Title Provide a precise title for your proposed dissertation. The title should be descriptive enough to inform the reader of the angle of your topic. It should not be too general. Try to indicate your argument( or ‘thesis’) or a debate that you will examine and evaluate, and/or significant methods (e.g. “a comparative study of…”). Include a longer sub-title if it helps you explain the exact nature of your intended exploration.
Provide a precise title for your proposed dissertation. The title should be descriptive enough to inform the reader of the angle of your topic. It should not be too general. Try to indicate your argument( or ‘thesis’) or a debate that you will examine and evaluate, and/or significant methods (e.g. “a comparative study of…”). Include a longer sub-title if it helps you explain the exact nature of your intended exploration.
Rationale (maximum 500 words)
Explain the topic you are researching and the reasons for your choice. State the research question you seek to answer and your thesis or argument; outline the main aims and sub-aims; explain what has motivated your interest in the topic; refer to key theories or viewpoints which are relevant for your research question; mention any key methods (e.g. comparative analysis, case study) and how you will use them. Tell the reader just enough about the topic that they can understand what you are investigating. Place your topic within the relevant discipline and paradigm (if relevant). You might also choose to give an indication of the argument (or ‘thesis’) that you expect to develop in the dissertation. Be sure to link your rationale with the objectives identified in the section below.
List the 3 to 6 main objectives of your research project. The aims will already have been referred to and discussed in the rationale, but here they are broken down into a more precise and simple bullet-pointed list for easy identification. Objectives should always begin with an infinitive verb (e.g. to identify the nature of the relationship between x and y; to demonstrate the link between x and y; to identify the causes of x; to investigate the reasons for x; to determine the implications of x; to compare x with y (be precise about which aspect of the subjects is being compared); to describe, to illustrate, to give evidence of, to evaluate, etc). Objectives should be as precise as possible (avoiding vague verbs such as: “to look at”).
Literature Review (1500-2000 words)
Critically evaluate the literature that is relevant to your intended dissertation, but focus your analysis on four selected texts. Explain the reasons for choosing the four texts, which should include at least three academic texts, of which at least one should be a peer-reviewed article from an academic journal. As well as critically analysing these selected texts, assess their relevance for the argument that you intend to develop in your research.
Explain how you plan to conduct the research. How do you intend to go about generating material/information for your dissertation? What types of sources do you intend to refer to? Which methods will you use to analyse this material? Why have you chosen these methods? Justify why your approach is appropriate for your research objectives. (Here, you might also refer to a particular research tradition that has influenced the choice of methodology for your research). Identify the main pitfalls and problems that can arise with the methodological approach and methods you are adopting. How do you plan to deal with these problems? Are there any ethical issues will you need to consider?
Write a structured outline of the chapters and sections with a brief description of each. Number and title each chapter and section; include a brief paragraph under each chapter and/or section explaining its main purpose. Try to say which objectives will be fulfilled in each chapter/section.
List at least 10 ten sources that you have identified as major sources for your dissertation. Your list should include books published by academic publishers and must include at least two academic journal articles. Your list may include up to two non-academic sources (e.g. policy documents) if these are to be of particular relevance for your project. Methodology texts and (non-refereed) internet articles do not count in the ten, but you must still include full details of all sources you have used to write the proposal. Failure to acknowledge a source is plagiarism.
Timescale for your dissertation research project
Create a plan for all of the work your dissertation will entail from the time you complete your research proposal to the deadline next year (probably end April 2016). Note that the dissertation module requires you to submit a 1500-2000 word draft at the end of Semester 1 (Year 3). Be sure to timetable specific research and writing tasks, including further literature searches, drafting specific chapters, and editing and re-writing drafts.