How is a Proposal for Term paper evaluated for Master’s/ Graduate Level?

Gloria Hamilton 19/11/10 1:25 PM

When you submit your proposal for approval, the question your instructor and others will be asking is: “do I think this student can meet the requirements of a Master’s or graduate term paper/ dissertation, based on what I am reading in the proposal?” This section is aimed at helping you understand how you can ensure that the answer to that question is “yes”.

A proposal should first of all fulfill the requirements listed in the document “what constitutes a quality dissertation proposal”. This section should thus be studied with great care. The following are additional comments that I have gathered during the evaluation of many proposals.

The first stage in evaluating a proposal is to determine whether the proposal as a whole conforms to the requirements of the module. After the proposal has passed this initial scrutiny, the next step is to evaluate the proposal section by section and consider its merits.

The first question your teacher will be asking is: does the document propose a scope of work that is more than simply a consulting report? I have seen many dissertations which, although professionally done, merely analyze an aspect of an organization’s work and present recommendations. Undoubtedly useful for the organization concerned, such an approach does not fulfill the requirements of a Master’s dissertation and is likely to fail. It is extremely important that your proposal indicates how your work will contribute to knowledge in your chosen field and meets the research requirements specified in your training and in the guidelines for the dissertation.

A second problem encountered frequently in the proposal stage is the choice of a technically specialized, rather than a management, subject because it depends upon your major subject. As an example, choosing to describe the specification needed for the implementation of a company – wide ERP system will not be acceptable; evaluating the impact of such a system on its end users, or the way senior managers “fit” such a system or not to the organization’s strategic objectives, will work (everything else being equal).
A third issue which you would do well to address is to present your proposal in a professional manner. Make sure that you have followed the prescribed format, that the document is formatted correctly, and – most importantly – that you have referenced your work correctly, using our prescribed Harvard format. We have articles on citation for you!

Please note that composing a proposal is not a sequential, bottom up, process but rather an iterative one. When following the different stages of the project of this training remember to set aside time for the iterative process as there are many interconnections between the various sections (e.g. initial literature review and design / evaluation sections, etc.). While the initial ideas at a certain stage appear all right, at later stages one may need to consider a change in orientation. For example, during the initial literature review it will be helpful to continuously examine “what’s has been tried” and that it is OK to adjust as you go along.

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