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The research proposal

From  http://www.earthresearch.com/thesis-dissertation-proposal.shtml

"Down to Earth" Research Advice

Written for you by Dr J. Mark Tippett, www.earthresearch.com

The thesis/dissertation research proposal:
What is it, what is in it, and why is it?

What is it?

After you have identified the general sub-discipline in which you want to study, you will be expected to develop a research proposal. The research proposal is a statement of research intent. The length of the proposal will vary between departments; final year undergraduate dissertation proposals may range from 2-5 pages, and graduate or postgraduate (Masters) theses and (PhD) dissertations from 5-15 and 25-40 pages respectively.

What’s in it?

Some departments have a standard pro forma proposal guide with its elements already specified. The proposal should include the following elements:

The specific academic research problem to be addressed

The research "problem" is most likely to come from your own imaginative and critical thinking in combination with a close examination of the relevant literature. You should aim at identifying gaps or deficiencies in the level of knowledge and understanding within the proposed topic area. Often, published research papers hint at these research "needs" or "opportunities" in their discussion or conclusion sections; these ‘needs’ are essentially research areas that the author(s) consider to be worthy of attention. The significance of various research problems is able to be measured by your supervisors, by experts in your field as evidenced by the amount and nature of research being done on those topics, and by yourself using your own improving judgement.

The identification of a topic that is researchable and sufficient and appropriate for study is probably the hardest step in the whole research process, particularly for novice researchers. The final-year undergraduate research project/dissertation is usually the first taste of real research for many students, and creating a researchable problem is generally a difficult experience. In this level of project, it is not necessary to address the significant research topics expected of, say, a PhD. However, whatever the level of study, the correct degree of focus is vital; generally, initial attempts to define a research topic are usually far too broad and vague, and if pursued would result in an unmanageable project. Focus is therefore the key to a good research topic, whatever the level of the degree. Often, it is best to try 2 or 3 research topics and develop each into a mini-proposal. You can get some feedback as to which may be most suitable, and then develop the favored research idea into a full-blown proposal.

Many supervisors have appropriate and interesting topics available, and are often looking for suitable students to fill these projects and focus the topics. Enthusiastic supervisory attention is usually a feature of these projects.

The objectives, questions or hypotheses to be answered

The research problem, when phrased, gives purpose to the intended work. There are 3 major ways to phrase the research problem: by using objectives, questions or hypotheses.

Objectives are pithy statements of what is intended to be achieved, thereby answering the research problem. For example, a hypothetical objective might be "To determine the influence of bushfire intensity on soil phosphorus mobility in the Mt Highup area".

Questions are probably the most basic expression of the research problem, and the equivalent question may simply be "Does bushfire intensity affect soil phosphorus mobility in the Mt Highup area (and if so, how)?"

Hypotheses are conjectures that are set up and shown to be false or not untrue (if you are into critical rationalism). Hypotheses come in pairs, the null and alternative hypotheses. The equivalent null hypothesis would be "Bushfire intensity does not influence soil phosphorus mobility" (remove the word "not" to produce the alternative hypothesis). I favor using objectives and questions. Hypothesis-formation is popular, but often hypotheses can often end up sounding rather contrived and robotic.

You should always be asking yourself questions about your own topic to refine it and check its feasibility. Some questions to think about with respect to this hypothetical bushfire topic may include: What is the importance of the problem, either academically within the existing literature, or practically with respect to local or regional environmental problems? Is bushfire intensity, in theory, a likely physical mechanism for explaining temporal and spatial variation in soil phosphorus mobility? Is it likely that the effects of bushfire intensity can actually be separated from the other numerous influences on phosphorus mobility using an appropriate research framework? Why study this at Mt Highup – is this area particularly affected by bushfires or phosphorus mobility, or does the area have favorable characteristics that enable a general research problem to be effectively studied and answered? Etc...

A summary of the existing research to provide a context for your own research

This is as revealed by a bibliography and brief literature review. Unlike for the thesis proper, this is not a full-blown review. It should concentrate on the major research papers that surround the topic. The review must show how the proposed research problem has emerged out of the existing literature, thereby pointing to the rationale for the study. The literature search itself, however, should be a comprehensive one, using the usual online databases, abstracting systems and research paper reference lists. It needs to be comprehensive to allow a thorough familiarization with the breadth and depth of the knowledge base for the topic. Also, you will make sure that no one has already researched your exact topic, although the chances of this are slight.

