Skip Nav

How to write a thesis proposal

Narrow the topic down

❶However; the latter approach has been proven to be very helpful to students in crafting dissertation proposals.

How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide

How to write a dissertation proposal
Dissertation proposal template and examples
Primary Menu

You may also want to include how you will analyse the data you gather and what if any bias there may be in your chosen methods. Depending on the level of detail that your specific course requires, you may also want to explain why your chosen approaches to gathering data are more appropriate to your research than others.

Your dissertation proposal should also include the aims and objectives of your research. Be sure to state what your research hopes to achieve, and what outcomes you predict.

You may also need to clearly state what your main research objectives are, in other words, how you plan to obtain those achievements and outcomes. The literature review will list the books and materials that you used to do your research.

This is where you can list materials that give you more background on your topic, or contain research carried out previously that you refer to in your own studies.

Lastly, you will also need to include the constraints of your research. Many topics will have broad links to numerous larger and more complex issues, so by clearly stating the constraints of your research, you are displaying your understanding and acknowledgment of these larger issues, and the role they play by focusing your research on just one section or part of the subject. The structure of your dissertation proposal will depend on your specific course requirements.

Some courses may specify that the aims and objectives of your research be a separate section in your proposal, or that you do not need to include a methodology or literature review section. Once you know what sections you need or do not need to include, then it may help focus your writing to break the proposal up into the separate headings, and tackle each piece individually.

You may also want to consider including a title. Writing a title for your proposal will help you make sure that your topic is narrow enough, as well as help keep your writing focused and on topic.

Consider whether these sources are up-to-date, thorough, and methodologically sound. Use databases like ProQuest to find out if any other graduate students have recently done dissertations or theses on your potential topic s. Talk to your advisor or committee chair about potential topics. Your academic advisor can help you decide whether your potential topic is feasible and appropriate or not.

Set up an appointment to chat with them about topics you are interested in. Be prepared to discuss more than 1 possible topic with your advisor. Narrow your focus once you have a general topic. Do some more in-depth reading and look at the aspects of your topic that merit a closer examination.

This can help you narrow your topic from a general examination of howling snail reproductive habits to a study of mate selection based on shell color. Select a working title. The title of your dissertation should provide a brief and clear snapshot of the nature of your research. Developing a good working title early on can help orient and focus both you and your readers. Write an abstract if your program requires it.

An abstract is a brief summary of your proposal, usually words long. The general background of your topic. The main problem s or question s that you plan to address in your research. Start with a general introduction to your topic. Briefly refer to previous literature on the topic and address the types of evidence available.

Summarize, very briefly, the specific questions and issues you will address in your proposal. State the major problem your dissertation will address. Explain your major research aims and objectives. This section of your proposal should discuss, in greater detail, which aspects of the problem you plan to explore.

In a few short paragraphs, discuss: Do you have any particular expectations about what you will find? How you believe your research will fill a gap or provide an original contribution to your field.

The specific focus of your study, including which areas you are choosing NOT to address and why. Summarize previous literature on your topic. The literature review is an opportunity to demonstrate your familiarity with previous research on the subject and to show that your dissertation will be a unique contribution. How previous writers have approached your topic e. The major established theories, hypotheses, and research trends related to your topic.

Any problems you have identified with previous works on the subject e. The main gaps in current or previous research, and which research needs still remain to be filled. The methodology section is a vital part of any dissertation proposal. This is where you will describe the nuts and bolts of how you plan to carry out your research and address the major problems and questions of your dissertation.

The types of methodology you use will depend on your specific project and your field. Discuss any problems and limitations you anticipate.

For example, you might point out that you expect to have trouble finding large sample sizes, which could make your results less statistically significant or harder to replicate than they would be if you had a bigger sample size.

Demonstrate the significance of your research. Summarize the impact your research will have on your field, and how your contribution differs from previous work on the topic. In clear and straightforward terms, describe how you think your research will be useful or beneficial, both within and outside your field of study.

Outline your plan of action if your program requires it. Some programs may require you to include a timeline for completing the different phases of your dissertation. This may be particularly important for dissertations that involve designing and conducting experiments or carrying out field research.

Be aware that your timeline may change as your work evolves and progresses—this is not meant to be a hard-and-fast schedule for completing your work. As you write your timeline, keep in mind practical considerations such as time needed for making travel arrangements or securing equipment for experiments or fieldwork. Present a list of your sources. Like any research paper, your dissertation proposal will need to include a full bibliography. This may depend on the requirements of your program or the complexity of your proposed research.

Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Having to write a dissertation proposal depends upon the university or institution that you’re attending. Even if a dissertation proposal isn’t a requirement, however, it’s a very useful exercise (and is certainly going to impress your supervisor, especially if it’s not part of your assessment). On some courses the research proposal is assessed and forms [ ].

Privacy FAQs

How to Write a Dissertation Proposal Guidelines to Writing Dissertation Proposals and How to Outline Them One of the most difficult tasks involved in dissertation writing is the formulation of dissertation proposals which involves creating something out of nothing at all.

About Our Ads

The dissertation proposal is an important first step towards writing your final dissertation on a taught or research masters course, or a PhD level course. Your proposal needs to be unique and it sets the stage for your research and should help you make a clear plan for your final project. "A dissertation proposal is essential in preparing you for the writing process and will actually serve to make beginning your dissertation decidedly less frightening." Beginning to plan a dissertation is an undoubtedly daunting task.

Cookie Info

Sample Dissertation Proposals. Doctoral Student Dissertation Title Area/Methodology Performative Writing, Performance Ethnography: Theatre: Maria Lane: Geographic Representations of the Planet Mars, Historical Analysis of Archival and Published Materials Dissertation Proposal. How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide. Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal. We already explained what a dissertation paper is, but what is a dissertation proposal? As the term itself suggests, this is a proposal for the final dissertation project, which should persuade the committee members that you're going to.