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Doctoral handbook

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  • Dissertation Proposal

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Proposal Overview and Format

Proposal committee, proposal hearing or meeting.

  • Printing Credit for Use in School of Education Labs

Students are urged to begin thinking about a dissertation topic early in their degree program. Concentrated work on a dissertation proposal normally begins after successful completion of the Second-Year Review, which often includes a “mini” proposal, an extended literature review, or a theoretical essay, plus advancement to doctoral candidacy. In defining a dissertation topic, the student collaborates with their faculty advisor or dissertation advisor (if one is selected) in the choice of a topic for the dissertation.

The dissertation proposal is a comprehensive statement on the extent and nature of the student’s dissertation research interests. Students submit a draft of the proposal to their dissertation advisor between the end of the seventh and middle of the ninth quarters. The student must provide a written copy of the proposal to the faculty committee no later than two weeks prior to the date of the proposal hearing. Committee members could require an earlier deadline (e.g., four weeks before the hearing).

The major components of the proposal are as follows, with some variations across Areas and disciplines:

  • A detailed statement of the problem that is to be studied and the context within which it is to be seen. This should include a justification of the importance of the problem on both theoretical and educational grounds.
  • A thorough review of the literature pertinent to the research problem. This review should provide proof that the relevant literature in the field has been thoroughly researched. Good research is cumulative; it builds on the thoughts, findings, and mistakes of others.
  • its general explanatory interest
  • the overall theoretical framework within which this interest is to be pursued
  • the model or hypotheses to be tested or the research questions to be answered
  • a discussion of the conceptual and operational properties of the variables
  • an overview of strategies for collecting appropriate evidence (sampling, instrumentation, data collection, data reduction, data analysis)
  • a discussion of how the evidence is to be interpreted (This aspect of the proposal will be somewhat different in fields such as history and philosophy of education.)
  • If applicable, students should complete a request for approval of research with human subjects, using the Human Subjects Review Form ( http://humansubjects.stanford.edu/ ). Except for pilot work, the University requires the approval of the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Behavioral Science Research before any data can be collected from human subjects.

Registration (i.e., enrollment) is required for any quarter during which a degree requirement is completed, including the dissertation proposal. Refer to the Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion section for more details.

As students progress through the program, their interests may change. There is no commitment on the part of the student’s advisor to automatically serve as the dissertation chair. Based on the student’s interests and the dissertation topic, many students approach other GSE professors to serve as the dissertation advisor, if appropriate.

A dissertation proposal committee is comprised of three academic council faculty members, one of whom will serve as the major dissertation advisor. Whether or not the student’s general program advisor serves on the dissertation proposal committee and later the reading committee will depend on the relevance of that faculty member’s expertise to the topic of the dissertation, and their availability. There is no requirement that a program advisor serve, although very often they do. Members of the dissertation proposal committee may be drawn from other area committees within the GSE, from other departments in the University, or from emeriti faculty. At least one person serving on the proposal committee must be from the student’s area committee (CTE, DAPS, SHIPS). All three members must be on the Academic Council; if the student desires the expertise of a non-Academic Council member, it may be possible to petition. After the hearing, a memorandum listing the changes to be made will be written and submitted with the signed proposal cover sheet and a copy of the proposal itself to the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Review and approval of the dissertation proposal occurs normally during the third year. The proposal hearing seeks to review the quality and feasibility of the proposal. The Second-Year Review and the Proposal Hearing are separate milestones and may not occur as part of the same hearing or meeting.

The student and the dissertation advisor are responsible for scheduling a formal meeting or hearing to review the proposal; the student and proposal committee convene for this evaluative period. Normally, all must be present at the meeting either in person or via conference phone call.

At the end of this meeting, the dissertation proposal committee members should sign the Cover Sheet for Dissertation Proposal and indicate their approval or rejection of the proposal. This signed form should be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer. If the student is required to make revisions, an addendum is required with the written approval of each member of the committee stating that the proposal has been revised to their satisfaction.

After submitting the Proposal Hearing material to the Doctoral Programs Officer, the student should make arrangements with three faculty members to serve on their Dissertation Reading Committee. The Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form should be completed and given to the Doctoral Programs Officer to enter in the University student records system. Note: The proposal hearing committee and the reading committee do not have to be the same three faculty members. Normally, the proposal hearing precedes the designation of a Dissertation Reading Committee, and faculty on either committee may differ (except for the primary dissertation advisor). However, some students may advance to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status before completing their dissertation proposal hearing if they have established a dissertation reading committee. In these cases, it is acceptable for the student to form a reading committee prior to the dissertation proposal hearing. The reading committee then serves as the proposal committee.

The proposal and reading committee forms and related instructions are on the GSE website, under current students>forms.

Printing Credit for Use in GSE Labs

Upon completion of their doctoral dissertation proposal, GSE students are eligible for a $300 printing credit redeemable in any of the GSE computer labs where students are normally charged for print jobs. Only one $300 credit per student will be issued, but it is usable throughout the remainder of her or his doctoral program until the balance is exhausted. The print credit can be used only at the printers in Cubberley basement and CERAS, and cannot be used toward copying.

After submitting the signed dissertation proposal cover sheet to the Doctoral Programs Officer indicating approval (see above), students can submit a HELP SU ticket online at helpsu.stanford.edu to request the credit. When submitting the help ticket, the following should be selected from the drop-down menus for HELP SU:

Request Category :  Computer, Handhelds (PDAs), Printers, Servers Request Type :  Printer Operating System : (whatever system is used by the student, e.g., Windows XP.)

The help ticket will be routed to the GSE's IT Group for processing; they will in turn notify the student via email when the credit is available.

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Handbook Contents

  • Timetable for the Doctoral Degree
  • Degree Requirements
  • Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion
  • The Graduate Study Program
  • Student Virtual and Teleconference Participation in Hearings
  • First Year (3rd Quarter) Review
  • Second Year (6th Quarter) Review
  • Committee Composition for First- and Second-Year Reviews
  • Advancement to Candidacy
  • Academic Program Revision
  • Dissertation Content
  • Dissertation Reading Committee
  • University Oral Examination
  • Submitting the Dissertation
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  • Graduate Financial Support
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  • Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS)
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Grad Coach

How To Write A Research Proposal

A Straightforward How-To Guide (With Examples)

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | August 2019 (Updated April 2023)

Writing up a strong research proposal for a dissertation or thesis is much like a marriage proposal. It’s a task that calls on you to win somebody over and persuade them that what you’re planning is a great idea. An idea they’re happy to say ‘yes’ to. This means that your dissertation proposal needs to be   persuasive ,   attractive   and well-planned. In this post, I’ll show you how to write a winning dissertation proposal, from scratch.

Before you start:

– Understand exactly what a research proposal is – Ask yourself these 4 questions

The 5 essential ingredients:

  • The title/topic
  • The introduction chapter
  • The scope/delimitations
  • Preliminary literature review
  • Design/ methodology
  • Practical considerations and risks 

What Is A Research Proposal?

The research proposal is literally that: a written document that communicates what you propose to research, in a concise format. It’s where you put all that stuff that’s spinning around in your head down on to paper, in a logical, convincing fashion.

Convincing   is the keyword here, as your research proposal needs to convince the assessor that your research is   clearly articulated   (i.e., a clear research question) ,   worth doing   (i.e., is unique and valuable enough to justify the effort), and   doable   within the restrictions you’ll face (time limits, budget, skill limits, etc.). If your proposal does not address these three criteria, your research won’t be approved, no matter how “exciting” the research idea might be.

PS – if you’re completely new to proposal writing, we’ve got a detailed walkthrough video covering two successful research proposals here . 

Free Webinar: How To Write A Research Proposal

How do I know I’m ready?

Before starting the writing process, you need to   ask yourself 4 important questions .  If you can’t answer them succinctly and confidently, you’re not ready – you need to go back and think more deeply about your dissertation topic .

You should be able to answer the following 4 questions before starting your dissertation or thesis research proposal:

  • WHAT is my main research question? (the topic)
  • WHO cares and why is this important? (the justification)
  • WHAT data would I need to answer this question, and how will I analyse it? (the research design)
  • HOW will I manage the completion of this research, within the given timelines? (project and risk management)

If you can’t answer these questions clearly and concisely,   you’re not yet ready   to write your research proposal – revisit our   post on choosing a topic .

If you can, that’s great – it’s time to start writing up your dissertation proposal. Next, I’ll discuss what needs to go into your research proposal, and how to structure it all into an intuitive, convincing document with a linear narrative.

The 5 Essential Ingredients

Research proposals can vary in style between institutions and disciplines, but here I’ll share with you a   handy 5-section structure   you can use. These 5 sections directly address the core questions we spoke about earlier, ensuring that you present a convincing proposal. If your institution already provides a proposal template, there will likely be substantial overlap with this, so you’ll still get value from reading on.

For each section discussed below, make sure you use headers and sub-headers (ideally, numbered headers) to help the reader navigate through your document, and to support them when they need to revisit a previous section. Don’t just present an endless wall of text, paragraph after paragraph after paragraph…

Top Tip:   Use MS Word Styles to format headings. This will allow you to be clear about whether a sub-heading is level 2, 3, or 4. Additionally, you can view your document in ‘outline view’ which will show you only your headings. This makes it much easier to check your structure, shift things around and make decisions about where a section needs to sit. You can also generate a 100% accurate table of contents using Word’s automatic functionality.

work plan dissertation proposal

Ingredient #1 – Topic/Title Header

Your research proposal’s title should be your main research question in its simplest form, possibly with a sub-heading providing basic details on the specifics of the study. For example:

“Compliance with equality legislation in the charity sector: a study of the ‘reasonable adjustments’ made in three London care homes”

As you can see, this title provides a clear indication of what the research is about, in broad terms. It paints a high-level picture for the first-time reader, which gives them a taste of what to expect.   Always aim for a clear, concise title . Don’t feel the need to capture every detail of your research in your title – your proposal will fill in the gaps.

Need a helping hand?

work plan dissertation proposal

Ingredient #2 – Introduction

In this section of your research proposal, you’ll expand on what you’ve communicated in the title, by providing a few paragraphs which offer more detail about your research topic. Importantly, the focus here is the   topic   – what will you research and why is that worth researching? This is not the place to discuss methodology, practicalities, etc. – you’ll do that later.

