The Dissertation Proposal

H42.2301 / Spring 2000

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Department of Performance Studies / Tisch School of the Arts / New York University

Our objective is to develop dissertation proposals sufficiently well realized to be approved by the end of the course. To receive a grade for the course, the completed proposal will need to be approved by your dissertation committee. You will identify potential sources of funding and strongly encouraged to write at least one grant application for supporting the research and writing of the dissertation. To achieve these objectives you must be prepared for the course: you must have an approved topic and advisor and have done preliminary research to determine the feasibility of your project and provide a foundation for the proposal. You will be expected to work closely with your dissertation director throughout the semester in developing the proposal. Those who are not prepared for the course will be encouraged to take it the next time it is offered.

The course will offer technical and practical guidance on writing the proposal itself, developing grant applications, using electronic resources and tools, the process of working with the dissertation advisor, and the prospects of publication. Most important, the seminar offers regular feedback on your work from everyone in the course.

The regular workshops offered by Bobst and ACF for the use of RLIN, Dialog, ProCite and EndNote, and other tools and resources are highly recommended.

Class Schedule

Classes will meet from 7:00-10:00 pm, Mondays, in the Performance Studies Reading Room unless otherwise indicated.


Do a thorough search to determine who else has already written extensively on your topic, particularly completed dissertations or dissertations in progress. Finding Doctoral Dissertations

During the first weeks of class, you will develop the chapter outline. During the next two weeks, meet with your dissertation advisor to discuss the preliminary chapter outline. I will meet with you to discuss the outline on Tuesday February 8.

January 31: RESEARCH/WRITING STRATEGIES--Proposal and Dissertation

Bring to class a model that might prove useful for your project. This model may be a book, article, or dissertation. Be prepared to identify which features of this work are exemplary and how you might use or adapt these features for your work. Attend to statement of purpose, writing strategy, chapter structure, methodology, theoretical framework, etc. We will discuss research design, writing strategies, and dissertation logistics, as well as the format for the dissertation proposal itself. Be sure to consult sample proposals on reserve in the Performance Studies Archive.


INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS: Please sign up to discuss your chapter outline with me on Tuesday Feburary 8, 9:00 am-1:00 am and 4:00-6:40 pm. Your draft chapter outline MUST be in my hands no later than Monday February 7 in class.

Class will meet with Gloria Rohmann, Bobst Librarian for Electronic and Media Sources, in the East Room of Bobst's Avery Fisher Center, from 7:00 to 9:30 pm, for introduction to ProCite and Endnote.

Download demo versions and try them out:




February 14: GRANT APPLICATIONS--Funding strategies and plan.

We will discuss the process of applying for grants and the preparation of grant applications.

Start with these resources:

GIGS Grants in Graduate Studies

Bobst Grants Resource List

Funding Sources for Dance from Arts Wire

See the Human Subjects FAQ. For deadlines and forms, consult Meeting the Human Subjects requirement.

DUE: Hand in a plan for funding the research and writing of the dissertation. This plan should include a list of grants for which you will apply (and their deadlines). Your plan should include 5 sources. In addition to identifying the most obvious sources, try to find ones that are more narrowly focussed and appropriate to your particular project or qualifications. Please send a list of the 5 sources, with contact information, by email to everyone in the class

The first presenters will bring their proposals to class to be distributed.


President's Day--the class will meet.

The proposal MUST be distributed to each member of the class one week prior to the session in which it will be discussed. NO EXCEPTIONS. Each person in the class is to comment in detail and in writing on each proposal.

During the class, we will devote one hour to each proposal. The writer of the proposal will take about five minutes to frame the discussion, briefly setting out the topic and identifying the areas which the discussion might most profitably address. The remainder of the time will be devoted to detailed discussion of the proposal, first pointing out the strengths of the project and then offering constructive suggestions.

At the end of the discussion, all copies of the proposals and comments (written directly on the proposal and/or in the form of separate document) will be given to the writer.

Revised proposals must be in my hands by May 1, except for those who present on May 1. Their revisions are due May 8.

1. _______________________ 2. ______________________

February 28

1. _______________________ 2. ______________________

March 6

1. _______________________ 2. _______________________

March 13


March 20

1. _______________________ 2. _______________________

March 27

1. _______________________ 2. _______________________

April 3

1. _______________________ 2. ________________________

April 10

1. _______________________ 2. ________________________

April 17

1. _______________________ 2. ________________________

April 24

1. _______________________ 2. ________________________

May 1

1. _______________________ 2. ________________________

Revised proposals must be in my hands by May 1, except for those who present on May 1. Their revisions are due May 8.

Updated 1/23/2000