~by Amina Abdullah-Winstead, PhD
Prospectus. A dissertation prospectus describes your area of research and provides an overview of the study. As always, you should follow your schools guidelines for specific items to cover in your prospectus but here are a few suggestions:
- Thesis statement
- Literature review
- Statement of primary sources
- Research plan
- Chapter outline
Scientific Merit Review (SMR). The SMR form assists in making sure your proposal meets specific criteria and has merit for the IRB evaluation. The reviewers examine the following elements for demonstration of scientific merit, the research problem, purpose, significance, research questions, research design, approach, methodology, and rational for the design. As scientific merit centers on the proposal for the SMR process, you should factor in this element throughout the entire study. If you are a member of the Sisterhood (www.phdsisters.com), review the qualitative and quantitative samples of the SMR form.
While waiting on SMR approval you can work on creating correspondence forms necessary for the study such as the consent form, opt in/opt out, permission slips, structured interview guide, flyer to recruit participants, email notification, consent form, participant checklist, or demographics form. You will also want to arrange the forms as appendices and save the appendices as PDF files into a folder labeled “IRB materials” for later inclusion with your IRB packet. Take a deep breath and Celebrate!