How to write a first-class dissertation proposal - PhD Guides

How to write a first-class dissertation proposal

Writing a dissertation proposal is a significant and challenging task. Challenging because you must write a proposal that will persuade and convince the assessor to approve your research idea.

In layman’s terms, you must write a well-structured proposal that can represent your research idea in a simple yet effective format.

You must answer all of the whys and provide a compelling reason for the assessor not to turn down your proposal. Don’t be concerned if you find it difficult. In this article, we will discuss how you can write a convincing dissertation proposal.

What is a dissertation proposal?

Let’s start with the basics and work our way up. What is the definition of a dissertation proposal?

A dissertation proposal is a brief essay that summarizes your research objectives. The goal of writing this proposal is to demonstrate your discipline and provide a comprehensive overview of your research to the advisor and committee.

You must persuade the committee that your research topic is worthwhile, contributes to the field, and is viable to complete in the time and resources available.

If you could not convince the committee on the above points, your proposal is deemed to turn down regardless of how exciting the idea is sound to you.

Select a topic for your dissertation proposal

Choosing a topic is a critical step in developing your dissertation proposal. Because this is the foundation of your entire proposal, it must be unique, clear, and interesting.

The topic should be something that you are interested in so that you can work on it for weeks or months. Before settling on a topic, be specific and conduct extensive research. Remember that you must write the proposal within a certain word count, so the topic should not be too specific or vague.

You can seek guidance from your mentor and make your decision based on their advice. They understand the subject and have extensive knowledge, so they can provide you with better advice.

Body of the dissertation proposal

When you’ve decided on a topic, the next step is to develop a structure for writing your dissertation proposal. You must be aware of the proper format for writing a dissertation proposal. The proposal should include the introduction, main body, and conclusion.

Let’s go over these points quickly:


The introduction is the first section that the assessor will read, so it must include all pertinent information about your research. Give specific information about your topic. Make a proper layout for the thesis and how your chosen topic can contribute to the field. Maintain detail, crispness, and clarity in your introduction.

Main body

The main body usually consists following points:


In this section, you must describe the method you will use to collect and process your data. You could provide relevant references in the form of a questionnaire, survey, or data source. Overall, you must provide specific details about how you intend to conduct your research. Why did you choose certain methods, and so on?

Objectives and Goals

As implied by the title, you must discuss the research’s goals and objectives in this section. What are the main issues you’re supposed to solve? What are the goals of your research? Etc.

Literature Review

In this regard, you can provide relevant references drawn from existing research in your field that is similar to yours. This will assist you in demonstrating the significance of your research and how it can benefit the community. You should mention the key sources that helped you conduct your research. In fact, if you are citing other studies, you can mention the flaws (if any) you discovered and how you are going to avoid them in your work.


There may be some limitations to the proposal or the topic you wish to research. You can discuss those restrictions in this section. This demonstrates that you conducted thorough research on your topic and engaged effectively. It also shows that you have a broader perspective on the concept.

Ethical Considerations

In this section, you must address the ethical consideration of your topic and research. Such as the permission of the participants and all of the people referred to in your proposal, etc.


The time frame refers to how long it takes you to complete the work. Such proposals most often include a time frame, and you can describe the process and the time it takes to complete the whole work.


The conclusion is not essential, but it should be included in your proposal. It will increase the visibility of your proposal. In this section, you can also provide a complete brief and expected outcome for your proposal.

Make a reference list.

The reference list is critical throughout your PhD. Any statement or argument that lacks proper citations is unacceptable. As a result, including all references at the end of your proposal.


These are the key points to keep in mind as you write your dissertation proposal. You can also seek assistance from your supervisor and follow their advice to make your proposal more convincing and presentable.

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