What’s in a prospectus? Title page, problem statement, significance, background, framework, research questions, nature of the study, possible types and sources of information, and references. [Be sure to familiarize yourself with the entire dissertation process by visiting Walden PhD Process Dissertation and Document’s page.]
While the length of the prospectus is not that impressive, the amount of work that goes into writing one is. By the time you are ready to write your first prospectus draft you should have extensively already read articles on (and around) your topic from the past three years as well as have a strong sense of the historical foundations on which you are building the study.
The purpose of the prospectus is that you must convince your committee chair that your study is:
- unique (fills a gap because its never been studied before)
- worthy (important enough to be studied)
- important (someone will benefit from the results of your study; potential for social change)
- innovative (new in some way)
- doable (you’ve asked a good question and have a way to answer it)
- connected (all parts are logically related and interwoven)
Ironically enough, the order in which each section should be appear in the final draft it is not the order you should write them!
If you know your study will be qualitative, I suggest you use the Maxwell book to help you organize your thinking regarding your study. He offers great brainstorming and concept maps that will help you pull together your ideas. In another post, I share steps of how to use Maxwell’s book for your pre-thinking. These would be perfect for adding to your Quarter Goal and task sheet.
Disclaimer: This post is for Dr. Darci’s mentees, but should only be seen as a supplement to the Walden annotated outline found in the Dissertation Prospectus pdf file along with the Prospectus Rubric on the PhD Dissertation Program Webpage.