A dissertation proposal describes the research you wish to conduct: what it is about, how it will be carried out, and why it is worthwhile. As an undergraduate or postgraduate student, you will almost certainly be required to write a proposal before beginning your dissertation.


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Before drafting a thesis, a dissertation proposal must be written. It lays the groundwork for describing what you plan to look at and how you’ll go about gathering and analyzing the data. Since your topic or approach may alter significantly over the course, it is not necessary to have everything laid out in detail. However, the proposal will help the reader understand the focus of your argument.


Table of Contents

Important things to keep in mind when writing the dissertation proposal


  • Pick a subject that appeals to you and is relevant to your field of study.
  • Describe the central notion of the argument.
  • Discuss the potential issues that need to be examined.
  • Cite sources that help the text
  • Describe the procedures and tactics to be employed.
  • briefly describe the possible results.


A dissertation proposal should generally include:

Whatever format a plan takes, certain elements must be present. Here’s a structure to help you write a comprehensive proposal.

Structure of comprehensive proposal

Structure of comprehensive proposal are;Title,introduction,literature review,methodology,aims&objectives and research constraints


Keep the topic focused enough so that you can finish the thesis on time. The title should be brief and relevant to the main idea of your work.


An introduction to your topic and aims. It defines the research topic and the purpose of the paper. It also tells the reader whether the thesis will include new findings or a review and analysis of existing literature. You can mention previous researchers who have worked in the same field.


Literature Review- 

A literature review of the current state of knowledge. You list books and other literary publications that you used for your research in this section. It is an excellent place to highlight previous research on the topic as well as to demonstrate your knowledge of it. You can also explain briefly how your proposed thesis relates to or differs from previous academic studies.



An outline of your proposed methodology. It describes the procedures for gathering data as well as the techniques for analyzing it. It is critical to explain why the methods chosen are appropriate for the research. If you are going to collect data (empirical study), you must specify whether it is qualitative or quantitative. If the research is based on previously completed projects and papers, it will be non-empirical.


Aims & Objectives- 

A discussion of the possible implications of the research. In this section, you describe your goals and the potential outcomes of your research. Make a point of emphasizing the thesis’s main goals. You can interpret the critical tasks and explain how you intend to achieve those objectives.


Research Constraints- 

Research topics may be linked to larger and more complex issues. You acknowledge and demonstrate your understanding of these issues by stating the constraints. It also shows your research’s position in the scientific hierarchy.


Dissertation proposals vary greatly in length and structure, so make sure to follow any guidelines provided by your institution and consult with your supervisor if you are unsure. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect because you may make modifications as you go.


Table of contents

  • Step 1: Coming up with an idea
  • Step 2: Presenting your idea in the introduction
  • Step 3: Exploring related research in the literature review
  • Step 4: Describing your methodology
  • Step 5: Outlining the potential implications of your research
  • Step 6: Creating a reference list or bibliography

Step 1: Coming up with an idea

Before writing your proposal, you should have a strong idea for your dissertation.

Find a topic in your field that interests you and do some preliminary research on it. What are other researchers’ main concerns? What do they suggest for future research, and what strikes you as an intriguing gap in the field?

When you have an idea, think about how to narrow it down and how to frame it. Don’t be too ambitious or vague with your dissertation topic; it must be specific enough to be feasible. Transition from a broad area of interest to a specific niche.

I.e Social networking sites =Social media’s impact on mental health= The impact of social media on young adults who are anxious

Step 2: Presenting your idea in the introduction 

A dissertation proposal, like most academic texts, begins with an introduction. This is where you introduce your research topic, provide some background information, and, most importantly, present your aim, objectives, and research question (s).


Try to get right into your chosen subject: What is at stake in your investigation? What makes it interesting? Don’t spend too much time making broad generalizations or grand statements:


  • Context

Once your research topic is defined, you can provide more background and context. What information does the reader need to understand your proposed questions? What is the current state of research on this topic, and how will your dissertation add to it?


If you include a literature review, don’t go into too much detail at this point; instead, give the reader a general sense of the debates in which you’re intervening.