You should cover the following:

  • An overview of the   broad area   you’ll be researching – introduce the reader to key concepts and language
  • An explanation of the   specific (narrower) area   you’ll be focusing, and why you’ll be focusing there
  • Your research   aims   and   objectives
  • Your   research question (s) and sub-questions (if applicable)

Importantly, you should aim to use short sentences and plain language – don’t babble on with extensive jargon, acronyms and complex language. Assume that the reader is an intelligent layman – not a subject area specialist (even if they are). Remember that the   best writing is writing that can be easily understood   and digested. Keep it simple.

The introduction section serves to expand on the  research topic – what will you study and why is that worth dedicating time and effort to?

Note that some universities may want some extra bits and pieces in your introduction section. For example, personal development objectives, a structural outline, etc. Check your brief to see if there are any other details they expect in your proposal, and make sure you find a place for these.

Ingredient #3 – Scope

Next, you’ll need to specify what the scope of your research will be – this is also known as the delimitations . In other words, you need to make it clear what you will be covering and, more importantly, what you won’t be covering in your research. Simply put, this is about ring fencing your research topic so that you have a laser-sharp focus.

All too often, students feel the need to go broad and try to address as many issues as possible, in the interest of producing comprehensive research. Whilst this is admirable, it’s a mistake. By tightly refining your scope, you’ll enable yourself to   go deep   with your research, which is what you need to earn good marks. If your scope is too broad, you’re likely going to land up with superficial research (which won’t earn marks), so don’t be afraid to narrow things down.

Ingredient #4 – Literature Review

In this section of your research proposal, you need to provide a (relatively) brief discussion of the existing literature. Naturally, this will not be as comprehensive as the literature review in your actual dissertation, but it will lay the foundation for that. In fact, if you put in the effort at this stage, you’ll make your life a lot easier when it’s time to write your actual literature review chapter.

There are a few things you need to achieve in this section:

  • Demonstrate that you’ve done your reading and are   familiar with the current state of the research   in your topic area.
  • Show that   there’s a clear gap   for your specific research – i.e., show that your topic is sufficiently unique and will add value to the existing research.
  • Show how the existing research has shaped your thinking regarding   research design . For example, you might use scales or questionnaires from previous studies.

When you write up your literature review, keep these three objectives front of mind, especially number two (revealing the gap in the literature), so that your literature review has a   clear purpose and direction . Everything you write should be contributing towards one (or more) of these objectives in some way. If it doesn’t, you need to ask yourself whether it’s truly needed.

Top Tip:  Don’t fall into the trap of just describing the main pieces of literature, for example, “A says this, B says that, C also says that…” and so on. Merely describing the literature provides no value. Instead, you need to   synthesise   it, and use it to address the three objectives above.

 If you put in the effort at the proposal stage, you’ll make your life a lot easier when its time to write your actual literature review chapter.

Ingredient #5 – Research Methodology

Now that you’ve clearly explained both your intended research topic (in the introduction) and the existing research it will draw on (in the literature review section), it’s time to get practical and explain exactly how you’ll be carrying out your own research. In other words, your research methodology.

In this section, you’ll need to   answer two critical questions :

  • How   will you design your research? I.e., what research methodology will you adopt, what will your sample be, how will you collect data, etc.
  • Why   have you chosen this design? I.e., why does this approach suit your specific research aims, objectives and questions?

In other words, this is not just about explaining WHAT you’ll be doing, it’s also about explaining WHY. In fact, the   justification is the most important part , because that justification is how you demonstrate a good understanding of research design (which is what assessors want to see).

Some essential design choices you need to cover in your research proposal include:

  • Your intended research philosophy (e.g., positivism, interpretivism or pragmatism )
  • What methodological approach you’ll be taking (e.g., qualitative , quantitative or mixed )
  • The details of your sample (e.g., sample size, who they are, who they represent, etc.)
  • What data you plan to collect (i.e. data about what, in what form?)
  • How you plan to collect it (e.g., surveys , interviews , focus groups, etc.)
  • How you plan to analyse it (e.g., regression analysis, thematic analysis , etc.)
  • Ethical adherence (i.e., does this research satisfy all ethical requirements of your institution, or does it need further approval?)

This list is not exhaustive – these are just some core attributes of research design. Check with your institution what level of detail they expect. The “ research onion ” by Saunders et al (2009) provides a good summary of the various design choices you ultimately need to make – you can   read more about that here .

Don’t forget the practicalities…

In addition to the technical aspects, you will need to address the   practical   side of the project. In other words, you need to explain   what resources you’ll need   (e.g., time, money, access to equipment or software, etc.) and how you intend to secure these resources. You need to show that your project is feasible, so any “make or break” type resources need to already be secured. The success or failure of your project cannot depend on some resource which you’re not yet sure you have access to.

Another part of the practicalities discussion is   project and risk management . In other words, you need to show that you have a clear project plan to tackle your research with. Some key questions to address:

  • What are the timelines for each phase of your project?
  • Are the time allocations reasonable?
  • What happens if something takes longer than anticipated (risk management)?
  • What happens if you don’t get the response rate you expect?

A good way to demonstrate that you’ve thought this through is to include a Gantt chart and a risk register (in the appendix if word count is a problem). With these two tools, you can show that you’ve got a clear, feasible plan, and you’ve thought about and accounted for the potential risks.

Gantt chart

Tip – Be honest about the potential difficulties – but show that you are anticipating solutions and workarounds. This is much more impressive to an assessor than an unrealistically optimistic proposal which does not anticipate any challenges whatsoever.

Final Touches: Read And Simplify

The final step is to edit and proofread your proposal – very carefully. It sounds obvious, but all too often poor editing and proofreading ruin a good proposal. Nothing is more off-putting for an assessor than a poorly edited, typo-strewn document. It sends the message that you either do not pay attention to detail, or just don’t care. Neither of these are good messages. Put the effort into editing and proofreading your proposal (or pay someone to do it for you) – it will pay dividends.

When you’re editing, watch out for ‘academese’. Many students can speak simply, passionately and clearly about their dissertation topic – but become incomprehensible the moment they turn the laptop on. You are not required to write in any kind of special, formal, complex language when you write academic work. Sure, there may be technical terms, jargon specific to your discipline, shorthand terms and so on. But, apart from those,   keep your written language very close to natural spoken language   – just as you would speak in the classroom. Imagine that you are explaining your project plans to your classmates or a family member. Remember, write for the intelligent layman, not the subject matter experts. Plain-language, concise writing is what wins hearts and minds – and marks!

Let’s Recap: Research Proposal 101

And there you have it – how to write your dissertation or thesis research proposal, from the title page to the final proof. Here’s a quick recap of the key takeaways:

  • The purpose of the research proposal is to   convince   – therefore, you need to make a clear, concise argument of why your research is both worth doing and doable.
  • Make sure you can ask the critical what, who, and how questions of your research   before   you put pen to paper.
  • Title – provides the first taste of your research, in broad terms
  • Introduction – explains what you’ll be researching in more detail
  • Scope – explains the boundaries of your research
  • Literature review – explains how your research fits into the existing research and why it’s unique and valuable
  • Research methodology – explains and justifies how you will carry out your own research

Hopefully, this post has helped you better understand how to write up a winning research proposal. If you enjoyed it, be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach Blog . If your university doesn’t provide any template for your proposal, you might want to try out our free research proposal template .

Literature Review Course

Psst… there’s more!

This post is an extract from our bestselling Udemy Course, Research Proposal Bootcamp . If you want to work smart, you don't want to miss this .

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How to write the discussion chapter


Mazwakhe Mkhulisi

Thank you so much for the valuable insight that you have given, especially on the research proposal. That is what I have managed to cover. I still need to go back to the other parts as I got disturbed while still listening to Derek’s audio on you-tube. I am inspired. I will definitely continue with Grad-coach guidance on You-tube.

Derek Jansen

Thanks for the kind words :). All the best with your proposal.


First of all, thanks a lot for making such a wonderful presentation. The video was really useful and gave me a very clear insight of how a research proposal has to be written. I shall try implementing these ideas in my RP.

Once again, I thank you for this content.

Bonginkosi Mshengu

I found reading your outline on writing research proposal very beneficial. I wish there was a way of submitting my draft proposal to you guys for critiquing before I submit to the institution.

Hi Bonginkosi

Thank you for the kind words. Yes, we do provide a review service. The best starting point is to have a chat with one of our coaches here: https://gradcoach.com/book/new/ .

Erick Omondi

Hello team GRADCOACH, may God bless you so much. I was totally green in research. Am so happy for your free superb tutorials and resources. Once again thank you so much Derek and his team.

You’re welcome, Erick. Good luck with your research proposal 🙂


thank you for the information. its precise and on point.

Nighat Nighat Ahsan

Really a remarkable piece of writing and great source of guidance for the researchers. GOD BLESS YOU for your guidance. Regards

Delfina Celeste Danca Rangel

Thanks so much for your guidance. It is easy and comprehensive the way you explain the steps for a winning research proposal.

Desiré Forku

Thank you guys so much for the rich post. I enjoyed and learn from every word in it. My problem now is how to get into your platform wherein I can always seek help on things related to my research work ? Secondly, I wish to find out if there is a way I can send my tentative proposal to you guys for examination before I take to my supervisor Once again thanks very much for the insights

Thanks for your kind words, Desire.

If you are based in a country where Grad Coach’s paid services are available, you can book a consultation by clicking the “Book” button in the top right.

Best of luck with your studies.


May God bless you team for the wonderful work you are doing,

If I have a topic, Can I submit it to you so that you can draft a proposal for me?? As I am expecting to go for masters degree in the near future.

Thanks for your comment. We definitely cannot draft a proposal for you, as that would constitute academic misconduct. The proposal needs to be your own work. We can coach you through the process, but it needs to be your own work and your own writing.

Best of luck with your research!

kenate Akuma

I found a lot of many essential concepts from your material. it is real a road map to write a research proposal. so thanks a lot. If there is any update material on your hand on MBA please forward to me.

Ahmed Khalil

GradCoach is a professional website that presents support and helps for MBA student like me through the useful online information on the page and with my 1-on-1 online coaching with the amazing and professional PhD Kerryen.

