So, I have to defend my proposal.
First, what is a proposal?
A proposal is one of two parts of the big project (the big D! (dissertation). In this paper you articulate your “proposal,” to collect data, analyze, as well as how you conceptualize your topic, and why your study needs to be implemented. It’s here that you demonstrate how your research will add to the existing body of literature and field of study. It is the synthesizing and conceptualizing of what will be my dissertation. The proposal is laborious because you are also synthesizing existing work that has been published on Black girls including articles AND books. It is proof to my committee that I am ready to take on the solo research project of a dissertation. It is the longest paper I have solo-authored up to this point. It is also a process in which you organize, write, and rewrite the paper and then submit it to your dissertation committee.
Second, how do you defend it?
The other part of the proposal is its oral defense, where you stand in front, behind, and beside each word of possibly the longest manuscript you have ever written in life. Your oral defense will usually include two parts that demonstrate how and why you do the work that you do, as well as a thorough outline and plan for your dissertation study. You may also have to defend previous qualifying exams that you completed along the journey of doctoral coursework and milestones. You do this in front of your dissertation committee. They will decide if your proposal was successful and you will then move into doctoral candidacy, and will be ABD (all but dissertation).
My advisor frequently says that the proposal is actually harder than the dissertation defense. I know she means well, but my goodness… that’s some pressure. I think it’s because it is mine. Like all mine. I have worked pretty collaboratively up until this point on multiple research projects that helped me inform my dissertation, my theoretical frameworks and methodology. However this one is ALL MINE. And then one day it will be published. Other people will know it’s mine. So, it better be good. Are you feeling the pressure too?
On July 26th, I successfully defended my proposal, and am now ABD!