How To Write a Prospectus For a Dissertation

What is a prospectus?

Before you get to understand how to write a good prospectus its good if you understand the meaning of prospectus. A prospectus is more or less a document which explains a solution to a specific problem and a detailed step by step explanation on how the solution was arrived at by the person undertaking the research work.

It may be termed as a research proposal and has to specify a unique problem which has not been explored by any other person and should be socially beneficial for all people.

How to write a prospectus

Before beginning to write a prospectus, it is important to take note of the following;

  • Decide on your topic- a prospectus as mentioned earlier should give a solution to a specific problem which, in essence, affects quite some people if not everyone. Hence your prospectus should essentially answer a specific question, and this will give you the topic of your prospectus and give you direction on what you are going to write about and how you are going to put it down. Ensure that your topic is not as broad as a whole subject but just a section of the whole subject.
  • Research on the topic- although the question you are going to answer is peculiarly different from what other people have already worked on, it must be of the same subject as what has already been worked on which may shed some light on the topic you are working on. You may find articles that are closely similar to the one you are working on or that is in the same subject as yours. For example, if your proposal is on business but more specifically on importing and exporting, you will find other business articles and others that are about the import and export market. These will help you stay on track and give you very clear pointers to what is expected. For example, incorporation of technology in medical record keeping.
  • Enumerate the main questions that your prospect is aimed at answering- helps you to stay on course when writing you proposal as these are the problems you seek to answer in your proposal. The questions are distinct depending on the type of research proposal you are working on such a dissertation proposal will focus more on justifying the questions put forward and explaining these questions, in some other prospectus especially the short ones, they may be just a simple list of questions.

 For example:

  1. What are the benefits of incorporating technology into health record keeping?
  2. What ways can technology be incorporated into the health record keeping process effectively?
  • What stands out in your work? This a very important question that every prospectus writer should keep in mind when deciding what to write about and work on. This is important as you are required to focus on the factor that unique between your work and what other people have worked on. Remember that it is this uniqueness that will guarantee the acceptance of your work by your advisors and the hard to please committee members mandated to listen to your idea. This is very important especially when you are requesting for funds from a target and interested companies to enable you to work on your chosen topic.
  • The sources you are going to use- even with a clear objective of the topic you are going to work on, it is not possible to come up with the contents of your prospectus on your own. Hence, it is necessary for you to select a wide selection of books, articles, manuscripts and any other write up that will enable you to come up with a credible write-up. Thinking and coming up with the whole content on your own will leave you stressful and may even make you give up on your topic of interest.
  • Whose story are you going to tell? After selecting your desired problem, you have to now carefully select the characters in your story especially the protagonist who has to be unique from all others amidst the similarity in the story theme with that of already finished works. This will help you identify how you are going to plot your story and build your story.
  • Consider how you are going to tell your story- you should decide the plot of your story and the themes you are going to expound on or that which your story is going to be centered upon, each chapter has to build on a specific theme to make the story flow well. Remember that you have to maintain a good and clear flow of ideas.
  • Design your timeframe- working with a clear timeline is essential in ensuring that you complete your research well before the stipulated time and enable you to do the same unruly hence minimize the number of mistakes you are likely to make and give you time to keenly proofread your write up.
  • Create a workable budget for your research work-  a research work, most definitely, is accompanied by costs for equipment and data collection from different sources among other things that you may be required to purchase during your research work.
  • Once you have carefully considered all these points, you are more than ready to get your idea on paper, and the results will most assuredly be awesome and much more rewarding but only if you put in all your mind and heart to your work. It’s a matter of hard work, precision, assertiveness, and dedication towards achieving your goal.

Some important prospectus writing tips

Here are some important writing tips to get you started on putting that brilliant idea into good use.

