How to Write a Dissertation Proposal
A dissertation proposal is an overview of the significance and aims of the research you are carrying out for your dissertation. A dissertation proposal is used to show that your dissertation will be a useful and original contribution to your discipline. Dissertation proposal requirement vary from program to program and to get it right; you will have to check with your department first. Follow these steps to write your dissertation proposal.
- Make sure you get proposal written within the required time frame.
Find out how much time you need to develop your dissertation topic and come up with a proposal. For some graduate programs, you may be required to start working on a proposal immediately or wait until you have completed some coursework and exams. Find out what the rules for your graduate program are so you can have an idea of when to submit your dissertation proposal.
- Follow your department’s rule on proposal length.
Every department has stipulated rules guiding how long a proposal should be. Some proposals can be up to 15 pages long while some can be up to 20 pages or more. Consult with your supervisor to know what length you should work with. Some programs also use word count instead of the number of pages. Ensure you find out what your department recommends. Other things you need to do include;
- Follow the guidelines for the proposal arrangement.
- Format accordingly.
- Choose your dissertation committee members.
- Follow the approval process.
- Select a topic.
Start by making a list of topics you are interested in writing about. Consider the unanswered questions that you have encountered in the past. Carry out some preliminary research on the selected topics so you can get familiar with these potential topics you have marked. Search for peer-reviewed articles related to the topic and check different databases to see if any other graduate student has done a thesis or dissertation on your selected topics. Then you should talk to your dissertation advisor about the topics you have chosen.
- Choose a title and write an abstract.
You should choose a working title for your dissertation and write an abstract which is usually about 100 to 300 words. Your abstract should address the questions that the research will address, the methods you will use to carry out your research and the importance of your research and the impact it will make.
- Expound on your abstract.
Discuss in details what problem your dissertation will address. Write a “Statement of the problem” in one or two paragraphs. Explain the aims and objectives of your research and the questions you are hoping to find answers to. Summarize past literature on your selected topic and describe the method you intend to use for your research.
- Outline the timeline of action on your dissertation and finally, list your sources.
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