How to Write a Dissertation Prospectus

Tips to Writing a Good Dissertation Prospectus

Dissertation Prospectus

A dissertation prospectus is written prior to dissertation writing and is commonly considered the first step of writing a dissertation. However, to write a successful dissertation you must proceed in a step by step manner and focus at one step at a time.

First and foremost you must clarify what the committee wants from you. Do they want a creative write-up bursting with ideas or do they require a rather conservative approach to your dissertation topic? It is important to clear these things out initially to avoid confusion and pointless editing later on.

It is extremely rare that the advice given by the committee leads to negative effects on your dissertation. Neither would the committee always rule in your favor. In fact the very purpose of the committee is to help you with your dissertation/dissertation prospectus and thus contribute to your academic life.

Elements of a Dissertation Prospectus

Though different institutions have different expectations from a student writing a dissertation prospectus, most revolve around three basic elements. These three fundamental elements are:

  • The aims and objectives of your dissertation form the first most important element of your dissertation prospectus. Explain what the problem or the question is and provide facts as to why answering this question or addressing this problem is essential to the academic field your dissertation topic refers to. What the committee expects from you regarding this element is a speculation on the theme of your dissertation as to how it will contribute to the field? Explain the current development regarding the proposed theme and give an overview that educates the reader about the research question or the problem statement.
  • The second element of your dissertation prospectus should revolve around the previous research conducted in relation to the theme of your dissertation. This does not necessarily mean that you seek literature that addresses the same title. Include answers to similar questions/problems and use it as an example relative to your own dissertation question. After mentioning these in your dissertation prospectus you need to comment on them. Address the published research as honestly as possible. Don’t be judgmental based on what you think of the literature alone. Rather, base your opinions on fact and write about how the literature as accomplished/failed to address the research question or how the literature would help you with your own dissertation.
  • The third element of a dissertation prospectus is to explain the methodology you are going to use while addressing the dissertation statement. This aspect of the dissertation prospectus is often considered as the most difficult. However, all you need to do is to plan out a method that starts with the explanation of your problem, researches relevant data, analyzes it and then analytically uses it to answer the question and reach a conclusion. For further assistance regarding the methodology of your dissertation, browse our blog at for dissertation methodologies.

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