Ph.D. Dissertation Prospectus: Guidelines for Style and Content

1.    Cover Page

List the following:

  • Proposed title
  • Your name
  • Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies
  • Names of the supervisory committee with a place for their approval signatures and the signature of the candidate
  • Submission date

2.    Table of Contents

Develop the Table of Contents as a broad descriptive outline of the work to be done, indicating the major dimensions of the topic. Your chapter outline should include at least two major headings (chapter title and first-level heading).

3.    Abstract

Compose a one page (250-300 words) summary describing the critical issues in your proposal.

4.  The Research Problem

Clearly state the research problem, which must be of significant interest to you personally, acceptable to your advisor, important to the discipline of translation studies or language informatics, and feasible given your material, time frame, and intellectual resources. Begin this section with a brief statement of the problem.

5. Significance

Clearly indicate the importance of the research problem to translation studies and/or language informatics as a discipline and support your position. Demonstrate how your proposed research addresses this significant problem. Why does it matter that this research be undertaken?

Note: DO NOT create a separate literature review. Incorporate your analysis of the specific contributions or shortcomings of particular items throughout your presentation. The relevant literature should be cited where appropriate in each of the sections on the research problem, significance, and model.

5a. The Model or Conceptual Framework or Theoretical Orientation

Model, conceptual framework, and theoretical orientation are terms that suggest the importance of developing or adopting a set of logically related abstract ideas that are central to your research problem. The principal issues here are the phenomena you propose to analyze and the justification for studying them. Define your key terms and relationships in the context of your presentation.

5b. Hypothesis

If your dissertation is empirical, include a sub-section where you explain what the specific "testable" argument is.

6.    Methodology/Procedure

Some empirical studies and some language informatics projects may require a more formal annotation of your model, reflecting standard conventions in the relevant sub-discipline (e.g., outline of human research procedures, formalized project plan). Where relevant, include the following items:

  • the unit of analysis/observation
  • experimental protocols if any
  • the data collection instruments and/or data sources
  • the sampling strategy, if appropriate
  • the analytical technique, including statistical techniques, if appropriate

7.    References

The purpose of the reference section is to identify those works that are central for your problem. At this stage of your research, you may list reference items that are not included as citations in the text of your paper. The References section of the final version of the dissertation, however, should include only reference items that are actually cited in the body of the work.

8.  Length

 15-20 pages, plus references.

8.   Timetable

Prepare a table that specifies each stage of your work and the expected completion date. Obviously this can only be a "best guess"

9.   Style guide

Prepare the Prospectus according to the "Kent State University College of Arts and Sciences Style Guide and Instructions for Typing Thesis and Dissertation", which is available here.