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How to Write a Dissertation Proposal?

10 Nov 2021

Wrapped up in your dissertation proposal?

Don’t know how to write it?

How to Write a Dissertation

Free yourself because you are about to learn how to write a dissertation proposal, in a very easy way. You will no longer need to hover over the internet in search of things like how to write a dissertation proposal UK? Or how to write a dissertation proposal outline?

So without wasting any time let’s get straight to it.

What is a Dissertation proposal?

A dissertation proposal (also called a research proposal in some countries) is just like a sample of the research that you want to do. You will present the main idea of the research, how you will do it? And why will you do it? 

Students have to write their dissertation proposal before dissertation to get approval to conduct the research.

Importance of dissertation 

Dissertation proposal is important because it prepares you for your main dissertation writing.

It certainly makes your dissertation writing experience less frightening. 

It gives you the idea that is your topic good for final research or should you change it. If you find any lack of material in your topic you can change it. 

Purpose of writing a dissertation proposal

The purpose of writing the dissertation proposal is to;

  • Justify your research project
  • Plan your research
  • Show contributes to existing research work
  • Showcase your ability to the supervisor and panel that you can conduct research in given time

Important considerations 

There are some important considerations to write a successful dissertation proposal.

  • Keep in mind your institute’s regulations. 
  • Write references side by side and don’t leave it for the end to avoid any chaos.
  • Get your supervisor’s feedback regularly and arrange meetings 
  • Cover all the limitations and ethical considerations 

Length of dissertation proposal

Just like the components the length and structure of the dissertation proposal can also vary. The students should follow their institution’s guidelines or any other instruction given by their supervisor. 

Style of dissertation proposal

Style of dissertation proposal

1) Tone

The term “tone” refers to your attitude toward your dissertation proposal
● Try to write your dissertation proposal in a consistent and confident tone
● Avoid arrogant or apologetic tone

2) Coherence

The term “coherence” reflects the flow and sequence of the sentences and paragraphs.
You can achieve coherence by;
● Moving from old information to new information
● Make “stress points” which means write the most important information at the end of the sentence
● Be careful about the subject and object, keep them together
● Start sentences in the short and easy phrase don’t use too complex phrases
● Use linking words like however, therefore, moreover, and in addition
● Use pronouns like this. and avoid mentioning nouns repeatedly in the same paragraphs
● Use synonyms instead of using the same words again and again
● Recycle and repeat keywords 

3) Voice of dissertation proposal

The term “voice” refers to your presence as a subject. Be careful about the difference between active voice and passive voice. Avoid passive voice in your writing

Visual aids in dissertation proposal

Visual aids always make writing more attractive and less boring. Add suitable charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations etc., to illustrate your work.

Don’t add unnecessary pictures and other stuff.

Now that we have all the acquired knowledge about the dissertation proposal, let’s jump straight into the steps.

Steps of writing the dissertation proposal

Style of dissertation proposal

Here are the brief steps that will give you a complete sketch of writing the dissertation proposal. 

  • Think of an idea
  • Present the idea
  • Explore related work 
  • Describe the methodology 
  • Sketch out the implications 
  • Create a reference list

Now let’s discuss it one by one.

Think of an idea

Come up with an idea before starting writing. Narrow your pathway by being specific about a particular topic. Choose your area of interest and search for the major concerns of that area.

Avoid being extreme, neither be too ambitious or too vague about your topic.

Present the idea

Start with an introduction and present your topic. Add a little background and mainly write your aim of the research.

Do not generalize your introduction, be specific and stick to your topic.

Write your aims and objectives clearly, you can use bullet points and bold font.

Present a single topic and avoid talking about too many things or questions.

Explore related work

After being clear about your topic explore related work that is already done. 

Analyze and evaluate the previously done work in that area.

It will give you an idea of missing parts and also give you an idea of questions that are already answered. So you will know what to avoid and which part needs to be focused more.

Summaries their work and points out the lack in their study or problems by using paraphrasing to be more concise.

