GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING A PROSPECTUS
FOR A PROJECT OR DISSERTATION
Department of Instructional Psychology & Technology
Brigham Young University
Disciplined inquiry and development in education are rational, goal-directed
endeavors. Successful research, development, measurement, or evaluation projects
are not accidents or haphazard occurrences. They result from careful planning and
forethought. Projects that are not carefully planned in advance generally produce
inconclusive results. Such projects are not only futile, but expensive in terms of
wasted efforts, time and money.
A prospectus is a blueprint: a set of written, detailed plans and specifications
for conducting a project. The act of preparing and writing a prospectus is a planning
process. It requires you to --
Clarify the purposes and focus of your work.
Anticipate the major difficulties or problems likely to be encountered.
Decide which tool and procedures are likely to be most productive in
achieving the purposes of the project and resolving the problems likely to
Decide which tasks need to be done in what order and by whom.
Estimate the various costs involved and decide how the project will be
Like the act of preparing a blueprint, writing a prospectus requires creative
thinking. It requires skill in anticipating, conceptualizing, and solving problems.
However, creative thinking should not be confused with vague or unclear thinking.
Unclear writing usually results from unclear thinking. The solution is more thorough
analysis and more precise thinking and rethinking, and more precise diction.
Writing -- in the sense of composing and authoring -- is a process of thinking
and rethinking. Meaningful patterns of words, sentences, and paragraphs do not exist
until they are constructed by a human mind. However, the process of writing involves
more than just generating ideas. Good writers clarify and refine their thinking as they
write. They carefully examine the direction of their thinking and the line of reasoning
they have used. They test the meaning of their written expressions against the
meaning and intent in their mind. Sometimes they modify what they have written in
order to better comply with what they had in mind. But, sometimes examination of
what they have written leads them to modify what they had in mind. Hence, the act of
writing is a process of shaping and clarifying ideas. Writing a prospectus is a process