An introduction to your Dissertation:
A dissertation prospectus is probably the first document you will submit in the course of your study. It is not exactly an introduction or a chapter of your dissertation, but a precise outline of the study you plan to conduct. It should be your attempt to communicate to your supervisors, the description of what is planned for your dissertation before you actually begin it. The prospectus is not a huge document, but few important pages that collate all the necessary information before you get to actual work. There are high chances that your chapters, methodology and bibliography will change in the course of writing your dissertation. However, you must make your prospectus as precise as possible.
Recommended sections of a dissertation prospectus:
Title Page: An ideal title length is 12 words including the topic and most critical keywords. Your cover page must also have your name, the dissertation committee’s names and signatures along with the date of submission.
Table of Contents: The table of contents must contain all the chapter names along with the sub-headings in the chapters. You should provide at least first-level headings for each chapter.
Abstract: Your abstract is a one-page description that gives the reader a summary of your proposal.
Problem Statement: Provide reasoning for choosing a particular subject. Identify a gap or a problem in a particular area and give your purpose or intention of the study to resolve that particular problem.
Significance of the study: What is the contribution that your study will make to the area of your subject? Will it help resolve the problem or will it lead to new avenues for further research? Will the findings from your study lead to a positive social change?
Review of Literature: Submit a review of literatures that you plan to study in order to further develop your knowledge in the subject.
Methodology: Your research methodology must be clearly explained at this level. The research design, data collection methods and analysis must be stated in the prospectus. The method must be linked to your research problem.
References / bibliography: This is the last section of your dissertation. At this stage, you may not be in a position to state exact references, but you are expected to do a thorough study before you start your dissertation so that you know where all your references can be found. In your final dissertation, you will be required to submit references only used in the body of work while in your prospectus; you must mention all possible references that you plan to use.
Though starting a dissertation prospectus can be overwhelming, it is a logical step that will take you forward in your completion. If you concentrate and work hard on submitting a good prospectus, it will help you in writing your dissertation in an organized manner.