Research and Writing Secrets for Writing a Dissertation Proposal
A dissertation proposal is a concise overview of your research study. The purpose is to demonstrate the scientific value of your work and your ability to plan it.
In some universities and courses, a dissertation proposal is included as part of your assessment, while in others it is not. However, there are at least two good reasons to compose it, even if you are not required to do it. Firstly, it will help you form the outline of your dissertation, and check it for relevance and consistency. Secondly, writing a proposal when it is not obligatory will definitely impress your supervisor.
The Structure of a Dissertation Proposal
As a rule, a dissertation proposal must include the following information:
- Dissertation title
- Research goals (no more than three)
- Literature and background overview
- Research scope and area
- Research methods
- Expected outcome (scientific value) of your dissertation
- Timeline and plan of work
- Reference list
Specific requirements for dissertation proposals may vary greatly between institutions. Therefore, your research on how to write this kind of paper should begin in your university (you will probably have to go no further). Find out whether there are any specific guidelines and follow them strictly, especially if your proposal is to be assessed. It may also be a good idea to consult your supervisor on what tone and style to adopt for your research proposal.
Writing Techniques for a Dissertation Proposal
If you are preparing to write a dissertation, you must already have experience in academic writing and your own time-tested secrets of success. However, tips by those who did it before might still be useful:
- Begin with the sections that seem easier to write. You may need to write your introduction and abstract last, after you form a general idea for your whole work.
- Be ready to re-write and re-submit more than once until your proposal is approved.
- Do not feel bound by the research plan, scope, and methods stated in your proposal. If in the latter stages of your research work you have an idea on how to change it for the better, do it. Then, introduce respective changes in the proposal.
- Use the experience of your supervisor. Get consent to submit your proposal to him or her for feedback.
- Join the efforts of colleagues who are also working on their dissertations. Form a working group to exchange ideas, comment on each other’s drafts, and share experiences. It will not only provide you with useful information, but also prevent you from feeling lonely in your work and reduce your anxiety.