What Vocabulary to Use When Writing a Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal is the most significant document in research, in fact in your entire academic life; it is the most significant document. It should be very precise and perfect prose. A good proposal should be very finely tuned. The main focus of the proposal should be on methods and analysis and along with that an accurate use of languages. For the non-native English speakers, the standards demanded would be very high at the time of the evaluation of the dissertation.

For dissertation graduate students, they have a lot of information and idea about what is expected from them.  However, the intricate knowledge and awareness about language expectations are sometimes not there. There are some general guidelines and tips that can be applied for undergraduate research papers and dissertations. These are:

  1. There should not be the use of first and second person pronoun in the entire proposal. There should be no talk whatsoever, about the self and the reader should not be addressed directly.
  2. You should refer to the ongoing research as the “present research”. Use of informal language and pronouns should be avoided to be used.  No personal touch has to be added to the formal document.
  3. The tense used in the entire proposal should be the speculative. It has to be the future tense as the research has to be yet conducted.  When the final dissertation is drafted, we switch to the past tense from the future tense. This is because at the proposal stage, the research is yet to be conducted so use of present or past tense may make it irrelevant.
  4. There shouldn’t be the use of jargons or any type of technical terminology in research. Specifically when we talk of the introduction and research chapters of the proposal, the language should be simpler and one should not make use of inaccessible words. These chapters should have more outward appeal in comparison to the remaining document.
  5. Make an attempt to use active voice where possible and simpler sentences should be used instead of complex ones. When  there is a need to refer to self, one should talk of self as “ the researcher”
  6. It is a big no to become lenient  by using any kind of relaxed language, slangs or contractions that give an impression  that you are informal in any way about  your work or  its presentation.
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