Top Ten Tips for Writing a Thesis Proposal
- Begin by writing an introductory paragraph (approximately one to two pages).
If your paper requires an introductory paragraph, it should be written in such a way that it grabs the readers’ attention. If it is not perfect, it does not matter.
This section can be written last. It is likely you will have a better overview of your proposal requirements when the other parts are complete.
- Write a statement about the problem.
You will need to start by formulating the research problem or question. After this, you should rephrase the question in statement-form, making a note of any undesirable consequences that may result from the problem.
Any questions you formulate will be determined by the type of research problem or question e.g. “Are there any ambiguous, historical or theoretical problems in society that need to be studied?” “Are there any projects, products, programs or drug issues that would benefit from evaluation?” “What is it you plan on producing or creating and what benefit will this be to society and yourself?”
- Provide background information.
Use this part to attract the interest of your readers and to convince them how important this problem is.
It is recommended you give three sound reasons at least as to why this particular problem has personal and societal significance, and provide a minimum of two good problem-related examples.
- State the purpose of your thesis.
Here, you can start by saying something along the lines of, “the real purpose of this research is to analyze, change, evaluate, interpret, or understand … (state the problem here).”
The goal of your thesis should be fully explained, and it should be some type of investigative project.
- Say how significant this issue is.
Remain focused on how beneficial your proposed study is rather than on the problem.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who asks you, “what does it matter?” Make sure the rationale behind your argument is persuasive. For example, you should be able to answer these questions: “Why is this research work important?” “Who will benefit from it?” “What will happen if this study is or is not undertaken?”
- Describe the methods you will use.
Use technical terminology and/or language to describe your perspective on this project and set out any current and possibly future views you have or may previously have had on the subject.
Name three methods available to you to complete your proposed research, and explain the feasibility or appropriateness of each one. Choose the most suitable methodology.
- Review any relevant literature on the subject.
Find and describe in brief terms any theories or studies that support and/or oppose your methods or approach. Essentially, this means putting the research you are proposing into context by critically analyzing various studies and works of literature.
Make sure you mention any alternative approaches or methods that others have used to study this particular problem or question.
- Develop your hypotheses.
In clear and succinct terms, say what results you are expecting your research work or study to yield.
Focus on the substance of your expected findings and not so much on your testing methods.
- Define any terms you will be using.
It is important you explain the precise meaning of every term you will be using to investigate the problem and in your purpose and methods sections. Explain any terms that might confuse your readers if they are left undefined.
Use analogies, descriptions, examples, synonyms, and so on to define every term in the clearest possible manner. Every theoretical term should be defined as it would be by the creator(s) of those theories.
- Explain any assumptions you are making.
Any conditions that are left untested or cannot be tested should be explained, as should any world viewpoints, beliefs or fundamental values being assumed in your work.
These explanations should also cover any assumptions associated with your methodologies such as your view of various analytical and data collection methods. Let your readers know about any biases you have.