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Dissertation Proposal Outline

Dissertation Proposal Outline

Dissertation Proposal Outline

A dissertation proposal is an academic document that is written to give readers more information about a proposed dissertation topic.

A dissertation proposal is submitted to a university dissertation committee to get approval for research to obtain a doctoral degree.

A dissertation proposal provides an outline of what is to come in the research and the final dissertation paper.

The following is a dissertation proposal outline:

Dissertation Proposal Outline

Chapter 1: Introduction

This chapter states the problem that you will be studying and discusses the significance of the research. It includes:


The overview should contain:

  • Two to three paragraphs that describe the general problem, question, or theory driving the research.
  • A justification for justifies the need for the study. Briefly convey how it is situated within the values and provides a framework to help the reader understand the rest of the chapter and the dissertation.


The body should contain:

  • A transition from the Overview.
  • A description of relevant theories and constructs
  • a brief overview of the literature to be covered in the next chapter
  • A detailed discussion about central questions underlying in the dissertation.
  • An organization with headings and subheadings, which are used as signposts to guide the reader through the chapter

The Present Research

This part should contain

  • One to four paragraphs, depending on the level of detail.
  • Description of the study and an explanation on how it will answer the central questions motivating the research.
  • Briefly mention the research questions and hypotheses.


The conclusion contains a single paragraph that summarizes the chapter and provides a bridge to the next chapter.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

The literature review provides a review and critique of the key literature that is relevant to your study.

This chapter includes:

Opening paragraph

This part should contain:

  • A description of the Review section, in terms of scope and the topics to be covered.
  • Be specific.
  • Guidance for the reader to the chapter ahead.


The body should contain:

  • A discussion of the significance of the research and how the dissertation fits within the values and the literature of Counseling Psychology.
  • A review of the relevant literature by way of descriptive summaries and critiques of research findings and theoretical papers.
  • An organization with headings and subheadings as appropriate.
  • An overview of the literature pertaining to the central variables of your study.
  • Summary of the most relevant aspects of the literature and your critical observations as they pertain to the proposed study.
  • Explanation on how each aspect of the literature relates back to the main purpose of the study.
  • A transition between the literature review and your research questions.

Statement of the problem

This part contains:

  • The research questions that will be pursued in the dissertation.
  • Justification for each research question.
  • A bridge between the literature review and the method section.

Chapter 3: Methodology

This chapter includes:

  • Design Statement: In a short paragraph, describe the design of the study, including dependent and independent variables, if applicable. If multiple designs for your study exist, provide a rationale for your choice.
  • Participants: Describe the sample, including approximate sample size and significant characteristics. Discuss sample size considerations appropriate for your design.
  • Measures: For quantitative studies, describe the conceptual and operational measures used in the study and your rationale for each instrument, including a discussion of advantages and disadvantages. You should discuss reliability and, as well as the appropriateness and acceptability of all measures.
  • Procedures: Describe how the study will be done, namely, the exact sequence of events.
  • Data Analysis: you should copy research from prior sections and give details about the specific analysis for each.

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