Writing a dissertation proposal - what is a thesis statement in a rhetorical analysis


 

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writing a dissertation proposal

writing a dissertation proposalWriting a dissertation proposal -Often students ask how long a literature review should be.Once you get into it, you have to out in the effort. When you’re doing it, it seems so much more that the rest of your work (Todd, Bannister and Clegg, 2004, p341).However, this can have a detrimental effect on your other modules - one student said ‘I did the dissertation and left the other work’ - don’t make his mistake. You will find that once the final year begins, the weeks go by very quickly, and you will need to organise your time well from the start so that the ongoing preparation of your dissertation continues alongside work for the taught units you are studying.What follows is a step by step guide on how to go about conducting and presenting your literature review.The field of study, the research question, the hypothesis (if any) or, more generally, the research question that is to be investigated.There is a lot in common between different dissertations regarding the structure and although you do not need to stick slavishly to a standard plan, such a plan is very helpful as a template to impose some order on what may seem an unmanageable task.Once you have generated a large number of notes around your reading you might start to feel overwhelmed by the literature.If you are taking a dissertation over two semesters, you should aim to spend the equivalent of one full half-day per week working on your dissertation during each semester of your final year if it is worth 20 credits - nearer twice that amount of time if it is a 40-credit dissertation.Here is an indicative structure that might help you with your initial plan.This section should also discuss any variations from the original fieldwork plan, and should conclude with a reflection on the experience of doing fieldwork.By the time you start to write the first draft of your dissertation, you will probably already have accumulated a wealth of notes, scribbles and ideas.The first stage of your literature review is to collect a list of literature that is relevant to your study.Allow plenty of time for final revisions after your tutor has seen a complete draft.You may, for example, produce a draft introduction setting out the issue, together with a literature review which covers what, if any, treatment of the topic has gone beforehand.Prompt revision is easier than letting things drift, and you should do it while the advice of your supervisor is fresh in your mind.You may also wish to draft those sections of the methodology chapter that cover the methods that you wish to use, together with a justification for why you think those methods are best.This should include previous work done on the field of study and anything that you consider to be relevant to the hypothesis or research question and to its investigation.Importantly, start to think critically about the piece you are reading; ask: what is this person trying to say and why?However, practice varies, and your supervisor will advise you on how to proceed.Devote more detail to these particular works as they are more important to your topic.writing a dissertation proposalObviously your supervisor may be able to give some indication of the approximate length of your literature review.This section should include an account of the research questions and/or hypotheses to be investigated, relevant methods of investigation and an argument for why you think these methods are the most appropriate ones for the question and for your circumstances.For example, your supervisor may advise you to write a short proposal or abstract, say of about 300 words, in which you set out as clearly as possible what you intend to do in the dissertation.It will be clear that some of the reading you have done is of more relevance than others.So, you might simply say that you have identified certain common features in the relevant literature, or a particular issue that it deals with, and that your dissertation will examine the literature closely in order to demonstrate the relationships between treatments of the issue in the sample texts.Ethical issues and the ways in which you dealt with them should be noted.The literature review is an important device in your dissertation as it performs a number of related functions: Writing a literature review is not as simple as at first it may seem.It is useful, therefore, to write the proposal and to retain it for reference and revision.You should consider the benefits of your chosen method as well as identifying any disadvantages and how you overcame them.If, however, you are taking the dissertation module over one semester, you will need to adjust this time frame accordingly.You will decide with your supervisor precisely when to produce drafts, but if you are taking a dissertation module over one academic year then by the end of the first semester you would normally expect to produce a proposal or abstract and a first draft of one or two chapters.It should also include a summary of the contents and main arguments in the dissertation.This is something that many researchers and dissertation students go through and is often a necessary part of the process.This is time consuming because you will be reading a large amount of material.It may be that you will be able to summarise the exact nature and scope of your study, in which case the proposal can serve as guide to refer to as you write the main chapters of the work.theories and concepts; policy analysis; empirical studies and so-on.You need to emphasise the exploratory nature of your work.You may also wish to include an evaluation of any difficulties you encountered in collecting and analysing data, together with an assessment of how this affected your plan of research.When you have received your supervisor's comments on the draft of any chapter, you should revise that particular chapter immediately.They saw it as such an important part of their degree that they wanted to put more into it: It [the dissertation] took up more of my time ... writing a dissertation proposal However, don't become pre-occupied with word length, the main thing is that your literature review should capture the general and specific aspects of the literature of your