The types of data to be used

Unless your project does not need data, you will need to identify the sources and types of data needed to help answer the research problem. Fundamental questions need to be asked such as: What data are needed? Do the data already exist and can they be obtained? If so, what are their characteristics – data quality, resolution, precision, accuracy, coverage, age, etc? Are the characteristics suited to, and sufficient for, the study? Do data need to be collected? If so, what variables need to be measured? The data sources and characteristics need to be established early on, to identify the requirements of any new data to be generated, and to enable existing and new data to complement each other in terms of coverage, resolution, etc.

The methods and procedures to be employed to answer the original objectives

This includes a description of the broad research methodology, data collection procedures, experimental procedures, sampling strategies, and analysis framework. The methods need to enable you to address the research question(s), and you should critically discuss the range of methods available and justify those that you will use in preference to the others. Methods may be standards already established in the literature, or you may need to customize them for your particular study. Sampling strategies are important because they will constrain the nature and effectiveness of the data analysis and statistical methods used later in your project. In addition, you will waste time and effort if you over-sample, and will find out very little if you under-sample or sample in an ineffective or inappropriate manner.

The anticipated or expected (scientific) outcomes of the work

These outcomes are frequently phrased in terms such as: "The study will provide increased knowledge of the relationship between bushfire intensity and soil phosphorus mobility"; "The proposed research will lead to better understanding of the processes that cause phosphorus depletion in soils"; "The study will establish a methodological framework applicable to studies of soil phosphorus in tropical areas"; and "The work will generate a substantial database useful for soil management strategies in the Mt Highup area, and will provide a baseline against which future studies can compare" etc. Get the idea? Ideally your study should have several anticipated outcomes.

An action plan that shows project tasks

This is a chart or table showing activity over time. The different activities can overlap, i.e., you can do more than one thing at a time. You need to think about the various stages of your particular project, and impart some realism into the time frame, i.e., things always take longer to do than you anticipate. An outline example for an 18-month project could be:

Preliminary literature search Oct-Dec 2003

Proposal construction Nov-Dec 2003

Proposal revision Dec 2003

Pilot study fieldwork Jan 2004

Data collection and fieldwork Feb-May 2004

Write literature review May-Jul 2004

Data analysis Jun-Sep 2004

Write the thesis Oct 2004 – Feb/Mar 2005

Completion – hand in Mar 2005

Why is it?

The proposal, as a statement of research intent, is necessary to identify the research problem and the methods utilized to answer it. The proposal enables an appropriate framework to be set up to address a suitable research problem and provides a strategy for doing a thesis or dissertation. The proposal is a major part of the whole research project, and should not be seen as something to be skipped over. Investing time and effort at this stage is well worth it – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure later on when the shortcomings of a poor proposal are revealed months further into the project. The proposal allows weaknesses and deficiencies of the project to be identified and strengthened, and although unforeseen problems do arise during research, they should be less numerous and less serious if the proposal was well thought through.

The proposal should be developed with the guidance of your supervisors or advisors. At the proposal stage, other personnel are likely to be appointed to your supervision. Supervisory arrangements vary between countries, and between institutions and departments. The most common situations are the appointment of a second (assistant) supervisor, or the appointment of a thesis "committee" comprising 3 or more members. These people should have fields of interest that are related to your research, and may variously be academic members of your department, or of departments in allied disciplines within the university, or professionals from outside the university. An external assistant supervisor may be appointed if your project is part of a larger research program being conducted between academic members of your department and an associated industry or research organization.

Your research proposal would usually be submitted to your department for perusal and approval. They should consider the appropriateness of the topic and problem, the academic soundness of the proposal, the suitability of the methods, the realism of the action plan for the work, and the supervisory arrangements. The department (or a departmental sub-committee) may give outright approval of the proposed project, or give approval with comments and caveats, or give disapproval and ask for a substantially revised (or completely new) proposal. The suggestions and rulings of such a committee should be taken seriously, as you will be unable to undertake the proposed study without its approval. The scrutiny of your proposal by academic staff should reveal any shortcomings, risks or defective reasoning in your study, which if sorted out prior to the main project will increase its chances of being successfully completed. Successful completion is what both you and your department desire.

