Do Not Write Another Word!

Before you look at your proposal again, make sure you have done these three things:

Get a template

Working on content in one section will spur new ideas.  When this happens, you will have a readily available holding place built right into your document.  Your institution should have templates that correspond to program evaluations, statements of original work, informed consent, and more.  Simply ask.  Better to spend your time researching and writing than formatting a Word doc!  Your adviser will also appreciate a minimum number of formatting revisions.  If you are unable to get a template, be sure to copy the headings into your document ahead of time according to your University’s style guide.


Find other proposals under your adviser

Examine several proposals your adviser has approved recently.  It’s also a good idea to find out the area of study and research that informs his or her work.  For example, if your adviser favors the constructivist theory of education, start finding resources and pepper your work with citations from Dewey, Vygotsky, Piaget, and Bruner.  You can find out what theories inform your adviser’s work by looking into what he or she has published, taught, or simply asking.  Ask questions about, published works, and for copies of approved dissertations.  Often, this information is also available in a searchable University database.


Find other proposals and literature in your research area

Scholars have gone before you and done similar work; it is likely you are adding to a body of literature.  Reading that literature closely and identifying research questions, evaluation models, and methodologies will minimize the stress of the blank white document and re-inventing the wheel.  All the better if you find work published from your University.   It will also help to organize a good starting list of references.  You will add to this list as you progress in your research and writing, but a good file, whether hard copy or electronic, will have you ahead of the game.


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