Prospectus_Guidelines.doc - GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING A...

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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 -- 1. Clarify the purposes and focus of your work. 2. Anticipate the major difficulties or problems likely to be encountered. 3. Decide which tool and procedures are likely to be most productive in achieving the purposes of the project and resolving the problems likely to occur. 4. Decide which tasks need to be done in what order and by whom. 5. Estimate the various costs involved and decide how the project will be financed. 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
of clarifying the problem you wish to address and shaping and refining your plans for solving this problem. In planning your project you should work closely with your chair or with a faculty member who has consented to serve as a sponsor for your project. In choosing a sponsor, try to select someone who is knowledgeable in the specialty area and who has an interest in the problem you are working on. For a dissertation you should also work closely with all members of your advisory committee. A useful way to begin is to write a two or three page preliminary proposal. In this initial document you should -- 1.

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