From  http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/writecenter/web/thesis.html

Thesis writing

by Craig Waddell

As far as I know, there's no etymological connection between thesis and Theseus, but there is a metaphoric one. Theseus, mythical hero of ancient Greece, found his way through the Cretan Labyrinth by following a thread. Likewise, a thesis allows both reader and writer to find their ways through a labyrinth of ideas by following a thread of thought. That is, a thesis crystallizes the controlling idea of an essay and, thus, helps us to keep track of that idea as it develops through the body of the text. If we were not able to formulate theses and to understand and evaluate the theses of others, we would be hopelessly lost amidst a maze of chaotic impressions, for there is no structure to experience exclend that imposed by the human mind.

When we formulate theses, we make experience comprehensible: we organize the chaos. As researchers, we begin to pick up facts and experiences that are relevant to our theses--just as magnets pick up iron filings--and we leave what is irrelevant behind. Thus, for both reader and writer, a thesis cuts through immense confusion to make one point perfectly clear. A good thesis, then, is essential to a well-written analytical essay, and at least four things are essential to a good thesis: it must be clearly defined, adequately focused, well supported, and relatively high in the orders of knowledge.

Defining Your Thesis
Like topic sentences, theses can be simple (stated explicitly, either in one sentence or in several consecutive sentences), delayed-completion (begun in one sentence and completed at some point later in the essay), assembled (scattered in bits and pieces throughout the essay), or inferred (never explicitly stated--left for the reader to surmise) (Braddock, 310-323). But however the thesis is presented, it should be clearly defined, or, in the case of an inferred thesis, clearly definable. Even if you have chosen to use a delayed-completion, assembled, or inferred thesis, you should be able to articulate that thesis in a simple, explicit statement.

Two things happen when you fail to define your thesis clearly:

  1. First, you don't know what you have committed yourself to--in fact, you may not have committed yourself to anything. As a result, your paper lacks unity. A unified essay is one in which all of your arguments, directly or indirectly, support your thesis. (Although good writers do acknowledge opposing points of view and may even concede a point here or there, they usually do so for rhetorical purposes--to enhance their own credibility by indicating that they are aware of and capable of responding to opposing views.) If you have not defined your thesis clearly, you will not know what your arguments should support. Consequently, you will ramble: some of your arguments will be irrelevant to any thesis your readers might infer; others will be contradictory. Whatever unity you achieve will be largely accidental.
  2. The second consequence of an inadequately defined thesis stems directly from the first: when you don't know what you have committed yourself to, your essay lacks unity, and your readers have no thread to help them find their way through your thoughts. As you ramble, your readers grope.

Focusing Your Thesis
A thesis can be clearly defined and still lead to a rambling essay if it is not adequately focused. A good thesis narrows your topic to an idea that you can successfully develop within the framework of your essay. From the general topic of health hazards, you might propose a thesis such as, "The average American is exposed to many health hazards." This thesis, though clearly defined, is so broad that you would never be able to cover it adequately in a short essay. You would wind up either jumping from one health hazard to another, discussing each only superficially, or zeroing in on one or two health hazards and, thus, failing to demonstrate your own thesis. A more narrowly focused thesis, such as "The Constitution of the United States should be amended to prohibit the production and sale of cigarettes," commits you to an idea that you can carefully analyze and defend in four or five pages.

Supporting Your Thesis
The third requirement of a good thesis, that it be well supported, might more properly be considered a requirement of the essay as a whole. In any case, if the essay is to be effective--if it is to persuade readers of your thesis, or at least of your credibility--you must provide arguments that are cogent and numerous enough to satisfy the critical reader, and you must go on to support these arguments with facts and examples.

Orders of Knowledge
The fourth requirement of a good thesis is that it be relatively high in the orders of knowledge. Benjamin Bloom divides cognitive skills into five basic categories and arranges those categories (in ascending order of complexity) into the following hierarchy: comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Bloom, 204-207). In a similar hierarchy, Mortimer Adler divides knowledge into three classes: statements of facts, statements about facts, and statements about statements (Adler, 222-224). If your thesis falls at the lowest level of either of these hierarchies, your paper will be nothing more than a report or a survey. This is fine if that's all you intend your paper to be. But if you intend your paper to be more than a report, you must develop a thesis that is more than a statement of fact.

