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Dissertation Planning

The Essential Foundation

Knowing clearly what your research question will be is the essential foundation that will guide your literature search, the selection of a model and/or methodology, your research and data collection, and finally your writing. While you may refine your question over the course of things, it is impossible to write a good dissertaion without a clear research question (or thesis statement).

Before getting too far into things you should:

  • Define a specific issue to investigate
    • It must be unique yet manageable
  • Write your issue as a complete question or statement
  • Consider what the research will be carried out on
    • For humanities research, what primary documents or objects will you be analyzing?
    • For social scientists, what population will you be working with?
    • For scientists, what exact and measurable phenomena will you examine?
  • Make sure that the issue can be addressed with the resources you can reasonably get!

You will redefine as you find things that fit your needs better, but starting with a specific question or statement is the best way to lay a good foundation for any research.

Research Question Tips