Writing a dissertation is a significant step in your academic journey. But before you can embark on the main research, you often have to write a dissertation proposal to gain approval from your academic committee. This proposal acts as a blueprint, outlining the scope and purpose of your study.

This article aims to guide you through the process of crafting a solid nursing dissertation proposal, focusing on essential components such as dissertation methodology, aims, and objectives, among other aspects.

What is a Dissertation Proposal?

A dissertation proposal is a preliminary document that provides an overview of your proposed research, including the topic, research question, methodology, and literature review.

This proposal is typically submitted to an academic committee for evaluation and approval. It serves as a roadmap for both the researcher and the committee, ensuring that everyone is on the same page about the scope and direction of the study.

How Long Should the Dissertation Proposal Be?

The length of a dissertation proposal can vary widely depending on the subject and guidelines of your academic institution. However, a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 1,000 words. This length allows you to provide enough details to convey the details and significance of your proposed study while leaving room for feedback and revisions.

Dissertation Proposal Structure

The structure of a dissertation proposal can significantly influence its impact and effectiveness. An organized, well-thought-out proposal not only guides your research but also convinces your academic committee of the feasibility and value of your study.


The dissertation introduction should provide context for your study, outlining the research question, the importance of the subject area, and the purpose of your research. It often ends with a thesis statement that succinctly captures the overarching argument or focus of the dissertation.


This section elaborates on the research methods you intend to use. Are you conducting a qualitative or quantitative study? Will you be using surveys, interviews, or archival research? Justifying your chosen methodology is crucial. Explain why you believe these methods are the most appropriate for addressing your research question.

Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives section should be clear and specific. This is where you list what you hope to achieve with your research. Aims are broad statements that provide an overview of what the study seeks to accomplish, while objectives are more specific, outlining the steps you will take to achieve your aims.

Literature Review

Here, you will discuss existing research relevant to your dissertation topic, showing how your study will contribute to the existing body of knowledge. Your literature review should not just summarize but also critically analyze existing literature. Point out the gaps in the current research and how your study aims to fill them.


Every research project has limitations, whether due to budget, time, or methodological constraints. Acknowledging these limitations shows that you have thought critically about your research design and are aware of its boundaries.

Ethical considerations

Ethics is a crucial part of any research study. This section discusses the ethical guidelines you will follow, especially if your research involves human or animal subjects. Describe how you intend to obtain informed consent and ensure confidentiality and anonymity.


Include a timeline that outlines the various stages of your research, from the initial proposal to the final submission. This shows your committee that you have a realistic plan for completing your dissertation within the allotted time.


The dissertation conclusion briefly summarizes your proposal’s key points, reiterating the significance of your study and how it contributes to the existing literature. It’s also an opportunity to express any need for resources or support, whether financial or logistical, to complete your dissertation successfully.

Dissertation Proposal Example

Title: Exploring Factors Contributing to High Patient Readmission Rates in Geriatric Care


The issue of high readmission rates among geriatric patients represents a significant challenge for healthcare systems. Frequent readmissions strain resources and indicate a potential lack of effective post-discharge care. 

This study aims to investigate the factors contributing to elevated readmission rates in a geriatric care setting at XYZ Hospital.

Research Question

What factors contribute to the high rate of readmissions in geriatric care at XYZ Hospital, and what solutions can be proposed to mitigate this issue?


This research will adopt a quantitative approach to allow for an objective analysis of readmission rates and their contributing factors. Data collection methods will include:

Patient Surveys: Standardized questionnaires will be administered to geriatric patients within 48 hours of readmission.

Hospital Readmission Data: Retrospective data analysis of readmission records for the past year.


Random sampling will be employed for survey distribution. Hospital readmission data will be obtained from XYZ Hospital's electronic records.

Data Analysis

Statistical software (e.g., SPSS) will perform multivariate analyses to identify correlations between various factors and readmission rates.

Aims and Objectives

Aim 1: To identify the most common factors contributing to high readmission rates in geriatric care at XYZ Hospital.

Objective 1.1: To analyze patient surveys to understand patient-reported factors.

Objective 1.2: To examine hospital readmission data for patterns related to readmissions.

Aim 2: To propose evidence-based solutions for reducing geriatric readmission rates.

Objective 2.1: To compare the identified factors with best practices in geriatric care.

Objective 2.2: To draft actionable recommendations for healthcare practitioners.

Literature Review

Various studies have highlighted the role of factors such as inadequate post-discharge care and poor nurse-patient communication in high hospital readmission rates. 

For example:

Smith et al. (2018) emphasize the importance of post-discharge care in reducing readmissions.

Johnson & Williams (2020) discuss the significance of nurse-patient communication in patient outcomes.

This research aims to build upon these studies by providing specific insights into geriatric care at XYZ Hospital.


This study is limited by its focus on a single healthcare institution, XYZ Hospital, and its exclusion of non-geriatric patients. Therefore, the nursing findings may not be universally applicable.

Ethical Considerations

Informed consent will be obtained from all participating patients and healthcare workers. Additionally, the study will secure ethical approval from XYZ Hospital's institutional review board (IRB).


All data will be anonymized to protect the identities of the participants.

Data Storage

All electronic data will be stored on a password-protected computer, and paper records will be stored securely.


Months 1-2: Literature Review and Proposal Approval

Months 3-5: Data Collection

Month 6: Preliminary Data Analysis

Months 7-8: Full Data Analysis

Months 9: Writing and Editing

Month 10: Review and Submission


This dissertation proposal aims to identify and address the factors contributing to high readmission rates in geriatric care at XYZ Hospital. The study aims to offer actionable recommendations within nine months through a focused quantitative methodology and careful ethical considerations. Although limited to one hospital, the research could provide valuable insights into improving geriatric care practices.

Final Thoughts on Writing Dissertation Proposals

Writing a dissertation proposal is an essential step in conducting solid academic research. Your proposal serves as a roadmap for your study, helping to ensure that you stay on course and finish on time. Take the time to carefully think through each section, from your methodology to your ethical considerations, to create a compelling and feasible proposal. 

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