The thought of writing a dissertation proposal can be daunting. You have to come up with an idea, research it, and then write about it in 25 pages or less. It's not the easiest thing to do when you're just starting out as a graduate student.
But if you want to get your degree in any field that requires research, you will need this piece of paper before moving on to your thesis project. We are here to provide some guidance for those who are struggling with the process.
How do you know if your dissertation proposal is ready to be submitted? What should it look like and what should it include? This blog will help you answer these questions.
This is an in-depth guide that will show you step by step how to craft and submit your most important document of the entire process, the dissertation proposal.
Don't miss out on this opportunity!
Dissertation Proposal Definition
A dissertation proposal is an essential part of the research thesis. It is a short summary of one's plans for researching, completing, and writing up the dissertation itself by defining its structure, objectives, brief literature review, an outline of methodology including references to further reading.
Every university will require you to write a proposal as part of the dissertation, but not all. Once written and approved by your supervisor, it's important that we discuss them in detail before starting any research or writing anything beyond the introduction chapter.
This is where they can give feedback on what happens next based on their expertise and your research topic.
The research process can be a dynamic one, with the content of your proposal changing as you go through it. Your findings may prompt or even force an alteration to what question you're asking - which could mean rewriting parts that were originally stated there!
Significance of a Dissertation Proposal
A dissertation proposal is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to writing your dissertation. It provides guidance and helps make beginning less frightening--but most importantly, for many students who have never done this before: a plan will actually help them write!
With the dissertation proposal, you can change your approach at any time. You may find that there isn't enough evidence for what you were arguing or maybe a different topic will work better than one of yours picked out in full detail first!
Therefore, consider it as a dynamic document that improvises as you go.
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How to Format Your Dissertation Proposal?
Proper formatting is essential for a great and impressive dissertation proposal. What goes into the format? The format tells you the structure of the paper, and it helps you in structuring your work also.
Here is a structure and format that you must follow when writing your dissertation proposal.
1. Title Page
2. Table of Contents
3. List of Tables/Figures
7. Literature Review
13. Appendices (if required)
Moreover, the structure and format will be according to the referencing style that you will follow, plus any additional instructions that you may get from your department and teacher.
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Dissertation Proposal Outline
Creating an outline is as important as writing and submitting the entire dissertation proposal. Without an outline, you may find yourself lost in the process without any clear and proper directions.
Therefore, always make an outline before starting any writing assignment.
Here are the components of a dissertation proposal outline.
- 1. Title Page
The title should be in alignment with the research being conducted. For qualitative dissertations, it should feature an issue that is relevant and important to your study.
For quantitative ones, this should contain key variables or relationships between them as well as who you are studying (i.e., population).
- 2. Table of Contents
The ToC will include everything that you have added and discussed in your dissertation proposal. This is the first thing that your reader will go through before reading the entire work.
Therefore, you must add everything carefully.
- 3. List of Tables/Figures
Did you add any tables and figures to your work? If yes, add them to this section. This way, the readers would know about the tables that you have discussed in your work.
- 4. Acknowledgments
Every writer acknowledges someone in his work. This is the time and place to acknowledge and appreciate the people that helped and guided you in completing your work.
Usually, the students acknowledge their parents, teachers, and dissertation supervisor.
- 5. Abstract
Students are required to write a short summary of their study in the form of an Abstract. This concise document captures one's findings and conclusions while offering information on methodology, results/conclusions, etc.
This section informs the readers about the key themes and topics covered in work.
- 6. Introduction
An introduction is the first chapter of your proposal. This section provides a brief introduction to the study. It also summarizes what you plan on studying and why it's important for the readers.
In simple terms, it will help build your readers’ interest while informing them about the main things and points of the study.
Here are the things that should be discussed in this chapter.
- Background of the study.
- Statement of the problem discussed in the proposal.
- The main purpose of the study.
- The research questions that you will answer in your work.
- The conceptual or theoretical framework that you will use to conduct the results.
- The nature of your study and the methods you will use to conduct it and obtain the results.
- Definition and explanation of the key, important, and difficult terms used in the study.
- 7. Literature Review
The literature review is the collection and discussion of the works that the student has used to conduct his own research. The works must be relevant and point towards the main topic in some way or another.
However, rather than using them as a basis for your research, use them as supplemental information only. Put your main idea forward and use the selected study to substantiate it.
- 8. Methodology
This section will explain the methodology that you will use to conduct your research and obtain the results.
Here are the things that you should discuss in this section.
- Introduction of the methodology.
- The method and design of the research.
- The chosen population for the research.
- Data collection methods.
- The chosen tools for the research.
- Data analysis plan.
- Assumptions and hypothesis
- Scope of your study.
