Dissertation Research Proposal Writing — Chapter One

All research reports (including dissertation research proposal writing) begin with an introduction describing the problem under investigation and its background, its relevance to the field, the assumptions and the limitations of the study, and the expected findings. In the University approach to the dissertation research proposal, this introduction is contained in Chapter One of both the proposal (the detailed description of the proposed dissertation) and of the dissertation itself. This Guide outlines the main sections required for writing Chapter One of the dissertation research proposal.

Chapter One of the dissertation research proposal should discuss eight specific points: (a) an introduction describing the background of the problem; (b) the statement of the problem; (c) the purpose and significance of the study; (d) the research design; (e) the research questions and hypotheses (in quantitative designs); (f) the assumptions and limitations of the study; (g) operational definitions used in the study; and (h) the expected outcomes. In the prospectus, you will follow Chapter One with the Methods section, which will be Chapter Three in your dissertation research proposal. Chapter One lays the groundwork for the Methods chapter. In Chapter One you describe the conceptual basis for what the study will investigate, and in Chapter Three you describe the methods and concrete procedures you will use to answer the research question developed in Chapter One. Throughout the prospectus, you should keep in mind the ethical implications of these elements, and discuss them openly. Chapter One should follow the outline presented here.


Use this Guide to help you write Chapter One of the dissertation research proposal. It begins with a summary of the main sections, and you will briefly synopsize your elements. Then each element is described in full detail to help you ensure that you have covered the necessary material. You should already have completed the Methodology Form, and so you should have all the materials you need to compose Chapter One of the dissertation research proposal. You will only need to expand the text from the Methodology Form in the appropriate sections.

This Chapter One Guide is organized according to the seven sections found in most prospectuses and dissertations. Each section explains the terminology and identifies the issues that need consideration in that section.




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