Dissertation writing is a laborious task. When writing your dissertation, you ought to investigate multiple angles in your research topic and connect various claims for a coherent paper. 

Success in a dissertation thus calls for ample planning to define your research efforts and to bring your end goal into perspective. A dissertation proposal is thus a crucial item as it serves as a plan, helping you gauge the relevance of your research in your field. 

If you are struggling with your proposal, our guide for writing a proposal for a dissertation ought to come in handy. Here, we will analyse the outline of a dissertation proposal, the process of writing the proposal, and tips for a great paper. 

What is a dissertation proposal?

A dissertation proposal is a paper outlining your research objectives, the relevance of your research to your discipline, and the strategy you will apply to realize your goals. The paper tackles the background information on a topic, highlighting the gaps that your research will bridge.

The paper thus defines the goals of your research, helping you to stay on track with your objectives. Your dissertation proposal also helps your tutor to gauge the feasibility of your work and highlight various gaps and errors you ought to rectify before you embark on research.

This feedback helps to save time and also ensures that you tackle an original idea in a manner that offers findings of great scientific value. 

How to write a dissertation proposal

Think of your dissertation as a mosaic. A marvellous coherent art comprising of small pieces (which by themselves may not be as amusing) that bring out an amazing decorative pattern.

Like the mosaic, your dissertation brings about multiple ideas to illuminate a crucial concept that redefines the perspective of experts within your field. Like the paper, a proposal calls for effort on various portions of your paper to build an argument that warrants research. 

Ideally, your proposal should undergo much consideration and cover the key sections of a dissertation proposal. Here are some steps for writing a dissertation proposal you ought to consider. 

1. Establish a research idea

Topic selection is a great determinant of your entire dissertation writing experience. If selected poorly, a topic may prove too broad to cover or limit your arguments since it has been investigated in multiple research papers. 

Before embarking on research, consult various materials and find an interesting topic with clear gaps that necessitate research. You could work towards a topic by consulting the recommendations of existing work or by checking the emerging issues in your discipline. 

Also, be keen to select a specific idea that can be exhausted in your research. For instance, if you select a topic on drug abuse, you may struggle with performing objective research as there are tons of ideas to investigate under drug abuse. 

Narrowing your research to the effects of beer on cognitive performance allows you to objectively analyse the topic as you are aware of your thesis and can gauge the plausible implications. 

We recommend that you settle for a topic that piques your interest as this will drive you towards quality research. Keen interest in the topic also makes for an easier dissertation proposal defence as you can easily highlight the essence of the research. 

2. Prepare a captivating introduction

A dissertation proposal introduction can make or break your appeal to your faculty. Ideally, your dissertation proposal introduction should explain your research background, highlight the objectives and show your foreseen implications. 

However, you should consider having a hook to capture a reader’s attention and illuminate a problem. Suggest why your research approach is best suited for the study and what you hope to unveil. Doing this will grab a reader’s attention, helping them follow through with your research perspective. 

3. Highlight your literature review

All scientific publications should be based on facts. Your literature review section should thus show that you have adequately researched the topic before making a hypothesis. 

Your literature review should acknowledge the existing research and highlight the gaps that exist in the work. You may conclude your review with an analysis of the knowledge gaps, highlighting the reasons why your research is relevant. 

Besides justifying your work, this section shows that you have covered ample research, and thus are in a position to offer quality insight on the topic. 

4. Outline your research methodology

Your methodology outlines the procedures through which you intend to test your objectives. Here, indicate the methods of data collection and analysis, the factors you will analyse, and define your representative sample.

Also, indicate the equipment you will use and a rationale on their effectiveness to yield valuable results. You may also analyse the ethical considerations and show how you have adjusted your study to observe these considerations.

The methodology helps your tutor gauge the feasibility of your paper, and also determines your research budget. 

5. Discuss the implications of your research

Since you are yet to conduct your research, your proposal dissertation should highlight your predicted outcomes. You should thus tackle various hypotheses in this section and cover the contributions you hope to make to your field. 

6. Coalesce your references

The last chapter of your dissertation proposal should highlight the references of all materials used within your work. Be keen to follow the recommended referencing style and indicate an entry for all in-text citations. 

Dissertation proposal outline

  • Introduction: highlight your research background. Tackle your thesis and indicate the implications of your research to your field.
  • Literature review:tackle the knowledge gaps in existing research and their limitations in addressing an academic problem. 
  • Methodology: go over the process used to investigate your topic and the challenges in research. Tackle criteria for selecting participants and methods of collecting and interpreting data.
  • Implications: highlight the outcomes of your work and how they may contribute to your field. Conclude by citing the essence of your methods to address the knowledge gaps you identified in the literature review. 
  • References

How many pages should a dissertation proposal be?

Dissertation proposals usually range between ten to twenty pages. However, there is no stipulated length for your proposal. We thus recommend that you consult your faculty guidelines and find any suggestions regarding the length of your proposal. 

Final take

We hope that this guide helps you to quickly go about your dissertation proposal. Feel free to consult us for a custom example of a dissertation proposal, overcoming various challenges you encounter along the way.