Writing a Dissertation Proposal

When you are working on a dissertation, writing a dissertation proposal is one of the first things to do. Remember that you will need to justify the value and importance of your project. As you transition to writing the dissertation, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  1. You will conduct a thorough scientific research of the subject.
  2. You will produce and report the scientific results of your project.
  3. Your dissertation will be coherent and properly organized.
  4. Your dissertation is written by you, personally, as a contribution to science and your selected discipline.
  5. Your dissertation provides an insight into the subject and proposes solutions for the problem discussed in your project.
  6. It also includes verifiable references to support your position and viewpoint.
  7. You are ready to defend the methods and results of your dissertation in front of the target audience.

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Your dissertation does not follow the logic of propaganda. It is not about lecturing. Your dissertation should not resemble a newspaper article or a journal report. A dissertation is a product of scientific research. Quite often, it is also a product of experimentation. Therefore, be ready to do science here.

Your dissertation is a product of scientific research. However, it is also a project that should be written according to the academic requirements of your selected institution. Any university or college has specific requirements and places distinct dissertation expectations on learners. Be ready to follow them. Write your project as a dissertation and not as any other assignment type.

You are the author of your dissertation. You are the contributor to science and discipline. You are fully qualified to produce a memorable and authentic dissertation. Share the results of your scientific inquiry with others.

You have to follow a simple but sophisticated logic. You will begin with selecting a topic or subject for your research. Then you will perform a deep scientific analysis of the topic, using the proposed conceptual or theoretical model. You may need to do some original experiments or test your ideas in practice. The ultimate goal of dissertation writing is to propose defendable solutions to a problem outlined in your project. Remember that each solution you propose must have a solid scientific rationale. Remember that you should not disregard the knowledge and scientific results shared by your predecessors. As you are working on your dissertation thesis, it is not simply about producing some new results. It is also about critically evaluating and considering what was done before you. You should be ready to review the body of literature related to your topic and problem. You will have to ground your dissertation proposal and dissertation results on previous findings.

For instance, you are a DNP student working on a dissertation proposal to explore the relevance of care bundles in preventing hospital-acquired infections. When reviewing the results of your original experiment, you cannot ignore the results of similar studies that were completed before you. As an advanced academic learner, you will need to compare the results of your work with those reported by other researchers. You will have to analyze why your results differ from or coincide with those of other specialists. You will need to convince the target audience that you have done your job professionally and that your results are valid.

Dissertation Proposal Writing

Choosing a Topic

The first thing to do when working on a dissertation is choosing a topic that is (a) interesting to you and (b) relevant to the field of your study or discipline. The topic must be specific enough to draw the interest of the target audience. Do not choose a topic that is too general. The student must demonstrate competence and mastery from the very first step, and choosing a topic is not an exception.

Any dissertation written on a topic that is too broad is doomed to a failure. Experienced scientists know that it is never possible to explore a broad subject. Such research will be biased and banal. It will hardly be suited to close the existing gaps in scientific knowledge. It will hardly be innovative and it will not be breathtaking.

Graduates who fail to select a narrow and relevant topic may feel as if the dissertation commission is offending them. This is not surprising, as even the most experienced members of the dissertation commission may not be able to understand what the learner tried to prove in his or her project. A topic that is too broad (e.g. nursing burnout) does not carry any scientific value. It only confuses the target audience. Therefore, if you want your assignment to be successful, choose a topic that is specific and unique.

Your topic should be narrow enough to keep the audience interested. However, it should be structured in ways that give you a lot of room for elaboration and thought. You should have access to previous findings, and there should be many to inform the research and scientific process. Here, try to determine the focus of your topic. Do you want to explore the history of the problem? Do you want to understand how the study of the selected problem unfolded? Or do you want to focus on theory? Do you want to test the feasibility of the already existing theories or conduct research to propose a new one? You cannot proceed with writing your dissertation until you answer these questions.

In addition, are you going to focus on the latest studies or you will take information from historical documents? In some disciplines, you will not have to answer this question. For example, if you are a nursing student, you will have to use literature sources that were published in the last 5-7 years, possibly with a few exceptions. Should you require older sources, you will also need more time to explore and understand them. It always takes more time to explore an older work.

Do not make too many generalizations. As a talented dissertation writer, you may do everything on your own. However, you may also find a professional to help you with the dissertation and particularly the dissertation conclusion, which demands skills, patience, and competence. Your scientific work will cover at least 6 months of your life, so do not make any hasty decisions. Also, be ready to work a lot and do a lot of research. You cannot just stop in the middle and start everything from scratch.

This being said, your tasks include:

  • Choosing a topic that is narrow enough to generate interest.
  • Choosing a topic that is based mostly on contemporary, latest sources.
  • Choosing a topic that can be easily explored using materials that are available at your location.


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Writing a Dissertation: The Beginning

Speaking of your dissertation thesis, you will begin with collecting and reviewing the literature. Do not forget that you should focus on the most relevant, high-quality sources. Your task is to retrieve as many full-text sources as you can. Do not review abstracts. Include full information from each source to substantiate your claims and support your topic. Spend some time to select the most appropriate materials. Be critical. Stay committed to quality. You should be clear about the subject and purpose of your study. You cannot produce a meaningful conclusion based on sources that do not match your topic. Once you are clear about it, determine the number of sources you need and the scope of information you require for effective dissertation writing. Then you will have to decide upon the methods to use for a review of literature. Be ready to defend the method of literature review in front of your audience. For example, if you choose to rely on books, choose academic sources. Do not use rewritten books or book reviews. Do not use collections of sources. It is not a good idea to use an anthology as the basis for your dissertation project. Any book of your choice should be written by one competent writer. You should be able to verify the writer’s credentials.

Retellings also presents an issue. Even if you believe that a retelling suits your topic and creates a context for your study, be cautious when using it in your dissertation. In fact, secondary sources should be avoided by all means. It is equally relevant for books and articles. Also, you cannot use a citation of one author quoted by another author as the original source of ideas.

Before you even try to do it, you will need to check if the selected quotation comes from the selected source. You must be sure that the person credited for the quotation is its author. If you notice any mistakes or have questions about the source of the quotation, never use it in your dissertation. Remember that you are responsible for every single word and sentence written in your research project.