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Prospectus and Dissertation

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❶Provide a brief review of the literature that places your study within the context of the extant research literature. Term highlight November 18,

Georgia State University

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The prospectus proper must contain: In 1,, words, this section states and motivates the project. It begins with a short abstract of the thesis that states how the student intends to resolve the central question or problem in the dissertation words.

This section as a whole motivates the topic and locates the thesis within the space of contemporary or historical philosophical ideas; explains the significance of the topic; and displays knowledge of the primary literature.

It describes the present state of the issue, indicating the major positions in a debate and — where possible — cites the most important literature.

The plan for the dissertation, in 2,, words, stating the method for resolving the central question or problem that is the topic of the dissertation. The proposal documents the proposed lines of argument organized in a logically developed order. Students may find it useful to present these lines of argument in the form of chapter summaries, but it is not required. The proposal is a template or advertisement for the thesis, more like a grant application than like a qualifying paper, a journal article, or an introductory chapter.

The parts of the dissertation do not all need to be laid out at equal length. It may well be that the student has worked out some part in greater detail, while conceiving another part more sketchily. This difference should be reflected in the space that each part receives in the summary. The student need not have read all of the sources listed in the Bibliography. It ought instead to include all of the sources the student believes will prove relevant to the project.

Together with the summary, the student will submit a draft of one section of the dissertation. This document can be all or part of a paper written for publication, or all or part of a Qualifying Paper, or a paper written for a course. This sample should be around 5, words long. These three will consist of the supervisor and two other faculty members, chosen by the student and supervisor and approved by the Executive Officer.

The prospectus committee may contain as many as five faculty members. The one or two additional members may attend the prospectus examination but are not required to. At least two faculty members on the prospectus committee, including the sponsor, must be from the program faculty, but at most two persons not on the program faculty may be joined to the prospectus committee if the prospectus sponsor and Executive Officer concur. Thus one external examiner is permitted on a committee of three and two on a committee of four or five.

The composition of the committee may change with approval of the supervisor and the Executive Officer. Once the Sponsor believes that the prospectus is ready for examination, he or she, in consultation with the student, will submit to the Executive Officer for approval the names of the appropriate and willing faculty members to serve on the examination committee.

The Sponsor not the student will arrange the date and time with the committee and then notify the Assistant Program Officer who will arrange a room. The Assistant Program Officer will notify the student and the committee regarding these arrangements.

The prospectus must be circulated at least one week prior to the examination. Prior to the examination, the Assistant Program Officer will appoint the Chair of the Prospectus Examination a member of the examination committee who is not the Sponsor and present the Chair with a form that needs to be signed only by the Chairperson and then returned to the Assistant Program Officer.

Outcomes of the Prospectus Examination The prospectus examination can have any one of three outcomes. A passing mark on the prospectus exam shall be awarded only if a simple majority of committee members assent. In the case of failure, the committee may also decide whether or not the student may submit a new prospectus on the same topic.

It will set any requirements that need to be satisfied for the approval of the dissertation. How do you plan to test for or adjust for the bias of your sources? If you are studying the place of women in the criminal justice system and your only sources are written by the male officers of that system, what do you need to take into account in weighing that evidence and how do you plan to do so?

Finally, you may want to address the relations between the various types of sources you plan to use: How will you weigh a literary source against a legal record, or use one to illuminate the other? Again, much of this will have to be refined as you go along. At this stage, you need to consider these questions both to make sure they are on your radar screen and to be able to prove to your committee that you understand that there are issues about the reliability of historical evidence that you need to consider.

A discussion of methodology may also involve a discussion of the theory or theories that influence your work. If you propose a Marxist interpretation of tort law, you need to discuss that methodology and show it is appropriate to your inquiry.

In this respect, your methodology may be closely related to your literature review, and you may want to put your discussion of it in that section. You need not, of course, do so. But you also want to use this exercise to think a little about how you envision your dissertation.

Are you planning on writing a narrative, which proceeds in chronological order? Are you interested, instead, in writing an analytic study that will be organized thematically? You may find it helpful to read or re-read some monographs to see how they are arranged.

This is not only a way to find some models to borrow from as you write your chapter outline, but it will also encourage you to begin to think about how history can be written.

