6 Common Mistakes in a Dissertation Proposal

What can prevent you from getting a high mark in your Dissertation Proposal?

1. No problem statement.

Many students just pick a topic that seems fun and not too difficult to explore. However, your dissertation must attempt at resolving a particular problem. The problem should be current, important and clearly explained in the first paragraph of your introduction.

2. Lack of novelty.

Apart from stating the problem, you need to find a novel angle to approach it from. Think carefully of what might have been missed by others and how your dissertation can fill the gap.

3. Overly broad topic.

Trying to add much value and stand out with your project is understandable. However, this ambition can lead to choosing a topic too big to be adequately covered in a single dissertation. Mind the scarce time and don’t promise more than you can deliver. The university staff are too well-aware of what can be achieved within the given limits. A humbler and more realistic aim stands a better chance of approval.

4. Too few sources.

For a winning proposal, you will usually need no less than 10 strong academic sources (both books and journal articles) per 1,000 words. ⠀

5. Old sources.

Tutors often frown upon proposals where most references are older than 3-5 years. It is best to cover the latest research.

6. Research method is unclear.

The readers of your proposal should be able to see clearly not only WHAT you want to accomplish, but also HOW you are going to do it. Make sure to specify how you are planning to collect and analyse your data, how many responses you will need and how they are to be obtained. Explain why you have selected these methods.

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