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Discuss about the theories, tools and questionnaire for writing a Nursing dissertation research proposal

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In brief

A dissertation research proposal explains what an individual wants to study, how the topic will be studied, why the topic needs to be studied and what the intention of doing this kind of work is.

A dissertation research proposal has a defined structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Aim/Objectives
  3. Methodology
  4. Literature review
  5. Discussion and research constraints

The dissertation so written must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the subject through systematic enquiries, presentation of the written work in an orderly format, how the knowledge of the subject can be put into practical use, a clearly stated purpose with a sophisticated argument, methodical work though focussing and planning on the work from beforehand and a critical thinking ability.


Certain strategies are required to be followed to write a nursing dissertation research proposal:

  • In order to understand the subject or topic deeply, extensive literature search has to be performed. This can be done by reading textbooks, journals, summary articles, position statements and standard practices of professional organizations in the nursing field. 
  • The matter and materials found during the literature research must be organized carefully while performing the literature search
  • A logical argument for the study has to be laid down
  • The details needed to support the argument must be prepared and presented
  • Revision of the written document is a must

There are some basic theories or rules that need to be followed while writing a nursing dissertation. These are discussed here:

  1. The nursing student must spend time with the supervisor to refine on a chosen topic
  2. Questions are to be picked up, which likely will arouse interest within the reading community and motivate them to seek for answers.
  3. A number of resources must be considered
  4. The matter may be written in the first person if it seems appropriate
  5. Every step of the write up must be carefully checked
  6. The resources so chosen to write the dissertation proposal must be justified and explained, rather than just stating about those reseources
  7. A discussion panel should be set up for an informed discussion on the topic or subject
  8. The style format required for publishing the proposal must be followed thoroughly.
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Tool for writing a dissertation proposal

The major tool for writing a dissertation proposal is literature review. By doing an extensive literature search a student can find answers to many questions related to the topic of interest in nursing.  Nurses can choose to do research from a wide array of topics such as:

  1. Critical care nursing
  2. Geriatrics
  3. Health diversity
  4. Mental health and psychiatric nursing
  5. Nurse career and education
  6. Nurse practitioners
  7. Obstetrics/gyaenecology and women’s health nursing
  8. Pain management
  9. Palliative care
  10. Patient safety
  11. Paediatrics/neonatal care nursing
  12. Preoperative nursing

The literature review, also called literature search, is extremely important here. The literature being read must be current and should have relevance to the chosen topic of research. It has to be checked that while reading up several literature reviews, the authors’ works are contradicting with each other or not. In case they are contradictory, more reading has to be done to find out the meaning of what the authors are trying to say.

After reading different reviews, all the information must be brought together to demonstrate how all these information have contributed to the chosen topic of research. In case a nursing student is picking information from journals, it has to be ensured that these journals are peer-reviewed.  A decent number of published articles must be chosen for writing the disseratation proposal.

Questionnaire for nursing dissertation

There can be a number of questions in a questionnaire prepared for nursing dissertation research proposal. Some of the examples are cited below:

  1. Does the administration of pain medication at time of surgical incision reduce the need for pain medication twenty-four hours after surgery?
  1. Maternal factors associated with obesity in toddlers?
  2. Elements of a peer support intervention preventing suicide in high school females?
  3. The most accurate and comprehensive way to determine men’s experience of physical assault?
  4. Yoga as an effective treatment as compared to traditional physical therapy?
  5. In the third stage of labour, what is the effect of cord cutting within the first three minutes on placenta separation?
  6. Do teenagers with Type 1 diabetes who receive phone tweet reminders maintain lower blood sugars than those who do not?
  7. Do the elderly diagnosed with dementia experience pain?
  8. Siblings’ risk of depression predicttion after the death of a child?
  9.  Prevention of cachexia in cancer patients receiving aggressive protocols involving radiation and chemotherapy?
  10. Does the organization of renal transplant nurse coordinators’ responsibilities influence live donor rates?
  11. Activities of nurse managers associated with nurse turnover? 
  12. What effect does the Nurse Faculty Loan program have on the nurse researcher workforce?  What effect would a 20% decrease in funds have?
  13. Design of psychiatric hospital unit influencing the incidence of patients’ aggression?
  14. Native patient preferences regarding the timing, location and costs for weight management counselling and the ways it will meet  such preferences that influence participation?
  15. What predicts registered nurse retention in the Army?
  1. The timing and location of suicide prevention appointments linked to veterans’ suicide rates?
  2. Sustainability of quality improvement programs in operating rooms?
  3. Do integrated computerized nursing records across points of care improve patient outcomes?
  4. The number of nurse practitioners the country needs in next year?


Nursing involves a collaborative caring of people of all ages, whether they are sick or well, and in all kinds of settings. Nursing focuses on health promotion, illness prevention and caring of ill, disabled and dying individuals. Nursing abilities are crucial because the well-being of a patient depends upon how a nurse helps the patient in recovering from illness.

A nurse can write a dissertation on different topics and subjects. The image below represents the topics on nursing dissertation.


  1. Urquhart C, Currell R, Grant MJ, Hardiker NR. WITHDRAWN: Nursing record systems: effects on nursing practice and healthcare outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 May 15;5(5):CD002099. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002099.pub3. PMID: 29763508; PMCID: PMC6494644.
  2. Smaldone A, Heitkemper E, Jackman K, Joanne Woo K, Kelson J. Dissemination of PhD Dissertation Research by Dissertation Format: A Retrospective Cohort Study. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2019 Sep;51(5):599-607. doi: 10.1111/jnu.12504. Epub 2019 Jul 16. PMID: 31313486; PMCID: PMC6742546.
  3. Yousefi H, Ziaee ES, Golshiri P. The Role of Nursing Consultant in Iran: A Qualitative Study. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2019 Sep-Oct;24(5):387-393. doi: 10.4103/ijnmr.IJNMR_53_19. PMID: 31516526; PMCID: PMC6714120.
  4. Ghasemi MR, Moonaghi HK, Heydari A. Strategies for sustaining and enhancing nursing students’ engagement in academic and clinical settings: a narrative review. Korean J Med Educ. 2020 Jun;32(2):103-117. doi: 10.3946/kjme.2020.159. Epub 2020 May 28. PMID: 32486620; PMCID: PMC7272374.

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