The dissertation proposal document must be a substantive, carefully crafted, research-based document. Typically, the proposal comprises the first three chapters of the dissertation. In most cases, this consists of a statement of the research focus, a conceptual or theoretical framework, a review of related literature, and a description of the study's design and methods. Different research designs can employ different proposal formats and require different emphases among the types of information included in the document. In all cases, a dissertation proposal should provide a clear, systematic, and conceptually sound overview of the proposed study that explains in detail why and how the study will be conducted, and the scholarly literature in which it is embedded.
The candidate will work closely with the dissertation chair on the development of the dissertation proposal. The candidate may query other committee members with specific questions, but they are typically not involved in reviewing intermediate drafts of the proposal.