[This template is developed by me, Dr S A Hamed Hosseini, as a suggestive template and is under my copy right, It is not yet adopted by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UoN, for every candidate. I therefore recommend this to those who are doing their PhD research project with me as their supervisor. Others are welcome to use the template only after seeking my consent]
Title Page (including your name, student number, Title of thesis, confirmation date)
Table of Contents
Glossary of Terms (if necessary)
Chapter 1 – Background Chapter (around 20 pages in the final draft)
- The social issue/problem and its importance (What is the social problem/topic you want to study, and Why it is important to study the topic/problem; here you can talk a bit about the background and context to clarify the issue and justify the problem, what makes your study different or unique compared to others; of course you later in this document expand all of these)
- Aims: What are the aims of your study (This study aims to explore, to examine, to investigate …)
- Research Question(s): the aims formulated into major research questions (you need a how question like how single parenthood is viewed by the public in …. and you need a why question like what sociological and/or social psychological factors determine the public’s perception of single parenthood)
- Social Context: introduce the social context in which this study is going to happen, you do not need to describe the context in terms of every detailed geographical or demographic or cultural features. Present only those aspect of the context that are relevant to the topic and help the readers understand the importance of studying the topic in this context; avoid referring to theories in this stage, and avoid using generalized stereotypical (orientalist) descriptions of the society. Refer to facts and figures about those aspects of the context that are directly relevant to the topic and those aspects that are indirectly relevant but require you to clarify their relevance.
Chapter 2 – Critical Literature Review (about 30 pages in the final draft)
2.1. Studies of the problem/issue in a broader context (review only the major ones that have studies the subject directly); describe, evaluate and compare them in terms of three main components: their findings, their method, and their theoretical perspective (what are the strengths and weaknesses)
2.2. Studies of the problem/issue inside the given context; describe, evaluate and compare them in terms of three main components: their findings, their method, and their theoretical perspective (what are the strengths and weaknesses)
2.3. Gaps in the literature: What do we learn from the literature, what are the gaps in the literature (especially in the given context); what aspects of the study has not been addressed adequately and what questions are not answered sufficiently by the literature, and how is your study going to fill in the gap?
Chapter 3- Theory and Method (about 30-40 pages in the final draft)
How are you going to answer your Research Question(s)? Explain how the theories and methods already used in the literature (as reviewed in previous chapter) can help you study the topic; if you cannot employ all of them, then which one you choose and why? If there are theories and methods not already used in the literature then you need to mention them here under a new section and explain why and how you want to employ them. Here you can claim novelty about your project and mention it in the first chapter too. Some researchers may decide to examine the applicability of an important theory and discuss the implications of their findings for reforming the theory.
Chapter 4- Research Design/outline (about 10-15 pages)
This will be a summary of your research plan/proposal and includes the following sections not more than a paragraph:
- Project description (this project is an investigation into …. Using …. as its theoretical approach and …. as its methodological approach ….
- Aims (the aim of this study is to explore … and examine ….)
- Research question(s): (1) (2) ….
- Chapter plan (list the chapters in your prospective thesis draft)
- Timetable for completion of thesis (after the confirmation approval); divided between years and months (be realistic)
- Fieldwork budget (Flights? Accommodation? Living expenses per diem, ground transport, and the costs associated with the collection of data such as translation, transcription, etc.)
- Data collection schedule (how many interviews in how many days/weeks, focus group? Survey? When and where?)
Bibliography (including references that you may later use but not necessarily referenced in this document)
Appendices (if relevant)
- Interview plan/questions (provisional)
- Survey questionnaire (provisional)
- Focus group discussion schedule (provisional)
- Observation plan (provisional)