Moving the Dissertation Proposal* out of your head and into written form can be done in stages. The very first stage can be quite informal.
One way that works for a lot of students is to write a few short sentences about each of the seven questions below. The critical thing is to check your place on your time line and to start to write answers to the following questions no matter how dissatisfying the first draft.
1. What is the tentative dissertation title? What do you call what you want to do? What is its name?
2. Why do you want to do it? What will you know or be able to do or say when you are through? (At this stage, an involved theoretical justification is unnecessary.)
3. To accomplish what you want to do, what steps will you have to take? Can you put the steps in sequential order? What facilities will you need? Why?
4. What kinds of dissertation help do you think you will need to do what you want to do? When? How might you get that help?
5. Will the disseratation project involve people other than yourself? How? To do what? For how long? Will you need any special permissions?
6. What actually goes on if you start to do what you propose? How would dissertation proposal start? What would a typical day be like at the beginning? When you are partway through? At the end?
7. How do you think you could show whether you accomplish what you set out to do? How could you prove it to someone else?
After writing “first draft” answers to these questions, put the document aside for a day or two in your “Proposal Notes” file. Then, come back and reread it. Make whatever amendments you think it needs for increased clarity.