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Dissertation Proposal: Writing Guide + Examples

The dissertation proposal is easy, at least with us who know how to write a dissertation proposal using simple examples. Remember that your main priority is always research and your own self-growth. Thus, being able to sell your paper idea is something any graduate student should nail. Apart from lengthy research, students also must keep in mind currency and relevance. If you can master googling and choosing relevant information, you have success in your bag. But no worries. Here we have collected helpful tips and examples and created this simple writing guide. Continue reading if you are eager to impress committee members and come up with an incredible proposal!

What is a Dissertation Proposal

Unlike all other similar papers, the dissertation proposal is not as lengthy. The work must be around 10-15 pages in length. But those pages must definitely be informative and summarize all the main points you’re making. So a proposal is basically the first attempt to defend your idea. It is a starting point of your dissertation that describes what your research is about and how you will conduct it. It should represent the purpose and meaning of your work.

Of course, the actual defense will be later. Still, the paper’s length will also depend on your field of work. Doctoral students will have to go all-in and write propositions closer to 15 pages. Yet, it’s not surprising as they must include everything from the topic to methods, design, as well as literature. But there’s nothing we cannot teach future writers, so no worries!

Dissertation Proposal Outline

Our dissertation proposal template is the first thing that will help in your quest. All outlines should include:

  1. Dissertation introduction — Covers all basics of your research, including general idea, main topic, as well as research questions.
  2. Significance — Why is this topic important, and why did you decide to study it and not anything else?
  3. Dissertation methodology — How will your chosen subject be studied in practice? Will you collect information or analyze any data?
  4. Implications — What do your ideas and findings mean, and how can they be used by other people?
  5. References — What literature had helped when you were working on your proposal? You need to specify books, journals, and other sources.

How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

Writing a dissertation proposal might take a minute, but it will definitely be worth it. Good initial work requires a well-developed topic. Moreover, all work will need to be structured correctly. But saving your time for some coffee breaks, we got all these steps covered. So follow our step-by-step guide, and there will be no issues writing a successful proposal for even your pickiest professor.

1. Choose a Topic for Dissertation Proposal

The topic of the dissertation is a naughty little thing that is capable of driving you insane. That is, if you don't know how to approach it. But here's how anyone can choose great topics for proposals:

  • Start by picking an area of expertise or a more general subject.
  • Check whether there are any gaps in knowledge or any pressing issues to cover.
  • Don't forget about narrowing the field of study (no one can take up a global issue and discuss it in 60 pages).
  • Ensure that your selected idea is specific. It is always a good idea to highlight the population studied, location, or anything that might help in defining or narrowing the work.

2. Write Your Dissertation Proposal Introduction

Now it's time to overcome the fear of blank pages and start your dissertation proposal. Copy the checklist below because we don't want anyone to miss a thing:

    Don't forget to present all enumerated above elements and try to fit your introduction into 1 or maximum 2 paragraphs.

    Dissertation Proposal Example

    Are you looking for a sample dissertation proposal? Well. We’re here to deliver that too. We have all the examples, samples, and material for you to see how to write a dissertation introduction. The sample includes a good start, a hook, and a background. So check out our sample before you start writing.

    Do futures and options trading increase stock market volatility?
    Macro & Micro economics
    Paper type

    3. State the Significance of Your Dissertation

    All dissertation proposals must display the importance. If they don't, why even write them? Obviously not for fun. So your audience will wonder: What is your contribution to the topic or field? What new data and research was brought to the table? What makes people gasp out of wonder? Or simply, why is the dissertation even important? But, we know, without practical examples, the words are easily forgotten. So check out the sample of significance section that you can use.

    4. Review Literature and Find Gaps

    When preparing for Ph.D. dissertation proposals, you need to collect all required literature. But here, we have several important tips worth remembering. First and foremost, you should save or mark relevant sources. Collecting them and later filtering will be your best strategy. You can always get rid of them. After reviewing all your collected sources, ask yourself about their gaps: What's missing in this folder? Maybe previous authors focused only on one side of an issue, and you can review opposing thoughts. After choosing primary problems, you need to find ways to solve them. Obviously, personal opinion will not be enough. So you should search for theories, articles, books, and peer-reviewed materials to help you.

    5. Specify Research Methodology for Dissertation Proposal

    Your dissertation proposal methods section is also essential, so we will give you an example of methods used in dissertation proposals.

    Check out proposed sample to ease the writing process:

    Research Proposal: The Role of Racism in Police Brutality in the USA
    Paper type

    Apart from our sample, you’ll need to think about what types of methodology and approaches suit your research best:

    • How did you approach data collection? Is this data qualitative (not measured with numbers) or quantitative (numbers, percentage, and other similar stuff)?
    • How did you conduct your analysis? Did you have any theories in the process?
    • Did you collect your data by yourself, or did you use any theoretical material? (Surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and existing data are the most popular options).

    Beyond all, think about all methods that would answer your research question and fit your primary objective.

    6. Conclude Proposal with Implications

    We hate saying goodbye, but it's time to end your research proposal. This time, your conclusion will be slightly different from ordinary essays. Thus, discussing what you have studied won't be enough. Here's how anyone can write a good conclusion:

    1. State what you have achieved by researching your chosen topic.
    2. Mention what memorable results were in your work.
    3. Highlight what changes or improvements you showed compared to existing findings.
    4. Summarize collected knowledge.
    5. Most importantly, propose possible future development and what else can be done to make a difference.
    6. Everything we have enumerated above we can call "implication." They essentially say why your work matters.

    7. Check Dissertation Proposal Format

    Before submitting your work, you also need to check available Ph.D. dissertation proposal formats. APA or Chicago formats you choose will determine the look of your paper, bibliography, and references. Here’s a short list of paper formats preferable for dissertations:

    • APA: In-text citation is formatted to include all authors and their dates of publication. Plus, this format has a separate title page. Lastly, bibliographical reference starts with an author and later puts things like dates in the brackets.
    • Chicago: This format also has a separate title page, but in-text citations are superscripts. The actual references are put in the footnotes as well as in the bibliography. Unlike in APA, the bibliographical reference here first includes all authors (or just one) and the name of the work and only later other things like a date.

    Bottom Line

    That was a wild ride, but now you know all the vital basics of writing a dissertation proposal. We covered everything from initial research to choosing a good topic. Just a reminder, the methods you choose and your analyzed data must fit the research question. Besides, the same questions should also be answered. If you asked: “Can chocolate make people happy?” — the answer must be given. So, yes, it can make people happy.

    But if you still struggle with crafting your proposal, our dissertation writing services are your best option. We are known for top-quality, professional writers and their ability to work with urgent deadlines.
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    Joe Eckel is an expert on Dissertations writing. He makes sure that each student gets precious insights on composing A-grade academic writing.

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