For example, if your "thesis" is that "In experiments conducted by the American Cancer Institue, 70 percent of the rats subjected to cigarette smoke over a two-year period died of lung cancer," your paper can hardly develop into anything more than a report about the experiments and their results. However, if you draw some conclusion from this statement of fact and make that your thesis, you advance to Adler's second order of knowledge: statements about facts. At this level, your thesis might be "Scientific experiments suggest a close link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer," or a less cautious assertion, "Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer." With either of these theses, you have an argument on your hands. You have made a statement that is not entirely self-evident, one that will not be universally agreed with, one that you will have to defend. But if you risk one step further and make a statement about this statement, you generate the spark of a potentially informative, provocative, and animated essay. For example, building on the proposition that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, you might propose that the Constitution of the United States be amended to prohibit the production and sale of cigarettes.

Adler would classify theses of this order as statements about statements. As such, they not only encourage more stimulating essays, they also allow you to develop your essay logically by referring back to statements at the two lower levels: you present arguments (statements about facts) to support your thesis, and facts and examples (statements of fact) to support your arguments. For example, to support the thesis that the Constitution should be amended to prohibit the production and sale of cigarettes, you can draw upon the argument that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer; and to support this argument, you can draw upon the fact that in ACI experiments, 70 percent of the rats subjected to cigarette smoke died of lung cancer. Thus, theses that are statements about statements allow you to develop a layered effect that is impossible to achieve in a report or survey.

Tentative and Definitive Theses
Finally, there is an important distinction between a tentative and a definitive thesis. A tentative or working thesis is often valuable in the early stages of the writing process in that it guides your inquiry into your subject, suggesting questions, problems, and strategies. The best definitive theses, however, generally come late in the writing process. Hence, the writing process is not simply a means of codifying what you already know; it is a means of pushing beyond the commonplace, of exhausting the obvious, and of discovering what it is you ultimately want to say.

A good thesis, though essential to a good analytical essay, is not a panacea for sloppy exposition--there are scores of other things you must consider as you compose (such as style, syntax, organization, originality, punctuation, and diction). However, developing a thesis that is clearly expressed, adequately focused, well supported, and high in the orders of knowledge goes a long way toward ensuring the success of your essay.


  • Adler, Mortimer. Dialectic. London: Kegan Paul, 1927.
  • Bloom, Benjamin, ed. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Handbook I. New York: David McKay, 1956.
  • Braddock, Richard. "The Frequency and Placement of Topic Sentences in Expository Prose." The Writing Teacher's Sourcebook. Ed. Gary Tate and Edward P. J. Corbett. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.

From  http://www.cs.sjsu.edu/100w/html/literature_review.html

Table 1. Rubric for the Literature Review for Research Theory and Practice




Needs Improvement



=below 70%

Amount of Information

Information gathered from a wide variety of resources. Approaches to the problem explored from many perspectives.

Information gathered from several resources. Approaches to the problem explored from a few perspectives.

Information gathered using a few resources. Approaches to the problem explored from one or two perspectives.

Many resources for gathering information ignored. Many approaches ignored.


Information is organized coherently, presenting a well-reasoned argument that concludes with a recommendation for a future research strategy.

Information presents a coherent argument and concludes with a recommendation for future research.

Information presents a recommendation for a future research strategy but needs additional work on building an argument.

Information is disorganized, does not provide an argument that recommends a research strategy.

Quality of Information

Information clearly relates to the problem under consideration. It demonstrates thorough familiarity with multiple strategies for solving the problem and provides supporting detail.

Information clearly relates to the problem under consideration. It demonstrates some familiarity with the strategies for solving the problem and provides supporting detail.

Information clearly relates to the problem under consideration. It demonstrates some familiarity with the strategies for solving the problem, but it needs additional supporting detail.

Information does not clearly relate to the problem under consideration. It demonstrates an unfamiliarity with the strategies common to library science and lacks supporting detail

Use of Bibliographic database and Internet Resources

The search strategy described demonstrates the use of a wide variety of reference resources, including print, online, and general Internet resources appropriate for the problem under consideration.

