9 Key Steps Of Writing A First Class Dissertation Proposal
Final semesters at a university often mean that students have to write a dissertation. But before the dissertation, you have to submit a dissertation proposal.
So here’s the million-dollar question: how do you write it? It’s simple, follow these steps, and you will do it easily.
1) Find A Topic You Like And Want To Research Further
The first step in writing a dissertation proposal is to find a suitable topic. This depends on your research interests and the topic’s relevance to your field. A dissertation is a long and grueling process.
Make sure you are either writing about something you love or something you hate. Either of these will sustain your interests in the long run and motivate you to write.
But always make sure that the topic is relevant to your degree, and you can produce unique, valuable contributions without parroting other researchers.
2) Select A Suitable Research Methodology For Your Proposal
The next step in any research-based assignment is figuring out how you are going to do the research. Think of which methods are suitable for your topic. How long should you conduct the study? Where are your sources of information?
Methods also depend on your field of research. The sciences, for instance, cannot use ethnographies or visual media as modes of study. You need to use statistical data, experiments, or secondary research.
3) Browse The Internet: Conduct A Research Overview
The third thing you need for a dissertation proposal is research. While trying to figure out your topic, you need to browse online for previous research on the subject.
If you are researching women and domestic violence, for instance, do some preliminary desk research.
- What are the current statistics on domestic violence?
- Learn about general issues?
- What has been omitted from current research in your field?
It is only then that you will be able to build a successful proposal and focus your research scope and questions.
4) Look At Sample Dissertation Proposals To Get Started
The fourth step to a stellar dissertation proposal is finding out how to write one. Each field, each university has its conventions and requirements for writing a proposal.
For this, you should find online samples for your field to get a rough idea about what to include. Typically, proposals consist of introductions, backgrounds, research questions, methodology sections, and proposed timelines.
But you should also check the requirements for your university. Your instructor might give you instructions and advice on how to structure, write, format, and cite a proposal.
5) Get Organized: Create And Follow A Research Plan
The only way you can get your dissertation proposal done is to create a research plan and timeline and stick to it.
Divide your proposal writing work into steps and create a timeline.
- First, conduct a secondary literature review.
- Next, formulate your questions and hypotheses.
- Thirdly, do some preliminary research to support your questions.
6) Consult A Supervisor And Get The Research Help You Need
You might want to check in with your supervisors at different stages to ensure you are on the right track. The dissertation proposal is the most difficult part because you need to get it right for the dissertation to be valid, correct, and efficiently conducted.
This is why you should schedule regular meetings with your supervisor to discuss the topic, the methodology, the research scope, and the drafts of your proposal. Some supervisors are also helpful enough to recommend relevant secondary literature to get you started.
If your supervisor is not helpful, look for another professor to help you out.
7) Follow Your Research Plan For Dissertation Proposal
This is the stage where you put your research plan into action. Find every relevant date, statistic, short story, interview, academic article, and media content. Ask people for help if you are not familiar with the topic.
For example, say your dissertation is on the impact of media on masculinity. Read academic literature, media content, and articles on this topic to see what other people have said.
This way, you can back your research questions with supporting evidence. You can also look for media content to study for your dissertation as well as participants for interviews.
8) Write, Write And Write Some More: Drafting Proposals
Dissertation proposals rarely turn out perfectly the first time around. This is why you should write multiple drafts.
Schedule sessional writing weeks before the deadline so that you have multiple chances to refine, reformulate, and revise your research questions and add in other sources.
Show your supervisor these drafts and have them sign off on the content, the methods, and the research questions. Get peer reviews for your research, as well, so that you know you are right.
9) Proofread: Editing Your Dissertation Proposal
When you are done writing your drafts, make sure to edit and revise any grammar mistakes, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies in your writing.
A perfect dissertation proposal is one that has been proofread and edited. Print the proposal and read it through, marking the mistakes. Then make the changes in the soft copy. Voila! You have a completed dissertation proposal.