You’ve taken your core classes; you’ve gone through comps; now, you’re in the proposal stage of the Ph.D. program. As with every other kind of academic writing, the amount of organization put into your dissertation proposal will decide its success or failure.

Know the scope of your research.

The dissertation proposal is the perfect opportunity to create a roadmap for the research and writing every doctoral student experiences in his last year of grad school. The dissertation proposal starts with the narrowing of the research focus. Knowing the scope of your field of research will help you set a clear research agenda.

Dissertation Proposal

Pick a dissertation committee.

After figuring out the research focus for the dissertation, it’s time to pick a committee. This group of professors in your chosen field of study will help guide you through the writing process, so it is critical that they have ties to your topic.

Choose an appropriate style to follow.

Like the dissertation itself, the dissertation proposal is a scholarly document. Make sure to write it in the style (APAMLAChicago, etc.) that is appropriate for your chosen field of study.

Organize your proposal.

The proposal should contain four elements: a title, a problem statement or research question, a literature review of the published studies on your topic and a research plan to be carried out during the writing phase of the dissertation.

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