Posts Tagged ‘how to write a thesis dissertation proposal guide academic university funding funds Proposals That Work : A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals by Locke’


How to write a proposal?

First, let’s understand the function of the proposal. It is used to communicate the investigator’s research plan, to plan for action, and it is also considered a contract between the student and the university.

Tip: It is flexibility, not rigidity that makes strong proposal documents.


Specific Tasks

  • Introducing the study: Proposals are best introduced by a short, meticulously devised statement that establishes the overall area of concern, arouses interest, and communicates information essential to the reader’s comprehension of what follows. The best answer to the question “What is this study about?” is to present the key constructs and explain how they will be represented in the investigation.

  • Stating the purpose: to set forth an explicit statement of your purpose in undertaking the study. Why you want to do the study and what you intend to accomplish. The desire to improve something (an existing work), reflecting a desire to understand something. Make your statement of purpose early, be forthright, keep it simple and be brief.

  • Providing a rationale: The development of a rationale that justifies the proposed study usually involves both logical argument and documentation with factual evidence. A sound rationale is the one that convinces the reader that you are raising the right question, and that the answer is worth finding.

  • Formulating questions and hypotheses: A good and careful formulation of questions. The proposal must ensure that the reader grasps how the relationships expressed in theory have been translated into the form of testable hypotheses. Questions are the tool most commonly employed to provide focus for thesis and dissertation studies.

  • Delimitations and limitations: Delimitations describe the populations to which generalizations may be safely made. Delimit literally means to define the limits inherent in the use of a particular construct or population. Limitations refer to limiting conditions on restrictive weaknesses. They occur, for example, when all factors cannot be controlled as a part of study design.

  • Providing definitions: defining the key terms.

  • Discussing the background of the problem: Reviewing the research literature. Particular attention must be given to a critical analysis of previous methodology and the exposition of the advantages and limitations inherent in various alternatives. Note explicitly the ways in which the previous studies contribute to the proposed research, and give some indication of how the proposal is designed to move beyond earlier work.

  • Explaining procedures: The presentation of methodology requires great attention to detail.

  • Providing supplementary material: should be included in the appendices.


Reviewing the Literature: Finding it First

Searching through the accumulated archive of literature to find out what has been said (when, by whom, and on the basis of what evidence.)

Reviewing the Literature: Writing the Right Stuff

The writer’s task is to employ the research literature artfully to support and explain the choices made for this study. The gaps and limitations in previous works should be taken into consideration.

Tip: Every sentence must be examined and reexamined in terms of its clarity, grammar, and relationship with surrounding sentences.


From: Proposals That Work : A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals by Locke, Lawrence F.; Spirduso, Waneen Wyrick (Editor); Silverman, Stephen J. 2007.

Reviewed by: Youness Abeddour.


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