Once my mentor approves my proposal, what next?

by | April 30, 2012

Podcast Description: The journey toward getting your mentor to approve your proposal is sometimes a lengthy one. You want to keep your eye on the steps that follow it.

Transcript: The following presentation is a production of Capella University and is not intended for commercial use. Welcome to another topic in a series of podcasts regarding aspects of the comprehensive exam and dissertation process.

Once your mentor approves your dissertation proposal, also known as the first three chapters of your dissertation, then you will move on to the next step in the process—committee approval of your proposal. This podcast explains what happens during this next stage of the dissertation writing process.

Some mentors might have had committee members involved in the proposal fairly early in the process and some mentors might not bring the committee in until the mentor has approved the proposal. No matter which way your mentor works, the next step after mentor approval is to seek committee approval. Committees in each of the schools are structured to provide another set of eyes and expertise. Committee feedback helps to ensure a stronger proposal.

The mentor should deliver a copy of the approved proposal to the committee members with a deadline of up to two weeks to review and provide feedback. Committee members will reach a consensus (which might take more than two weeks) and provide essential feedback.

Meanwhile, you should continue to work on your dissertation. For example, proofread and edit your three chapters and then begin working on your IRB application. Remember that your proposal will need to include all of the same information about your study that your IRB application will contain. Use the resources on the Research Center site to help you understand what items your IRB application will contain. Your proposed research might very well require the completion of a number of supplemental forms, permission from your proposed research site, the consent forms for participants, the advertisements for finding your participants, the permission to use a particular instrument and a whole host of other information that you will have to provide.

Committees might send the proposal back for more work if they are not seeing that your proposed research design answers your research questions, or if they think that your literature review does not supply the breadth and depth necessary to support your topic. They should not sign off on a proposal until they are quite certain it is likely to be successful at the next review step.

Keep in mind: all of those who are reviewing your proposal are looking for a complete proposal package. It should include a strong introduction, a thorough literature review and a detailed research design. It should be well written, contain citations where appropriate, and follow APA style. The proposal, once it has been approved at all the levels of review, provides the important foundation for your study and the last two chapters.

Remember, you bring unique circumstances to your doctoral journey. Follow up with your doctoral advisor for clarification and additional information about the dissertation process.

This presentation has been brought to you by Capella University and may not be re-transmitted or used for any commercial purpose without the expressed written consent of Capella University.

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