The search strategy describe demonstrates the use of many reference resources, including print, online, and general Internet resources.

The search strategy described demonstrates the use of a few reference resources, including print, online, and general Internet resources.

The search strategy described demonstrates the use of an inadequate number of resources; it ignores the use of one of the following: print, online, or general Internet resources.


No grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. Sentences use Standard English. Paragraphs are well structured, and sections of the paper progress logically to a well-supported conclusion

Almost no grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. Sentences use Standard English. Most paragraphs are structured to carry the argument forward logically to the conclusion. The conclusion is generally supported by the rest of the paper.

A few grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. Some sentences include non-Standard English usage. Some paragraphs are not well-structured and do not carry the argument to the conclusion. The conclusion is marginally supported by the rest of the paper.

Many grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. Sentences include non-Standard English usage. Paragraphs include unrelated details and do not carry a coherent argument to the conclusion. The conclusion is not supported by the rest of the paper.


All sources are accurately and fully documented, organized alphabetically, and presented in APA style. The mechanics of that style are without error.

All sources are accurately and fully documented, organized alphabetically, and are presented in APA style. Only a few citations include mechanical errors.

All sources are accurately documented, organized alphabetically, and presented in APA style. Many citations include mechanical errors.

Some sources are not documented,  errors occur in alphabetization of the reference list, and many citations include mechanical errors.


Table 2. Assessment Rubric/Criteria for Literature Review

Criteria and qualities




Point Value

Introducing the idea: Problem statement

Neither implicit nor explicit reference is made to the topic that is to be examined.

Readers are aware of the overall problem, challenge, or topic that is to be examined. The topic is introduced, and groundwork is laid as to the direction of the report. Up to 10 points

Flow of the report

The report appears to have no direction, with subtopics appearing disjointed.

There is a basic flow from one section to the next, but not all sections or paragraphs follow in a natural or logical order. The report goes from general ideas to specific conclusions. Transitions tie sections together, as well as adjacent paragraphs. Up to 20 points

Coverage of content 

Major sections of pertinent content have been omitted or greatly run-on. The topic is of little significance to the educational/training field.

All major sections of the pertinent content are included, but not covered in as much depth, or as explicit, as expected. Significance to educational/training field is evident. The appropriate content in consideration is covered in depth without being redundant. Sources are cited when specific statements are made. Significance is unquestionable. The report is between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Up to 20 points

Clarity of writing and writing technique

It is hard to know what the writer is trying to express. Writing is convoluted. Misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and improper punctuation are evident.

Writing is generally clear, but unnecessary words are occasionally used. Meaning is sometimes hidden. Paragraph or sentence structure is too repetitive. Writing is crisp, clear, and succinct. The writer incorporates the active voice when appropriate. The use of pronouns, modifiers, parallel construction, and non-sexist language are appropriate. Up to 20 points

A synthesis of ideas and hypothesis or research question

There is no indication the author tried to synthesize the information or make a conclusion based on the literature under review. No hypothesis or research question is provided.

The author provides concluding remarks that show an analysis and synthesis of ideas occurred. Some of the conclusions, however, were not supported in the body of the report. The hypothesis or research question is stated. The author was able to make succinct and precise conclusions based on the review. Insights into the problem are appropriate. Conclusions and the hypothesis or research question are strongly supported in the report. Up to 10 points

Proper APA format

Citations for statements included in the report were not present, or references which were included were not found in the text.

Citations within the body of the report and a corresponding reference list were presented. Some formatting problems exist, or components were missing. All needed citations were included in the report. References matched the citations, and all were encoded in APA format. Up to 10 points


Material was submitted more than one class late.

Material was submitted up to one class late. Material is submitted on time. Up to 10 points

Academic Thesis Proofreading provides professional editing and proofreading services for graduate, undergraduate and international students. 

Strategies to Successfully Finish Your Dissertation

Strategies to Successfully Finish Your Dissertation   by Alison Miller, Ph.D.

