Composing An Effective Dissertation Proposal Outline In 4 Steps

A dissertation proposal outline can be constructed in quite a few different ways. Often each university will have an all encompassing manual with the guidelines for the whole project. However, the proposal guidelines can be pretty general and are often left up to the specific committee in charge or even to the discretion of the writer. This makes it a little bit difficult to know for sure you’re on the right track so here are four basic steps to follow when creating a proposal outline.

  1. Guidelines and Length
  2. Although most schools have general guidelines such as the length of the proposal being the first 2-3 pages, make sure to check them thoroughly to get any information you can. Also, inquire to get more information from the committee if you see conflicting guideline information- this can happen a lot, and, unfortunately, it burns people who do not pay attention or simply ask for a straight answer.

  3. Organize By Chapter
  4. Most dissertation proposal outlines should be organized by chapter. The first chapter will include the background and summary of the problem. You will also want to show the importance of the issue and why people should care about it. The second chapter is usually the literature review that shows other informative sources on this subject and shows that you did your research. The third chapter will describe your research method. The fourth chapter will go over your research findings. And finally, the fifth chapter should be your conclusion, summary, and suggestions for future researchers.

  5. What to Include
  6. Writing a quality dissertation proposal can be hard when there’s a lot of information you want to include. You won’t include all of the information from each chapter because you have to make it easy to read and easy for people to understand and take in quickly. The most important things to include are:

    • The topic of your project
    • The questions you’re trying to answer
    • The very basic background information
    • The outcome of your study or potential outcomes you predict
  7. What Not to Include
  8. By making your proposal outline very basic and then going over it multiple times, you will be able to more easily put in the right amount of information. If your outline includes too much, your proposal will include too much. Stick to the bare minimum and just the meatiest most interesting parts.

Don’t be afraid to spend a lot of time creating multiple drafts of your dissertation proposal outline. This is the basis for a very important part of your project and the time you put in will definitely affect what you get out of it.

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