n Journal of Public Administration - Writing research proposals for theses and dissertations in Public Administration : problematic aspects of foundational skills

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This article focuses on the challenges associated with those foundational skills that are crucial in the initial phase of writing and submitting a research proposal for masters' and doctoral degrees at universities. A brief outline is provided of the meaning of the concepts "research proposal", "thesis" and "dissertation", as well as of what a research proposal should ideally contain. Problems associated with the contents, writing and presentation of proposals are discussed, particularly with regard to the lack of skills in research design. It also briefly deals with the role of universities in assisting students with preparing research proposals. The article concludes by examining the implications for research of a more original nature on doctoral level, if the necessary skills are not adequately acquired on masters' degree level.

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