subject.Indeed they may highlight the gap in the literature that exists that you seek to fill; they may provide the basis on which you seek to build, or they might be works which require some critique from your particular perspective.Be sure to back up all your work on a floppy disk, CD, or memory stick.You should examine articles in scholarly journals for examples of appropriate titles for a study of this length.You would then produce the drafts of the remaining chapters and complete the process of revision and writing-up during the second semester.In the second semester, when drafting the remaining main chapters of the dissertation, you will follow the practice established in the first semester of submitting the drafts to your supervisor for comments and advice.This means that when you have completed the chapters that form the main body of your dissertation you can return to the proposal and revise it as much as you need, to form the introduction.The introduction to your dissertation should explain to the reader what you are going to investigate.For example you may mention different authors that have dealt with a question related to your field but may not be central to it.You should take advantage of the period between the first semester and the start of the second semester to write a draft of a chapter, and you should plan to have produced first drafts of all the main chapters by at least four weeks before the submission date (also allowing for any vacation periods when staff may not be available).Once you have a list of references for your dissertation, you now have to access and read this material.This section should present the main findings of your research together with an account of the strengths and weaknesses of your data relative to your research question/hypothesis.It is important, however, that you do not discard the less relevant work; instead this can form the broad background of your discussion of the more relevant literature within your field.This section looks at effective planning, which should be a continuous process that intensifies during the writing of your dissertation and not something that fades into the background. They will have to: Case Study 12 Making sure your dissertation doesn't get on top of you Insofar as the preparation of the dissertation is a process of investigation and discovery, the precise scope of your study may well only emerge as you become closely involved in a detailed review of the literature.Supervisors have different ways of working and you will, to some degree, need to negotiate your approach to supervision style.The value of this exercise is that it requires you to focus and articulate your thinking.Try and get a sense of the theoretical perspective of the author, this will be of use when you organise and present your literature review.You should also avoid anticipating the discoveries and conclusions that you have made in the course of your investigations.You will also need to further divide the literature into specific areas relevant to your study for e.g.As you continue to write the main chapters of the work, you may find that your initial plan has changed. writing a dissertation proposal Planning is essential, but do not be hesitate to draw up new plans whether it is a brief abstract of your dissertation as a whole, or a detailed breakdown of a particular chapter.Depending on the credit rating of the dissertation, the amount of time you devote to it should be equivalent to the time you would devote to a taught course with the same credit rating; that is, seminar and lecture time plus time for private study.It will include a large number of references to the literature in your chosen area.How is it different from the way others have dealt with this issue?At this early stage, your title may be a provisional one that you will revise later.Once you have produced the proposal and discussed it with your supervisor, you may want to write the first draft of a chapter of the dissertation.When you have divided your literature review into general works and works of central importance, you should also further divide the literature into sub-categories.Once you have a workable plan it is much easier to plan the work in sequence and to set yourself targets for the completion of the separate parts (see the section on Getting started with the Dissertation).Highlight these in broad terms, state how these works have impacted on your particular area.Once you have discussed the range of literature that is only of general interest to your study, you can then go into more detail on the literature that more sharply focuses on the questions that are of interest to you.You need not go into great detail about these more general works, but by highlighting these works you are demonstrating your awareness of the scope and limits of your study and how it touches upon other areas of study.One of the most important of these academic conventions is the literature review.Once you start you might find that some literature is of little relevance to your study.In short, the literature review is a discussion or 'review' of secondary literature that is of general central relevance to the particular area under investigation.When you have completed the main body of the work and your tutor has commented on your complete draft, you may well wish to revisit the introduction to take into account your findings and your tutor's comments on their significance.Your dissertation is a substantial piece of written work that ideally should conform to a number of academic conventions.It is highly advisable to draft a plan of the dissertation.What follows are some general guidelines on how you might do this.Your dissertation supervisor may advise on the title in order to help you find and define the focus of the dissertation.Usually, this comes immediately after the introductory chapter. writing a dissertation proposal However, this can have a detrimental effect on your other modules - one student said ‘I did the dissertation and left the other work’ - don’t make his mistake. You will find that once the final year begins, the weeks go by very quickly, and you will need to organise your time well from the start so that the ongoing preparation of your dissertation continues alongside work for the taught units you are studying. writing a dissertation proposal




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