What you need to know about the dissertation writing process

You are about to write a dissertation proposal and you have probably been looking for the good tips for a while. Luckily, you have found the place, as here are the best tips from all over the web, approved by people who have nailed their proposals and are very happy that this pain in you know where is over. Basically, a proposal is like thinking out loud. You say how you have chosen the topic and why it is significant enough to research. You mention how you looked for the sources, which one you have picked and why, and which ones you used to create a methodology – the guide to researching the topic. The dissertation proposal is like an extremely detailed plan that show the committee that you have done your homework before undertaking the project, and this project is worth spending time, money, and effort on. Keep that in mind, while reading the tips that come next.

1. List your ideas

Do not expect to come up with the topic once you start brainstorming. This does not work this way and it never will. Your goal now it to see what interests you in the subject the most. You need to start narrowing what you want to research before you actually get to that stage. For example, you are a philosophy student, and you need to decide what you would like to focus on, and this would be Ancient Greece. You can then focus on the particular movement or a certain philisopher. While it is hard to say the topic is narrowed down, you at least can start looking for the literature on the more specific area.

2. Meet with the professor

Take your list, notes, and other materials you have gathered so far, and show them to your supervisor. Ask him for an advice on the topic choice or where to look for some decent suggestions. He may point out the good ideas you have on the list, and the ones you should drop and not consider for specific reasons.

3. Research

As your professor has probably suggested you a few books you need to read, and you sure have already looked up some interesting literature, it is important to start reading and making notes. See if you really are interested in what you have chosen and if you can really cover the whole scope. If you do, research as much as the time allows you to and go straight to the next step when you feel it is time.

4. Check with the professor again

Before submitting the proposal, even if you have polished it a few times, do not forget to show it to your professor. Your dissertation proposal is not perfect, and it cannot actually be, but a professor can show you where you should refine certain statements, include or exclude specific info, etc. This will help you hand out the best piece you possibly can when the time comes, and be sure that you did everything you could to make your work excellent.

5. Start it

While it sounds easy, starting dissertation proposal will take a while. However, as you know, the first piece you write will be just a draft and you will probably have to rewrite most of it. Break the working process into the smaller chunks and start with one of these sections.


Let it be short and inviting. Do not make it a paragraph long, trying to fit all explanations that seem to important to exclude.


Make a few clear and brief objectives. Make sure they are reachable and do not put down too many of them.

Literature review

Here is the place where you provide the reader with most of the background information and the things that experts have to say on the topic. This is also your chance to explain how you found the topic, how you researched it, why you included or excluded certain sources from the list, etc.


The methodology is a plan that tells how you are going to achieve the goals. It has to be based on the literature review, and be logical enough for the committee to approve your proposal.


As you do not have a crystal ball, and certainly cannot say for sure what the outcomes are going to be, you can still state what you predict the study will leave you with.


The list of sources if one of the things you will have to work a lot on. Make sure every book, article, journal, and any other source you include to the list is credible enough to be there.