The main purpose of a structural engineering dissertation proposal is to show your graduate advisor that you have a research question that is worth studying in depth as well as making the case that you are in a good position to pursue that question in depth. The following provides you with the key to composing a great proposal for an engineering dissertation that is sure to receive approval.
In your proposal you should demonstrate the following: 1) it should have a delimited and defined research question; 2) it should describe the question’s importance to any reasonably intelligent person who isn’t already familiar with the topic; and 3) it should include a testable hypothesis (thesis) and a detailed method for testing it.
While it’s a good idea to research a topic that you already have an understanding of, you shouldn’t work on something that you can already speak deeply on. The point of the engineering management dissertation is to challenge your academic abilities and to add to the field of study. So, naturally, there should be a gap in the discussion as well as in your own knowledge.
Even if you have not read everything there is to read on your topic, you should demonstrate that you have spent ample time searching for the available literature and have learned enough about those works to warrant a need to study your topic in depth. A literature review is also helpful to your advisor, as he or she can offer up some great recommendations for additional literature to review.
Finally, your proposal has some basic questions that you should address directly. These are: 1) What specific problem are you trying to answer; 2) Why is this particular problem so important to solve; 3) Where are you going to find your research materials; and 4) Why did you choose these research materials? These questions don’t need be listed out in a particular order, but following the above structure is recommended if you want to keep things simple and easy to follow.
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