Dissertation proposal

How to Write a Winning Dissertation Proposal

Dissertation proposal can be a bear.

Imagine waking up in the morning and listing down the day’s goals. Then during the day, you do your best to ensure that you have accomplished all your goals.

How does it feel? Amazing, right?

Now let’s flip the coin and imagine that you didn’t have any goals for the day.

How much are you likely to do?

I can tell you for sure, not much.

That’s why you need a research proposal before you start writing a dissertation. A proposal guides you when writing your dissertation.

If you manage to come up, with a decent proposal then the battle of dissertation writing will be half won.

So what is a dissertation proposal?

A dissertation proposal is a plan that is used to show and justify the need to study your chosen topic. The proposal must present enough evidence to show that a need exists in the chosen field of study.

Why is a proposal important?

A dissertation proposal helps to improve your ability to design an exhaustive study.

Here’s the catch…

Since the proposal contains a comprehensive review of literature, it makes it easier for the writer to locate associated research.

A proposal is similar to the dissertation. But unlike a dissertation, the proposal does not have the findings and the results analysis.


 How do you write a winning dissertation proposal?

Part One: Have a working title

Base your working title on the dissertation topic that you choose earlier.

What is a working title?

A title that is easy and flexible and easy to change. The title should also be easy to research.

Part Two – Introduction

Give the most relevant information in the introduction of the proposal

Some of the questions that you need to answer in your introduction include:

i). What do you want to investigate?

ii). How is the topic important to your field?

iii). What is the nature of your dissertation?

iv). what do you hope to achieve after conducting research?

v). How is it related to existing literature.

Does this sound familiar? It gets better

After reading the introduction, the audience should identify what you want to achieve.

That’s not all, the introduction is not an abstract and it should leave the audience eager about future results.

Part three – Aims and Objectives

When writing the dissertation’s introduction, do not forget the aims and objectives.

Many of you do not understand the difference between aims and objectives. But wait…there’s more

What is an aim?

An aim is a statement that gives the general outcome of your research.

It is more like when you grow up you want to be a doctor kind of statement

An aim answers the question of “what” you hope to achieve and not the “how.” The “how” of how you hope to achieve your research falls under objectives.

What is an objective?

An objective is a statement that explains the steps that you will take to achieve the aims.

Make your objectives SMART:

Dissertation proposal

Here’s the deal…

If you are keen, the word specific is a term we’ve used over and again when writing this guide.

There is no need to make the reader guess what you are saying.

After writing your objectives, it is important that you go over them to ensure that they are SMART.

So the goal is not to come up with random objectives but rather those that have can back up your aims.

Part Four – Methodology

The methodology describes the methods you plan to use to collect data and research. This section must have a logical flow to convince the reader of the topic’s importance.

The section should relate to the study’s aim.  You may also use this section to describe the research design.  Apart from methods of gathering data from other researchers, try including new methods as well.

Please remember that this section is not a basic list of tasks.  It is also an explanation of why the suggested research methods are appropriate. That being said, explain any challenges that come with your suggested methods.

Part Five – The Literature review

Base your dissertation on a gap or incomplete research in your field. To identify the gap, you need to depend on other researchers.

The purpose of a literature review is to outline why there is a gap in your field.

What approach should you use?

Use a descriptive approach when writing your literature review. Help the readers understand the importance of your topic.

Conciseness is key.

Here’s the secret…go straight to the point when giving the facts and evidence from other sources.

Tooltip – don’t forget to cite your literature review.

To help you write a good literature review use the five c’s

i). Cite (name the author and title of the sources).

ii). Compare ( which authors agree, what theories do they use etc).

iii).Contrast (What do the author’s disagree on?

iv).Critique (Which argument is more convincing? What do the arguments lack?)

v). Connect ( how is the literature connected to your topic of study?)

Part six – Scope and constraints of your study

The lack of a good scope makes research projects to hit roadblocks. For example, you may choose to use existing literature to collect data for your study.

Outdated data? How will it affect the relevancy of your study?

Let’s say the existing literature available for your research dates back to 2015. But let’s be honest, things have changed since then, right?

Things such as technology to consumer behavior do not remain constant over the years. The time difference (between 2015 to 2018) could be a limitation of your study.

Cost is also a huge limitation.  But, limitations vary depending on your topic and area of study

It’s your role to assess your research project without bias

Why reasonable limitations

Assume that you have six months to a year to write your dissertation. Manage your time to avoid last minute rush.  That is a limitation on your part as a researcher on time management.

But let’s say that you set a date for collecting data, but only half of the sample group shows up. Well, that was out of your control so yes it’s a constraint to the study.


If you want to the dissertation writing process to be easier, then you have to write a great proposal. The rest of the work will be like taking a walk in the park.

Dissertation Proposal Conclusion

Like any other academic paper, the dissertation proposal must have the conclusion. The conclusion restates the thesis and gives a brief summary of the study. The conclusion is only one paragraph and it should also suggest a need for further research.

To Wrap Up

Remember to consult your supervisor on anything extra that is needed for writing the dissertation proposal.

This is the third part of writing a winning dissertation. Make sure you check the previous articles.

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