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FSS – Proposal Design and Writing

FSS – Proposal Design and Writing

This course is aimed to support the PhD candidates in writing their problem statement, formulating their research question, reviewing, and evaluating the literature, and determining appropriate methodology for their research project. During the course, the PhD candidates specify the research plan of their PhD project, and work on their go/no-go assignment. The course will teach them to position their research vis-à-vis an established body of literature, identifying gaps in the literature, and innovations in their own research.

dr. C. van Dullemen

dr. C. van Dullemen

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Portrait of dr. Caroline van Dullemen

Course Description

Course objectives

The course aims to facilitate a proper start of the project and complements the regular PhD supervision. By the end of this course, the participants (1) have reviewed the existing literature on their research problem; (2) have discussed alternative theoretical approaches; (3) have developed the best research approach for their dissertation research; (4) have explored alternative research approaches; (5) have identified potential problems and disadvantages with their methodology, and resolved them as much as possible; (6) have considered the ethical dilemmas that may arise during their research, and have elaborated on this in an ethics statement; (6) have written a research plan or research proposal for their PhD dissertation conforming to quality standards as required by VU-GSSS.

Course content

The participants in this course develop a research proposal over the course of four meetings: 

1. The participants develop a clear and concise problem statement, emphasizing its social-scientific relevance. Participants discuss the elements of a proposal and consider epistemological engagements. 

2. The participants formulate and sharpen their research question. In addition, the participants review and discuss the existing literature and theory, describing the key issues, identifying the gaps, adding to theory, and criticizing shortcomings of previous research. 

3. The participants develop the research approach and methodology. They consider the advantages and disadvantages of common research designs in the social sciences, as well as the validity and reliability of various methods. This meeting includes a discussion of ethical considerations, and how to effectively write about this in a proposal format.

4. The participants present their completed proposal and receive constructive comments in order to strengthen the proposal’s structure. This meeting includes a discussion of how reviewers will be assessing the proposals (proposal do’s and don’ts).

Study Characteristics

  • Discipline: Social Sciences
  • Language: English
  • ECTS: 3
  • Type of education: Blended
  • Academic skill: Generic
  • Graduate School: Graduate School of Social Sciences
  • Start date: 14.10.2021
  • En date: 17.02.2022
  • Minimum number of students: 5
  • Maximum number of students: 15
  • Concluding assessment: Yes
  • Assessment type: Concept-proposal
  • With Certificate: Yes
  • Schedule info: Session 1:  Thursday, 14 October 2021 (9.30-12.00)

Session 2:  Thursday, 18 November 2021 (9.30-12.00)

Session 3:  Thursday, 16 December 2021 (9.30-12.00)

Session 4:  Thursday, 13 January 2022 (9.30-12.00)

Session 5:  Thursday, 17 February 2022 (9.30-12.00)

  • Registration deadline: 15.09.2021
  • Available to: PhD students VU. Fee for non VU-GSSS members: € 450,-(You will be placed on a waiting list until the registration deadline)
  • Course Description & Study Characteristics

    Course Description

    Course objectives

    The course aims to facilitate a proper start of the project and complements the regular PhD supervision. By the end of this course, the participants (1) have reviewed the existing literature on their research problem; (2) have discussed alternative theoretical approaches; (3) have developed the best research approach for their dissertation research; (4) have explored alternative research approaches; (5) have identified potential problems and disadvantages with their methodology, and resolved them as much as possible; (6) have considered the ethical dilemmas that may arise during their research, and have elaborated on this in an ethics statement; (6) have written a research plan or research proposal for their PhD dissertation conforming to quality standards as required by VU-GSSS.

    Course content

    The participants in this course develop a research proposal over the course of four meetings: 

    1. The participants develop a clear and concise problem statement, emphasizing its social-scientific relevance. Participants discuss the elements of a proposal and consider epistemological engagements. 

    2. The participants formulate and sharpen their research question. In addition, the participants review and discuss the existing literature and theory, describing the key issues, identifying the gaps, adding to theory, and criticizing shortcomings of previous research. 

    3. The participants develop the research approach and methodology. They consider the advantages and disadvantages of common research designs in the social sciences, as well as the validity and reliability of various methods. This meeting includes a discussion of ethical considerations, and how to effectively write about this in a proposal format.

    4. The participants present their completed proposal and receive constructive comments in order to strengthen the proposal’s structure. This meeting includes a discussion of how reviewers will be assessing the proposals (proposal do’s and don’ts).

    Study Characteristics

    • Discipline: Social Sciences
    • Language: English
    • ECTS: 3
    • Type of education: Blended
    • Academic skill: Generic
    • Graduate School: Graduate School of Social Sciences
    • Start date: 14.10.2021
    • En date: 17.02.2022
    • Minimum number of students: 5
    • Maximum number of students: 15
    • Concluding assessment: Yes
    • Assessment type: Concept-proposal
    • With Certificate: Yes
    • Schedule info: Session 1:  Thursday, 14 October 2021 (9.30-12.00)

    Session 2:  Thursday, 18 November 2021 (9.30-12.00)

    Session 3:  Thursday, 16 December 2021 (9.30-12.00)

    Session 4:  Thursday, 13 January 2022 (9.30-12.00)

    Session 5:  Thursday, 17 February 2022 (9.30-12.00)

    • Registration deadline: 15.09.2021
    • Available to: PhD students VU. Fee for non VU-GSSS members: € 450,-(You will be placed on a waiting list until the registration deadline)

Graduate School of Social Sciences