Thank you Kerryen so much for the support and help 🙂

I really recommend dealing with such a reliable services provider like Gradcoah and a coach like Kerryen.


Hi, Am happy for your service and effort to help students and researchers, Please, i have been given an assignment on research for strategic development, the task one is to formulate a research proposal to support the strategic development of a business area, my issue here is how to go about it, especially the topic or title and introduction. Please, i would like to know if you could help me and how much is the charge.

Marcos A. López Figueroa

This content is practical, valuable, and just great!

Thank you very much!

Eric Rwigamba

Hi Derek, Thank you for the valuable presentation. It is very helpful especially for beginners like me. I am just starting my PhD.


This is quite instructive and research proposal made simple. Can I have a research proposal template?

Mathew Yokie Musa

Great! Thanks for rescuing me, because I had no former knowledge in this topic. But with this piece of information, I am now secured. Thank you once more.

Chulekazi Bula

I enjoyed listening to your video on how to write a proposal. I think I will be able to write a winning proposal with your advice. I wish you were to be my supervisor.

Mohammad Ajmal Shirzad

Dear Derek Jansen,

Thank you for your great content. I couldn’t learn these topics in MBA, but now I learned from GradCoach. Really appreciate your efforts….

From Afghanistan!

Mulugeta Yilma

I have got very essential inputs for startup of my dissertation proposal. Well organized properly communicated with video presentation. Thank you for the presentation.

Siphesihle Macu

Wow, this is absolutely amazing guys. Thank you so much for the fruitful presentation, you’ve made my research much easier.


this helps me a lot. thank you all so much for impacting in us. may god richly bless you all

June Pretzer

How I wish I’d learn about Grad Coach earlier. I’ve been stumbling around writing and rewriting! Now I have concise clear directions on how to put this thing together. Thank you!


Fantastic!! Thank You for this very concise yet comprehensive guidance.

Fikiru Bekele

Even if I am poor in English I would like to thank you very much.

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Writing a dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Proposal

What is a dissertation proposal?

Dissertation proposals are like the table of contents for your research project , and will help you explain what it is you intend to examine, and roughly, how you intend to go about collecting and analysing your data. You won’t be required to have everything planned out exactly, as your topic may change slightly in the course of your research, but for the most part, writing your proposal should help you better identify the direction for your dissertation.

When you’ve chosen a topic for your dissertation , you’ll need to make sure that it is both appropriate to your field of study and narrow enough to be completed by the end of your course. Your dissertation proposal will help you define and determine both of these things and will also allow your department and instructors to make sure that you are being advised by the best person to help you complete your research.

A dissertation proposal should include:

  • An introduction to your dissertation topic
  • Aims and objectives of your dissertation
  • A literature review of the current research undertaken in your field
  • Proposed methodology to be used
  • Implications of your research
  • Limitations of your research
  • Bibliography 

Although this content all needs to be included in your dissertation proposal, it isn’t set in stone so it can be changed later if necessary, depending on your topic of study, university or degree. Think of your dissertation proposal as more of a guide to writing your dissertation rather than something to be strictly adhered to – this will be discussed later. 

Why is a dissertation proposal important?

A dissertation proposal is very important because it helps shape the actual dissertation, which is arguably the most important piece of writing a postgraduate student will undertake. By having a well-structured dissertation proposal, you will have a strong foundation for your dissertation and a good template to follow. The dissertation itself is key to postgraduate success as it will contribute to your overall grade . Writing your dissertation will also help you to develop research and communication skills, which could become invaluable in your employment success and future career. By making sure you’re fully briefed on the current research available in your chosen dissertation topic, as well as keeping details of your bibliography up to date, you will be in a great position to write an excellent dissertation.

Next, we’ll be outlining things you can do to help you produce the best postgraduate dissertation proposal possible.

How to begin your dissertation proposal

Writing a dissertation proposal

1. Narrow the topic down  

It’s important that when you sit down to draft your proposal, you’ve carefully thought out your topic and are able to narrow it down enough to present a clear and succinct understanding of what you aim to do and hope to accomplish in your dissertation.

How do I decide on a dissertation topic?

A simple way to begin choosing a topic for your dissertation is to go back through your assignments and lectures. Was there a topic that stood out to you? Was there an idea that wasn’t fully explored? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you have a great starting point! If not, then consider one of your more personal interests. Use Google Scholar to explore studies and journals on your topic to find any areas that could go into more detail or explore a more niche topic within your personal interest. 

Keep track of all publications

It’s important to keep track of all the publications that you use while you research. You can use this in your literature review.

You need to keep track of:

  • The title of the study/research paper/book/journal
  • Who wrote/took part in the study/research paper
  • Chapter title
  • Page number(s)

The more research you do, the more you should be able to narrow down your topic and find an interesting area to focus on. You’ll also be able to write about everything you find in your literature review which will make your proposal stronger.

While doing your research, consider the following:

  • When was your source published? Is the information outdated? Has new information come to light since?
  • Can you determine if any of the methodologies could have been carried out more efficiently? Are there any errors or gaps?
  • Are there any ethical concerns that should be considered in future studies on the same topic?
  • Could anything external (for example new events happening) have influenced the research?

Read more about picking a topic for your dissertation . 

How long should the dissertation proposal be?

Aiming for 1,000 words or more, your dissertation proposal will give an outline of the topic of your dissertation, some of the questions you hope to answer with your research, what sort of studies and type of data you aim to employ in your research, and the sort of analysis you will carry out.

Different courses may have different requirements for things like length and the specific information to include, as well as what structure is preferred, so be sure to check what special requirements your course has.  

2. What should I include in a dissertation proposal?

Writing a dissertation proposal

  • Introduction

The introduction will state your central research question and give background on the subject, as well as relating it contextually to any broader issues surrounding it. Read more about picking a topic for your dissertation .

The dissertation proposal introduction should outline exactly what you intend to investigate in your final research project.

Make sure you outline the structure of the dissertation proposal in your introduction, i.e. part one covers methodology, part two covers a literature review, part three covers research limitations, and so forth.

Dissertation methodology

The dissertation methodology will break down what sources you aim to use for your research and what sort of data you will collect from it, either quantitative or qualitative. You may also want to include how you will analyse the data you gather and what, if any, bias there may be in your chosen methods.

Depending on the level of detail that your specific course requires, you may also want to explain why your chosen approaches to gathering data are more appropriate to your research than others.

Consider and explain how you will conduct empirical research. For example, will you use interviews? Surveys? Observation? Lab experiments?

In your dissertation methodology, outline the variables that you will measure in your research and how you will select your data or participant sample to ensure valid results.

Finally, are there any specific tools that you will use for your methodology? If so, make sure you provide this information in the methodology section of your dissertation proposal.

  • Aims and objectives

Your dissertation proposal should also include the aims and objectives of your research. Be sure to state what your research hopes to achieve, as well as what outcomes you predict. You may also need to clearly state what your main research objectives are, in other words, how you plan to obtain those achievements and outcomes.

Your aim should not be too broad but should equally not be too specific.

An example of a dissertation aim could be: ‘To examine the key content features and social contexts that construct successful viral marketing content distribution on Twitter’.

In comparison, an example of a dissertation aim that is perhaps too broad would be: ‘‘To investigate how things go viral on Twitter’.

The aim of your dissertation proposal should relate directly to your research question.

  • Literature review

The literature review will list the books and materials that you used to do your research. This is where you can list materials that gave you more background on your topic, or contain research carried out previously that you referred to in your own studies. 

The literature review is also a good place to demonstrate how your research connects to previous academic studies and how your methods may differ from or build upon those used by other researchers. While it’s important to give enough information about the materials to show that you have read and understood them, don’t forget to include your analysis of their value to your work.

Where there are shortfalls in other pieces of academic work, identify these and address how you will overcome these shortcomings in your own research.

Constraints and limitations of your research

Lastly, you will also need to include the constraints of your research. Many topics will have broad links to numerous larger and more complex issues, so by clearly stating the constraints of your research, you are displaying your understanding and acknowledgment of these larger issues, and the role they play by focusing your research on just one section or part of the subject.

In this section it is important to Include examples of possible limitations, for example, issues with sample size, participant drop out, lack of existing research on the topic, time constraints, and other factors that may affect your study.

  • Ethical considerations

Confidentiality and ethical concerns are an important part of any research.

Ethics are key, as your dissertation will need to undergo ethical approval if you are working with participants. This means that it’s important to allow for and explain ethical considerations in your dissertation proposal.

Keep confidentiality in mind and keep your participants informed, so they are aware of how the data provided is being used and are assured that all personal information is being kept confidential.

Consider how involved your patients will be with your research, this will help you think about what ethical considerations to take and discuss them fully in your dissertation proposal. For example, face-to-face participant interview methods could require more ethical measures and confidentiality considerations than methods that do not require participants, such as corpus data (a collection of existing written texts) analysis. 

3. Dissertation proposal example

Writing a dissertation proposal

Once you know what sections you need or do not need to include, it may help focus your writing to break the proposal up into separate headings, and tackle each piece individually. You may also want to consider including a title. Writing a title for your proposal will help you make sure that your topic is narrow enough, as well as help keep your writing focused and on topic.

One example of a dissertation proposal structure is using the following headings, either broken up into sections or chapters depending on the required word count:

  • Methodology
  • Research constraints

In any dissertation proposal example, you’ll want to make it clear why you’re doing the research and what positives could come from your contribution. 

