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How To Plan A Dissertation Proposal

How to Plan a Dissertation Proposal

How you have to write a dissertation proposal depends on your college or university's requirements. While some colleges do not insist on a proposal, in many colleges proposals need to be submitted along with the final dissertation for assessment and grading.

Even if your college does not insist on a proposal, doing one will be a very useful exercise and the experience will be of help if and when you choose to do higher studies. Moreover, your teacher might be impressed with the additional work that you took on upon yourself.

If your college insists on a proposal which is also assessed and graded then it is imperative you expend resources in preparing a really good one.

The time that you spend on writing a dissertation proposal is actually an investment that will reap benefits during the planning of your dissertation. The proposal will help you focus on the important points and will prevent you from wasting time on things that are not required. This, in fact, becomes the foundation for your dissertation outline.

Normally, dissertation proposals are of 500-1000 words; however, please ensure to check the specific needs of your college. This article is written with the intention of giving you tips on how to plan a dissertation proposal.

What does a dissertation proposal contain?

A dissertation proposal is a brief description of the following:

  • What will be the subject of your dissertation?

  • What are the likely questions that you will examine and attempt to find answers to in your dissertation?

  • What are the research methods that you will be employing?

  • What are you expecting the outcome of the dissertation study to be?

  • You can also add some references about the theoretical background of the dissertation

Tone of your dissertation proposal

Let your dissertation proposal sound firm and confident yet flexible. Your writing should convey your flexibility to adapt to any changes that may come up. Give a balanced view of what you intend to do. Let your teacher know that you have considered all the ways of approaching the dissertation and after careful thought, you have chosen the best way possible.

Be careful about the tense you use in your proposal. Ideally, it would be something that you are going to do in the future. So, sentences should read like this: I will be answering the following questions in my dissertation or I will be using the attached questionnaire for my empirical study.

What are the elements of a dissertation proposal?

The essential elements of your dissertation proposal should include the following:

Title of your dissertation – Keep this short, succinct, and to the point. Examples of dissertation titles could be:

  • A comparative study of Jewish and Christian religious rituals

  • Evaluating leadership practices that can sustain the onslaught of social media

  • The political journey of people from being community college presidents to senators

Introduction – In this section, you must clearly articulate what your primary research question will be. You can include a bit of subject/topic background and its relation to any other relevant issues that your dissertation will talk about.

Objectives of the dissertation – What do you expect to learn from doing this study? Keep the number of objectives to less than three. Usually, an explanation of the rationale behind these objectives should also be given at this point. You should write about objectives and outcomes that you hope to achieve and predict through your dissertation.

Background/Literature/context – This section should contain key references and sources of key thinkers that you intend to include in your dissertation. You can also include the context or background of your dissertation.

Research details – This section should explain in a bit of detail the answers you hope to get or provide from your dissertation paper. This segment should clearly outline the area and specificity of your research.

Methodologies – This segment of your dissertation proposal should clearly spell out the methodologies that you will be employing to do your dissertation. If it is an empirical study, then you could include questionnaires or interview sheets. If it is a non-empirical study, then this section might be small and would include data, key thinkers, and sources which you will be discussing in your dissertation.

Potential outcomes – If you will know the actual outcome, then doing the dissertation itself is pointless. This segment should contain probable and expected outcomes that you hope to get. You should also suggest a target audience in this segment.

Timeline – Spending time to arrive at timelines will save you plenty of time during the planning stage. Ensure you keep your timelines achievable and realistic.

Constraints of your research – Most of the topics invariably have larger and more complex issues that are beyond your dissertation. By including the constraints of your research, you are sending out a clear message to your readers that you are clearly aware of these larger links that you have not been able to include in your study.

Bibliography – Some colleges do not need bibliography in the dissertation proposal while some ask for it. Check with your college procedure and act accordingly.

Dissertation proposals represent the table of contents of your final dissertation; it explains what your subject or topic of dissertation is going to be and gives a rough idea of how you are planning to collate and analyze the data.

For most colleges, it is perfectly alright not to have your plan watertight at this stage; and it is alright that you make slight changes from what you submitted in your proposal as you progress in your dissertation.

However, your dissertation proposal should help you know in which direction your dissertation is going. Your topic should not only be related to your field of study but also narrow enough that you can complete it before your course ends.

Your dissertation proposal will aid in determining and defining both these parameters. Your teachers will also clearly understand whether you are taking the right decisions along the way. Your proposal will help your teachers know if the path you are taking is correct or should it be adjusted a little?

Final Notes

Dissertations are like the crowning glory of your college life. When you complete your dissertation, it most probably means only the graduation ceremony separates you from your college degree.

Spending time and effort on writing your dissertation proposal is time and effort saved during the planning and writing of your dissertation. Planning is the toughest and most tiring part of the success of any task more so a writing task.

Our experts at Prescott Papers will gladly guide and help you through your dissertation writing process. This will reduce stress and also save some time for you.

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