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Creating A Strong PhD Dissertation Proposal: Tips And Examples


Every graduate student is completely aware that in order for them to finish their course work they will be expected as part of the curriculum to write an academic dissertation. However, due to a variety of different reasons, many students find that this is one of the most insurmountable and challenging tasks they have ever undertaken. Part of the reason for this may be that it is the first time that they have been asked to write such a paper. If it was meant to be easy, then every student would have a PhD of their own. By keeping in mind the following tips and secrets, you should be able to get through your proposal easily with no problems at all:

  1. Choose a topic that you are interested and excited about
  2. One major reason why students find it difficult to write their dissertation paper is they choose topics they really have no interest in. When you are passionate about something, it is practically impossible for you to lack the words to express that.

  3. Simplify your argument
  4. Students can often be tempted to use stylish and elegant language when writing their proposal. By focusing on making the language look pretty, there is the possibility that students may digress from the main objective. While your proposal should be fun to read and interesting, ensure that the methodology and objective of the dissertation is easily understood.

  5. Stay organized
  6. Everything that you write should be well thought out and structured. It needs to refer directly to the proposed argument, your methodology and the initial outline you are planning to use. It should also be clean, orderly, and easy to understand.

  7. Do not be too long winded
  8. Many students fall into the trap of utilizing the proposal to prove the objectives of the paper they are writing. In doing so they end up detailing way too much. It is simply a provisional plan of the paper, so it should be concise and not too wordy.

  9. Consult with your professor
  10. Get into the habit of talking to the professor as things progress. This gives the professor the opportunity to share some invaluable advice.

  11. A short example
  12. Without including the actual words in each section, the following elements should be included in your PhD dissertation proposal:

    • Title page
    • Table of Contents
    • Introduction
    • Statement of Dissertation
    • Approach
    • Preliminary Results
    • Work Plan
    • Research and Applications
    • References
    • Abstract