How to Write a Dissertation Prospectus

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Writing a dissertation prospectus describes and predicts the outcome of the dissertation in a short but detailed document. Write a dissertation prospectus with tips from a produced playwright in this free video on writing.

Part of the Video Series: Academic Writing Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi. This is Laura Turner and today we're going to talk about how to write your dissertation prospectus. First of all, a prospectus is a description, plain and simple. And in fact, it is a description before the facts, so... I like to think of it as a prediction of your dissertation. So, what you're going to want to do, first of all, is of course, figure out what you're going to write your dissertation on. And then to try to write a pretty rough outline for yourself as to what you want to do in the dissertation so that you may write your prospectus. OK? So, your prospectus is going to be, I think, should be short, specific, detailing the major details of what you want to explore in your prospectus and giving a conclusion to your arguments, something, whatever is going to come out of your dissertation as far as you know. I would say, do not feel completely compelled to stay directly with your prospectus. If your dissertation, which you're going to be working on for months, if your dissertation fluctuates, changes as you are writing it, do not feel as though you are stuck with what you wrote down in your prospectus. So, however long your department is going to require you. My thesis prospectus was a very short summary of what I was going to do. But always check with your adviser. Just check and see what you should do with your individual prospectus. So, what you're going to do is you're going to use that as sort of a guideline for yourself. If you're having trouble with your dissertation, you can always go back to your prospectus and say, "OK, what was my initial impulse? And what was I going to do when I first started this thing out?" So, just think of it as a helpful tool for you as well as for your department to figure out who you are and what you're doing and why they should give you your advanced degree. And good luck.

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