Survive dissertation proposal

This quote by author Edward Hodnett clearly highlights the essence of a problem statement. As a Masters student , you would be prepared to take up the dissertation series. However, there are certain aspects that need to have thorough consideration. For example, you need to write a decent proposal at the initial stage, compile a literature review that is according to the standards, provide appropriate references, etc.

But have you ever wondered about the importance of a problem statement? Also, have you ever thought whether it can manage by itself without identifying the research gap?

Well, this piece is to make you understand the importance of the problem statement and its inevitable connection with the research gap. Being the focal point of the dissertation or proposal , the problem statement is the inducing factor that drives the committee to read your dissertation. They will come to this section to comprehend the advantages of your proposal or dissertation.

Surviving Your Dissertation | SAGE Publications Inc

A well-expressed problem statement lays the groundwork for everything that will develop in the proposal. Its significance can be understood when you realize that it mitigates the conceptual and theoretical hindrances. Whatever is written in the problem statement should be found in the study. To add further, a good problem is a topic of importance, whose examination will make a good contribution to knowledge.


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Suppose you have a solution to the problem or the problem is completely predictable, then there is no requirement to move forward with the study. Keep in mind that the problem statement should be concise so that the reader does not get diverted. The identification of research gaps is pivotal to a problem statement. The gaps that have been identified reveal areas that have been addressed a lot.

Those areas that have been given less attention are also disclosed. Your research problem should make a positive influence on the domain. For this, you have to fill a research gap.

Structure And Format

How long will it take to get ethical clearance? How long do you have to recruit participants? I would also advise over-estimating the amount of time it takes to complete each task — especially the ethics clearance procedure — mine took a good 3 months in total! When you have to get research proposals in, write them in detail! Have you considered the literature in enough detail? If you write a thorough and considered proposal, not only will it help you get your research proposal ethical clearance, it will be a lifesaver later when it comes to writing it.

I know this sounds really obvious, but it is something to consider.

A Survival Guide to a PhD

For example, my research involved the use of children as participants. This meant a LOT of time was taken up by gaining ethical clearance, finding schools who would be happy to facilitate my study, travelling to these schools as well as the process of testing the children.


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Try to keep moving and get as much done as you can. Perfecting can come later. This relates to what I was saying in point 4, in that it is much better to have a full first draft to work from, as opposed to one perfect paragraph. Do something fun! You will definitely have deserved it.

I hope all of this helps — it may be a way off for a lot of you, but maybe there are a few things you can pull from this to help you with coursework throughout your degree. Your email address will not be published.

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