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New book guides grad students through dissertation proposal

November 05, 2013

A major milestone for doctoral studies in any field is successful defense of a dissertation proposal. 

A newly published text by ASU professor Elizabeth Wentz teaches specific skills on how to accomplish this first step in the journey toward the completion of a graduate degree. As well as being a professor of geography, Wentz is director of the School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning.

In the book’s preface, Wentz explains, “This book is different from others on writing research proposals because of the activities I advise you to do.” Each chapter includes short- and medium-length activities that help build the pieces of a research proposal. The text teaches specific skills on how to conceptualize, design and write the proposal, as well as how to present it. It also addresses topics such as ethical scientific research, developing curriculum vitae and effective reading and writing.

The text developed from Wentz’s experience co-instructing the graduate research design and proposal writing course taken by all ASU geography graduate and planning doctoral students, GCU 585 and PUP 724. She found that while a number of textbooks provided guidance on what to include in a proposal, there was a lack of resources to support how to design and write the proposal. 

Designed primarily for quantitative or mixed methods research dissertations, the book can apply to research in a wide variety of fields. 

“The activities to help students conceptualize the major elements of an effective proposal will be well received by graduate students at the master’s and doctoral levels,” says David Brown, professor of Early Childhood Education at Texas A&M University.

The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.