Writing a dissertation proposal for your Masters or Ph.D. can be an overwhelming task, especially for first-timers. Some students don’t even know the need for such a task and prefer going about their dissertation straight. However, a dissertation proposal serves as a prelude to your main work. This guide discusses what a dissertation is, what it entails, the information to ignore, and how to meet your supervisor’s expectations.
What is a dissertation proposal?
Before I answer this, let’s first look at what a dissertation is. Just like a long easy, a dissertation is an extensive piece of academic research work. The difference between it and an essay is that for a dissertation, you have to come up with a topic, research questions, and even the methodology for the study. A dissertation proposal is, therefore, a form of a summary of your research work. The structure comprises:
- Main body comprising
Aims and objectives
You need to read widely and review the major literature in your research field when writing the proposal. It tells your supervisor that you are prepared for the main work. That notwithstanding, the dissertation proposal has a limited word count, so you should know what to add or ignore.
The relevance of a proposal
The dissertation proposal informs your supervisor about how you will go about the project. The takes the same path as the main project, but with brief information at every chapter. Though it serves as the basics of your work, you can decide to make any changes you want during the dissertation. Throughout the process, you should coordinate with your supervisor to ensure you are on the right path. This saves you from going back and forth and time waste.
The writing process
By now, you’ve chosen your research topic and read all the necessary literature to use in your proposal. Now, you are left with putting the essential points you’ve jotted down together. As listed above, you start with the
It is the chapter you introduce your topic and provide a brief background to it. It briefly explores the subject and should include your main thesis, specifying why the research is important.
The main body of a dissertation comprises
- The Methodology
This is where you state the method you would use to collect data and process data for the research. It should clearly state whether you will use the qualitative, quantitative or both methods to achieve your goals.
- Aims and Objectives
What do you seek to achieve with this research? What issue do you search to address? You need to state this to guide you in the study.
- Literature Review
The literature review is one of the most critical aspects of your entire dissertation proposal. It is where you review and argue previous literature on the subject. You would have to relate your research to the previous ones and build on it. You can also address the flaws in previous research and how you seek to correct or avoid them.
- Research Limitation
It would be best to recognize how far you can go with your research and make it known. Will this be a limitation of research materials, limited resources, or your inability to explore specific aspects of the subject? It can also be a limitation caused by word count.
- Ethical Considerations
This may include the permission to disclose or not the participants you interviewed for the research.
In all, how much time would you need to complete your dissertation? Your timeframe can be based on the entire project or chapter by chapter. Be realistic about the timescale to avoid unnecessary pressure.
In the concluding part, you summarize all the vital points you’ve included in the main body and why you believe the research is essential.