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How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

17 May 2018Essay Writing Guides

Writing a dissertation proposal is an initial phase before you start writing a thesis to receive your Master’s or Ph.D. degree. It is crucial to be innovative and exceptional. It has to reveal the importance of the research and outline the methodology of your future investigation. The paper enables you to verify the topic of the thesis, although it can be changed during the process of writing.

Any dissertation proposal is aimed at defining the direction for the research. It enables to assume the general structure and main objective of the study, how to collect and analyze data. Furthermore, it helps to determine a theme and subject and write a draft plan of your thesis to complete it successfully.

What is a dissertation proposal?

The dissertation proposal is a plan for your future thesis. It shows you a way how to reach the targets. It does not provide any results; instead, it describes the procedure of obtaining those results. It explains what we will get when we achieve the goals. It is significant in preparing you for the process of academic writing.

In general, the dissertation proposal includes the following:

  • Describes the plot of the thesis.
  • Determines probable issues to be examined.
  • Provides references to the theoretical background.
  • Indicates the methods and techniques the scientist intends to apply (empirical or non-empirical).
  • Defines the potential outcomes of the experiment.

When drafting a proposal, it is necessary to keep to specified requirements. The theme must be concise and narrow enough to allow you to present the key idea of what you are going to investigate. The paper must include the data you will work with and the methods you will apply to study this data. Sometimes, depending on the course and grade, additional instructions and requirements may appear, such as a different dissertation proposal format, structure, length, or extra information.

Dissertation proposal outline

The proposal usually has a common structure that includes the following points:

  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Aims and objectives
  • Literature review
  • Constraints of the study



It displays the main issue of the research, brings out the background on the subject, and shows the importance of the paper for science in general. Moreover, it must define the subject of the study and present the scientists who have already worked in this domain of science. The introduction tells whether the author will involve any new data, whether the paper will be a review and examination of already existing literature, or whether the questionnaires will be taken.


It describes the methods and analysis you are going to use while writing your dissertation in order to analyze the data and the procedures for collecting this data. Each method should be described, and the author has to explain why the chosen methods are necessary for the research. If you are going to collect and describe the data, your study will be empirical. If you are planning to do a research based on already published academic papers and projects, then it will be non-empirical.

Aims and objectives

The most important part of your proposal is presenting an aim and objectives of the study. Present an aim you are planning to achieve and explain briefly why and how to do it. Explain the goals you suppose to achieve at the end of the investigation. Try to predict the effects of the study. Interpret the key tasks and how you are going to attain the outcomes.

Literature review

This part specifies a list of literature publications used when doing research. All your bibliography of scholarly writings must be up-to-date and related to your study. The literature review is useful because it shows former investigations on the given topic, your awareness of the issue, and your ability to analyze scientific materials. It also highlights the knowledge already existed on the topic.

Research Constraints

All sciences are interrelated with each other. Including the constraints enables to show the place your research occupies in the scientific hierarchy, its role in the development of science, and your awareness of the topic.

Dissertation proposal help

Before begin composing, think carefully about the structure. You need to realize what chapters or sections you are required to include; then you can divide your paper into several pieces and focus on each part separately. Consider the issue thoroughly and choose a relevant title that will reveal the matter of the investigation as much as possible. Try to make your title short and catchy.

Read about the subject matter in the scientific journals and textbooks. The more you read, the more you are aware of the solutions to your issues. Consider that your dissertation proposal has to fit your thesis topic. As a rule, it is written in the future tense as the research has not been undertaken.

Plagiarism can break your dreams concerning your thesis. Whenever you want to introduce another author’s ideas, always mention the source and do not write the statement exactly as it is used, you can simply rephrase it instead.

One of the dissertation proposal examples can be of the following structure:

  • Title
  • Introduction
  • Aim
  • Objectives
  • Methodology
  • Review of literature
  • Research Constraints

Each part can be added or not to a separate chapter or section depending on certain demands.

It is essential to give a detailed explanation of how you are going to carry out the investigation, what data you are planning to gather and work with, which technique you intend to apply.

Last but not least

Organize regular meetings with your scientific supervisor. The supervisor can advise you on what scientific literature to look through, what methods to use better, and where to start your investigation. More importantly, he can direct your initial ideas into a strategic plan of the study.

Check for additional requirements that might appear depending on the grade and specificity of the course. Your university can provide you with a dissertation proposal sample to understand the demands on writing it. Sometimes an aim and objectives are demanded to write separately, or literature review section doesn’t need to be included, or extra sections are required.

Keep in mind that your proposal doesn’t necessarily need to be perfect. There is no need to waste your time when rewriting it for a hundred times. Turn to Edubirdie.com team for dissertation assistance – they can help you out with the toughest task.

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