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Writing Dissertation Proposal

| August 15, 2017

How to Write your Dissertation Proposal

There are certain requirements on how to structure and write your dissertation proposal , including the chapters, number of sources, research development, and literature review. When you first get your dissertation proposal details from your professor, you might be confused on where to start. Below, you will find an easy to follow guide by WritePass experts on how to develop ideas, do your research, and write the chapters of your proposal.  While the general guide will help you through the process, you should always consult with your tutor or support staff if you are unsure about something.

Dissertation Proposal

What is a Dissertation Proposal?

A dissertation proposal is the first step on your long journey of completing your dissertation: once the proposal is accepted, the hard work begins, and you will need to deliver the completed dissertation in a given timescale. A dissertation proposal is there to show your tutors what you would like to cover in your final paper, and present your knowledge of the topic you have chosen for your dissertation. A dissertation proposal is also your aid to plan the research of your final paper.

Tips on Writing Your Dissertation

  • Your dissertation proposal is important because it helps communicate your plan for the dissertation and show your research to your university. It has to be submitted within a given deadline, and needs to be the foundation of your final dissertation.
  • You must get your dissertation proposal accepted by your university before you start working on the final dissertation. Handing this paper in on time will help you get feedback on your topic, sources, and get your final dissertation right. Always wait for feedback and criticism from your tutor before you start writing the final paper.
  • You need to remember that structure of a research proposal is particular to this format, and it should not be structured as an essay or research paper. It needs to highlight the gap in current research and show your competence in the subject area you want to write your final dissertation in. In this paper, you will not need to prove a thesis, or answer research questions, but have to develop them and get them approved by your tutor.
  • The research proposal needs to show the structure of your argument, fit it in the current research literature, show how you are approaching your future research, and provide a detailed methodology structure.
  • It is important that you justify your choice of topic and show how it will contribute towards the knowledge of researchers and industry players in your research area.

Eight Steps of Writing Your Dissertation Proposal

  1. Develop topics that interest you and investigate them. Make sure that there is enough data, literature, and information available on the subject for you to write your dissertation on.
  2. Choose your topic based on your interest, previous research, and suggestions from your tutor. If you have regular meetings and consultations with your professor, you can present multiple research areas and get one approved before you would start writing your dissertation proposal.
  3. Ask specific questions about your dissertation proposal structure. Every college and university have their own specific formatting and structure guides, and getting to know them early will save you a lot of time and effort.
  4. Start researching the literature. Make sure that you develop a list of sources and obtain copies of related journals and books before you write your dissertation proposal. You might find that some books have limited availability, or you need an academic journal subscription to obtain them.
  5. Develop your main ideas based on the literature you researched. This might be the time when you narrow down your topic to a more specific area, and create your ideas. For example, if you chose the topic of “employee satisfaction”, you might want to research only financial firms that have more than 500 employees.
  6. Check that your topic is unique. Once you have your main ideas developed, it is important to make sure that your research will be unique, and provide new information for other researchers in your field.
  7. Develop your research questions and purpose. Once you have clarified the research questions and purpose, you have to talk to your supervisor to make sure they approve your dissertation topic.
  8. Develop your dissertation proposal. Write an outline and get it approved before you would submit this to your tutor. Make sure that your selected methodology is feasible and clear.

Your Dissertation Proposal Outline

The main parts of your dissertation proposal outline need to include the information that you want to cover in the following chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Conclusion

What to Include In Your Dissertation Proposal?

Apart from the above main chapters, it is also important to have a time chart or dissertation proposal timeline, providing a schedule of the work you are planning to complete.

  • In the Introduction chapter, you need to include the introduction of the study, organisation of the research, problem statement, research objective, and the outline of the dissertation research proposal.
  • In the Literature Review, you need an introduction, the main literature review, summary, and the fully developed research question.
  • In the Methodology chapter, you will have to state your research philosophy, research approach, and research strategy. Further, you need to show your data collection and analysis plan, followed by information on access, reliability, validity, ethical issues, and research limitations.
  • The conclusion needs to summarise the topic and the current literature, as well as the justification of undertaking the research.
  • Your time chart has to show the important steps and their proposed completion date.

Need Help with Your Dissertation Proposal?

If you don’t know where to start writing your dissertation proposal, or need to clarify the structure, you need to contact your tutor or supervisor first. Every institution has unique requirements for dissertation proposal structure. If you find it hard to select a topic that will be approved by your tutor, you can always get in touch  with the experienced academic writers at WritePass  for help.

Related Articles:

  1. How to Write a Dissertation Proposal
  2. How to Structure a Dissertation Research Proposal
  3. Dissertation Proposal Help


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