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How to Write the Perfect Thesis Proposal

thesis proposal

Before you begin your thesis or dissertation, you will have to prepare a proposal. A thesis proposal is a roadmap to your actual research. It outlines the topic and acts as a guide to understand why the issues you wish to address in your thesis, warrant research.

How to Write a Thesis Proposal

The first step is to understand how to write a thesis proposal. There are a few simple steps that you can follow:

  • Zero down on your topic: You may have a sense of what you wish to write about. However, you need to make sure that the topic is of interest in your field. It should answer important questions and must have a good scope for content collection.
  • Example – You may want to write on genocides in history and Norman Naimark is one of your favorite authors.
  • Make a working title: The length of your working title should be more than the final title. It should also be more descriptive so as to have a better discussion with your professor or committee.
  • Example – Actual title – ‘Genocides in History’. Working title – ‘Genocides in History that Shaped the World’

  • Review the available literature: This will help you know about the existing research on your topic and help determine the scope for further research.
  • Make an outline of your proposal: Your thesis proposal sample must list all the important points that you wish to include in your proposal.
  • Example – include all preliminary research, create appendices for secondary information, literature review and more.

  • Create headings: Each section of your thesis proposal should be broken down into sub-topics. This helps present vital information in a better manner.
  • Example – when you are writing the subtopics for the methodology make a list of books that you will refer to, why you think the topic is important and how your will approach various subjects.

  • Put it all together: Use the thesis proposal format mentioned below and put together your thesis proposal. Make sure you include your timeline, theoretical approach, and methodology as well.

Structure of a Thesis Proposal

There is a set thesis proposal structure that students must adhere to while writing their proposal. You can also refer to a thesis proposal template for better understanding:

  1. Title page: Every thesis proposal example will include a title page which includes a descriptive title. It also includes information like the name of the author, name of the mentor, date, name of the institution etc. The title must reflect the subject, the proposed method of research and the lessons that one will learn from it.
  2. Abstract: In the beginning of every sample thesis proposal, you will notice a short 200 word paragraph summarizing the thesis. This is known as the abstract. It includes the title, the key statement, the methods used to address the subject and the implications of the research once completed.
  3. Table of Contents: This is one of the most important elements of the thesis proposal. It will provide a complete thesis proposal outline, listing all the headings and subheadings.
  4. Introduction: The introduction must be catchy and impressive. This will urge your reader to explore your ideas further. The background of the topic and a broad perspective of the research must be provided in this introduction.
  5. Key questions: The questions that you wish to answer in the thesis must be listed. When a reader views these questions in the thesis proposal example, it will show the direction that you intend to take with your research.
  6. Literature review: The literature review provides a description of all the sources that you wish to use in your research. This shows the information that you have already accumulated for your research. It also indicates the future goals of the thesis.
  7. Methodology: This section describes all the methods that you wish to make use of in the thesis paper in order to answer the key questions.
  8. Conclusion: When you are writing a thesis proposal, pay attention to the conclusion. This section indicates the possible research of your research, the contributions it will make to your field and the expected accuracy of your results.
  9. Thesis proposal summary: This is the section where the goals of your proposal are stated in brief.
  10. Bibliography: You must provide a list of all the references that you will make use of for your research. Remember that the bibliography must be written according to the writing style required for your thesis, be it APA or MLA writing style.

How Long Should a Thesis Proposal Be?

A thesis proposal should not be more than 8 pages long.

The idea of the thesis proposal is to make the purpose of the research clear. It should provide a clear idea about how you wish to go about your research. There is no need to delve into the details when you are writing the proposal. These eight pages exclude the bibliography.

Tips on How to Write a Good Thesis Proposal

Here are five tips to help you make a convincing thesis proposal:

  • Your thesis proposal must be solid, yet flexible. Try to incorporate as many important elements as possible to prove that the subject you have chosen warrants further research. However, be open to changes and feedback. That is the whole idea of the proposal.
  • Make sure you choose a subject that excites you. This will urge you to dig deeper and gather as much information as possible.
  • Your subject should be a good balance between novelty and already established ideas about the subject. Do you have enough material to prepare the thesis in the given period of time? This is the most important question that you should answer.
  • The questions listed in your thesis proposal should be open-ended, yet well defined. Allow some scope for discussion and debate. Avoid straightforward, “Yes and No” questions.
  • Choose subjects that will help you develop marketable skills. Think of subspecialties in your field. Select a subject that will help you explore these subspecialties in your field. This will help you develop skills that will help you land better jobs and open more opportunities for you in the future. This approach is most likely to convince your professor and university committee about the scope of your thesis.

If you are looking for writing help or are confused about how to write a thesis proposal sample, get in touch with us today. We help students across various areas of study create the best proposals that make a good impression.

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