Many consider writing the dissertation proposal to be the hardest part of the entire dissertation process. The student must have a firm grasp on the proposal topic, must put in countless hours performing a literature review, come up with his or her own view of that particular topic, and then submit the results in writing. A difficult task, to say the least. However, these guidelines provide prospective proposal writers with the necessary information to make this job a bit easier.
I. Dissertation or PhD Thesis Proposal Length
There are varying ideas about how long or how short a dissertation proposal should be. However, if all of the important parts of the proposal are addressed during its preparation the proposal will generally end up being around 20 pages. It is okay if the custom-written proposal is a bit more or a bit less; the most important thing is that all the major points are addressed.
II. Major Parts of the Thesis or Dissertation Proposal
The introduction should include a short summary of the major questions behind your research, as well as provide the context of those questions within a larger academic framework. Those who read the introduction should be able to understand what you are attempting to discern through your research and writing.
B. PROBLEM STATEMENT
Describe your research issue is depth, and provide the background and particular context of the problem in relation to the particular academic field.
C. LITERATURE REVIEW
This portion should address the scope of your research and list your major findings. Whether or not you set out a specific portion of the proposal for a literature review is up to you. Some proposal writers do, while others simply interweave the results within the other major portions of the proposal. Regardless of how you go about presenting the literature review, you must make sure that you describe why the findings of the review are important to your area of custom research.
In this section you will describe what you plan to do, why you plan to do it, and how you are going to go about doing it. Be sure to include all the details of your methods of research and demonstrate how the methods relate to your research question.
Make a list of all your source materials, making sure to properly format them in whatever academic style is required.
III. Tips For Preparing the Dissertation Proposal
GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME
The last thing you would ever want to leave to the last minute is a dissertation proposal. It has been estimated that a proposal takes around six months to complete, once a topic has been selected and an adequate amount of literature has been gathered. If the topic selection and literature review has not yet been completed, it will take even longer. Be sure to give yourself adequate time when tackling the dissertation proposal, otherwise you will be experiencing a lot of sleepless nights.
COMPLETE A THOROUGH LITERATURE REVIEW
By being as thorough as possible during your literature review, you allow for a broader understanding of your research topic. Too many potential proposals are shot down before they even get off the ground because the writer does not complete an adequate review of the existing literature.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR COMMITTEE
It is vitally important that you keep in regular contact with the members of your committee while you are preparing your dissertation. Keep them informed of any changes in direction that you may decide to make, and be open to any advice that they may be willing to give. If possible, ask for copies of past dissertations that the advisors have approved. Having a sample of a successful dissertation can make preparing your own much easier.