Writing Dissertation Proposal

The Dissertation Paper Proposal – A Map

You are embarking into an unchartered territory. A dissertation proposal is a once-in-a-lifetime activity, and you are not certain that you know how to write a dissertation proposal. You are right. And yet, this document is important for two reasons: 1) You are attempting to gain advisor’s approval for you research question/hypothesis, and 2) You need a map to guide you as you ultimately produce you dissertation paper writing.

First, let’s take a look at some general characteristics of all dissertation proposals so that you get a “feel” for what must be included: 

  1. Your proposal will represent a contract between you and your advisor. Once approved, it cannot be significantly altered without the consent of both parties.
  2. It is not an essay, a paper, or a mini-dissertation. It is a piece of writing that will provide and justify your research question and your hypothesis.
  3. It is a prose work that will allow your advisor to clearly see your “map” for production.

All dissertation proposals must have very specific sections, although these sections and the content of each should always be thoroughly discussed with the advisor.

The first section will be a statement of your argument, research question, or hypothesis. Dependent upon the academic discipline for the dissertation paper proposal, the structure and working may vary, but, in essence, you are providing a strong thesis statement regarding the research that you will ultimately conduct and the results you expect.

The second section will provide a summary of your argument and a justification for your question/hypothesis. Here, you will need to include summaries and/or originally written abstracts of the literature you have already reviewed in preparation for your proposed research. It will be important to include as much prior relevant research as possible avoiding, at the same time, over-loading. This is a proposal, not your literature review chapter!

The third section will provide an overview of the methodology you intend to use as you pursue the question/hypothesis. At this point, it is not necessary to have all of your methodology documents, but you do need to provide a thorough summary of the methods you will use to gather data and to produce the results and ultimate conclusions in your completed dissertation.

Section four will provide an explanation of how your research will fit into a wider body of knowledge in the field. Will it support prior research? Will it provide something new? Will it inform future research? This is where you justify the purpose of your work.

Section five may or may not be required by an advisor, and it is a listing of the resources that you intend to use in the literature review section of your dissertation. This is the section that may be actually changed in the course of your dissertation paper writing, for you may come upon important and relevant research that you have not yet found. At this point, however, you have certainly used a large body of source materials to prepare the proposal, and you may want to list them. One piece of advice: as you review potential resources, be certain to save them in a folder for the later use, or, if they are gathered at a brick and mortar library, make a photocopy of the content in order to save you the time of finding them again for your literature review.

Are You Stressed because of Your Dissertation Paper Proposal?

You are not alone. You have never written one before, and it is new territory. Consulting your advisor often throughout this process will be important, as s/he can guide you and make critical suggestions for improvement. Barring that, however, many Ph.D. candidates will consult with a professional graduate-level online custom essay and paper writing service to get some dissertation paper help. There are professionals out there who do nothing but assist in proposal and dissertation writing. Many of them, in fact, will offer an example of dissertation proposal paper writing in your specific field that you can buy for a relatively cheap essay price. To see an actual proposal that relates to your research can be invaluable. If you are really stressed, in fact, you may even be able to buy dissertation paper proposal writing from an expert in your field, to whom you provide all of the salient information. Remember, your proposal is simply a road map. It must be constructed soundly, and receiving help is not a comment on your ability as a researcher.