How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

Guidelines to Writing Dissertation Proposals and How to Outline Them

One of the most difficult tasks involved in dissertation writing is the formulation of dissertation proposals which involves creating something out of nothing at all. The whole point of a dissertation is to create and bring about something new, new ideas or new theories, and all of this is to be presented in the form of dissertation proposals. The concept behind a dissertation proposal is to present the reader with the minimal knowledge you have, and then to persuade them into allowing you to further research and acquire more knowledge on the respective subject. The study format applied to the dissertation proposal might either be very descriptive or there might be a literature paragraph summarizing various studies and reports; leading to a conclusion. However; the latter approach has been proven to be very helpful to students in crafting dissertation proposals.

Make sure to analyze your literature or the dissertation proposal in a manner so as to find any gaps or anything you missed while crafting the proposal or anything written too descriptively. Above all, make sure to analyze the conceptual and methodological weaknesses. Do not forget about the word count of the dissertation proposal and make sure it stays at least under twenty pages.

Outlining the Dissertation Proposal

The following outline of a dissertation proposal is in a general format, but with explanations (For crafting dissertation proposals in a format directed by you and one that guarantees success, please visit

  1. Summary: Provide an overview of the complete dissertation proposal and what you have discussed therein.
  2. Introduction: Write this section keeping in mind the people or committee members who are not familiar with the field your dissertation is about. Significance of the dissertation topic, questions the dissertation will explore and the problems or research the dissertation will address.
  3. Review of previous works: This section must indicate the theories and studies your dissertation will be built upon. Also mention the recent developments the respective field has gone through and their relation to your dissertation.
  4. Core argument or the central issue: In this section, present the core questions in detail which your dissertation tends to answer or problems that your dissertation proposes solutions to.
  5. Data: Explain all your connections with the presentation of data and the exact type of data you will be using and the specific means of acquisition of that data.
  6. Methodology: Explain in detail what dissertation methodology would be applied and how would it help in answering the core questions or the central problem on which the dissertation is based upon.
  7. Chapter Outline: Discuss briefly about the chapters and what will they contain. This would help estimate the development of the dissertation of the committee.
  8. Contributions: Discuss how the results of your dissertation might help.
  9. Time line: Explain in detail all your time consuming research work and how and when would the research work will be completed. Include the library work, the field work and methods to acquire relevant data and the time involved in the process.
  10. Bibliography: List all theoretical work, commentaries, field reports and publications you would be using.
  11. Supporting Materials: Include any other material that needs to be a part of your dissertation.