I got the feedback on my research proposal today, and thankfully, I now have the green light to proceed with my Dissertation. I must confess, for the most part, getting to the stage of submission was like moving through a maze. The following step-by-step guide might help fellow Distance Learners approaching that stage of their studies make better time than I did.
1. Start thinking about a topic NOW…….Right NOW, irrespective of what stage your at with your studies, or at least have a general idea where you want to focus. This makes things a lot easier as the Research proposal stage draws closer.
2. Go through at least the first 5 Modules of the Research Methods Course Material to guide you in the process of developing your Topic and Research Questions.
3. Download the “Dissertation Guidelines” PDF from the Research Proposal Course site on Blackboard and follow instructions precisely. Don’t read between the lines.
4. When you have identified the general area or topic where you plan on focusing, read the relevant literature in that area.This is very important. I learnt the hard way. It will bring greater clarity and focus and prepare you for the inevitable interaction with a Supervisor on Blackboard.
5. On the Research Methods Course site on Blackboard, AFTER you have read up some of the literature and have a topic ready you can then start corresponding with a Supervisor. To know who your Supervisor is, under the general area of your topic, start a discussion with the Supervisor whom the first letter of your Surname falls under. Introduce your topic and research question. The Supervisor will respond at most within a period of 3 working days with advise and corrections. You can also book a meeting with your Supervisor if it is necessary. There is a portal for this on the site.
5. After you have agreed broadly on the research topic and research questions with your Supervisor on Blackboard, you can then apply for Ethical Approval.
6. Once you have Ethical Approval you can then complete and submit your Research Proposal.
Of course, these are subject to changes that could come up at anytime. Happy Studying.