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Writing a dissertation

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The dissertation proposal

Many courses use the term 'dissertation proposal', others use the terms 'protocol' or 'research brief'. This document is submitted at the start of your dissertation project. It is a statement of what you have planned to research, and how you will do this. The proposal should persuade your dissertation tutor or supervisor that your research project is feasible and relevant to your programme of study. Proposals for postgraduate research degrees might also be used as part of an application for research funding.

In most cases, the proposal will form the basis of the final dissertation document.

Whatever it is called, the dissertation proposal should include:

Title Title of the proposal/proposed dissertation.
Aims Statement of the research question(s), or hypothesis(es) to be tested.
Rationale Your reasons for doing, and justification for, the project.
Preliminary literature review Review and discussion of some of the relevant literature. See our topic 'Literature reviews'
Methodology Explanation of how you intend to carry out your research.
Schedule List of key events in the project such as completion of the literature survey or dates for data gathering.

For more information on writing a research proposal, see our topic 'Dissertation proposals'.