Student Services Accessibility

Finding a question and writing a proposal

As stated on the previous page, the following resources are designed to complement the support and advice of Academic Schools and Departments. Please follow your department's guidelines and only use the materials offered here to supplement these.

Note: resources are listed here in the order in which you are likely to find them useful, moving from 'what is a dissertation?' to 'what is the purpose of research proposals?'

Male student reading in the library  



Links to Study Resources for Finding a Question and Writing a Proposal
Resource TitleDescription of ResourceSource

University of Nottingham resources


What is a Dissertation?

PDF file icon Generic differences between undergraduate, masters and research dissertations

University of Nottingham

Dissertation guidelines from different departments

PDF file icon Extracts from guidelines about requirements for their department’s dissertations

University of Nottingham

Checklist for choosing a topic

PDF file icon Feasibility factors and marking criteria – comparing potential of different topic ideas

University of Nottingham

Relevance tree

PDF file icon Using spider diagrams/mind-maps to narrow down dissertation topics

University of Nottingham

Issues to bear in mind when choosing a research topic

PDF file icon E.g. topic choice restrictions, availability of supervisors, department expectations etc.

University of Nottingham

Choosing a research topic - key points

PDF file icon Factors to help you produce a suitable dissertation

University of Nottingham

Choosing a research topic - worksheet

PDF file icon How to develop a descriptive idea into an analytical question

University of Nottingham

What is the purpose of research proposals?

PDF file icon The uses and possible structure of research proposals

University of Nottingham


Other resources


All-purpose tool for research writing

This tool can help write a paper, presentation, poster, report, chapter, or thesis.  It may be used before you write, as a planning tool; as you write, as a drafting tool; as you revise your writing, as an editing tool; after you have written, as an evaluation tool.  This is part of the Write your research blog.

Anthony Haynes, Write your research blog

Tool for telling your research story

A more informal tool to help clarify research writing, also from the Write your research blog

Anthony Haynes, Write your research blog


Accessibility (Academic Support)

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