It’s always the same – you know for years that you will be expected to write a dissertation around your chosen subject, but you keep procrastinating and before you know it, your proposal is due in and you’ve still no clue about what to do.
You absolutely have to relax! If you allow yourself to go into panic mode then we can guarantee that you will not be able to get this done in time. You need to be as calm and relaxed as possible, in order to be as logical and methodical as possible. If you are already relaxed, then great, but in this case, we would urge you to find the sense of urgency in the situation as it is probably your too-relaxed nature which has led to this situation.
Follow this step by step guide to getting a dissertation proposal written in three days and we guarantee the whole process will be practically stress-free. It assumes a nine-hour working day but can be tweaked to fit your own schedule.
Day 1, Step 1, 60 Minutes
Select your topic. This sounds deceptively easy but narrowing down your field to a single topic that you can confidently and competently discuss in an essay is a huge challenge! For example, your course is International Relations and your dissertation can cover any topic within that field, from issues affecting the Amazon rainforest to the failure of the international community to respond to Zimbabwe’s pleas for aid. Go with something you already know something about rather than choosing a topic you think is easy, when the reality is you just know very little about it (and certainly not enough to base a dissertation on!) You literally only need an hour for this, so just go for it.
Day 1, Step 2, 8 Hours
Read, read, read and then read some more. Speed read, skim read, re-read if necessary. Read in the library, the coffee shop, on the bus, in the corridor, but make sure you are reading! You need to be reading literature on your chosen topic which will support your research. Look for gaps in the research or questions which have not yet been answered. Make notes in whichever way you prefer. Don’t restrict yourself to just reading texts, but watch videos, listen to podcasts, and search out physical objects if they are relevant. Just make sure that you engage fully with the relevant material.
Hint: Now is not the time to try to figure out how to use the library catalogue. Ask a member of staff to help you find relevant material. It will save you a ton of time.
Day 2, Step 3, 2 Hours
Now it is time to formulate a problem statement and research questions. If you were actively engaged with your reading yesterday and continued to think about the reading and learning overnight then you should already have ideas forming so it should just be a case of getting it all down on paper. You only need a couple of hours to do this properly (in fact, you might only need 30 minutes).
Don’t worry about how you write down your problem statements or the potential questions. It doesn’t have to be neat and tidy, it just needs to be down on paper.
Day 2, Step 4, 3 Hours
We suggest you spend a chunk of time on this next task as it needs to be done properly to ensure the success of the dissertation later on.
You need to think about and plan your research methodology. It needs to be robust enough to provide you with reliable evidence, it needs to be broad enough to ensure that all bases are covered and it needs to be holistic so that no stone is left unturned. If you are not familiar with academic research methodologies then it would be wise to allow additional time to this section, as you will need to go and find out what the best methodologies for you are.
Day 2, Step 5, 2 Hours
Identify data sources. This needs to be carefully considered as in some countries there are laws governing how and what data can be collected. If your research involved collecting data of any sort from actual people then you need to be very sure that you are acting lawfully at all times, or a missed deadline will be the least of your worries. If you are in any doubt whatsoever about the legality of the data you need to collect, add more time for this section. It will be worth it.
On Day 2 you will find that I’ve only suggested activities to take up five hours. This is to allow for any additional time needed to research methodologies and to deal with data collection issues.
Day 3, Step 6, 4 Hours
You’ve done all the hard work so now it is time to draft the research proposal! Allow yourself four hours to get the initial draft done. That way you can go for lunch and take a break before coming back to re-check your work.
Day 3, Step 7, 2 Hours
Re-draft and edit your proposal as necessary. You need to be absolutely confident that it reflects the project you want to and are capable of carrying out.
If you follow these steps we can guarantee that you will have a fantastic proposal for your custom dissertation written within the deadline of three days.