Dissertation proposal is an extremely important step towards writing your dissertation. Dissertation proposal is usually written by students taking PhD level or research master’s course. Actually, this type of writing is done in order to create a plan for your future work and prepare you to your final project.

Proposal Writing

Dissertation proposals can be compared to the table of contents. The main aim of this paper is to provide a clear outline on how you are going to work, what you are going to examine, and how you are going to collect and analyze the information. However, it is not always possible to plan everything in advance, as you may want to change your focus a little in the process of work. Nevertheless, proposal helps you clearly identify the direction and main intention of your future dissertation.  

While choosing a topic to your dissertation, the writer should consider the following things:

  1. If the topic is appropriate to the field of study;
  2. If it is specific enough to complete it successfully.

Proposal helps students answer both of these questions. Moreover, it will give you an opportunity to discuss these issues with your professor, receive valuable comments and make a step towards the completion of the course.   

Choosing a Topic

In the process of paper writing, whether it is a simple essay or a dissertation proposal, it is extremely important for any student to choose a topic, which is narrow enough and which shows deep understanding of it by a student. Moreover, it should clearly represent the aim of your paper. By writing approximately 1,000 words of you proposal, you will be able to outline its key points, the questions that will be answered, what kind of data you are intended to use, as well as the type of study and analysis you are going to perform. 

It should be noted that there might be different requirements to the proposal depending in the course. As a result, the size, structure and other specific features may differ. For this reason, it is recommended to check the instructions prior to writing. 

Things to Include in a Dissertation Proposal

Regardless of the specific requirements, there are some elements that should always be included in a dissertation proposal. They are the introductory part, methodology section, objectives and aims, literature review, constraints of the research. 


The main aim of this part is to put a research question. Moreover, it should contain information on the background of the subject under discussion, as well as data on some other issues connected to the given topic.


This section aims at presenting the sources that the writer is going to use in the course of the research and at outlining what kind of data (qualitative or quantitative) will be collected. Moreover, the writer is free to add information on how he/she is going to analyze the data and what biases may influence your work. Depending on the specific requirements, you may also be encouraged to explain why the chosen method is better than any other available method. 

Objectives and Aims

The current section of dissertation proposal is important as it explains the main idea of the research and outlines what the writer wants to achieve by doing it. In addition, it may be necessary to provide a clear statement on the research objectives. It will explain how you are going to achieve the set outcomes.

Literature Review

Basically, literature review is a list of sources (books and other materials) used in your research. This section is written with the aim of presenting sources that helped you gather more information about the topic under investigation and refer to other researches, which touch upon the same area of study. It also gives a writer an opportunity to show how his/her research is connected to the previous studies and to what extent the methods used differ or similar to the ones used by other scholars. Nevertheless, it is important not to forget to give you own analysis of the sources used in addition to simply reviewing them.  

Possible Constraints

The final section of the paper deals with the constraints that may influence the final result of your research. Normally, every topic can be linked to more complex and larger issues. As a result, your task is to explain constraints of your research in order to show that you understand the depth of the problem completely. State why your own research is important to focus on and how it can be useful for better understanding of the larger issues. 

Example of a Dissertation Proposal

The overall structure of the dissertation proposal can vary depending on the specific requirements. For example, you may be required to outline the aim of the research and its objective as a separate section. At the same time, you may be said not to include methodology or any other section in you proposal. 

As soon as you know, what exactly should be included in the proposal, you may start working by dividing your information according to the required sections and subsections. It will help you concentrate on each issue separately. Choosing a proper title will help you narrow down your topic and remain focused all the time. 

The following outline can be one of the possible versions of the dissertation proposal. You may divide the information presented into both paragraphs and chapters depending on the requirements: 

  • Introductory Part;
  • Objectives and Aims;
  • Methodology Section;
  • Literature Review Section;
  • Possible Constraints of the Research.