Dissertation Proposal: Secrets to Writing a Winning Paper

Dissertation Proposal: Secrets to Writing a Winning Paper

What is a dissertation proposal? To manage the task successfully, you need to define what it is and how to cope with it. A dissertation proposal aims to show the goals and significance of your paper. The key point here is to demonstrate to the committee how your dissertation paper can contribute to the field of your study. There are a lot of requirements needed to write a good dissertation proposal, and these vary from one task to another. So, to learn what is the best and the correct way to write your dissertation proposal, address to your department to know the details and specific rules. Get ready for the writing, find the best topic, and then create a well-designed dissertation proposal based on your research. 

Consider Department Guidelines

As we have already mentioned before, there are different requirements for each education department in terms of dissertation writing. Therefore, you have to check everything correctly and make sure you are doing the right thing. If you don’t follow the necessary guidelines, your work can be denied. The following tips will help you organize the process of dissertation proposal writing correctly. 

Mind the timeline

In the universities, the timeframes for the dissertation writing vary. You may get the task for your dissertation at the beginning of the semester, or you can have a set of exams before the dissertation process starts. Graduate programs are different. For this reason, you need to find a person responsible for organizational matters and find out the details. Or you can have another option. Most universities think ahead and post all the necessary information on their websites. If you can’t find what you need or doubt, whether it’s correct, ask your advisor or department’s assistant to help. 

Adjust your paper to the length guidelines

The length of the text will depend on the topic and the discipline of your research. In general, you will have to write approximately 10-15 pages to make up a good dissertation proposal. But the situations are different and can vary. In some cases, your proposal can number up to 20 pages. This is common for some subjects, topics or disciplines. But it’s better to consult your advisor and learn what paper length is best for you. Sometimes the word count is a decisive aspect, and page length doesn’t matter at all. All these peculiar features have to be checked in the department’s assistant, as well as any other matter that confuses you in the process of writing. 

Follow structure and format requirements

There are set rules in terms of structure and format that students should follow. These are regular requirements that help standardize the papers. In most cases, the requirements are the same, and you don’t have to learn new rules. But the university may have its guidelines. In such cases, it is better to figure out all the details before writing. 

The format can depend both on the university’s rules and the type of the field or program. Formatting is crucial to make the paper fit the required rules. And if you don’t follow these rules, your dissertation proposal doesn’t make a good impression on your readers. 

Decide on your committee members

When you are tasked to write a dissertation paper, you also need to create a dissertation committee. These are people who will assist you during the writing process, monitor your progress, and evaluate the final result. This is your task to select who will be responsible for being a committee member. It could be an advisor, 1-2 faculty members, and an outside reader. Nevertheless, you can choose the members. There are still the requirements specified for each institution. For this reason, you have to pay attention to the general rules introduced by the university. One good tip for you is to choose those people who have some interest in the subject and would appreciate your effort. Make sure these people are interested enough in the topic and can give some good piece of advice. 

Time to Choose the Topic

The process of choosing a topic is a real challenge. If you aren’t seasoned enough in the field and have never experienced writing a dissertation paper before, you might need help. Choosing a topic should be a conscious decision. First of all, you should pay attention to those subjects or phenomena that are of great interest to you. Probably, there are some unanswered questions or blind spots that you would like to cover. Research the disciplines you enjoy studying and compile a list of possible topics for your dissertation. 

Research the topic beforehand

When you are done with the list of the topics, you can conduct more thorough research and see which one is best for you. In the process of searching for the information, you can filter the topics and choose the one that fits all your criteria. To find more information on the topic and familiarize yourself with it, you can see fo to the websites, join some forums, or read some scientific journals. Make sure you look for the up-to-date information and take it from the credible data sources. 

One important thing to mention is that you have to talk to your committee members and discuss the topics for your dissertation paper. The advisor will tell you whether the topic follows the rules and is appropriate to work with. Furthermore, if your committee team is familiar with the topic, you can ask for a more specific point towards the data sources. 

Narrow down the focus

After you have selected the general topic, it is time to narrow it down to a more specific aspect. To manage it, you have to do even bigger research. Your task is to find the topic that is wide enough but focuses on an exact phenomenon. If you start with a very specialized theme for consideration, you can find it difficult to evolve with the topic. Therefore, start with a general concept and then narrow down the list of possible options until you find your topic.

Time to Organize and Write a Proposal

Pre-writing activities are important for the final result of the work. You have to take time and carefully prepare for the actual writing. But when all the preparatory matters are done, it is time to move further and find out useful tips to write a dissertation proposal. 

Choose the title

The title for your paper has to be specific. If you make it general and don’t mention any details, it won’t convey the nature of the paper. To make it simpler, you can create the title at the beginning of the writing and then adjust it during the process. These versions may vary considerably, but in the end, you will have several options to choose from. 

Create an abstract

In some cases, you have to add an abstract to your dissertation proposal. Usually, it is 100-350 words and covers the following aspects:

  • You have to convey the general topic behind your research.
  • Tell in brief what are the most crucial questions and matters that you are going to discuss in the research. Don’t go in too much detail, but let the reader understand what issues will be discussed. 
  • Tell about the methodology and other procedures introduced while conducting research. 
  • Include the information about the value of your work and tell its importance to the field in general. 

Make up an introduction

In a good introduction, you have to focus mostly on the general context of your work. Make it engaging and interesting for the readers, but don’t forget to provide useful and expert content. Provide information about the literature on the topic and tell briefly about the questions discussed in the paper. 

Address the main problem of your dissertation

You can add this information to your introduction part or can separate it into another section. Here you should tell the reader what the main problem is and how you are going to fill in this knowledge gap. If there are no current studies on the topic, you can mention it and explain how your research will address the problem. 

Explain dissertation objectives and aims

Here you should tell the reader what specific questions will be discussed and what expectations you had at the beginning of the research. You can also add some reflections on how the research will contribute to the field. 

Prove your familiarity with the previous research

To sound credible, you need to demonstrate your interest in the research. For this reason, review the previous literature and tell why your investigation will make a unique contribution to the field. In this case, you have to compare and contrast the works of previous writers or authors. Describe their methodology, theories, hypnosis, and trends used in their works. You should also mention the difficulties they met and how you managed these obstacles. 

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