And you can do it before you have committed yourself to doing something you may

And you can do it before you have committed yourself

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whether or not you really are interested in the topic. And, you can do it before you have committed yourself to doing something you may not like. Take your time and try it first. PREPARING THE PROPOSAL Assuming you've done a good job of "thinking about" your research project, you're ready to prepare the proposal actually. A word of caution - those students who tend to have a problem in coming up with a viable proposal often are the ones that have tried to rush through the "thinking about it" part and move too quickly to trying to write the proposal. Read through someone else's research proposal. Very often a real stumbling block is that we don't have an image in our mind of what the finished research proposal should look like. How has the other proposal been organized? What are the headings that have been used? Does the other proposal seem clear? Does it seem to suggest that the writer knows the © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 231
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VU subject area? Can I model my proposal after one of these that I've seen? If you can't readily find a proposal or two to look at, ask your adviser to see some. Make sure your proposal has a comprehensive review of the literature included. Now this idea, at first thought, may not seem to make sense. Many students may tell me that "This is only the proposal. I'll do a complete literature search for the dissertation. I don't want to waste the time now." But, this is the time to do it. The rationale behind the literature review consists of an argument with two lines of analysis: 1) this research is needed, and 2) the methodology I have chosen is most appropriate for the question that is being asked. Now, why would you want to wait? Now is the time to get informed and to learn from others who have preceded you! If you wait until you are writing the dissertation it is too late. You've got to do it same time so you might as well get on with it and do it now. Besides, you will probably want to add to the literature review when you're writing the final dissertation What is a proposal anyway? A good proposal should consist of the first three chapters of the dissertation. It should begin with a statement of the problem/background information (typically Chapter I of the dissertation), then move on to a review of the literature (Chapter 2), and conclude with a defining of the research methodology (Chapter 3). Of course, it should be written in a future tense since it is a proposal. To turn a good proposal into the first three chapters of the dissertation consists of changing the tense from future tense to past tense. For example; "This is what I would like to do" to "This is what I did" And you also make any changes based on the way you actually carried out the research when compared to how you proposed to do it. Often the intentions we state in our proposal turn out different in reality and we then have to make appropriate editorial changes to move it from proposal to dissertation Focus your research very specifically.
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