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work plan dissertation proposal
  • A well chosen and well labeled figure can reduce text length, and improve proposal clarity.  Proposals often contain figures from other articles.  These can be appropriate, but you should consider modifying them if the modifications will improve your point.
  • The whole process of making a drawing is important for two reasons.  First, it clarifies your thinking.  If you don’t understand the process, you can’t draw it. Second, good drawings are very valuable.  Other scientists will understand your paper better if you can make a drawing of your ideas.  A co-author of mine has advised me: make figures that other people will want to steal.  They will cite your paper because they want to use your figure in their paper.
  • Make cartoons using a scientific drawing program.  Depending upon the subject of your paper, a cartoon might incorporate the following:
  • a picture of the scientific equipment that you are using and an explanation of how it works;
  • a drawing of a cycle showing steps, feedback loops, and bifurcations: this can include chemical or mathematical equations;
  • a flow chart showing the steps in a process and the possible causes and consequences.
  • Incorporate graphs in the text or on separated sheets inserted in the thesis proposal
  • Modern computer technology such as scanners and drafting programs are available in the department to help you create or modify pictures.
  • Grammar/spelling

    • Poor grammar and spelling distract from the content of the proposal.  The reader focuses on the grammar and spelling problems and misses keys points made in the text.  Modern word processing programs have grammar and spell checkers.  Use them.
    • Read your proposal aloud - then  have a friend read it aloud. If your sentences seem too long, make two or three sentences instead of one.  Try to write the same way that you speak when you are explaining a concept. Most people speak more clearly than they write.
    • You should have read your proposal over at least 5 times before handing it in
    • Simple wording is generally better
    • If you get comments from others that seem completely irrelevant to you, your paper is not written clearly enough never use a complex word if a simpler word will do

    V. Resources/Acknowlegements

    The senior seminar website has a very detailed document on " How to write a thesis " which you might want to look at. Most of the tips given there are relevant for your thesis proposal as well. Recommended books on scientific writing Some of the material on this page was adapted from: http://www.geo.utep.edu/Grad_Info/prop_guide.html http://www.hartwick.edu/anthropology/proposal.htm http://csdl.ics.hawaii.edu/FAQ/FAQ/thesis-proposal.html http://www.butler.edu/honors/PropsTheses.html

    Dissertation Planner: Plan & Research

    • Getting Started
    • Prepare & Propose
    • Plan & Research
    • Write & Edit
    • Defense & Closure
    • Help & Resources

    Create a Work Plan

    • Big Picture
    • Little Picture
    • Revise & Reward
    • To Recap...

    Work plan

    Researching and writing your dissertation is a huge, complex undertaking. Before beginning, check with your advisor and your department/college about specific dissertation research-and-writing conventions in your discipline. The instructions in this section are offered as general suggestions and not as definitive guidance for the University of Kentucky requirements.

    In order to manage the dissertation writing process, you should CREATE A WORK PLAN . A work plan will help you:

    • Break down the large, overwhelming process of writing a dissertation into manageable steps;
    • Keep a "daily commitment" to your dissertation;
    • Discover and take advantage of your most productive work habits;
    • Set goals and reward yourself for achieving them; and
    • Balance dissertation writing with the other aspects of your life.

    To start your work plan, you should assess your own goals and work habits as well as those of your advisor, committee, and department. Think about questions like:

    • When would you like to complete and defend your dissertation?
    • To meet this deadline, how much will you need to work every day/week/month?

    Start your work plan by setting a completion goal, the date by which you would like to have your dissertation complete.

    Then, think about the "big picture" issues. Talk to your advisor about all of the steps and associated deadlines for your specific program. Completing a dissertation involves many smaller deadlines along the way to the final deadline. You need to have a complete understanding of what is expected of you throughout this process. Once you know all the smaller deadlines and steps you will need to complete, map them out along the timeline set by your completion goal.

    Once you know all of the deadlines and requirements, think about the "little picture" issues. Most importantly, how will you manage your time? You should map out all of your absolutely unbreakable time commitments to identify what remaining time is available for you to use on your dissertation. Additionally, you should:

    • Establish a regular work schedule;
    • Figure out when and how you work best and try to maximize these advantages;
    • Find productive and positive work spaces;
    • Eliminate distractions while you work;
    • Create "ready to write" rituals that help you get started every day;
    • Base your daily goals and requirements on output instead of time worked; and
    • Save your "mindless work" (such as formatting, transcribing, etc.) for when you are blocked so you can still make progress every day.

    Check out this video for time management tips:

    When you are first starting, set a specific amount of time (such as two weeks to a month) as a pilot test for your work plan. Stick to your plan during this pilot test, then evaluate and revise your plan. Additionally, make sure to evaluate and revise your plan each semester to account for changes in your schedule.

    Dissertation writing is a long process and setbacks will happen. You should expect the unexpected and build in extra time to your schedule to account for unavoidable delays. Let missed deadlines and other lapses go, and remember to focus on what you can do today and tomorrow to reach your goals. Further, you need to make sure to reward yourself for completing work on or ahead of schedule.

    The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has created a handout about planning for dissertation writing. Additionally, the video below offers an overview of the planning process. 

    Research-Related Considerations

    • Human Subjects
    • Organize Your Research
    • Copyright Issues
    • Research Data Management
    • Professional Identity

    Will your research require you to use human subjects in any capacity?  If so, you will need to get your research reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). At the University of Kentucky, all IRB matters are handled by the Office of Research Integrity .

    Additionally, these 10 simple rules for protecting research integrity may be of help. 

    work plan dissertation proposal

    Keeping your research organized is key because it will help ensure your dissertation writing process remains efficient. A wide variety of tools are available to help you keep your research organized. The following is some of the most popular options.

    • EndNote EndNote is a powerful software application used to manage personal databases of citations from sources such as journals, books, or websites. EndNote can input records from online bibliographic databases; organize references, images and PDFs; and be used to create bibliographies and figure lists.
    • Zotero Includes the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references, and the ability to organize, tag, and search in advanced ways.
    • Mendeley Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network.
    • Research Log Handout Don't like any of these software options? Create your own research log! This handout from the University of Manitoba will show you how to keep track of your research.

    Copyright issues are prevalent in activities related to teaching, learning, and research.  For instance, researchers may wonder who owns the copyright of their publications .  At the same time, they may run into questions about whether they can lawfully use copyrighted materials in their publications. 

    You as the author are by default the copyright holder of your dissertation and thus have exclusive rights over it.  Registering your copyright is optional.  However, registration will provide you with more protection in case somebody infringes upon your rights in the future. 

    When deciding whether you can use somebody's work in your dissertation, you need to find out if the work concerned is already out of copyright protection.  The Copyright Slider can help you with that.  If the work is out of copyright, you can reuse it in whatever way you want without seeking permission. 

    For materials that are still under copyright protection, you should think about whether your use is fair.  There are many online resources that help people determine what constitutes a fair use.  For example, the University of Minnesota Libraries provides detailed information about using copyrightable materials , understanding fair use , and thinking through the four factors of fair use .  Other libraries provide a checklist to help researchers make a decision on the matter of fair use. 

    If you have questions about copyright, feel free to contact the University of Kentucky Libraries or refer to this Copyright Resource Center . 

    It is likely that your scholarly endeavors will generate research data in different formats.  It is common nowadays that researchers are expected to take care of the collected data and later provide access to the processed dataset, especially if the research project is publicly funded.  Managing research data can help researchers develop commendable work habits and thus enable them to do their work more efficiently.  If you need help with research data management, refer to this guide or feel free to contact your academic liaison for suggestions and assistance.  There are also these 10 simple rules to help you with a data management plan. 

    Below is a short video that shows the importance of research data management.  The second video provides a quick Introduction to the basics of research data.  

    There is an international initiative that addresses problems related to confirming the identity of researchers with similar or the same name. It is ORCID , which issues unique identifiers to distinguish individual researchers. Different stakeholders in the research community, including funding agencies, higher education institutions, and publishers, plan to adopt the ORCID ID as a means to disambiguate the identity of researchers and to track their scholarly activities and contributions. More information about ORCID is available from the video below. 

    Click here to register for an ORCID ID. Once you have created the ID, take some time to add information about yourself and your research outputs.  This will help build your professional online presence and reputation.  Last but not least, remember to add the ORCID ID to your CV, scholarly publications, grant applications, and academic profiles such as a personal Web page. This will help clarify your identity as a scholar among others who have names similar to or same as yours.

    In the video below, a professor explains how a professional online presence can supplement a CV.  She also points out what to consider before putting together an online profile.  Additionally, these 10 simple rules show you how to build and maintain a scientific reputation. 

    • << Previous: Prepare & Propose
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    • Last Updated: Jan 23, 2024 10:01 PM
    • URL: https://libguides.uky.edu/dissertation-planner
    • How it works

    How to Write a Dissertation Proposal with Structure & Steps

    Published by Anastasia Lois at August 14th, 2021 , Revised On October 26, 2023

    “A dissertation proposal is a stepping stone towards writing the final dissertation paper. It’s a unique document  that informs the reader of the aim & objectives of dissertation research and   its course of action.”

    The main purpose of a proposal paper is to showcase to your supervisor or dissertation committee members that your dissertation research will add value to existing knowledge in your area of study.

    Although the exact structure of a dissertation proposal may vary depending on your academic level, academic subject, and size of the paper, the contents remain pretty much the same.

    However, it will still make sense to consult with your supervisor about the proposal formatting and structuring guidelines before working on your dissertation proposal paper.

    You may lose out on scoring some important marks if your proposal paper does not follow your department’s specific rules. Here are some tips for you on how to structure a dissertation proposal paper.

    Tips on Completing a Dissertation Proposal in Due Time

    Consult your supervisor or department to find out how much time you have to  complete your dissertation proposal . Each graduate program is different, so you must adhere to the specific rules to avoid unwelcome surprises.

    Depending on the degree program you are enrolled in, you may have to start working on your chosen topic  right away, or you might need to deal with some  assignments  and  exams  first.

    You can learn about the rules and timelines concerning your dissertation project on the university’s online portal. If you are still unsure, it will be best to speak with your department’s admin clerk, the program head, or supervisor.

    Look for Proposal Structural Requirements in the Guidelines

    Most academic institutions will provide precise rules for structuring your dissertation proposal in terms of the document’s content and how to arrange it.  If you have not figured out these requirements, you must speak with your supervisor to find out what they recommend. Typical contents and structure of a dissertation proposal include the following;

    • Statement of the Problem
    • Background/Rationale
    • Introduction (Justifying your Research)
    • Research Questions or  Hypothesis  (Research aim and objectives)
    • Literature Review
    • Proposed Methodology
    • Opportunities and Limitations

    Project Schedule

    Have an unhelpful dissertation project supervisor? Here is some advice to  help you deal with an uncompromising dissertation advisor.

    How Long is a Dissertation Proposal?

    The length of your dissertation proposal will depend on your degree program and your research topic. PhD-level dissertation proposals are much longer in terms of word count than Bachelors’s and Master’s level proposals.

