Close up of gold letters on a black thesis book

Before writing a post about how to write an effective dissertation proposal, we must first understand that what a dissertation proposal actually is. A dissertation proposal is basically the main outline of your research, the intention of your topic selection, the agenda which you are going to follow while writing a dissertation and a plan which your supervisor can use to check the feasibility of your upcoming research for dissertation writing. It can also be used by those who are going to fund your research if you are needing an investment.

What might a good proposal may contain? An effective dissertation proposal must carry sufficient knowledge about the field you have selected and the logic about how your research is going to be fit with the existing research results, references and relevancies. It is not important to keep your dissertation proposal to a specific length, it may be anything between 2-5 pages depending on your research, the information you have collected and the level of your study. If you are confused about specific topic demands, you can check your university’s existing studies to get an estimate.

The Contents of Dissertation Proposal

It is a general practice that universities offer student proposal forms with clear questions to check whether they've everything they need for their dissertation, and some of the things they may include are:


An abstract is needed when you are going to cover a vast topic which demands lots of information. It is basically the outline of dissertation and the proposal as well. You can call it the summary of your dissertation proposal. A title page can also be included in detailed dissertation proposals but generally it is enough to give title at the first line of page one. (The header).


This actually explains the title you have chosen for your study and the importance of your research topic. Introductory lines must be interesting enough to draw the attention of readers also it should explain a bit about the background of your study to enhance the feasibility and value of your dissertation.

Literature Review

You have to give a summary of the most relevant theories which are being used in your research. You are not supposed to include lots of knowledge but you must mention recent advances in this field of study.

Proposal Agenda

The proposal agenda includes the methods you are going to use for your research. Basically there are two types of methods which are used to collect information about your topic: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative assessments include live interviews, hermeneutic approaches, and ethnography while quantitative means to collect data through questionnaires and static surveys.


A brief outline of all the activities you are going to conduct for your research. You can add brief summaries of all of your chapters and the milestones you are going to use to measure your progress.

Resources Requirement

A list of resources which you are going to need for your research. You should mention the materials, the budget, funding sources and the estimated and used finance. In other resources, you can add your skills and additional training which you will be using during this process.

Ethical Statement

A lot of studies require a human subject and when you are using humans for research, you must keep to specified ethical values. You will have to say how your study will be beneficial for the subject and what hurdles you might face during research.

Expected Results

What are you actually anticipating your study will reveal and what are the potential advances to learning?


A bibliography is very important and you have to add reference citations according to the format of your subject.

Tips for Writing an Effective Dissertation Proposal

  • Make sure to write in a way that help people appreciate your creativity and uniqueness. Your research proposal will be seen by many admission officers and those who are funding it. Make it effective and impressive.
  • You have selected a field of study and chosen a specific problem to demonstrate. It should be your prime goal to create a relationship among the two and elaborate that your study is practically effective to the relevant field and general public.
  • One common mistake when attempting to write a dissertation proposal is to show over ambitiousness. Stay within your resources and limits, state only those milestones which you know you are going to achieve. Keep in mind the timeframe and set your goals accordingly.
  • Proofread carefully when you are done with your dissertation proposal. Keep in your mind that mistakes and errors are not accepted at this level of study. Your content must be grammatically correct and impressively written.
  • Format should be strictly followed and you can get samples from your university to help you out. 
  • Make sure your content shows off your academic achievements, it is not time to be humble. Show your best skills and do not hesitate to attempt your most polished capabilities.

If you will follow these tips, you will definitely create something exceptional. A dissertation proposal is the first step towards final dissertation. Use it to showcase your capabilities in the field you have selected.