What is a Dissertation Proposal?

What is a Dissertation Proposal?

The first step in writing a dissertation is to formulate a dissertation proposal. But what is a dissertation proposal?

Basically, a dissertation proposal is a document that introduces or summarizes one’s proposed research objectives and methods of investigation. It is supposed to persuade the dissertation committee into allowing one to pursue further research on the subject. Writing a proposal is arguably the most difficult task in dissertation writing. Here a lot of creativity is needed to bring out a new idea and theories. In most cases, it takes months to years to formulate a convincing proposal.

Depending on the subject, a dissertation proposal can either be descriptive or literature-based. Most professors advocate for literature based allowing in depth analysis of existing literature and theories. The purpose of analysis is to find gaps that might necessitate further research.

A good dissertation proposal should not exceed twenty pages. Generally, it should be formatted in the following manner.

  1. Summary. This section provides a brief overview of what you have proposed in the document.
  2. Introduction. This section should present your topic and questions that will make further exploration. It should also present the significance of the topic to the field and the specific problems to be addressed.
  3. Literature review. This section should explore and review existing literature, theories, and previous work the dissertation will be built on. It is also important to mention milestones in research in the respective field.
  4. Central argument. A brief presentation of the central issue in the dissertation. It also proposes solutions to research problems.
  5. Methodology. This explains the methods of investigation to be used when investigating the problem.
  6. Chapters. This section briefly discusses what each chapter of the dissertation will contain.
  7. Timeline. This section explains the amount of time the research will consume and when the whole paper is expected to be completed.
  8. Bibliography. This is a list of theoretical work, reports, and publications to be used.