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5 Common Mistakes Students Make When Writing a Dissertation Proposal


Your dissertation proposal is a presentation that you deliver which lays out your intended dissertation topic to your peers. If it is approved you will be allowed to compose your dissertation and potentially become an expert in your chosen area of study. Here, we have listed the top 5 most common mistakes that students make when writing their first proposal.

  1. They choose a topic that has been done too many times before
  2. Following in the footsteps of the greats may be a personal goal of yours, but choosing a topic that is too similar to someone else’s dissertation will not get yours accepted. Instead, when trying to come up with a dissertation topic try to think outside of the box. Do some preliminary research to double check that your concept is original and has not been done at your institution before.

  3. They choose a topic that is too general
  4. Another very common error that first time dissertation proposal writers make is choosing a topic that is not specific enough. Your dissertation should be on a very clear and specific topic. If it is too general your objective may be unclear, leading to your proposal be rejected.

  5. They choose a topic that is too complicated
  6. Sometimes proposals are rejected or the exact opposite reason of being too general. Occasionally University faculties will not support dissertations because they are overly complicated. This is more likely to happen if your dissertation includes an expensive experiment

  7. The proposal is poorly written
  8. Having a poorly written dissertation proposal will also make it likely to be rejected. Think of your proposal as a demonstration of your writing ability make sure that it is well put together.

  9. The objective of the author is unclear
  10. Lastly, and the most common reason why first time proposals are often not accepted is because the students objective for writing is unclear. Your purpose for pursuing your dissertation topic should be obvious. This is important because reviewers will want to know “why” you want to write on the subject that you propose. You can easily avoid this by being transparent and clear in your proposal. Make sure that you explain why you are interested in the topic as well as why it is a relevant subject to explore.

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