Common errors in writing PhD problem statement for research proposal

Here are some common errors PhD scholars make in submitting draft of their problem statement for starting their PhD program – 

  • Failing to get the point. Avoid tedious length in introducing the study. The reader wants to know what your study is about.
  • Making the reader believe that we already know the answer . If we know it , then we don’t need to study it.
  • Covering extraneous issues ,whether interesting or not . These are “rabbit runs” – interesting but irrelevant to the topic . Resist the temptation to share with the reader the volume of interesting but irrelevant information you accumulated .
  • Being inconsistent. The problem should be clearly and logically related to the purpose statement and research questions .
  • Stating what we should do rather than what we want to know. Such phrases as “ we must …,” “we should…,” and “it is imperative that …..” belong in a position paper . In short, stay off a soap box .
  • Writing in “ dissertations” rather than in English. This causes your writing to be stilted, awkward, and artificial . Just say what you mean in natural phrases 
  • Using unnecessary technical language and Jargon. This keeps the reader from understanding the main Idea of what you are trying to say.
  • Using extensive quotations and references.These get in the way of the logical flow of ideas.
  • Using abstruse arguments. Refrain from making points that are unclear or difficult to understand. Write in a clear, simple , and straightforward manner.
  • Engaging in personal reflections or editorializing.
  • Making unsupported claims or statements. The problem must be written in the context of theory and relevant literature.
  • Using disjointed recitation of the studies cited. You create the line of logic and use literature citations to substantiate your points.   

The opening sentences of your research proposal should be approached thoughtfully and carefully, for this is the place to lose or win your audience.Therefore, introduce your topic in a way that engages readers – that captures their interest and makes them want to continue reading . Creswell(2008) called these opening lines the “narrative hook”, a term he claimed is “drawn from english composition , meaning words that serve to draw , engage ,or hook the reader into the study”. A convincing narrative hook , according to creswell (2005) , could include the following :

  1. Statistical data ( e.g., “ more than 50 percent of adult population experiences depression today.”)
  2. A provocative question (e.g., “ why are school policies that ban smoking in high schools not being enforced?”)
  3. A clear need for research (e.g., “school suspension is drawing increased attention among scholars in teacher education .”) 

There are possibilities for introducing your study ; the main thing to remember is to begin in an engaging manner that will interest your audience so they keep on reading.  

Master The Art of Writing a Persuasive PhD Proposal

PhD research proposals are submitted to a research committee or the chair with an attempt to persuade them into believing that accepting it will benefit the institution as well as academia. However, the question is how to introduce persuasive techniques into your PhD proposal writing so as to make it eloquent and approval-ready.

When it comes to the approval of a research proposal, the first thing that your research board will perceive is how cogently you have made arguments to convince them. Making persuasive arguments to a proposal is undoubtedly critical, but your tone, confidence, knowledge and above all, evidence or proofs will make your job easy.

Here are some useful tips to follow while writing your proposal:

  1. Use a Confident Tone

As long as your voice is clear, there are fewer chances of doubts that a research board may have while evaluating your proposal. It should be self-evident enough to convince your committee that you have a worthwhile research project.

For instance, if your proposal topic is Govt initiatives and policies for solar power generation, you will cover all factors that would have a significant impact on policies such as total power consumption in states, resources, funds etc.

  1. Make Your Proposal Appealing to Research Committee

Having said earlier, the implicit notion in the proposal is that accepting it will be an advantage to your university or institution. Therefore, your proposal should clearly demonstrate how it is going to benefit the society, institution and other scholars. However, these benefits can be either short-term or long-term or both.

  1. Prove Why Your Proposal is Worth ‘Funding’

If you prove that the cost incurred in funding your proposal will give benefit, there are wider chances of selection of your proposal. PhD proposal writing is at times, solely dependent on the funding approvals of committees.

  1. Argue Down that Your Proposal is ‘Better’

You have to prove that your proposal is better than others in the field. For this purpose, you have to show that what other researches missed out, and how your proposed research will fill in those research gaps. Which aspects were failed to be chosen that could benefit your university, college and society, if considered.

Summing up

A cogent proposal works like an advertisement that blows away the audience by overcoming doubts in minds. If you follow aforementioned tips, you will be able to write a compelling proposal.