    • Bachelor’s level dissertation proposals are about 5-6 pages long.
    • Masters and Ph.D. level proposals’ length varies from 15-25 pages depending on the academic subject and degree program’s specifications.
    • If the word count or page length expectation is not mentioned in the dissertation handbook or the guidelines on the university’s website, you should check with your supervisor or program coordinator for a clear understanding of this particular requirement.

    The proposals we write have:

    • Precision and Clarity
    • Zero Plagiarism
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    proposals we write

    Dissertation Proposal Formatting

    Formatting your dissertation proposal will also depend on your program’s specific guidelines and your research area. Find the exact guidelines for formatting cover sheets and title pages, referencing style, notes, bibliography, margin sizes, page numbers, and fonts. Again if you are unsure about anything, it is recommended to consult with your project advisor.

    Find out About the Approval Criteria

    The process of  writing your dissertation proposal paper  and getting acceptance from the committee of members of your supervisor is tricky.

    Consult your department’s academic assistant, supervisor, or program chair to learn about all the process stages. Here are a couple of points you will need to be aware of:

    • You might be required to have your chosen research topic approved by your academic supervisor or department chair.
    • Submit your proposal and have it formally signed and approved so you can continue with your research.

    You may find the dissertation proposal writing process perplexing and challenging if this is the first time you are preparing such a document. All the essential elements of a dissertation proposal paper need to be present before submitting it for approval.

    Any feedback received from the tutor or the supervising committee should be taken very seriously and incorporated into your planning for dissertation research. Do not start working on your final dissertation paper until your supervisor has accepted the proposal.

    To help you organise your dissertation proposal paper correctly, we have detailed guidelines for structuring a dissertation proposal. Irrespective of the degree program you are developing your dissertation proposal for, you will find these guidelines equally important.

    Our expert academics can produce a flawless dissertation proposal on your chosen topic. They can also suggest free topics in your area of study if you haven’t selected a topic. Order free topics here or get a quote for our proposal writing service here.

    Select a Topic

    Selecting an  appropriate topic is the key to having your research work recognised in your field of study. Make sure your chosen topic is relevant, interesting, and manageable.

    Ideally, you would want to research a topic that previous researchers have not explored so you can contribute to knowledge on the academic subject.

    But even if your topic has been well-researched previously, you can make your study stand out by tweaking the  research design  and  research questions  to add a new dimension to your research.

    How to Choose a Suitable Research Topic

    Here are some guidelines on how to choose a suitable research topic.

    List all the topics that you find interesting and relevant to your area of study. PhD and MaMasters’sevel students are already well aware of their academic interests.

    Bachelor students can consider unanswered questions that emerged from their past academic assignments and drove them to conduct a detailed investigation to find answers.

    Follow this process, and you’ll be able to choose the most appropriate topic for your research. Not only will this make your dissertation unique, but it also increases the chances of your proposal being accepted in the first attempt.

    • Think about all your past academic achievements and associations, such as any research notes you might have written for your classes, any unsettled questions from your previous academic assignments that left you wondering, and the material you learned in classes taught by professors.
    • For example , you learned about how natural gas is supplied to households in the UK in one of your coursework assignments and now eagerly wish to know exactly how natural gas is processed at an industrial scale.


    Conduct initial research on your chosen topic(s). This will include reading authentic text material on the topic(s) to familiarise yourself with each potential topic. Doing so will help you figure out whether there really is a need to investigate your selected topics further.

    Visit your university’s library or online academic databases such as ProQuest, EBSCO, QuickBase to find articles, journals, books, peer-reviewed articles, and thesis/dissertation papers (by other students) written on your possible research topic .

    Ignore all academic sources that you find methodologically flawed or obsolete.  Visit our online research topics library to choose a topic relevant to your interests .

    Consult your academic supervisor and show them your list of potential topics. Their advice will be crucial for deciding whether the topic you are interested in is appropriate and meets your degree program requirements.

    It is recommended to set up an appointment with your supervisor to see them in person to discuss your potential topics, even though you can do the same in email too.

    • If the topics you are interested in are too broad or lack focus, your supervisor will be able to guide you towards academic sources that could help narrow down your research.
    • Having several topics in your list of potential topics will mean that you will have something to fall back onto if they don’t approve your first choice.

    Narrow the Focus of your Research  – Once a topic has been mutually agreed upon between you and your academic supervisor, it is time to narrow down the focus. Hence, your research explores an aspect of the topic that has not been investigated before.

    Spend as much time as possible examining different aspects of the topic to establish a research aim that would truly add value to the existing knowledge.

    • For example, you were initially interested in studying the different natural gas process techniques in the UK on an industrial scale. But you noticed that the existing literature doesn’t count for one advanced gas processing method that helps the industry save millions of pounds every year. Hence, you decide to make that the focus of your research.
    • Your topic could be too broad as you start your research, but as you dig deep into your research, the topic will continue to narrow and evolve. TIP – It is better to work on a topic that is too broad rather than on something there is not enough text material to work with.

    Structure of a Dissertation Proposal

    The key elements of a great dissertation proposal are explained in detail under this section ‘structure of a dissertation proposal’. Once you’ve finalised your topic, you need to switch to writing your dissertation proposal paper quickly. As previously mentioned, your proposal paper’s exact structure may vary depending on your university/college requirements.

    research proposal

    A good dissertation proposal  title  will give the reader an insight into the aim/idea of your study. Describe the purpose and/or contents of your dissertation proposal paper in the fewest possible words.

    A concise and focused title will help you gain the attention of the readers. However, you might need to adjust your title several times as you write the paper because your comprehensive research might continue to add new dimensions to your study.

    • Your title must be as categorical as possible. For example, instead of “Natural Gas Processing Techniques in the UK”, use a more specific title like “Investigating various industrial natural gas processing technologies employed in the UK” so the reader can understand exactly what your research is about.

    Write a brief executive summary or an abstract of your proposal if you have been asked to do so in the structural guidelines. Generally, the  abstract  is included in the final dissertation paper with a length of around 300-400 words.

    If you have to write an abstract for your proposal, here are the key points that it must cover;

    • The background to your research.
    • Research questions that you wish to address.
    • Your proposed methods of research, which will either test the hypothesis or address the research problem.
    • The significance of your research as to how it will add value to the scientific or academic community.

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    This is your first chance to make a strong impression on the reader. Not only your  introduction  section should be engaging, contextually, but it is also supposed to provide a background to the topic and explain the  thesis problem .

    Here is what the first paragraph of the introduction section should include:

    • Explain your research idea and present a clear understanding as to why you’ve chosen this topic.
    • Present a summary of the scope of your research study, taking into account the existing literature.
    • Briefly describe the issues and specific problems your research aims to address!

    In the next paragraphs, summarise  the statement of the problem . Explain what gap in the existing knowledge your research will fill and how your work will prove significant in your area of study.

    For example, the focus of your research could be the stage of carbon monoxide removal from natural gas. Still, other similar studies do not sufficiently explore this aspect of natural gas processing technology.

    Here is a comprehensive article on “ How to Write Introduction for Dissertation Paper .”

    Aim & Objectives

    This is the  most critical section of the proposal paper . List the  research questions  or the research objectives your study will address. When writing this particular section, it will make sense to think of the following questions:

    • Are there any specific findings that you are expecting?
    • What aspects of the topic have you decided not to investigate and why?
    • How will your research contribute to the existing knowledge in your field?

    Literature Review

    The  literature review section  is your chance to state the key established research trends,  hypotheses , and theories on the subject. Demonstrate to the reader that your research is a unique contribution to your field because it explores the topic from a new angle.

    In a dissertation proposal, you won’t be expected to provide an extensive list of all previous research studies on the topic. Still, all the key theories reported by other scholars should be briefly referred to.

    Take into consideration the following when writing the literature review section:

    • The gaps identified in the previous research studies on the topic which your own research aims to fill. State the limitations of previous studies, whether lacking sufficient evidence, invalid, or too broad.
    • The key established research trends, theories, and hypotheses as reported by other researchers.
    • Any specific arguments and/or methodologies that previous scholars used when investigating your topic.

    Our expert dissertation proposal editors can improve the quality of your proposal paper to the First Class standard. Complete this short and simple order form here so we can get feedback from our writers.


    A focused and well-defined methodology in a proposal paper can help you explain to your readers  how you plan to conduct your research  and why  your chosen research design  can provide reliable answers to your research questions.

    The choice of research design and analytical approach will depend on several factors, including but not limited to your area of study and research constraints.

    Depending on your topic and the existing literature, you will need to decide whether your dissertation will be purely descriptive or use primary (quantitative/qualitative data) as part of the research design.

    Any research limitations and ethical issues that you expect to deal with should be clearly stated. For example, you might not be able to use a large sample size of respondents due to financial constraints. Small sample size can undermine your research significance.

    How to Write a First Class Dissertation Proposal or Research Proposal.

    “If you’re unable to pull off a first-class proposal, we’re here to help. We at ResearchProspect make sure that our writers prepare a flawless dissertation proposal for you. Our highly qualified team of writers will also help you choose a relevant topic for your subject area. Get in touch with us today, and let us take care of all your dissertation worries! Learn more about our dissertation proposal writing service.

    Some Masters and PhD level degree programs require students to include a project timeline or timetable to give readers an idea of how and when they plan to complete different stages of the project.

    Project timeline can be a great planning tool, mainly if your research includes experiments, statistical analysis , designing, and primary data collection. However, it may have to be modified slightly as you progress into your research.

    By no means is it a fixed program for carrying out your work. When developing the project timeline in your proposal, always consider the time needed for practical aspects of the research, such as travelling, experiments, and fieldwork.


    Referencing and In-Text Citations

    Underrated, but referencing is one of the most crucial aspects of preparing a proposal. You can think of your proposal as the first impression of your dissertation.

    You would want everything to be perfect and in place, wouldn’t you? Thus, always make sure that your dissertation consists of all the necessary elements.

    You will have to cite information and data that you include in your dissertation. So make sure that the references that you include are credible and authentic.

    You can use well-known academic journals, official websites, past researches, and concepts presented by renowned authors and writers in the respective field.

    The same rule applies to in-text citations. Make sure that you cite references accurately  according to the required referencing style  as mentioned in the guidelines.

