The dissertation proposal writing process should be understood by the student if it be made better. If a student truly understands what the whole process is all about, he should be able to make it better and come up with an excellent dissertation.
As the student writing the dissertation, you should be acquainted with the dissertation proposal and the preparation for the preliminary oral examination processes. To be able to progress in your proposal writing, you should refine your writing, your literature synthesis and critique and your peer review skills. You can base your improvement on the scheme used by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The scheme is embodied in their Research and Proposal Writing Process for Doctoral Students II at http://www.jhsph.edu/courses/course/410.871/01/2011/14862/.
Their course involves sessions focusing on specific stages of dissertation proposal development. The stages are the development of a comprehensive conceptual framework, formulating research questions and hypotheses, choosing appropriate study design and methodologies, identifying reliable and valid measures, developing a sound data analysis plan and ensuring compliance with subject regulations.
Your proposal writing process should be able to take into account departmental and school-wide requirements for thesis proposals and preliminary examinations. Your proposal writing process should be able to equip you with thesis proposal and examination preparation skills which you can apply to professional activities like manuscript development and conference presentations.
It would be better if you can take a course like this in which you will trained in proposal writing through class participation, individual presentations on dissertation titles, written exercises and initial draft of the proposal. As a student who will venture in dissertation writing, you need to have the skills required in it like peer review and manuscript development which enhance your proposal development. Oral presentation and defense skills are also important because the presentation and defense are components of the proposal process.