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  • Consider the topic you have chosen- it is important that you stay on course and focus on that specific problem or rather question that you are bound to answering. The themes or chronological order of events that you have chosen to work within your prospectus should be what you will follow to ensure that there is a systematic order of events hence a smooth flow of ideas and in turn, easier reading and comprehension of your document. Moreover, the topic you choose should be one that you are most comfortable in and will engage your thoughts effectively.
  • Formatting- human is to err, and no matter how advanced you are in the field you are working on, or how confident you are with yourself and your work, you are bound to make mistakes. Thus, it is prudent to take your time and go through your work over and over again before submitting it. You may even choose a trustworthy person to give you a second opinion.

Here are some important formatting rules:

  • Go through the guidelines provided by your advisor to ensure that your research has captured all the areas outlined.
  • Format your work just like you would any type of research paper- standard font should be used that is visible, use one-inch margins and double-spaced text. If there are any formatting specification given by the advisor, follow these specifications to the latter.
  • Precision and accuracy- avoid unnecessary grammatical and sentence structure errors that you can easily avoid. Also, ensure that the sources you choose to derive your content from are credible to ensure accuracy in your story or write up.
  • Keep in mind the audience that your write up will be directed to the beginning with your advisors to the committee members. Make the content as comprehensive as possible to the target audience get your whole idea.
  • Ensure that your story is as realistic and believable as possible so that even convincing the committee members will be such a walk in the park.
  • Allow your ideas to flow without any hindrance or holding back to give you a wide scope of content for your prospectus. Do not be afraid of pouring out your heart and mind as there is room for formatting to erase anything that is irrelevant and out of context.
  • Make your prospectus as interesting as it can be. Play around with words, include ideologies where necessary, questions that will prompt the audience to ponder on what you have written, rhetorical questions and many more. However, you should be careful not to overdo it to so much so that your story loses focus on the main theme and objective it was intended for.
  • Originality is key in a prospectus, and there should be a clear margin of difference between that which you are researching on and what other researchers’ in your field have already done.

Prospectus writing format – how to apply it

Just like any other important document, the contents of a prospectus should be written in a systematic outline. The order of the prospectus should be as follows:

  • The topic of your prospectus- this is basically what the document is all about. In longer research proposals, you may have to give a brief outline of the topic you have chosen to write on whereas, in shorter proposals such as those of undergraduates, it is not necessary to include this section.
  • The questions that your prospectus is aimed at answering or rather the problems that you are aimed at solving through your work. As mentioned the type of questions and whether or not you will explain or elaborate them depends on the kind of research proposal you are working on.
  • Impact of the answers to the questions you have identified- for a prospectus to be easily accepted by the people and most importantly by interested parties, especially in the case of the dissertation prospectus, its importance to improving the field and even people’s lives should be clearly outlined and hence the importance of this section. Also, you should be careful to state something that is attainable, and that can be scientifically supported by facts or other preliminary research works on the topic.
  • The next section should involve detailed and clearly stated means by which your research will be able to answer the stated questions or problems. This section carries the weight and should be done with much thought and consideration of the topic and the questions you are looking forward to answering.
  • Your qualifications and interests- this is a small but rather important section of your prospectus where you should give a summary of your knowledge, commitment and drive towards the chosen topic. This section is very important especially when you are presenting your work to get grants or funds to complete your work hence it is your opportunity to build quite an impressive reputation. In some prospectus, it may be necessary also to include how you will access sources of information.
  • Create a plot or draft of the chapters that your research is going to include- this may change in the course of your research but will give you clear guidance on the order of chapters so just create a draft to get you started.
  • Divide your work into sections- this is mainly applicable in scientific research papers where you have to follow a specific procedure from the methodology, experiment, data collection, data analysis and interpretation which have to be indicated in the research proposal.
  • Table of contents- this section enumerates the research paper chapters and give the pages of each of the subtopic to enable easier navigation through your research paper and gives an idea of how long the paper is.
  • Bibliography- this is a list of all the sources that you derived your content. It should include: the author’s name, title, edition, year of publication and the page from which you derived your content.

There you have it! With these simple steps, you will get your research paper done within no time. Just put your thoughts together and start writing.