Dissertation Proposal

How to Write a Dissertation Proposal - Ultimate Guide

August 03 2023

You've reached that part of your post-graduate degree, the challenge you've been skeptical about—your dissertation. We're not going to lie; a dissertation is possibly one of the most daunting aspects post-graduate students face, miles ahead in difficulty than any essay, and a lot trickier than your graduate degree thesis. 

The silver lining is that with the right material and help, you are very much capable of doing a great job.

The first step is your dissertation proposal, no less important than the dissertation itself. It is pretty much a map of this journey and, of course, the key to getting approved by the committee. 

Hence the reason we’ve made this guide for you. Read on to learn everything you should know about writing a proposal for your dissertation.

Dissertation Proposal: A Brief Intro

As mentioned before, think of your dissertation proposal as a map for your dissertation journey. You take the reader through the path you intend to take to reach the goal of completion. The reader should understand what your subject is, your reasoning, and the way you will research and analyze the data you collect. 

Comparing your proposal to a map is aptly done because there is no strictness to sticking to the path. As a matter of fact, your topic can vary slightly, and the level and means of research you do may be a tad different than what you originally planned. 

The best part about a dissertation, and what makes it more interesting than a thesis (read Dissertation Vs Thesis to learn more), is that you can veer off the course to some extent. Why? A dissertation is all about making your own contribution to the field of your degree.

Writing A Dissertation Proposal

This is the guide you will need on how to write a dissertation proposal. A dissertation proposal is the most crucial aspect of the actual dissertation, and a well-structured proposal is the sturdy foundation you build your dissertation on—the most significant part of your postgrad journey. 

Writing your proposal impeccably will also help you to conduct research for your dissertation seamlessly since you already have a template present to follow. 

So, once you’ve narrowed down your topic, you can start writing the proposal. Remember to choose your topic very carefully. Research extensively, as it will allow you to understand whether you’ve chosen a strong subject. The same research will also help you create an impressive literature review section of the proposal (we’ll discuss this further).

To write a proposal as part of the dissertation, follow these steps:

1. Proposal Introduction

In the introduction, you will be writing a dissertation abstract and answering the purpose of your research. Thus, give the background of your field and how the topic you've chosen for your dissertation relates to it. Any problems you intend to solve surrounding an aspect of your field go here. 

The introduction also comprises a summary of the rest of your research proposal. In a few lines each, outline your research methodology, literature review, and the implications and limitations of your research.

And remember, your introduction determines the kind of interest you garner for the rest of the proposal. Be creative and informative. Get your point across in this brief section in a way you believe will get attention and approval!

2. Aims & Objectives

What outcome are you expecting at the end of your dissertation? How do you believe your dissertation can contribute to your field of study? These are the questions you answer in this section when creating your dissertation proposal. 

A little elaboration is needed; explain how you intend to reach the prediction you've made with regard to the outcome of your research. For instance, if you intend to study the relation between disability and employment in your dissertation, you could aim "to examine the key factors that keep organizations from being able to retain persons with disabilities and the measures that could rectify these". 

Your dissertation is not merely some essay, but your journey towards understanding an issue better and then proposing—along with the method—of solving it. Make sure that is clear in the aims and objective section of your research paper. If you are not sure how to write a dissertation proposal, get help from your advisors or online writing services.

3. Dissertation Methodology

How to write a dissertation proposal that convinces readers that you’re up to the challenge for the topic you’ve chosen? A strong methodology!

Each and every resource you intend to use—and the way you will use it—to derive the content that goes into your paper should be clearly elaborated in your methodology. Both your dissertation proposal and the dissertation itself will have a section on methodology. Only, the former is brief and gives the reader an idea of whether or not you've got an actual plan.  

Give concise information about the quantitative or qualitative data you will collect (surveys, focus groups, interviews, observations, etc.). Make sure to mention all the tools you will use to conduct your research for the dissertation. 

Don’t forget to include your method of data analysis! In your dissertation proposal, you can include arguments on how your methodology is more relevant and effective than any others.

4. Literature Review

Any books, papers, and other materials you use for the dissertation proposal go under literature review in the dissertation proposal. You can elaborate on what materials you used to get the background and a better understanding of your proposed topic. 

Similarly, you can give details on how you used previous research to obtain another take on the subject (if that is your angle). Make sure to mention how you intend to fill the gaps of missing information in previous research.  

Your literature review shows your ability to comprehend your source materials. The reader is informed about the hard work that went into proposing a topic for the dissertation. Moreover, you provide a preview of the kind of research you will do for the actual dissertation. 

Note: To complete your literature review as accurately as possible, make sure to save all data related to the research you do for the proposal. This includes: 

1. Titles & authors of books, papers, and studies.

2. URLs of the websites you consulted (plus the publisher).

3. Chapters/pages/sub-links in the above.

This information is useful for the literature review and important for you when you begin your dissertation. Refer to the data you built your proposal on later on. If you are unsure about the format to follow when gathering and mentioning the literature, consult dissertation writing services.

5. Research Constraints

Finally, present the restrictions you have faced thus far in the dissertation proposal and the ones you expect to face once beginning the actual dissertation. Various topics you add to your research will expand into more complex subjects, the studies on which as extensive and possibly incomplete or inconclusive. These are your constraints—and adding these to your proposal helps the reader understand your personal limitations in the dissertation and your approach to eliminating the constraints that others before you have faced in their research to reach a strong outcome. 

Other than the constraints you've faced and the ones you are sure you will, make sure to include possible limitations—including personal constraints. Examples include time restriction, lack of research on a sub-topic, limited sample size, etc. 

Not Sure How To Write A Dissertation Proposal? We Can Help!

At Studious, we aim to help you make your dissertation proposal and any other kind of research report as easy to understand and unique as possible. 

Our academic writing services team has extensive experience in all fields of graduate and post-graduate programs—why don't you reach out today? Let's begin writing a dissertation proposal that's impeccable in all aspects!

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