How to Write a Dissertation Proposal?

Dissertation Proposal

Prior to writing a dissertation, post graduate students are likely to be assigned a dissertation proposal. The purpose of this paper is to justify the significance of your topic and to outline the major objectives of your research. In a nutshell, your proposal should explain what, why and how you want to investigate your topic. 

Only after you present your dissertation proposal to your academic advisor and a committee, your dissertation topic can be approved. Hence it is a very important step in your dissertation race.

Dissertation Proposal: What Does it Include?

Although requirements for proposals differ considerably, they usually have to include the following sections: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Problem Statement, Purpose, Review of Literature, Methodology, Significance, Overview of Chapters, Plan of Work and Bibliography.

Some of these sections may be omitted, some can be merged with one another, so you always have to seek clarification from your advisor. Let us consider the basic requirements for these sections:

  • Title

So far, you only need to provide the working title. You can think of the precise wording later but make sure that your current title clearly conveys the idea of your research.

  • Abstract

Give the reader the basic notion of the key ideas of your dissertation proposal. Make it either informative or descriptive.

  • Introduction (or Background)

Indicate the overall scope of your research and present the broad foundations for your study.

  • Statement of the Problem

This section is often united with either Introduction or Purpose. Clearly formulate your research problem in a question or a series of questions, identify the gap that needs to be filled in this area.

  • Purpose (or Aims)

Present the objectives of your research, provide the rationale, identify the limits of your scientific interest.

  • Review of Literature

Provide a critical analysis of the pertaining literature, identify major sources you will be addressing throughout your dissertation.

  • Methodology

Describe all the means necessary for your research: materials, procedures, techniques and so forth. Indicate their boundaries.

  • Significance (or Implications)

Describe the theoretical contribution and the practical importance of your research.

  • Overview of Chapters

This section is seldom required separately but if it is the case, just describe the focus of each subsequent chapter.

  • Plan of Work

State the anticipated dates of completion of each dissertation part, describe your schedule.

Mind that usually the required sections are much fewer. As to the length of a dissertation proposal, it is variable as well but roughly it takes about 20 pages. Remember that it's better to write less but to be on target.

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