Skip to Content

An Organizational Suggestion for Dissertation Research Proposals

Dissertation Research Proposals
Discuss this structure with your advisor for modifications and/or additional elements. In addition, see APA Publication Manual, 6th Edition, for a description of Manuscript Elements that can provide additional information to that provided below.
1)    APA title page
This is a separate page with the running head, title, author’s name, author’s affiliation
2)    Abstract
A brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the article, between 200-250 words.
3)    Introduction
Presents the specific problem being studied and describes the research strategy. Includes:
 i)         problem statement
ii)         purpose of the study
4)    Theoretical Framework
This section describes the paradigm within which you are undertaking the study; the “lens” through which you view and understand the phenomena.
5)    Review of the Literature
This does not need to be an exhaustive review of all literature related to your study, but rather connects your study to other research historically/traditionally in a way that gives proper credit to work that has gone before and in a way that sets the stage for this study. The review should include limitations of the literature, especially in terms of the current research base.
6)    Research Question(s)
The specific research foci of this study, that the data analysis will inform.
7)    Research Design
i)          Methods
This section describes how the study will be conducted, and should provide enough information to allow another researcher to replicate your study. Depending on how you format your research design section, the Methods section could be an overview or a statement/description of the methodological frame.
ii)         Participants
This is a thorough description of the participants in your study, including demographic and other aspects important to the study, and important to understanding who the participants are in general. Sampling procedures, participant requirements, and other characteristics should be included, as appropriate for your study.
iii)        Instrumentation
This is a description of the research tools which will be used to collect and analyze your data.
iv)        Data Collection
As appropriate for your study, this section is a description of methods you will use to collect data, issues that presented themselves during data collection, and other aspects centering on collecting the data.
v)         Data Analysis
This section is a description of data analysis procedures, timelines, and other issues related to data analysis.
8)    Limitations of the Study
In this section you will explicitly state any limitations of data collection, population sample, methods or other aspect of the study.
9)    References 
Provide a full APA formatted reference section for each reference cited in the body of the paper.
10) Appendices
This section includes any materials that are too large or otherwise inappropriate for the body of the paper.