Once the researcher has decided on what topic he is going to discuss in his thesis, he has to take it to a committee for approval. Before taking it to the committee the student needs to prepare a proposal specifying his intention to examine that particular topic. The student can commence research on the topic only when the committee has approved the proposal. That is why writing the proposal properly is just as important as working on the dissertation. While preparing the proposal the student can have a checklist to see if he has covered all the main points.
The student should check if the proposal accurately reflects the imagination and creativity that he intends to show in his project. Dissertation committees always like it when their students come up with unique ideas and uniqueness helps in convincing the committee to approve the proposal for the dissertation. The committee also checks if the problem has been clearly stated or not. They do not like it when proposals confound and confuse them. The student should use simple language if he can, but he should make sure that the committee understands the question that he is trying to find answers to in his thesis.
The student should state his research methodology quite clearly. He should write in his proposal just how he intends to collect his material and what sources he plans to use. If there is a survey involved then he should talk about how large his research population is going to be and how he intends to analyze the data that he has collected. If the research project is very large in scope he also needs to write a few words convincing the committee about his ability to handle such a difficult endeavor. Most large projects cannot be executed successfully without a bit of help and the researcher needs to write about where he is going to get this help from.
The proposal should also contain details on what the consequences would be if the proposal were to fail, if the data cannot be obtained or if the analysis was to prove inconclusive. All the activities involved in the project should be listed and a time frame for the completion of each activity should be given. It is essential for the proposal to be well written so that the committee can approve it and the researcher can start work on his report.