Overview – Dissertation Proposals

The best way to tackle any large, overwhelming problem, such as writing a dissertation, is to break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. If those tasks are still too large, then break them down into still smaller tasks. This section gives you a general first-level breakdown for the entire project of writing your dissertation. It outlines the major steps you must take.

Note, however, that many of these steps, particularly those involving writing, will overlap. The overview can be a checklist for you, to mark off each step as you perform it. If you are stuck at any point, then write down the sub-steps you must take. Each step is expanded later in this manual.

The purpose of this section is to offer advice on how to get through, hopefully with some measure of success, the steps in doing your dissertation.

In effect, it tells you the things readers look for and the moves they think you should make. Note that the first four of these steps correspond to the chapters found in most dissertations. The length of each chapter is approximate, but you should not be too far over the maximum indicated.

1. Planning your dissertation: Introduction and Review of Literature
2. Organization and design: Methodology (10 pages)
3. Gathering data: Results (10 to 50 pages).
4. Reflecting: Conclusions (10 pages).