Writing a research proposal

What is a dissertation/ research proposal?

The initial task towards writing a dissertation is writing a proposal. The dissertation proposal provides a blueprint that introduces the overview of the scope and nature of the research by providing the fundamental research questions, the research methodology and the importance of the research. It offers a comprehensive description of the research objectives and the proposed research methods (empirical or non-empirical).

Equally important is that a research proposal explicitly outlines the research question together with its theoretical background. The dissertation proposal also includes the potential outcomes of the research.

The ultimate purpose of a research proposal is to persuade your audience/committee (professors and tutors) beyond doubt that the proposed area of study is viable to pursue and advance that particular discipline as a whole. Eventually, the dissertation ought to provide a compelling argument that links the research question with the bigger picture.

Components of a proposal

The imperative components of a research proposal are as provided below:

  • Title: a proposal requires a short working title that is straight to the point introducing your proposal.
  • Introduction: establishes the broad foundations and background details of the study to engage the reader.
  • Problem statement: a proposal needs to identify and clarify the specific problem that the research will address.
  • Purpose/objectives: pinpoints the area, scope and goals of research to be undertaken.
  • Literature review: offers theoretical perspectives on the topic and question under investigation by evaluating the views of other scholars.
  • The methodology provides the methodological approach for the research by detailing the methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Timeline: proposals also contain the expected dates for the completion of various deliverables of the dissertation
  • Bibliography: the sources cited in the proposal should be provided in the bibliography as evidence of key text informing the research

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