A PhD programme, by and large has three official milestones to accomplish. They can be largely split into:
- Clearing course work exams
- Thesis proposal
- Defence of thesis
Though all three of them are equally crucial for acquiring the PhD degree, the most tricky and challenging among the three is the thesis proposal. When I talk of the first milestone which is qualifying exams, the same techniques used during exams in undergrad school may work. The third milestone, though is rigorous, but is a actually, nothing more than a rigorous formality. I say this because I think no supervisor would let his/her scholars face the defence committee unless he is sure of clearance. But the second stage, which is the thesis proposal stage, is a stage that somehow, never ever passes through without required modifications and objections.
It is often observed that students turn around the relevance of proposal and defence and become more vary of the defence as compared to the thesis proposal. Do not take the proposal as a formality and the defence as a challenge. Like I said, it is a big mistake and it works the other way round.
The supervisors are very clear in their mind that the thesis proposals are no less than contracts. They sign off a proposal with a contractual perspective and with that vision always ensure that your thesis proposal should have two main ingredients. A clear definition of your research and a very precise plan in order to demonstrate that plan in your thesis in due course of time is imperative to be added.
For those who are at this stage of preparing a thesis proposal should remember that it is an opportunity for them to actually get a security from your supervisor by agreeing on your plan of action. Few scholars actually make use of this opportunity. There may be various sources where you can find tips to write an effective proposal.
I will surely focus on that in the forthcoming blogs. Till then, happy working!!