find something you like, focus on that area and research it more deeply. Repeat until you get to the point where you area of interest is narrowed down enough to derive the topic from it.
- Take time to think. When you have an approximate topic, it is time to form the hypothesis. Write it down and also note the way you have come to this hypothesis. Think of the research methodology you will use, how you will analyze the data, and why. Your methodology has to be based on the data you have found while researching. It is crucial to explain to yourself why you have chosen these research methods, and why they are the best for the study you are going to conduct.
- Write every single day. If you skip it once, it will be hard to get the writing mood back. As unfortunate as it sounds, you will have to force yourself to sit down, focus, and write at least for an hour and a half a day. The more you write – the better you understand the topic and the things you have missed while researching.
- When you have a draft you are more or less satisfied with, show it to your professor and let him/her provide you with feedback. Do not worry if the professor says that you are not specific enough, or your topic is too broad. You can always narrow it down and make some decent changes in the dissertation proposal.