A Comprehensive Guide on How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

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How to Write a Dissertation Proposal


Do you want to submit a dissertation or thesis? If you are a student who is pursuing a master’s or Ph.D. degree, then before you begin writing your dissertation or thesis, you must first prepare a dissertation proposal. Basically, a dissertation proposal is a document that will provide you with the direction for the research. It will also disclose the significance of the research and outline the methodology for future analysis.

Getting approval for the dissertation proposal would help you to confidently write a strong dissertation paper. So, before proceeding with the dissertation writing process, initially create a winning dissertation proposal.

Currently, would you have to write a dissertation proposal? Do you know the steps for writing a good dissertation proposal? If you have no idea about the dissertation proposal, then continue reading this blog post. Here, we have given a complete overview of the dissertation proposal and have explained how to choose the best dissertation topics and write an excellent dissertation proposal.

Quickly dive inside this comprehensive guide and get a basic understanding of dissertation proposal writing.

An Overview of Dissertation Proposal

What is a dissertation proposal? A dissertation proposal is a detailed research plan. The document mainly describes the research topic, research purpose, and the methods for conducting the research. In simple terms, a dissertation proposal is a future thesis plan that will suggest you effective ways to reach the target. The ultimate aim of a dissertation proposal is to prepare you for the academic writing process.

Usually, the dissertation proposal will not talk about the research results. Instead, it will explain the procedures that will help you to reach the desired outcomes. It will also describe what you will get after attaining your research goals.

In general, you can find the following in a good dissertation proposal.

  • Thesis Plot
  • Issues to be investigated
  • References to the background
  • Research methods and Techniques to execute
  • Potential results of the experiments

Till now, we saw what a dissertation proposal means. In the next section, let us have a look at how to write a dissertation proposal.

Steps for Writing a Strong Dissertation Proposal

When it comes to writing a dissertation proposal, first, you should consider the research requirements. Remember, the research theme you have finalized should be concise and narrow enough to cover the major idea that you are about to examine. Most importantly, the paper you craft should include your research data and the methods you have used to study those data.

If you are asked to prepare a dissertation proposal, make sure to follow the below-mentioned steps in order.

  1. Search and find a research topic or idea.
  2. Present your research idea in the introduction.
  3. Explore related research in the literature review.
  4. Discuss the research methodology.
  5. Outline the research implications.
  6. Prepare a bibliography or reference list.

Before you begin your dissertation proposal composing, first, determine the structure. Then, decide what sections or chapters to include in the paper. After breaking the whole paper into several parts, focus on each part specifically.

For the dissertation proposal, the title is important. So, examine the research problem or issue completely and find a suitable title. Remember, your title should be short, catchy and it should highlight the subject of investigation. Once you have identified a powerful title for your dissertation proposal, try to find the solutions for your issues by referring to scientific journals or books. If you use the ideas of other authors, make a note to give credits.

As the research has not been performed yet, while writing the dissertation proposal, use future tense. Also, avoid writing the research statement as it is. Instead, simply rephrase the statement. In the dissertation proposal clearly describe your investigation method, the data you intend to collect and work with, and the technique you are willing to execute.

The structure and length of the dissertation proposal are not fixed and they may vary. So, at the time, of writing a dissertation proposal, stick to the guidelines provided by your supervisor or university.


How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

Key Elements of Dissertation Proposal

Basically, the dissertation proposal has a standard structure that includes the following essential chapters, components, sections, or elements.

  • Introduction
  • Aims and Objectives
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Research Implications or Constraints
  • Bibliography or Reference list

Here, in detail, let us have a look at each key element of the dissertation proposal.


It is the opening section of the dissertation proposal. It typically focuses on the research topic, talks about the background information of the subject, and opens up the significance of the paper. Besides, it also describes the subject of study and lists out the names of the scientists who are a part of that domain. In particular, the introduction notifies the readers of whether the paper is a review and investigation of existing literature.

Aims and Objectives

In the dissertation proposal, mentioning the aims and objectives is necessary. The aim of your dissertation proposal should explain to your readers what you are planning to achieve, why you need to achieve it, and what action you will take to achieve it. In this section, mainly, you should present the key tasks and the methods executed to gain the results. Also, here, you should define the primary goals you desire to accomplish at the end of the examination and forecast the effects of the study.

Literature Review

This chapter provides the details of the literary publications used at the time of research and share remarks on the problems in the study. Remember, the scholarly writings mentioned here should be up-to-date and relevant to your research topic. Writing a literature review is important because it emphasizes the former examination performed on the topic and provides awareness of the issue. Also, it enhances the ability to analyze the research materials and strengthens the existing knowledge of the topic. When writing the literature review, use paraphrasing and present the necessary details concisely.


The methodology section talks about the methods that are used to collect and analyze the data. Here, in this section, you should describe each method separately and provide the reasons why those research methods are selected. Note that, your study will be empirical when you gather and define the data. But it would be non-empirical if you choose to conduct research based on the academic papers or projects that are published already.

Research Implications or Constraints

This section explains the contribution to the dissertation knowledge along with the projected inference. Here, you should mainly give importance to the expected research results and the impact it gives. The impact can be either practical or theoretical. It is the conclusion section where you should conclude the entire paper by restating the contribution to knowledge.

Bibliography or Reference list

In this part, you should provide references to all the sources you have used in your dissertation proposal. The reference list or bibliography should be formatted properly and placed at the end of the proposal. Remember, there is a minor difference between the bibliography and references. A bibliography includes every source that was not included in the text but was consulted when writing the proposal. A reference list includes the sources that are cited in the proposal document.

Usually, for referencing, each university follows different reference styles such as APA, MHRA, Vancouver, or Harvard. So, before you initiate your dissertation proposal writing process, discuss with your supervisor and get to know about the referencing types or citation styles they expect you to follow.

Wrapping Up

We hope you are now clear on how to write a dissertation proposal. To prepare a strong dissertation proposal, make sure to follow the dissertation proposal writing steps and tips shared above. In case, you are still unsure about how to craft an effective dissertation proposal, then immediately reach out to us for dissertation proposal writing help. In our team, we have skilled dissertation writers to assist you in writing a good dissertation proposal in any discipline as per your writing guidelines.

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