Describe the methodology

In this step you will need to describe the process of how you will do it? What method will you use to analyze the data?

This is a crucial step and it will show your knowledge and convince your supervisor that you can actually carry out the research.

It can be lengthy but it depends mainly on your field of study and the topic you choose. 

Sketch out the implications

Obviously, you will not be sure about the outcomes of your research, but give an idea about what will be the contribution of this research. Sketch out the potential implications that are expected from the research.

Create a reference list

You will need to create a reference list about all the citations. Reference all the sources that you used in a list. It is important to make it in a proper format and with consistency. 

Apply the format specified by your institute or supervisor, but if you don’t have a specified format choose one by yourself.

Components of a dissertation proposal

The general components of dissertation proposal are;

  • Title 
  • Abstract 
  • Introduction
  • Aims and objectives
  • Review of literature
  • Outline of methodology
  • Limitations 
  • Ethical reviews
  • Timeframe 
  • References 

The components may vary in different disciples, universities and regions. 


The first part of the dissertation proposal is abstract although not all the institutions include it.

It is basically the summary of your proposal. It is usually written in 100 to 350 words a few lines just to give the main idea.

How to write a dissertation proposal introduction?

It is the most important part you will introduce your topic in this part.

It is said that the first impression is the last impression so the reader will get an imprint of your work by looking at the introduction.

Your introduction should provide a background of your research. You can also mention the importance of your research in this part.

Aims and objectives

In this section you have to highlight the aims and objectives that you want to achieve.

Discuss the main issue about your topic that you want to explore.

You can also make predictions about the outcomes of your research. 

Review of literature 

You can present your argument over the topic and link that to the previously done research.

Either you can present lack in their research that you want to do or you will present an extension about the existing research.

You can also mention the sources that helped you or guided you. But make sure to include only those sources that you think will add value to your work.

Outline of methodology

This is the section where you will outline the methods through which you will conduct your research.

You will write how and what you will do. One more thing that you will need to explain is why you have chosen the mentioned method. 


Knowing the limitations that have to consider exploring and presenting the outcomes is a part of research.

These limitations can be of different types, they can be related to word count, explanation of further issues etc.

Taking account of all the limitations and doing your work under them will give a positive impact on the reader. 

Ethical reviews

The term “ethics” in academics refers to moral principles and concerns in any kind of research.

Without ethical reviews your dissertation proposal will be open for criticism. Your research may be on the point but it will be undetermined without ethical reviews.

You might think that all this is a complicated process. But once you start it and repeatedly do it for all the studies you will become used to it and will find it an easy task.


Dissertation proposals have an estimated timeframe. It has to be completed in a certain time in most cases.

Make sure you invest suitable time in your initial research before moving straight into writing.


Last but definitely not the least part is to write the references. Create a list at the end and put references about all the citations in a proper format.

Appropriate way of quoting references?

No matter what format you choose there are some general information that you will need to know

  • Title of the book or journal from where you take the data
  • Name of author or authors if there are more than one
  • Name of the editor(s)
  • Title of the chapter
  • Page(s)
  • If you take data from online source then you will add URL
  • Name of publisher


  • Check your course and institution’s requirements prior to writing the dissertation proposal.
  • Don’t write vivid statements neither write too strong statements
  • It may prompt you to tweak your main idea, you may possibly have to rewrite it so be prepared ahead of time
  • Make sure your topic is according to your interest because you have to study in depth for a long period of time. So be sure that it is exciting and interesting for you.
  • Getting fed up with you topic halfway will demotivate you so choose the topic wisely
  • Think critically in order to achieve higher marks
  • Think globally but act locally 
  • Make sure you study the latest findings and not the outdated publications
  • Show your abilities to attribute value to the sources to represent critical engagement with the literature
  • Keep your work confidential until it is completed


Following the steps and keeping in mind all the tips and advice you can write your dissertation proposal efficiently. Make a checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything. You can also get help from different websites like Caseprofessors to get perfect results.

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