I’ve seen it often happen: a PhD student will work on their dissertation, and everything’s going great. Then they hit a snag—and they can’t see the way forward. It turns out that they were missing an essential piece of information or some crucial skill set.
It’s usually not because the student isn’t smart or talented enough; instead, it’s because they didn’t know how to ask for help. Or what questions to ask next. That’s why I’m writing this post: so that you can understand what every PhD student needs to know about writing a proposal to get back on track with your project!
Don’t write a proposal as a report.
Don’t think of a proposal as a report. A proposal is not the same as your dissertation or thesis; it’s simply the summary of the research you will do when doing your PhD, so it shouldn’t include all the details of how that research will be conducted.
Your thesis is not your dissertation.
Your thesis is a summary of your research. That’s it. It’s not the actual dissertation, which is a much longer document that contains all the data and analysis you’ve done. If you’re confused about what should go in your thesis and what should go in your dissertation, here are some guidelines:
If you start with p-values < 0.05 (or other similar cutoffs), or if there are considerable differences between groups or conditions that seem significant when they aren’t statistically significant (i.e., p = 0.08), then you need to stop right there and think things before multiple differences between groups or conditions seem on your results—because those results may be due to chance alone!
Having said that, there are plenty of PhD proposal writing services on the internet that can assist you if you are a PhD student who is having difficulty writing a research proposal.
Your proposal should be in standard scientific format.
To prepare a proposal, you must write it in standard scientific format. This means that it is written in the style used by the journal you submit it to. If you are unsure what this is or how your advisor wants you to format your paper, just ask him or her! They can help steer you along by providing guidance on which style manual they prefer and any other information that might be relevant.
If there’s any confusion about what kind of formatting needs to be used, don’t hesitate to do some research online! Many resources are available for those who want more information about scientific writing (and even non-scientific writing).
Write a very brief version of your dissertation project.
Write a very brief version of your dissertation project. This is twofold: first, to get a sense of what you have to say and what you don’t have time for; second, to give yourself some structure for writing the proposal so that it makes sense.
Start with your research question and hypothesis. Then write down all the methods and procedures you’ll use to collect data and any required equipment or software. Then predict how your findings will be structured (i.e., whether study participants’ characteristics will organise) or whether they will simply be listed in a summary format without analysis or comparison with previous studies.
This decision could affect how much space is needed for them later on. Finally, briefly review the relevant literature on similar topics so far (no need to cite sources because this is just an overview).
You may have to create one from scratch or modify an existing one to suit your research needs.
Proposals are used to get funding. You may have to create one from scratch or modify an existing one to suit your research needs. In some cases, you will be given a pre-designed template for the type of proposal you are writing and the institution you are applying for funds at.
For example, if you were applying for a grant from an NIH (National Institutes of Health) institute, their proposal format would be different from those required by universities or other institutions. In general, though, there are standard formats that are commonly accepted across the board when it comes to submitting proposals.
Use an active voice and avoid too much bureaucratic language.
It’s essential to write in a way that your audience will understand. That means avoiding bureaucratic language and passive voice, which can sound overly academic or scientific. Instead, use an active voice and simple language to ensure your proposal is easy to read and understand.
To develop your proposal in an accessible manner, use clear and concise language when possible. This also makes it easier for reviewers if they need additional information while reading through your proposal—they won’t have to wade through dense paragraphs trying to find the key points you made earlier in the document.
Get feedback about your proposal from other students, faculty members, and friends.
Before you submit your proposal, get feedback on it from other students and faculty members. You can also ask friends to do the same thing to help with writing.
The people who should be giving you feedback are those with experience writing proposals. If there aren’t any faculty members at your institution who have written proposals before, then reach out to people from other departments or universities that do what you want to do after graduation (e.g., historians writing history dissertations).
Formal proposals are an essential part of the research process, but they should not be viewed as a difficult or daunting task. In this article, we discussed how to choose a topic and write a proposal so you can start your research as soon as possible.
Carmen Troy is a research-based content writer, who works for Cognizantt, a globally recognized professional SEO service and Research Prospect; an Essay and Dissertation Writing Services Mr Carmen holds a PhD degree in mass communication. He loves to express his views on various issues, including education, technology, and more.