    References should back statistics, facts, and figures at all times. It is highly recommended to back every 100-200 words written with at least one academic reference. The quantity of references does not matter; however, the quality does.

    These are the basic elements of a dissertation proposal. Taking care of all these sections will help you when you are confused about structuring a dissertation proposal. In addition to these steps, look for different  dissertation proposal examples  on your research topic. A  sample dissertation proposal  paper can provide a clear understanding of how to go about the “pro”osal stage” of”the dissertation project.

    “If you’re unable to pull off a first-class proposal, we’re here to help. We at ResearchProspect make sure that our writers prepare a flawless dissertation proposal for you. Our highly qualified team of writers will also help you choose a relevant topic for your subject area. Get in touch with us today, and let us take care of all your dissertation worries! Learn more about our dissertation proposal writing service .”

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is dissertation proposal in research.

    A dissertation proposal in research outlines the planned study. It includes research objectives, methods, scope, and significance. It’s a blueprint that demonstrates the feasibility and value of the research, helping gain approval before proceeding with the full dissertation.

    How do you write a dissertation proposal?

    A dissertation proposal outlines your research topic, objectives, methodology, and potential significance. Start with a clear title, state your research question, detail the methods you will use to answer it, and highlight the contribution it will make to the field. Ensure it is well-researched, concise, and compelling to gain approval.

    How long is a dissertation proposal?

    A dissertation proposal’s length varies by field and institution. Typically, it ranges from 10 to 20 pages, but can be longer for complex topics. It includes an introduction, research question, literature review, methodology, and potential significance. Always consult department guidelines or advisors to ensure appropriate length and content.

    What are the types of dissertation proposals?

    Dissertation proposal types largely depend on the research’s nature and methodology. Common types include empirical (collecting data from the real world), non-empirical (theory or literature-based), and narrative (case studies). Each type dictates a different approach to data collection, analysis, and presentation, tailored to the subject and field of study.

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    • How It Works


    Thesis, major paper, and major project proposals

    • Definitions
    • Introductory section
    • Literature review
    • Methodology

    Schedule/work plan

    • Other potential elements
    • Proposal references
    • Ask for help

    work plan dissertation proposal

    If you're unsure if your research proposal requires a schedule or work plan, please consult your project handbook and/or speak with your instructor, advisor, or supervisor.

    The information about schedules or work plans in proposals was gathered from RRU thesis and major project handbooks, current in 2020, from programs in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Management, and the College of Interdisciplinary Studies. If the details here differ from the information provided in the handbook for your project, please follow the handbook's directions.

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    work plan dissertation proposal

    • In RRU's Anxiety About Academic Writing guide, this resource is open to everyone.

    How Do I Plan the Various Stages of My Research Project?

    • In SAGE Research Methods: Planning and Practicalities, look for How Do I Plan the Various Stages of My Research Project? drop down option. Access via this link requires a RRU username and password.

    Learning Skills: Time Management

    • In RRU's Learning Skills guide, this resource is open to everyone.

    What Do I Need to Know About Time and Timetabling?

    • In SAGE Research Methods: Planning and Practicalities, look for the What Do I Need to Know About Time and Timetabling? drop down option. Access via this link requires a RRU username and password.

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    • << Previous: Methodology
    • Next: Other potential elements >>
    • Last Updated: Jan 8, 2024 12:29 PM
    • URL: https://libguides.royalroads.ca/proposals

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    • Knowledge Base
    • Research process
    • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

    How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

    Published on 30 October 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on 13 June 2023.

    Structure of a research proposal

    A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

    The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:


    Literature review.

    • Research design

    Reference list

    While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organised and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

    Table of contents

    Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, frequently asked questions.

    Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

    In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

    Research proposal length

    The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

    One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

    Download our research proposal template

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    Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

    • Example research proposal #1: ‘A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management’
    • Example research proposal #2: ‘ Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use’

    Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

    • The proposed title of your project
    • Your supervisor’s name
    • Your institution and department

    The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

    Your introduction should:

    • Introduce your topic
    • Give necessary background and context
    • Outline your  problem statement  and research questions

    To guide your introduction , include information about:

    • Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
    • How much is already known about the topic
    • What is missing from this current knowledge
    • What new insights your research will contribute
    • Why you believe this research is worth doing

    As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

    In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

    • Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
    • Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
    • Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesise prior scholarship

    Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

    To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasise again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

    For example, your results might have implications for:

    • Improving best practices
    • Informing policymaking decisions
    • Strengthening a theory or model
    • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
    • Creating a basis for future research

    Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

    Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

    Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

    Download our research schedule template

    If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

    Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

    • Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
    • Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
    • Source : how did you calculate the amount?

    To determine your budget, think about:

    • Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
    • Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
    • Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?

    Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement.

    Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

    I will compare …

    A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

    Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

    A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

    A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

    A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

    All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

    Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

    Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

    Cite this Scribbr article

    If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

    McCombes, S. & George, T. (2023, June 13). How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved 12 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/the-research-process/research-proposal-explained/

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    • Knowledge Base
    • Dissertation

    What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template

    Structure of a Dissertation

    A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program.

    Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin.

    Your department likely has guidelines related to how your dissertation should be structured. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor.

    You can also download our full dissertation template in the format of your choice below. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter, easily adaptable to your department’s requirements.

    Download Word template Download Google Docs template

    • In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD.
    • In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

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    Table of contents

    Dissertation committee and prospectus process, how to write and structure a dissertation, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your dissertation, free checklist and lecture slides.

    When you’ve finished your coursework, as well as any comprehensive exams or other requirements, you advance to “ABD” (All But Dissertation) status. This means you’ve completed everything except your dissertation.

    Prior to starting to write, you must form your committee and write your prospectus or proposal . Your committee comprises your adviser and a few other faculty members. They can be from your own department, or, if your work is more interdisciplinary, from other departments. Your committee will guide you through the dissertation process, and ultimately decide whether you pass your dissertation defense and receive your PhD.

    Your prospectus is a formal document presented to your committee, usually orally in a defense, outlining your research aims and objectives and showing why your topic is relevant . After passing your prospectus defense, you’re ready to start your research and writing.

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    The structure of your dissertation depends on a variety of factors, such as your discipline, topic, and approach. Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies.

    However, hard science and social science dissertations typically include a review of existing works, a methodology section, an analysis of your original research, and a presentation of your results , presented in different chapters.

    Dissertation examples

    We’ve compiled a list of dissertation examples to help you get started.

    • Example dissertation #1: Heat, Wildfire and Energy Demand: An Examination of Residential Buildings and Community Equity (a dissertation by C. A. Antonopoulos about the impact of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings and occupant exposure risks).
    • Example dissertation #2: Exploring Income Volatility and Financial Health Among Middle-Income Households (a dissertation by M. Addo about income volatility and declining economic security among middle-income households).
    • Example dissertation #3: The Use of Mindfulness Meditation to Increase the Efficacy of Mirror Visual Feedback for Reducing Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees (a dissertation by N. S. Mills about the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on the relationship between mirror visual feedback and the pain level in amputees with phantom limb pain).

    The very first page of your document contains your dissertation title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo.

    Read more about title pages

    The acknowledgements section is usually optional and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. In some cases, your acknowledgements are part of a preface.

    Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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    work plan dissertation proposal

    The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150 to 300 words long. Though this may seem very short, it’s one of the most important parts of your dissertation, because it introduces your work to your audience.

    Your abstract should:

    • State your main topic and the aims of your research
    • Describe your methods
    • Summarize your main results
    • State your conclusions

    Read more about abstracts

    The table of contents lists all of your chapters, along with corresponding subheadings and page numbers. This gives your reader an overview of your structure and helps them easily navigate your document.

    Remember to include all main parts of your dissertation in your table of contents, even the appendices. It’s easy to generate a table automatically in Word if you used heading styles. Generally speaking, you only include level 2 and level 3 headings, not every subheading you included in your finished work.

    Read more about tables of contents

    While not usually mandatory, it’s nice to include a list of figures and tables to help guide your reader if you have used a lot of these in your dissertation. It’s easy to generate one of these in Word using the Insert Caption feature.

    Read more about lists of figures and tables

    Similarly, if you have used a lot of abbreviations (especially industry-specific ones) in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

    Read more about lists of abbreviations

    In addition to the list of abbreviations, if you find yourself using a lot of highly specialized terms that you worry will not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary. Here, alphabetize the terms and include a brief description or definition.

    Read more about glossaries

    The introduction serves to set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of your dissertation. The introduction should:

    • Establish your research topic , giving the background information needed to contextualize your work
    • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of your research
    • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
    • Clearly state your research questions and objectives
    • Outline the flow of the rest of your work

    Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant. By the end, the reader should understand the what, why, and how of your research.

    Read more about introductions

    A formative part of your research is your literature review . This helps you gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.

    Literature reviews encompass:

    • Finding relevant sources (e.g., books and journal articles)
    • Assessing the credibility of your sources
    • Critically analyzing and evaluating each source
    • Drawing connections between them (e.g., themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps) to strengthen your overall point

    A literature review is not merely a summary of existing sources. Your literature review should have a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear justification for your own research. It may aim to:

    • Address a gap in the literature or build on existing knowledge
    • Take a new theoretical or methodological approach to your topic
    • Propose a solution to an unresolved problem or advance one side of a theoretical debate

    Read more about literature reviews

    Theoretical framework

    Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework. Here, you define and analyze the key theories, concepts, and models that frame your research.

    Read more about theoretical frameworks

    Your methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to critically assess its credibility. Your methodology section should accurately report what you did, as well as convince your reader that this was the best way to answer your research question.

    A methodology section should generally include:

    • The overall research approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative ) and research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
    • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment )
    • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
    • Any tools and materials you used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
    • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
    • An evaluation or justification of your methods

    Read more about methodology sections

    Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses , or themes, but avoid including any subjective or speculative interpretation here.

    Your results section should:

    • Concisely state each relevant result together with relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
    • Briefly state how the result relates to the question or whether the hypothesis was supported
    • Report all results that are relevant to your research questions , including any that did not meet your expectations.

    Additional data (including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix. You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results. Read more about results sections

    Your discussion section is your opportunity to explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research question. Here, interpret your results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. Refer back to relevant source material to show how your results fit within existing research in your field.

