A dissertation proposal provides a rough sketch of the aims and significance of the dissertation research. If done right, then a dissertation proposal works like an in-depth essay plan that provides you with guidance at the very beginning. It is an academic paper that is generally written to get the students and readers acquainted with the dissertation process. It lets the students, instructors and other people find out everything about the dissertation such as what questions will be reviewed, what is the theoretical background of the respective paper, what are the methods and techniques that will be employed, and how those results will be applied by them. Sketching a very definitive methodology that is a part of your proposal will guarantee coherent gathering and analysis of the data. 


It can be quite intimidating to plan a dissertation. Therefore, writing an effective dissertation proposal is the solution to all your dissertation problems. It is the very first step that should be taken to decide upon the subject area, identify methods that will be used and focus on the research questions. 


In a nutshell, a dissertation proposal is imperative in preparing you for the writing process which will make your actual process less scary. Along with that, it is not set in stone, so it is subjective to changes and alterations as and when required. 


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How to Build an Effective Dissertation Proposal


This is a ‘how-to guide’ that will tell you what aspects should be included in your dissertation proposal along with a sample dissertation proposal template that you can download in a jiffy.


So let’s get started!


1. Introduction


Introduction- Dissertation proposal template


Most of the academic papers usually begin with this section that is the introduction, a brief explanation of the project which helps put the project in dialogue with similar other projects. Generally, the introduction presents us with the necessary background information of the study. It also helps to provide the readers with some understanding of your overall research interest. A good introduction should adhere to the following points-


  • Describe the main research questions
  • List the issues associated 
  • Present solutions to these issues


In short, the introduction should provide a clear understanding to the readers that where is the study coming from as well as indicate the general scope of the project. 


2. Aims and Objectives


Aims and Objectives of Research- Dissertation proposal template


An effective proposal consists of a crystal clear statement of the research objectives along with the description of the questions or the hypotheses that the specific research advances. This can also be a part of the introduction itself or you can create a separate slide out of it. Therefore spend an ample amount of time brainstorming what you want to portray. You may also find that these aims and objectives tend to change in their emphasis or number. So, it is vital to specify the exact focal point of your study and classify the concepts you will be studying. 


3. Dissertation Methodology


Dissertation Methodology


The dissertation methodology is the section wherein you can outline the methods and the techniques using which you will collect and process your data. In this section you can include all the aspects like how and what are you going to do. The structure of this section can or cannot be different depending on your requirements, but the beginning and the ending has to be the same no matter what the circumstances. Also, your research can be empirical or non-empirical in nature. If your study is empirical then this most likely this section will be longer in comparison to the non-empirical section. You should also explain in this section why you have selected these techniques and methods. 


4. Projected Research Timeline


Projected Research Timeline- Dissertation proposal template


This section is all about displaying your schedule and the anticipated completion time with the dates. Presenting all this information in a timeline form is quite beneficial as it organizes everything in one place. This timeline helps you to determine whether your project has set realistic goals as per the methods and institutional requirements or not. Setting a timeline that shows the schedule can help manage time and meet the goals in the stipulated time period as well. 


You can either use only one slide to show your timeline or create 3-4 slides depending on your institutional requirements. 


5. Literature Review 


Literature Review- Dissertation proposal template


This section is all about providing a basic summary of all the books and materials that you have used for your research. It gives you a very good opportunity to place an argument as to how important and relevant your study is and link it to other strong researches that have been carried out. You can also provide your research as an extension to other studies in this section. 

You need to display all the useful resources that you have consulted so far that have guided you in carrying out your research. It is quite obvious that till now you might not have read every resource that you will use in your dissertation but you should narrow down a few of the resources that you think are the most useful and relevant to your studies. 


There is also a possibility for you to actually mention any flaws that you have found in any of the older studies and how you will evade these in your own dissertation. 


The literature review 4 major purposes or rhetorical goals that one should keep in mind while writing it-


  • Situates the current study with that of a broad spectrum of other similar studies
  • It illustrates how the approach of your research is different from other scholars.
  • It justifies the application of the methodological choices
  • It demonstrates how familiar you are with the topic and its corresponding studies.  


6. Research Constraints


Research Constraints- Dissertation proposal template


Like there are two sides to a coin, every research has some advantages and limitations. 


This is a part of effective writing that is recognizing the limitations that are levied upon your ability to search and present your findings. Some of the constraints can be directly related to the word count. Others can be such that the particular link opens to more complex findings that are not very relevant to your topic. Therefore, by mentioning the constraints you are acknowledging the bigger issues that might be hidden but are related to your topic. 


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