Photo Credits

Header photo (right):
Credit: Laura Lartigue, Courtesy of Photoshare
Caption: The International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), an USAID-sponsored non-governmental organization is bringing citizens into the political dialogue through a nationwide civil society strengthening program. In this photo, taken in Bokariah village, Guinea, an IFES field agent explains to villagers how their tax money can be used to pay for community projects, like the construction of bridges or schools. Bokariah, Guinea.

Header photo (left):
Credit: © 2007 Sudipto Das, Courtesy of Photoshare
Caption: A farmer and his family members plow the land in a village in West Midnapore, West Bengal, India

Research Proposal

In short, the proposal must state what the research aims to investigate and how the work will be conducted. After completing the coursework in the Final Program of Study, the student will finalize the research proposal. Every student, prior to undertaking dissertation research, must provide the advisor and committee and the Program Chair with a written research proposal. In most cases this will be the same proposal presented at the time of admission but substantially refined and elaborated. The committee must approve the proposal prior to or during the semester in which the student takes the preliminary examination and before the fieldwork is carried out. Fieldwork in the proposed area of development work is required. The advisor should forward a copy of the approved proposal to the Program Office prior to the prelim exam warrant being filed with the Graduate School.

The proposal is defended before the student's committee and should include the following:

  • description of the problem to be studied, including hypotheses and/or researchable questions, together with reference to the body of literature and/or field observations from which the problem has been drawn;
  • location(s) where the work is to be carried out;
  • variables or themes to be analyzed;
  • description of the methods to be used in gathering and testing the data;
  • support, contacts and other arrangements made or planned in order to conduct the research.