 1. Develop and maintain a healthy relationship to your dissertation

  1. Be aware of and manage negative beliefs that contribute to feelings of inadequacy & procrastination.
    1. Graduate students often have negative thoughts such as, “I am not smart enough,” “I don’t have what it takes to do a dissertation,” “I am a fraud,” “The faculty made a mistake accepting me into this program,” “I am lazy,” or other thoughts about being inadequate in some way. Negative thoughts lead to a poor relationship to your dissertation and fuel procrastination.
    2. Remember that it is a normal part of being a graduate student to feel inadequate at times. All human beings have negative thoughts about themselves. Doing a dissertation is, by definition, a very challenging intellectual task that will elicit feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy.
    3. Learn to challenge negative thoughts. Ask yourself if they are really true? What evidence is there that they are not true? Learn to stop taking your negative thoughts so seriously. Just because you have a negative thought about yourself does not mean it is true!
  2. Create structure to break down your dissertation into small, specific pieces.

    It is important to find a way to stop relating to your dissertation as one, large entity (because that leads to feeling overwhelmed and inadequate). Use the timeline and action list structure (see attached handouts) as one possible way to alter your relationship to your dissertation.
    1. A timeline consists of breaking down your dissertation into major milestones over time. A milestone is a large chunk of your dissertation (e.g., a chapter, writing a section of your literature review, completing data collection, establishing a dissertation committee, obtaining IRB approval). See the attached examples of dissertation milestones. In any given week or month, you are working towards a set of milestones instead of working on your DISSERTATION as one, large entity. Make sure that your timeline is realistic. It can be challenging but it must also be realistic.
    2. If possible, share your timeline with your advisor to get his or her support and feedback on whether it is realistic.
    3. If you get off track from your timeline, REVISE IT! A timeline that is not based in reality will undermine you and contribute to avoidance and procrastination. Most people need to revise their timeline many times throughout the process of doing a dissertation.
    4. Once you’ve created a timeline, the next step is to make an action list each week where you break your milestones down into small, specific actions. An action should have a clear, specific beginning and an end.
    5. An action such as “read about social support theories” is not a specific action. It is vague and open-ended. But read Jones & Smith (1999) article on social support is a clear, specific action with a beginning and an end.
    6. If at any time, you get off track from your action list, REVISE IT!

    2.Create accountability

    1. Have someone else hold you accountable for what you say you are going to do

      This strategy can have a significant impact on the progress you make
      1. Ask a peer or friend (preferably not your spouse or significant other) to hold you accountable for what you say you are going to do. It is much easier to keep your word and do the actions on your action list if you’ve made a commitment to another person.
      2. Recognize that there may be times during the dissertation process when you need more accountability than others.
      3. Maintain weekly contact with someone else who is willing to hold you accountable for making progress.

    3.Elicit the support you need from others

    1. Social support
      1. Doing a dissertation is challenging and at times stressful. Having emotional support from friends and family can help you cope more effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask for the support you need.
    2. Instrumental support
      1. Ask for the intellectual support you need from your advisor, other faculty/chairpersons, peers, and colleagues. Many graduate students believe that they must do their dissertation alone and that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Yet, talking through the inevitable intellectual roadblocks in the dissertation process can help you maintain momentum, overcome roadblocks, and do better quality work. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid. You aren’t asking someone else to do your dissertation for you. Rather, you are asking for the support you need to do your best intellectual work.
      2. There are times during the dissertation process where you may need extra help with household chores, childcare, or other aspects of daily life. Ask for the help you need from friends and significant others.

    4. Engage in a regular practice of self-care

    1. Self-care is extremely important when you are in graduate school. You need and deserve to engage in pleasurable activities to restore yourself and sustain motivation. Give yourself permission to do things that you enjoy and find pleasurable. Self-care does not have to be elaborate and take a lot of time. Simple activities like taking a short walk, listening to music you enjoy, or even doing deep breathing are all acts of self-care.
    2. Avoid falling into the trap of telling yourself that you’ll take good care of yourself once you finish your dissertation. Stop putting your life on hold. ;
    3. The more that you use the timeline and action plan structure, the easier it will be to develop the ability to set aside time to take care of yourself.