    Some guiding questions include:

    • What do your results mean?
    • Why do your results matter?
    • What limitations do the results have?

    If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data.

    Read more about discussion sections

    Your dissertation’s conclusion should concisely answer your main research question, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed to the field.

    In some disciplines, the conclusion is just a short section preceding the discussion section, but in other contexts, it is the final chapter of your work. Here, you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found, with recommendations for future research and concluding remarks.

    It’s important to leave the reader with a clear impression of why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known? Why is your research necessary for the future of your field?

    Read more about conclusions

    It is crucial to include a reference list or list of works cited with the full details of all the sources that you used, in order to avoid plagiarism. Be sure to choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your dissertation. Each style has strict and specific formatting requirements.

    Common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA , but which style you use is often set by your department or your field.

    Create APA citations Create MLA citations

    Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents such as interview transcripts or survey questions can be added as appendices, rather than adding them to the main body.

    Read more about appendices

    Making sure that all of your sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading, as grammar mistakes and sloppy spelling errors can really negatively impact your work.

    Dissertations can take up to five years to write, so you will definitely want to make sure that everything is perfect before submitting. You may want to consider using a professional dissertation editing service , AI proofreader or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect prior to submitting.

    After your written dissertation is approved, your committee will schedule a defense. Similarly to defending your prospectus, dissertation defenses are oral presentations of your work. You’ll present your dissertation, and your committee will ask you questions. Many departments allow family members, friends, and other people who are interested to join as well.

    After your defense, your committee will meet, and then inform you whether you have passed. Keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality; most committees will have resolved any serious issues with your work with you far prior to your defense, giving you ample time to fix any problems.

    As you write your dissertation, you can use this simple checklist to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.

    Checklist: Dissertation

    My title page includes all information required by my university.

    I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me.

    My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key results or arguments.

    I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. It includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract.

    My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research.

    My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and research objectives .

    My introduction includes an overview of the dissertation’s structure (reading guide).

    I have conducted a literature review in which I (1) critically engage with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, (2) discuss patterns, themes, and debates in the literature, and (3) address a gap or show how my research contributes to existing research.

    I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach.

    I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected data and analyzed data.

    I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results .

    I have (1) evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results and (2) acknowledged any important limitations of the results in my discussion .

    I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion .

    I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed.

    I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.

    If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information.

    I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source.

    I have listed every source in a reference list at the end of my dissertation.

    I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style .

    I have followed all formatting guidelines provided by my university.


    The end is in sight—your dissertation is nearly ready to submit! Make sure it's perfectly polished with the help of a Scribbr editor.

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    Dissertations 1: getting started: planning.

    • Starting Your Dissertation
    • Choosing A Topic and Researching
    • Devising An Approach/Method
    • Thinking Of A Title
    • Writing A Proposal

    Planning Your Time

    The dissertation is a large project, so it needs careful planning. To organise your time, you can try the following:  

    Break down the dissertation into smaller stages to complete (e.g., literature search, read materials, data collection, write literature review section…). 

    Create a schedule. Working backwards from your deadline, decide when you will complete each stage. 

    Set aside time to regularly work on the dissertation. 

    Consider what times of day you are most alert and what makes a suitable space to study. 

    Identify a specific task to work on. 

    If overwhelmed, try to identify one task that needs doing rather than focusing on the larger project. 

    Leave time to redraft, proof-read, format, and complete the reference list. 

    Gantt Charts

    As the dissertation project involves certain processes to take place simultaneously, rather than in a sequence, you can use a Gantt chart to organise your time.  

    A Gantt chart is a bar chart which shows the schedule for a project. The project is broken down into key tasks/elements to be completed. A start and finish date for each task/element of the project is given. Some tasks are scheduled at the same time or may overlap. Others will start when a task has been completed. 

    To produce a Gantt chart, you can use Word, Excel (see example in the attachment) or an online planner.

    • Tom's Planner . There's  an example  for you to use to complete your plan. 
    • Excel:  example of Gantt Chart in Excel . This is an example of a Gantt chart which can be used to generate a plan of work (timeline) for your dissertation. You can download and edit it as you please. The chart has been created by the University of Leicester. 

    Gantt chart using Excel

    Research Data Management

    This video helps you to understand the importance of research data management and how you can plan, organise, store, preserve, and share your data.

    • Link to video on Research Data Management
    • Feedback Form Please give us feedback on our videos!
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    • Next: Writing A Proposal >>
    • Last Updated: Aug 1, 2023 2:36 PM
    • URL: https://libguides.westminster.ac.uk/starting-your-dissertation


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    Plan template bundle, what is a research work plan, what is the difference between a research plan and a research proposal, what is the purpose of a research plan, what are the good research questions, what are the components of a work plan, free 12+ research work plan templates in pdf | ms word, 1. research work plan format template, 2. research project communication plan template, 3. free project research work plan template, 4. free research work plan example, 5. free research work group plan template, 6. half yearly research work plan template, 7. sample research work plan template, 8. free research work plan template in pdf, 9. free business research work plan template, 10. free project research work plan example, 11. monthly project research work plan template, 12. transport research work plan template, 13. free research work plan template in doc, how to develop a work plan, advantages of developing a work plan, plan templates, 12+ research work plan templates in pdf | ms word.

    A work plan is an overview of a series of objectives and procedures by which a team and/or entity can achieve those goals and provide the reader with a clearer picture of the project’s context. No matter if it is used in professional or academic life, work plans serve the purpose of helping you stay focused when working on a certain project. You disintegrate a process into tiny, manageable tasks by work schedules , and define the tasks you want to achieve.

    work plan dissertation proposal

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    Step 1: Think About the Objectives

    Step 2: introduction and background, step 3: list the resources, step 4: anticipate and define limitations, step 5: assign roles, step 6: write the strategy, determine goals and objectives, organize teams and leadership, establish project timelines, set project budget, quality assurance and control, more in plan templates, editable research flowchart template, medical research template, research template, qualitative research template, psychology research template, research conference template, science research template, academic research template, high school research template, research proposal template.

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    Dissertation Research Plan: Make It A Success With These Tips!

    Dissertation Research Plan

    Having a plan for the research acts as a blueprint for the project. A research plan that is at per can act as a reference point when doing future projects. It keeps you on toes, ensuring that nothing is left out or partially covered. Before embarking on any project, a plan is essential. But what is a research plan ?

    It is an outline of the aims, objectives, justifications, methodology, time frame, resources, and the result. Careful planning is, therefore, necessary for a successful research project.

    The research plan should be able to allow ample time for each task to be completed. You should know the time left before the submission of the work. Here’s a golden rule everyone ought to know, “if you do not plan, then you plan to fail.”

    Contents of a Research Plan

    The following questions should are essential in developing a research plan:

    • Previous research did
    • Research objectives and ethical considerations
    • Research methodology
    • A work plan
    • Timelines and financial issues
    • Future research importance of the study to the society
    • The work you intend to do

    Now, let’s change focus and look at the necessary elements in a research plan and how to articulate them in a genius way.

    Required Elements of a Research Plan

    The elements below may not be exhaustive and will vary depending on the program one is taking. However, it is a good start for anyone wishing to undertake a dissertation research plan. They include the following:

    • Biographical Sketch
    • Preliminary Studies and Progress Reports
    • Research Support
    • Specific Aims
    • Research Strategy

    Allow me to now elaborate on each one of these requirements explicitly so that you can familiarize yourself with them.

    1. The Specific Aims Section

    It is a section that outlines the main objectives of the research project and how far the research topic is with other findings. You are required to precisely show what your end goal is in carrying out the specific research.

    The goals should be brief and summarized to allow the readers to get a full list of the research problem at hand.

    2. Research Strategy

    A research strategy gives a bit by bit the flow of the actions to be undertaken. It thus enables you as the researcher to identify how your efforts and thoughts are going to be aligned to achieve the set objectives of the proposed research.

    You will be required to show the significance of the problem in various dimensions. They include new knowledge to be added, its technicalities, and how it can merge into the society at large.

    For each specific aim listed, you should be able to show its significance, innovation, and approach individually.

    3. Resources

    The resource section entails the primary and secondary sources used to furnish your project and enable you to arrive at the findings. The firsthand information is what constitutes the primary sources and is usually original either as recounted by an eyewitness or the very first literary works on the topic.

    Data and information collected at the primary level are raw. Hence, there is a need for secondary data to supplement and affirm these findings. The secondary sources majorly interpret and analyze the results of the primary sources.

    A researcher should be able to show some of the institutions or general scientific environments where they did the research. It adds to the authenticity of the project, especially if the facilities used are highly reputed, such as research laboratories.

    4. Biographical Sketch

    It is a compilation of an individual’s life and the activities they engaged in their life. Some of the details to be included in the biographical sketch are the person’s name, place of abode, education achievements, profession, and hobbies, among much other essential information.

    Elements that of significant relevance in this section are the peer-reviewed publications, positions and honors, and a concise personal statement.

    The researcher is at liberty to have particular papers founded on their currency and importance to the field to the proposed research. Citation is critical in this section, and the researcher needs to have prior knowledge of the various citation formats such as the APA and MLA formats.

    5. Research Support

    An elaborate statement on the current and completed research projects should be made available in this section. They should, however, be within a time frame of the past three years.

    The research support section would not be complete without giving the roles played by the significant person whom you listed in the biographical article.

    6. Preliminary Studies and Progress Reports

    It is a section that shows related research done before by other scholars. It, therefore, determines the potency of the project; whether it will fail or succeed based on the previous work.

    Major works such as published materials, accepted manuscripts, and patents, should also be included in this section. The preliminary studies and progress report in a research plan show alterations to the specific aims already stated and any new leads. It may result from budgetary or time changes.

    Writing A Research Plan Made Easy

    It is as simple as that! Remember that with practice, you will soon be the next celebrated research plan writer in town. So what are you waiting for now?

    For samples and writing help on the dissertation research plan, contact our team of top-notch dissertation writers today.

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    Antony Blinken shakes hands with Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

    Blinken says ‘a lot of work’ remains on Gaza ceasefire and hostage talks

    Remarks by US secretary of state come after Hamas responds to Israel plan with three-stage proposal to end conflict

    The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken , has said “a lot of work” remains to be done to bridge the gap between Israel and Hamas on terms for a new ceasefire and hostage-release deal, after the militant group put forward its own far-reaching proposal for a permanent end to the fighting.

