General Instructions On How To Complete A Dissertation Proposal

There are a lot of things you have to do to complete your dissertation proposal, from developing the first draft all the way through the proposal meeting. The specific guidelines for the proposal will be assigned by your educational institution. It’s vital to follow the correct format and get your work submitted on time. Proposals usually have a 500 or 1,000 word limit.

Elements of a dissertation proposal

The proposal can be thought of as a description. Basically you will be describing what your paper will be all about. Here are some parts to include in the proposal:

  • A summary of what your dissertation is about

  • Some probable questions you will be exploring

  • References to the theoretical structure you will be using

  • The empirical and non-empirical research methods you will be exploring

  • Possible outcomes of your study

Think of the time you put into your proposal as time invested in your academic future. Doing this process isn’t a waste of time because it helps you focus on what’s really important to include in your research project and the writing of your paper. It can also help form the foundation of the outline for your paper.

Even if a proposal isn’t a requirement, it could still be worth doing, for the benefits alone.

The feedback you get from doing this exercise will also help you in structuring your paper.

What to include:

  • The title of the dissertation; make it short and concise

  • The overall objectives for your research and paper. You shouldn’t have more than 3 of them. If you do, you need to narrow down your topic and make it more concise. Give it a more tightly narrowed focus.

  • The context within which you are writing, the literature and background. You may need to list some specific references or a partial or complete bibliography.

  • Details of your research phase. This should be a clear outline of your area of research.

  • Methodology you will be using, whether empirical or non-empirical. If you intend to conduct interviews, evaluate data, consult archives and so forth, this should be included.

  • The possible outcomes of the results of your paper. Of course you won’t know the actual outcome until after you’ve done all the work, but you need to summarize your expectations or hopes for the outcome you are attempting to generate by doing your dissertation research and writing. The timeline in which you think you will get all the work accomplished should also be included.