  • Aims

This brings you to the most important part of your introduction: your goal, objectives, and research question (s). These should be easily identifiable and stand out from the text, for example, using bullet points or a bold font.


Make sure your research questions are specific and feasible, and that you can reasonably answer them within the scope of your dissertation. Avoid being too broad or asking too many questions. Remember that the purpose of a dissertation proposal is to persuade the reader that your research is worthwhile and feasible.


Step 3: Exploring related research in the literature review 

Now that you’ve determined your topic, it’s time to look into existing research on similar topics. This is significant because it demonstrates what is missing from previous research in the field and ensures that you are not asking a question that has already been answered.


You’ve most likely already done some preliminary reading, but now that your topic has been narrowed down, you must thoroughly analyze and evaluate the most relevant sources in your literature review.


You should summarize other researchers’ findings and comment on gaps and problems in their studies in this section. There may be a lot of research to cover, so use paraphrasing effectively to write concisely. The goal is to identify findings and theories that will influence your own research, as well as gaps and limitations in previous research that can be addressed in your dissertation.


Step 4: Describing your methodology 

Now that you’ve determined your topic, it’s time to look into existing research on similar topics. This is significant because it demonstrates what is missing from previous research in the field and ensures that you are not asking a question that has already been answered.


Following that, you will describe your proposed methodology, including the specific things you hope to accomplish, the structure of your research, and the methods you will use to collect and analyze data.


In this section, you should be very specific – you need to persuade your supervisor that you’ve thought through your approach to the research and can realistically carry it out. This section will differ in appearance and length depending on your field of study.


You could be conducting empirical research, focusing on data collection and discovering new information, or theoretical research, attempting to develop a new conceptual model or add nuance to an existing one.


Dissertation research frequently involves both, but the content of your methodology section will vary depending on how important each approach is to your dissertation.


  • Empirical research 

Empirical research entails gathering and analyzing new data in order to answer research questions. It can be quantitative (numbers-focused), qualitative (words-and-meanings-focused), or a combination of the two.


When conducting empirical research, it is critical to describe in detail how you intend to collect data:

  1. Will you conduct surveys? A laboratory experiment? Interviews?
  2. What variables are you going to track?
  3. How are you going to choose a representative sample?
  4. What steps will you take to ensure that people who participate in your research are treated ethically?
  5. Which tools (both conceptual and physical) will you employ, and why?


  • Theoretical research 

You can also conduct theoretical research that does not require the collection of original data. In this case, your methodology section will be more concerned with the theory you intend to use in your dissertation: relevant conceptual models and the approach you intend to take.


A literary analysis dissertation, for example, rarely involves the collection of new data, but it is still necessary to explain the theoretical approach that will be taken to the text(s) under discussion, as well as which parts of the text(s) will be emphasized.


Step 5: Outlining the potential implications of your research 

Typically, you’ll end your dissertation proposal with a section discussing what you hope your research will accomplish.


You obviously can’t be too certain because you don’t yet know what your results and conclusions will be. Instead, describe your dissertation’s projected implications and contribution to knowledge.


Consider the potential implications of your research first. Are you going to:

  1. Create or test a theory?
  2. Give new information to governments or corporations?
  3. Do you want to challenge a widely held belief?
  4. Make a suggestion for a process improvement?


Step 6: Creating a reference list or bibliography 

It is critical that your dissertation proposal, like any academic text, effectively references all of the sources you have used. At the end of your proposal, you must include a properly formatted reference list or bibliography.


Different institutions recommend different referencing styles; common styles include Harvard, Vancouver, APA, and MHRA. If your department does not have specific requirements, pick a style and stick to it.


A reference list only includes the sources cited in your proposal. A bibliography, on the other hand, can include every source you used to prepare the proposal, even if you didn’t mention it in the text. A bibliography in the case of a dissertation proposal may also include relevant sources that you haven’t yet read but intend to use during the research process.


Consult your supervisor to determine the type of bibliography or reference list you should include.


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