    Reports in Egyptian media on Wednesday said negotiations were ongoing in Cairo, after Hamas’s demands for a lengthy ceasefire and conditions for a prisoner exchange.

    Hamas laid out a detailed three-phase plan to unfold over four and a half months, responding to a proposal drawn up by the US, Israel , Qatar and Egypt. The plan stipulates that all hostages would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, including senior militants, and an end to the war.

    It is a position that Israel is almost certain to reject but which mediators are viewing positively, as it appears the group is willing to engage in further negotiations.

    Hamas put forward its three-stage plan late on Tuesday via Qatari and Egyptian mediators. Under the proposal, Palestinian militants would exchange Israeli hostages they captured on 7 October for 1,500 Palestinian prisoners, secure the reconstruction of Gaza , ensure the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces and exchange bodies and remains, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

    The plan envisions three stages of a truce, of 45 days each. It comes in response to a proposal put forward by Israel two weeks ago for a six-week cessation of hostilities and the phased release of the estimated 130 Israelis still held hostage in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

    In the Hamas plan, all female Israeli hostages, males under 19 and elderly and sick people would be released during the first 45-day phase, in exchange for Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails.

    The remaining male hostages would be released during the second phase, and bodies exchanged in the third. By the end of the third phase, Hamas would expect the sides to have reached agreement on an end to the war.

    The truce would also increase the flow of food and other aid to Gaza’s 2.3 million desperate civilians, who are experiencing severe shortages of food, water and medicine.

    Israel has not yet publicly commented on the details of the Hamas proposal but several unnamed officials told local media that the demand to bring the war to a close was a “non-starter”. A senior Israeli official told the country’s Channel 12 News: “The meaning of Hamas’s answer is a refusal to deal.”

    Blinken, who is on his fifth visit to the region since the war broke out, is trying to advance the ceasefire talks while pushing for a larger postwar settlement in which Saudi Arabia would normalise relations with Israel in return for a “clear, credible, time-bound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state”.

    But the increasingly unpopular Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu , is opposed to Palestinian statehood, and his hawkish governing coalition could collapse if he is seen to be making too many concessions.

    “There’s a lot of work to be done but we are very much focused on doing that work,” Blinken told Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog.

    The US president, Joe Biden, also commented on Hamas’s counter-proposal. “There’s been a response from Hamas but it seems to be a little over the top … There are continuing negotiations right now,” he said.

    Netanyahu has said repeatedly that the war will not end until there is total victory over Hamas. However, the unofficial Israeli position is likely to be more pragmatic.

    Two Palestinian children stand near rubble

    The columnist Yoav Limor argued in the daily newspaper Israel Hayom: “Hamas’s response is an opening position – a very high opening position, admittedly, but not one that entirely precludes the possibility of reaching a deal.

    “Obviously, Israel will not agree to the sweeping conditions that Hamas has posed … That said, Israel is prepared to discuss the details, such as the duration of the ceasefire, the quantity of aid allowed into Gaza and, of course, the number and identity of the prisoners who are to be released in exchange for the hostages. Presumably, that is what will happen now.”

    A significant sticking point in talks so far is how many and which Palestinians will be released. In the week-long November truce, 110 Israelis were freed in return for 240 Palestinians, who were mostly women and children held for minor offences or in administrative detention. The new list is believed to include hardened militants serving life sentences.

    Both sides are keen to blame the other for a failure to reach a second ceasefire deal. Hamas has set conditions that Israel is highly unlikely to accept, while Netanyahu faces the potential collapse of his far-right coalition government if Israel agrees to any sort of truce.

    Blinken arrived in Israel overnight as part of his whistle-stop diplomatic tour of the region aimed at containing escalating violence across the Middle East triggered by the war in Gaza.

    Israel began its military offensive in the strip after Hamas killed 1,200 people and took about 250 hostages in the devastating attack on Israel on 7 October.

    At least 27,585 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli campaign, with thousands more feared buried under rubble, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

    About 85% of the 2.3 million-strong population have been displaced from their homes and more than half of the besieged Palestinian territory’s infrastructure has been destroyed, the UN says.

    • Israel-Gaza war
    • Palestinian territories
    • Middle East and north Africa
    • Antony Blinken

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    1. How to write Objectives for Proposal or Dissertation

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    1. How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Proposal

      Published on September 21, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023. When starting your thesis or dissertation process, one of the first requirements is a research proposal or a prospectus.

    2. How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

      Step 1: Coming up with an idea Step 2: Presenting your idea in the introduction Step 3: Exploring related research in the literature review Step 4: Describing your methodology Step 5: Outlining the potential implications of your research Step 6: Creating a reference list or bibliography Step 1: Coming up with an idea

    3. Dissertation Proposal

      The dissertation proposal is a comprehensive statement on the extent and nature of the student's dissertation research interests. Students submit a draft of the proposal to their dissertation advisor between the end of the seventh and middle of the ninth quarters.

    4. How To Write A Research Proposal (With Examples)

      You should be able to answer the following 4 questions before starting your dissertation or thesis research proposal: WHAT is my main research question? (the topic) WHO cares and why is this important? (the justification) WHAT data would I need to answer this question, and how will I analyse it? (the research design)

    5. How to write a thesis proposal in 5 simple steps

      A thesis proposal covers what topics you plan to research and write about as part of your master's thesis. Your proposal should properly define the scope of your research, as well as the questions you intend to explore and the methodology used to answer those questions.

    6. How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

      A dissertation proposal should include: An introduction to your dissertation topic Aims and objectives of your dissertation A literature review of the current research undertaken in your field Proposed methodology to be used Implications of your research Limitations of your research Bibliography

    7. Dissertations 1: Getting Started: Writing A Proposal

      Writing A Proposal - Dissertations 1: Getting Started - LibGuides at University of Westminster What is a Proposal? Before you start your dissertation, you may be asked to write a proposal for it. The purpose of a dissertation proposal is to provide a snapshot of what your study involves.

    8. How to write a thesis proposal

      If your sentences seem too long, make two or three sentences instead of one. Try to write the same way that you speak when you are explaining a concept. Most people speak more clearly than they write. You should have read your proposal over at least 5 times before handing it in. Simple wording is generally better.

    9. Dissertation Planner: Plan & Research

      In order to manage the dissertation writing process, you should CREATE A WORK PLAN. A work plan will help you: Break down the large, overwhelming process of writing a dissertation into manageable steps; Discover and take advantage of your most productive work habits; Balance dissertation writing with the other aspects of your life.

    10. PDF Dissertation Planner: step-by-step

      This planner is designed to help you through all the stages of your dissertation, from starting to think about your question through to final submission. At each stage there are useful prompts to help you plan your work and manage your time. Throughout the planner there are also blank spaces that you can use to plan your dissertation.

    11. How to Write a Dissertation Proposal with Structure & Steps

      Write a brief executive summary or an abstract of your proposal if you have been asked to do so in the structural guidelines. Generally, the abstract is included in the final dissertation paper with a length of around 300-400 words. If you have to write an abstract for your proposal, here are the key points that it must cover;

    12. Schedule/work plan

      The information about schedules or work plans in proposals was gathered from RRU thesis and major project handbooks, current in 2020, from programs in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Management, and the College of Interdisciplinary Studies.

    13. How to Write a Research Proposal

      Revised on 13 June 2023. A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it's important, and how you will conduct your research. The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements: Title page Introduction Literature review Research design Reference list

    14. How to write a dissertation proposal

      A dissertation proposal should cover in detail the research question you are going to analyse and how you plan to conduct your primary and secondary research. It should include the reading you have done up until this point and any outcomes of discussions with your supervisor.

    15. What Is a Dissertation?

      What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program. Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you've ever completed.

    16. How to Write a Great PhD Research Proposal

      A good PhD proposal outlines the scope and significance of your topic and explains how you plan to research it. It's helpful to think about the proposal like this: if the rest of your application explains your ability to do a PhD, the proposal demonstrates the actual PhD you plan to do.


      The purpose of the proposal is to communicate the plan for the work to the faculty of the Division of Emerging Media Studies via the First Reader (principal thesis advisor) and a Second Reader. A Thesis Proposal is rather like the blueprint of a house that is to be built and it serves the same functions.

    18. Dissertations 1: Getting Started: Planning

      Dissertations 1: Getting Started: Planning A Guide Planning Your Time The dissertation is a large project, so it needs careful planning. To organise your time, you can try the following: Break down the dissertation into smaller stages to complete (e.g., literature search, read materials, data collection, write literature review section…).

    19. PDF Sample Thesis Work Plan

      First Semester Three weeks into the first semester Submit 7-10 page proposal with bibliography to thesis director. This proposal should describe the central research question and the methodology to be used to answer the question.

    20. How to nail your PhD proposal and get accepted

      When writing your PhD proposal you need to show that your PhD is worth it, achievable, and that you have the ability to do it at your chosen university. With all of that in mind, let's take a closer look at each section of a standard PhD research proposal and the overall structure. 1. Front matter.

    21. 12+ Research Work Plan Templates in PDF

      12+ Research Work Plan Templates in PDF | MS Word. A work plan is an overview of a series of objectives and procedures by which a team and/or entity can achieve those goals and provide the reader with a clearer picture of the project's context. No matter if it is used in professional or academic life, work plans serve the purpose of helping you stay focused when working on a certain project.

    22. Dissertation Research Plan: Proven Steps That Work

      1. The Specific Aims Section It is a section that outlines the main objectives of the research project and how far the research topic is with other findings. You are required to precisely show what your end goal is in carrying out the specific research.

    23. Request for Proposal Application Period Opens for the Children and

      PRESS RELEASE — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today released the request for proposal to hire the organization that will help manage the Children and Families Specialty Plan. The first-of-its-kind statewide health plan will ensure access to comprehensive physical and behavioral health services for Medicaid-enrolled children, youth and families served by the child ...

    24. Blinken says 'a lot of work' remains on Gaza ceasefire and hostage

      Remarks by US secretary of state come after Hamas responds to Israel plan with three-stage proposal to end conflict The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has said "a lot of work" remains ...