Important components of a dissertation proposal

By Abhinash on January 9, 2023

A dissertation is a formal document that presents the author’s research and findings on a specific topic. The purpose of a dissertation is to contribute new knowledge to a particular field of study and demonstrate the scholar’s ability to conduct independent research. The dissertation should provide an in-depth analysis of the research topic and a critical evaluation of the research methods and findings. To make your proposal convincing and make an impression you should include these important components in your proposal.

In addition, this article will also discuss some common mistakes that many scholars make that lead to dissertation rejection.

Important components of a dissertation proposal
Important components of a dissertation proposal

Start your dissertation proposal by choosing a compelling topic

Research should address a question or issue that is interesting and important in the field of study. Make sure your topic is feasible in terms of the time, resources, and support you have available.

TIP

Choose a topic that you are passionate about, as this will come through in your writing.

Think about how your research might contribute to your field and have real-world implications. Before committing to a topic, do some preliminary research to ensure that there is enough information available on the topic and that it is something you can realistically cover in your dissertation. A thorough literature review can help to establish the context and significance of the research.

The literature review should demonstrate your familiarity with the problem and the field of study. Cite the sources correctly to support your argument with evidence or data collected from other studies. When you finally decide to commit to a topic, make sure, it shows that your research is not just an academic exercise, but has the potential to make a real difference in the world.

Clearly convey the significance of your study in the proposal

Presenting the potential impact and significance of the research is an important proposal component for several reasons. Considering the potential impact and significance of the study helps to focus on areas that are most likely to make a significant contribution. Furthermore, it also helps to attract funding and support for your work. Institutions are often interested in research that has the potential to make a meaningful impact on society at large. Start by thinking about the broader context of the research and how it fits within the field of study.

Highlighting the potential impact in the dissertation proposal can make your study more engaging and interesting to the readers by addressing:

  1. Why is this topic important?
  2. How does it contribute to our understanding of the subject?
  3. What are the practical applications of this research?
EXAMPLE

The issue of overspending by various start-ups has gained increasing attention in recent years, due to the huge losses that investors bear. Despite this, there is still a lack of understanding about how to turn a start-up profitable. Our study aims to address this gap in the literature by identifying major areas of expenditures and their impact on revenue generation. The findings of the study will have significant implications for new investors and aspiring new businesses. The study will give new insights and a deeper understanding of a start-up environment and have practical applications in identifying the potential of a start-up.

It is generally recommended to consider the significance of the study before framing the research questions or hypothesis. This ensures that the research is focused and relevant. Furthermore, it will also give you a clear idea of how to frame a hypothesis that is relevant and focused.

Research questions and hypotheses are important components of a proposal

Research questions and hypotheses are important components of a dissertation proposal because they help to guide and focus the research. A research question is a specific, focused question that your study aims to answer. It should be phrased in a way that can be answered through research. It should be based on your research question and should outline what you expect to investigate. Research questions and hypotheses help to provide a framework for the research. Make sure to clearly state your research question and hypothesis in your proposal, along with an explanation of how they fit within the context of your study.

EXAMPLE

What factors contribute to overspending by start-ups and how can these be addressed? How do start-ups’ spending habits compare to those of established companies, and what can be learned from this comparison?

Without a set of clear research questions, it will be difficult for the reviewer to understand the goals and objectives of the study and to evaluate the potential significance and impact of the research. As a result, the proposal can be seen as lacking direction or focus by the reviewer. Research questions are broad, while the hypothesis is a specific, testable prediction about the relationship between two or more variables.

EXAMPLE

A possible hypothesis for the research question “What factors contribute to overspending by start-ups and how can these be addressed?” can be “Start-ups are more likely to overspend due to a lack of financial planning and management, and implementing strategies such as budgeting and financial planning can help to control spending and improve financial management.”

In the above example, the research question is the overarching question that the study aims to answer, while the hypothesis is a specific prediction about what the study will find and how it will contribute to the understanding of the issue. The hypothesis is based on the research question and should be testable through the research.

Research methods are the key components of a research

Research methods describe the specific techniques and procedures that will be used to collect and analyse data in order to answer the research question. The research methods in the research proposal reassure the reviewer that you have a clear plan for collecting and analysing data. Furthermore, it provides a clear idea that the study is feasible and well-organized. It also establishes the validity and reliability of the study and that the results will be accurate and can be reproduced.

EXAMPLE

A survey could be conducted to gather data from start-ups and established businesses about their financial management practices and spending habits. Interviews with start-up founders and financial managers could be conducted to gather in-depth information.

A lack of research methods in the proposal will raise concerns about the credibility and integrity of the research. This will make it difficult for the reviewer to evaluate the significance and impact of the research.

Conclude your proposal by summarizing the important points

Briefly review the key points of your proposal, including your research question or hypothesis, research methods, and expected results. Consider how your research will contribute to your field of study and have real-world implications. Make recommendations for future research based on your assumed findings. Make sure your conclusion is free of errors and clearly written. This will help to convey your ideas effectively and give a good impression of your work.

Furthermore, your proposal should be focused and relevant to your research question or hypothesis. Avoid including unnecessary or speculative or unfounded conclusions that could distract the reader from the main points.

I am currently working as a Research Associate. My work is centered on Macroeconomics with modern econometric approach. Broadly, the methodological research focuses on Panel data and Times series data analysis for causal inference and prediction. I also served as a reviewer to Journals of Taylor & Francis Group, Emerald, Sage.

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