Getting your master's proposal right will make the rest of your masters dissertation go more smoothly and hopefully more successfully. No pressure, right?! Wrong!
Whilst you may have written an undergraduate dissertation, it might not have required a proposal. Possibly because it was not as in-depth as a master's dissertation in terms of writing and research.
This guide will walk you through writing a master's dissertation proposal to help you get started.
Getting started on a master's dissertation proposal requires a number of steps:
- Develop a list of topics that you are interested in that will benefit from the addition of more research. Often, with a master's dissertation, topics will also be provided.
- Consult with your adviser or tutor (or maybe even your professor) on the research topics you have compiled and identify the one that is the most appealing and relevant to serve as the foundation for your master's dissertation proposal.
What to Include
To begin your master's dissertation proposal, you need to know what to include. You will most likely be given a handbook with instructions about what to include and the format to use, but here is a brief description of what you will need to include in your proposal:
- Project Summary or Abstract: This summarises what is contained in your proposal.
- Table of Contents: This lists the main sections of your proposal and starting page of each.
- Project Description: This includes an introduction, objectives, and aims.
- Literature Review: This should be a somewhat detailed examination of the available research on your topic, which will be expanded on later in your master's dissertation.
- Research Methodology: This should explain the type of research tools and methods you plan to use. You will also want to address any perceived limitations as well as why you selected this method over others.
- Timeline: It is important to include a very specific timeline or schedule for how you plan to complete your master's dissertation. This is often represented as a Gantt chart.
- Conclusions: This will summarise the main points of your proposal.
The Research and Writing Process
The above list is a great place to begin an outline. You can start to fill in each section, which will keep you organised and on task. Use notes that you have taken from the research to further flush out each section of the master's dissertation proposal.
Don’t worry about getting it right the first time as you will need to revise, reread, and maybe reorganise your thoughts a number of times.
Be sure to share your drafts with your adviser or tutor so that they can help you if you are having problems with the project.
For additional help with writing your master's proposal, see our Dissertation Proposal Service.
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