7th June 2017
A dissertation proposal is considered as the first step towards writing your final dissertation on a taught or research master's course, or a PhD-level course and will guide you through the writing process. It helps you make a clear plan for your final project and sets the stage. When writing the proposal makes sure that you outline a strong methodology. It will help you to be consistent during the data collection and analysis phase. Also, do not forget to include ethical considerations, justifications, and perceived limitations as it will immune your work from criticism. Moreover, check your course requirements as the word count and format may vary between universities.
A good proposal helps you to communicate the aims and objectives of your research and the methods you wish to employ to accomplish this to your supervisor. Your supervisor might then critically evaluate your proposal highlighting the problem areas and may suggest alterations. Don’t be disheartened if your supervisor suggests alterations as it is his or her job to criticise you constructively and help you produce top quality work.
Start by reading around your subject area and choose a topic that you are interested in and comfortable with. It is imperative that you find a topic that is of interest to you as only then you will be able to remain motivated throughout the process. Also, make sure that you note down all the publications that you are referencing, be it a book or a journal or an online article as you would need these while doing your bibliography.
Now let us look at the structure of a research proposal
Choose a title that is short and accurate.
You introduce your topic here along with a synopsis of your research background.
Aims and Objectives
Here you talk about what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it by highlighting the main issues that you are exploring.
In this section, you discuss the variables in your research using existing literature. In addition, you can include any flaws that you have identified within the existing work.
In the methodology section, you outline the methods that you will use for data collection and analysis. Also, you will have to justify the methods you have adopted.
Here you explain the limitations that are imposed on your capability to study and present your findings. Including this section is important as it shows how familiar you are with the wider concepts of your subject area.
In this section, you list any ethical concerns related your research. For example try answering questions like, have you taken permission from all the participants in your research?
Include a Gantt chart or some kind of concept map outlining the plan of your research. Make sure you make a realistic one.
It is necessary to include a conclusion citing the reasons for selecting the particular topic, the kind of research you are planning to do and any potential outcomes.
Provide a list of references that you have made while writing your proposal in this section.
Concentrate on what you will achieve by this research, its significance and its contribution to your field of study.
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