How To Apply The Correct Dissertation Proposal Format

Before getting to work on your dissertation you must first receive approval from your graduate advisor by submitting a dissertation proposal. Generally, each discipline will have its own specific guidelines to follow, but you can always follow this generic proposal format across disciplines and make minor adjustments to make it fit within the discipline perfectly. Here’s how to apply a correct dissertation format:

Title and Abstract

This section simply states your tentative title, as well as provides a short abstract summarizing the content in the proposal. Even though you haven’t started any serious research you should have a good idea of the scope of work.

Introduction and Background

Your introduction and background will provide some information that puts your research into context of a broader discipline. Your proposal is a short document that shouldn’t run more than a couple of pages so you only need to provide three or four sentences for this section at most.

Problem Statement

This is where you need to be more specific. Your research should aim to push the envelope of what is already known or available. The problem can usually be written in terms of what limitations exist in your area of study.

Purpose, Aims, and Rationale

Immediately following the problem statement you can provide what the purpose of your research is and what it is you plan on accomplishing. Also provide a rationale by which you plan on doing your study.

Review of Literature

This is extremely important. In this section you will provide a brief list of available literature related to your topic as well as a short summary. This will help your advisor know where you believe your work will fall within the scope of all previous research.

Methodology / Approach

This section directly states the methodology or approach you will take in conducting your research. For instance, if there are lab tests to complete, then you will state the exact tests and samples you will use.

Implications and Significance

This section predicts what you believe your research will contribute to the discipline and what it will signify. Again, you’re aim is to push the envelope of academic study within your field. If there is no great significance then you might want to choose a different topic.

Draft Bibliography

Finally, you should provide a draft of the bibliography you expect to reference in your research. This will change over the course of your research as you find some sources won’t be helpful while other ones you hadn’t identified before will prove to be quite valuable.

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