One of the most important parts of any Masters degree is completing your dissertation project. It can be incredibly overwhelming and you would not be the first student to crumble under the pressure. However, it really doesn’t have to be that way! What you need to do is to break the project down into smaller, more manageable pieces and work on them one by one until you are complete! The first task that you will need to complete is writing your dissertation proposal. Let’s take a look at a few of the tips and tricks that can help you along the way.
Just like with any other type of assignment, the hardest part about how to write a masters dissertation proposal is just getting started. Once you actually sit down and get to work things will seem a whole lot clearer. The first thing to do is come up with a short list of topics that you could cover. These should be topics that are of interest to you, but they also need to be relevant to your area of study and they should be an area that would benefit from some research. Depending on your individual course and/or tutor, a list of suggested topics may be provided. Once you have a short list, consult with your tutor to select the most appropriate topic. Once that is nailed down you can move on to writing your dissertation proposal.
What Should You Include?
If you are going to write a comprehensive masters dissertation proposal, then you are going to have to know what you should include! You may find this outlined in your dissertation handbook which should also offer advice about formatting and other aspects of your proposal, but here is a general list of what is usually required from a dissertation proposal.
- Abstract/Project Summary – The Abstract is basically a project summary and it is exactly what it sounds like – a brief summary of the information contained in your dissertation proposal.
- Table of Contents – You will need to include a table of contents listing all of the main sections of your proposal.
- Description of Project – This is a more in depth description of what you are looking to achieve with your dissertation itself. It should include an introduction and cover your key aims and objectives. This is the core of your proposal.
- Literature Review – In order to show that the topic you have chosen is a viable one you will need to show in detail the available research that you can access on your topic. This will be a detailed list, but need not be complete as you are sure to expand on it during the course of writing the actual dissertation.
- Research Methodology – In your proposal, you should explain the tools and the methods that you will use in your research for the dissertation project. At this stage you must make note of and possible limitations that these methods have and you will need to explain why you have chosen these methods in particular.
- Timeline – Your proposal should also contain a specific timeline that outlines your schedule for completing your masters dissertation from start to finish. Many students present this in the form of a Gantt chart.
- Conclusion – You should round off your proposal with a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the proposal.
Research, Write & Revise
Once you have this list of what you must include, or one that you have adapted to suit your own requirements, you will find it much easier to get down to actually writing your proposal. You need not work through each section one by one. Instead, it may be easier to simply start adding notes in the relevant sections as you come across important points in your research. You can then work on fleshing out each of the sections as required. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that a proposal is something you simply write out and hand in all in one go! You will need to make several drafts as you continue to revise and rearrange your thoughts on the topic. Share these drafts with your advisor so that they can offer guidance and direction.
In conclusion, the key to learning how to write a masters dissertation proposal lies in making sure you understand exactly what needs to be included. This list should serve as a template to get you started, but do examine your handbook and talk with your advisor to make sure that you have all of the important sections covered. Don’t forget, if you are struggling with your proposal, we can offer assistance so do not hesitate to get in touch.