    Example of a Dissertation Timeline (for a dissertation in clinical psychology)*

    June 24, 2002
    1) Research questions and measures given to advisor

    July 1, 2002
    1) IRB process and potential committee members discussed with advisor
    2) Feedback on research questions from advisor obtained
    3) Draft of model to be tested created

    July 15, 2002
    1) Literature review (reading) complete on maternal depression
    2) Participants and measures section of method written&

    August 1, 2002
    1) Section written on relationship between maternal depression & childhood/adolescent depression
    2) Committee established

    August 8, 2002
    1) Literature on developmental trajectories of depression in adolescents read

    August 20, 2002
    1) Section of development of depression in adolescents complete
    2) Study purpose and model revised and FINALIZED3) Meeting set up next week with stats person to review my ideas for analyses

    August 27, 2002
    1) Section of parenting (psych and behavioral control) written
    2) Internship interest letters written & sent out- determine more detailed list of sites
    3) Meeting with stats person from committee held4) Timeline Revised/Refined as needed

    September 4, 2002
    1) Section written on development of sexual behavior in adolescence
    2) Have read about structural equation modeling/regression models to determine what type of analyses are most appropriate for research questions
    3) Ideas for analysis on paper sketched out on paper
    4) Outline for peer influence and HIV risk/sexual risk-taking complete

    September 12, 2002
    1) Section written on relationship between depression and sexual risk-taking (in adolescence and/or adults)
    2) Another meeting with stats person held
    3) Full draft of participants, measures and procedure complete4) Meeting held with Advisor to review proposed analyses

    September 19, 2002
    1) Draft of section on peer factors and HIV risk written
    2) Introduction integrated, complete
    3) Intro and methods sent to Advisor

    October 1, 2002
    1) Proposed analyses section written and sent to Advisor
    2) Feedback received from Advisor
    3) First draft of internship essays complete
    4) All requests for letters of recommendation for internship made to faculty/supervisors

    October 10, 2002
    1) Feedback from Advisor etc. integrated
    2) Entire draft given to Advisor
    3) Feedback obtained on internship essays

    October 20, 2002
    1) Feedback received from Advisor etc.
    2) Tables, figures, references checked and finalized
    3) Internship essays revised and complete

    October 25th, 2002
    1) Internship applications complete and sent out for those with 11/1 deadline

    November 2, 2002
    1) Remaining internship applications complete and sent out for 11/15 deadline

    November 10, 2002
    1) Final feedback from Advisor integrated
    2) Proposal distributed to committee

    November 24, 2002
    Proposal defended!

    December 15th
    1) IRB forms submitted to university

    January 30th 2003
    1) Created dataset for my analyses (i.e., pulled out all of my relevant variables)
    2) Appropriate statistical program (e.g., Amos, LisRel) purchased
    3) IRB approved

    February 28th
    1) Descriptive analyses complete and written up

    March 28th
    1) First set of model analyses complete

    April 28th
    1) First pass of all analyses entirely complete
    2) Timeline Revised/Refined if necessary

    May 30th
    1) Draft of results section written
    2) Results section given to Advisor for feedback

    June 15th
    1) Outline for discussion complete

    July 1st
    1) Feedback received from Advisor on results section

    1) Draft of discussion complete
    2) Revisions made to results
    3) Revised results and draft of discussion given to Advisor again

    August 1st
    1) Feedback received from Advisor on discussion section

    August 23rd
    1) Revisions made to discussion
    2) Any additional revisions made to results
    3) Revised discussion sent to Advisor

    September 8th
    1) Feedback received from Advisor on discussion

    October 8th1
    1) Revisions/additions made to introduction
    2) Revisions/feedback integrated into discussion
    3) Entire dissertation given to Advisor for final feedback

    November 1st
    1) Feedback received from Advisor on entire draft

    November 15th
    1) Any final revisions to entire document made
    2) Dissertation distributed to committee members for review before defense meeting

    December 4th, 2003
    Dissertation Defended!

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Peace and survival of life on Earth as we know it are threatened by human activities that lack a commitment to humanitarian values.  Destruction of nature and natural resources results from ignorance, greed, and a lack of respect for the Earth's living things... .  It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past, which resulted from ignorance.  Today, however, we have access to more information, and it is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations.  Clearly this is a pivotal generation... .  Our marvels of science and technology are matched if not outweighed by many current tragedies, including human starvation in some parts of the world, and extinction of other life forms... .  We have the capability and responsibility.  We must act before it is too late.  Tenzin Gyatso the fourteenth Dalai Lama.