Preliminary Literature Review, Problem Statement and Research Questions 2019

Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Code: 
ENVS 6002
Course Description: 

1st year

DUE DECEMBER 15, but can be submitted any time from 30 September.  

Preliminary Proposal:

Starting with the student’s research proposal from the program application package, the student will further develop his or her dissertation research problem statement formulation and research questions in the first term of the first year by:
1) consulting with his/her provisional supervisor and potentially one other faculty member, and
2) conducting a short presentation in the PhD Faculty/Student Seminar in late September to receive feed-back.
Based on this and any additional required work, the student will prepare a preliminary proposal to be completed by December 15. Guidelines will be available on the Moodle site.

Theory/Methods Needs Assessment and Study Plan:

The student, in consultation with the supervisor, must develop a plan of study for the fall and winter terms in the areas of theory and methods connected with his/her specific research topic. The plan should be submitted December 15 together with the preliminary research proposal, and should include a summary and reflection on the methods and theory study conducted during the fall term, a discussion of what other methods and theories should be explored in depth for the dissertation prospectus, and justification for how the proposed theory and methods courses will further the student's progress towards the prospectus. 

The student will list the proposed courses for the winter term. Theory and methods courses are offered during winter term by various faculty members in different departments. Students should conduct research on courses of interest offered throughout the University as described on the course hub. Optional courses in theory and methods within the Department will run if a minimum of 1 student opts to take it. The form to be completed for the Theory/Methods Needs Assessment and Study Plan (and updated in April to document the completion of the Theory and Methods Study Program) is provided on the Moodle website.

Learning Outcomes: 

Students will take preliminary steps to develop a research problem and research questions.


Students will receive feedback from their supervisors on how to improve the preliminary proposal as a first step towards the literature review and prospectus. Preliminary proposals should be no more than 10 pages double-spaced. Credits are awarded for this element when the research topic has been approved by the supervisor.