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Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Guidelines

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For most studies, the following information should be set forth clearly and succinctly in separate sections of the proposal document (approximate lengths for each section are suggested in parentheses).

1. Problem Statement and Research Questions:

What is the problem to be investigated? In other words, what is the purpose of the study? What are the specific research questions the study will seek to answer? (1-2 pages)

2. Conceptual Framework & Related Literature:

What theories, concepts, and research provide the best framework to explain or study the problem? Offer conceptual definitions of study variables where appropriate. (6-10 pages)

3. Significance:

Why is the problem important? How will the proposed study fill an important need for knowledge or chart a new area for investigation? (1 page)

4. Methods: (6-10 pages)

Include methodological considerations such as

(a) sample or data sources
(b) data collection procedures
(c) instrumentation or measurement tools and issues,
including operational definitions of variables where appropriate
(d) study design (including checks on possible bias or threats to study validity)
(e) data analysis

5. Assumptions and Limitations:

What are the assumptions and expected limitations of the study? (1 page)

6. Implications:

What might be the implications of this study for future scholarship and for
educational practice? (1-2 pages)

7. How have your doctoral course work, assistantship and/or internship, and
previous experience prepared you to do this scholarly work? (1-2 pages)

8. Timeline:

What is the expected timeline for completing your study? (1 page)

9. Pre-Defense to Publication, A Checklist for Graduate Students



Last Updated: 10/9/20