- Limitations of your research and study.
- Ethical considerations.
- Conclusion and summary
Make sure that you discuss all these aspects in your proposal’s methodology chapter.
- 9. Results
In this chapter, you will discuss the key findings of your research. Here are the things that you must add and discuss in this chapter.
- A concise introduction of the research results.
- Setting of the research participants.
- Analysis of the acquired data.
- Acquired results of the research.
- Summary and conclusion
Discuss all this in the results chapter.
- 10. Discussion
Here, the acquired results are discussed. The writer analyses them and examines if they are in line with the research questions. The writer also analyses the hypothesis that he had proposed in the beginning and finds out whether it justifies and answers the main research question.
Moreover, the chapter also includes the limitations and future research prospects of the research topic and questions.
- 11. References
The complete list of works and references are added here. Make sure that you add all the references of the citations here and count them once you are done.
- 12. Bibliography
A bibliography is similar to a list of references. However, it includes all the studies and sources that you have consulted when writing your dissertation proposal.
- 13. Appendices
Appendices are added at the end of the paper, and they include that information and material that are too detailed to be added in the paper or work. This could be technical figures, tables, calculations, and other kinds of details.
When preparing the outline for your dissertation proposal, it is important that you add all these sections to your outline and stick to it while writing.
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How to Write a Dissertation Proposal?
Here are the steps to write a dissertation proposal that actually gets accepted.
- 1. Read and Choose a Good Topic
To choose a good topic, it is important that you read extensively and go through your classroom notes, lectures, and assignments. Find a good and engaging topic for your dissertation and narrow it down to suit your research question.
- 2. Present Your Topic Idea in the Introduction
As with any other academic assignment, your dissertation proposal also begins with an introduction.
The introduction to your dissertation proposal should be compelling and engaging. Your research aims, objectives as well as what you will find out about in this study are all laid out for readers in this section.
This introductory section must grab attention because it sets up not only who's writing but also how they plan on executing their work best by answering some important questions.
Here are the things that should be included in the introduction.
- Hook Statement - Begin the introduction with a hook statement. Use an engaging attention-grabber like a statistical detail or a fact.
- Context - Once you clearly understand the research question, it's time to present more context. What does your reader need for them to understand this topic? How has what we know so far changed or advanced since previously researching these issues?
- Aims - The aim of this introduction is to make sure that you identify your research questions clearly and concisely. Questions should be specific, workable within the scope of one's dissertation. It should not be too broad, which would only confuse readers who want answers from a single study on their topic area instead.
- 3. Compose the Literature Review of Your Study
Now that you have a clear idea of what topics are relevant to your research, it’s time for some exploring. This will give insight into the gaps in the existing literature and ensure no one has already answered this question before!
The best way to do this is by thoroughly analyzing all sources within your review so you don't miss anything important or overlooked opportunities with new information waiting just around every corner.
- 4. Describe Your Research Methodology
The methodology section is an important part of your proposal. You need to think deeply about what makes for a good research study and how best you can approach it so that there are no gaps or weaknesses when it comes time for peer review.
Sometimes people start writing before they've even decided exactly where their project fits into academia's current trends. Once again, though, different fields will end up looking differently depending upon if it’s qualitative vs. quantitative data gathering methods, etc.,
Make sure all these details speak directly back at why someone might want them researched.
- 5. Outline and Discuss the Expected Results
You should end your dissertation proposal with a section discussing what you expect the research to achieve. It's difficult for researchers because you don't know yet how our results will be.
But it is important that any outcomes are projected to influence knowledge and move the readers forward.
- 6. Create the List of References and Bibliography
No matter what kind of academic assignment it is, a references’ list and bibliography are important. You need to show your teacher that your research is credible and consulted when writing your dissertation proposal.
Here is a sample dissertation proposal for you.
Dissertation Proposal Sample
Writing a great dissertation proposal is not a choice if you want it to get accepted. However, if you need additional help with it, you can always take help from MyPerfectPaper.net. We are a professional paper writing service that helps students like you 24/7.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long is a Ph.D. dissertation proposal?
A Ph.D. dissertation proposal is between 1,500 to 3,000 words long. In many institutes, the research supervisor tells the students about the word limit but roughly, it is as much as the mentioned word count.
How long is a typical dissertation proposal?
Typically, a dissertation proposal is about 15 to 20 pages long.
Can I use my proposal in my dissertation?
Yes, you can definitely do it, and we highly recommend it also. This way, your dissertation will have a clear direction, and your readers will be able to see where your research is headed.
What is the purpose of a dissertation proposal?
A dissertation proposal justifies your research question and proposes a plan to execute the research. It also shows the significance of your research and why it is important to study it.