How to Write a Thesis Proposal - Template & Examples
Many students fear writing lengthy papers. Therefore, writing a complete thesis is quite difficult for them. It is not a question, a topic, an opinion, or a fact. Instead, thesis writing is an essential part of a student’s research.
A good thesis is used to explain the area using existing information and to add the student’s research to it. However, before writing a thesis, you will probably have to write a proposal.
It is considered as a roadmap or a layout of your research study. Moreover, it also requires expert writing and research skills that many students may not have.
If you are confused, read this guide to learn the essentials of how to write an A grade thesis proposal.
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What is a Thesis Proposal?
The thesis proposal is a type of detailed summary and outline of your research work. It provides a layout regarding how you will transform an unformed idea into a thoroughly researched concept.
Moreover, it also identifies the problem, questions, and methods you will use in your thesis. All students are required to submit this mind map to the supervisor. This is how they will get a comprehensive idea of the research journey.
A good proposal will prove that your thesis or dissertation is relevant and important. Similarly, it shows that you have adopted the right approach and tools to solve the problem.
The following are the primary purposes of writing a thesis proposal.
- It shows that the chosen topic addresses a significant problem.
- It demonstrates an organized plan to collect or obtain data for solving the problem.
- It identifies data collection methods.
- Lastly, it states the significance of the thesis indicating how it will contribute to the field.
Have a look at the below significance of the study below to understand better.
Thesis Proposal Outline
The following is the detailed outline of the thesis proposal.
Introduction (1 page)
- What is the topic area?
- Why is the topic relevant or important?
- What is the scope of the research study?
Literature Review (7-8 pages)
- An overview of the existing literature related to your research.
- Includes theoretical approaches and methodological research designs to understand the topic.
- Demonstrates that you are familiar with the research work that has been done in this area.
- It enables you to find a gap in the literature that has not been well-researched earlier
Research Question (1-2 pages)
It includes the formulation of a specific research question. Moreover, the writer designs the research study according to this questions.
Methodological Design (1-2 pages)
- What is your methodological approach?
- How will you access the participants?
- How many cases will you include?
- How will you select the cases? (random sampling, etc.)
- What will be the time frame of your research study?
- How will you collect the data? (observation, survey, experiments, etc.)
- How will you code the data? (deductive or inductive approach)
- What are other considerations related to your work?
- What will be the analysis of your research? (qualitative, quantitative, or both)
It consists of a bibliography, i.e., a list of the authors included in your literature review.
How to Write a Thesis Proposal?
Follow the below-given easy steps to write a thesis proposal.
The thesis proposal usually begins by outlining the gathered data. It is an important step for you and the supervisor. After carefully outlining the thesis parts, you can follow it while drafting your thesis.
2. Know the Proposal Structure
It is essential to know the complete structure of a proposal. The following are the major sections of a thesis proposal.
3. Plan Your Writing Process
The next crucial step is to organize your thesis proposal. It will help you get an idea of writing it.
Most proposals get rejected as students do not plan their writing process. Therefore, plan the flow of your writing and stick to it.
Here is the usual flow of writing a thesis proposal.
- Developing a proposal outline
- Prepare visuals (charts or tables)
- Describe methodology
- Explain significance
- Explanation of data
- Conclusions that are drawn from your research
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4. Writing the Proposal Draft
After planning the writing process, it’s time for you to begin with your final proposal draft. Follow a formal writing style but make sure to use simple words. It will make it easier to read and understand for the audience.
Similarly, use the first-person reference. However, do consult your professors before writing a thesis statement.
5. Proofreading Your Proposal
A good thesis proposal has no place for typos or other grammatical mistakes. It is because they can usually divert the reader from the actual problem statement.
Thus, it is better to ask your colleagues or friends to proofread it for you. If they have a hard time understanding your proposal, consider revising it..
Follow the given tips to proofread a thesis proposal carefully.
- Read the proposal aloud to identify grammar and spelling mistakes, along with the wrong sentence structure.
- Never proofread the proposal immediately after writing. Wait for a day or two to view it objectively.
- Ask someone with a comprehensive understanding of the material to proofread it.
- Take help from an online spell checker.
Refer to the following sample to understand the complete writing process.
Thesis Proposal Format
The format of the thesis proposal typically follows the below pattern.
The title page includes the research title, student and supervisor’s name, along with the submission date.
Table of Contents
It gives a complete layout of the proposal by stating the headings and subheadings with their page numbers.
The thesis introduction highlights the historical background of your research. It also provides a brief overview of the thesis topic and the motivation behind choosing it.
Get some interesting ideas by referring to our compiled list of thesis topics.
Statement of the Problem
It provides a clear statement that briefly defines the purpose of the study.
Check out the below sample for a better understanding.
Here, the research problem will be set within the framework of a theory. Moreover, it will also identify and define the terms conceptually.
It includes the review of the available literature on the topic to establish credibility. Keep in mind; this section must be at least 15 pages.
This section states the main objectives that you want to achieve in the research. Similarly, it will also mention the hypothesis and the expected outcome.
It states the methodological approaches that will be used to achieve the objectives. It will also provide details about how the experiments will be conducted to test the hypothesis.
Evaluation of Research Findings
It briefly discusses how the research findings and outcomes will be evaluated.
Timetable for Completion of the Thesis
This section includes the dates for:
- Completion of research
- The first draft of the thesis
- Final draft
Cite all the primary and secondary sources in the reference list along with their codes. Also, choose a citation style after consulting with your professor.
The other format instructions include the following aspects.
- Word Count: 5000 words maximum.
- Font Style and Size: Times new roman, Arial - 12pt.
- Line Spacing: 1.5 for text, single-spaced for quotations.
- Margins: It should be set to 1.25 inch for left/right and 1 inch for top/bottom.
- Page Numbers: It must be in Roman numerals and placed at the bottom center of each page.
- Citation: APA, MLA, Chicago.
Have a look at the given document to understand the template of a thesis format..
Sample Thesis Proposal
Following are some examples and samples for you to get a detailed idea..
Thesis Proposal Writing Tips
Here are some tips for writing a perfect thesis proposal.
- Know all the requirements before you start writing a proposal. It includes length, font, spacing, etc.
- Use simple words so that the readers can understand easily.
- Always check your proposal and carefully proofread for mistakes.
- Write answers and solutions to your problem in the conclusion as it provides a base for future research.
- Keep a record of your referencing from the start and triple check it before submitting the proposal.
- Plan, organize and structure your proposal within a clearly defined deadline.
- Use pictures and graphs to illustrate background material, sample data, and analysis techniques.
If you want to contribute to your chosen field, the first part deals with a solid proposal. However, not everyone is capable of writing it well. If you are one of them, taking help from a professional service is a good option.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long should a thesis proposal be?
A thesis proposal should be approximately 8 pages, excluding any notes or citations. Remember that this is a proposal and not the actual document.
What are the possible questions in a proposal?
The possible questions in a proposal are:
- Research questions - what you want to do
- Why is it important
- Who has done this research before
- How are you going to do the research