In its final form, a good chapter outline not only has tentative chapter titles that suggest what each chapter will cover, but also has a paragraph that summarizes the focus of the chapter and, perhaps, sets out the major sources of evidence for that chapter ie, in chapter two you will look at trial records, while in chapter three you will look at appellate opinions. Usually, this is the last text section in the prospectus, since it gives concrete shape to the airier ideas that you floated in the rest of the document.

There are no hard and fast rules about this, the prospectus should be as long as it has to be. Ideally, you will show several drafts to your dissertation advisor and get feedback on whether material can be cut or needs to be added. It is better to be concise than rambling, but it is also better to treat every part of the prospectus as fully as necessary. Twenty-five pages are probably the minimum plus a bibliography that lists both primary and secondary sources and forty-five pages not including the bibliography is probably an outer limit.

Much will depend on how many fields you need to engage in your literature review or how complicated your methodology is. Element of a prospectus: Given the difference in size between a page seminar paper and a plus page dissertation, it should come as no surprise that your thesis statement for a dissertation prospectus should be more complicated than the single sentence or so that forms the basis of most papers.

It is best, perhaps, to think of this statement as having several parts: Here, you are demonstrating two different things, and the length of this typically fairly long section should be driven by those two concerns. First, you are showing that you are familiar with the relevant literature. Second, you are establishing that your work will not duplicate something that is already done, but instead will advance the field s.

Statement of primary sources: Obviously as you do your research you will expand and contract your plans relating to primary sources. This section must be, as a result, tentative. Often this section will have considerable overlap with the section on primary sources, and so it might make sense to collapse the two sections together though see below. In contrast to some fields for example, sociology , most of the time history is not concerned with your precise methodology.

Can you understand the language that the materials are in? Comparable questions arise in relation to non-literary sources: How do you plan to interpret the artwork, or music, or literary materials that you plan to use? How will you interpret that buildings and structures that give rise to your geographic theory of justice? Do you expect to spend a year in the archives and another writing?

If so, this is the section in which to outline those goals. Do you think it makes more sense to research two chapters, write for a while, and then research some more?

If so, set that out. Are you applying for a fellowship or grant to do research with? If so, say so here, and also explain what you will do about your research if the grant falls through. This is another bit of the prospectus that has value for a limited time only.

No one expects that the final organization of your dissertation will resemble this outline. But at this stage, even the roughest outline helps you think through your project and helps your committee evaluate its balance. An outline can help catch issues of overreach and narrowness.

Why are you claiming to write a history of criminal law in America when your chapters focus only on the nineteenth century? Why are you claiming to plan a study of tort law in Alachua County Florida when your chapters suggest you will look at the southeast United States? Why are you talking in terms of a dissertation on the interwar era when six of your proposed seven chapters are on the period , and the seventh is a conclusion?

This should be the very end of your prospectus, and should contain not only secondary sources but also as many primary sources as you have identified and any archives that may be relevant to your project.

Tips to Writing a Good Dissertation Prospectus

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A dissertation prospectus is written prior to dissertation writing and is commonly considered the first step of writing a dissertation. However, to write a successful dissertation you must proceed in a step by step manner and focus at one step at a time.

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A dissertation prospectus is a paradoxical piece of writing. It is not an abstract (which is to say, a summary of a completed dissertation) or an introductory chapter of a dissertation, but rather an attempt to describe what is planned before it has actually been done.

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The dissertation prospectus is the formal document you present to your PhD Supervisory Committee once you have achieved candidacy and are preparing to move on to . Dissertation Prospectus In the third year doctoral students prepare a dissertation prospectus and present it at the prospectus conference, which is held yearly during the third week in January. The conference is a forum in which students share their ideas with faculty and colleagues, and receive suggestions as they begin to research and write their dissertation.

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The prospectus, either for the M.A. Thesis or Ph.D. Dissertation, is a written plan for the research the student intends to complete. At the Ph.D. level, students must defend the prospectus in an oral examination after passing the Ph.D. exams. History thesis prospectus for students to help in essay. Few have found that higher budget allocations for instructional purposes can help individual students in modelling and visualisation history thesis prospectus.