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The Basic Structure of a Thesis Proposal

05 Jan 2017Writing Tips

Any student pursuing a Master’s or doctoral degree is required to write a thesis or dissertation. However, a thesis proposal usually precedes any dissertation or thesis writing. It is submitted for the consideration of a thesis committee. On the basis of a thesis proposal, the committee will assess whether the whole research is worth undertaking.  If they approve of your proposal, you will be given the green light to carry out the research and write a dissertation or thesis.

Why write a thesis proposal?

The purpose of writing the thesis proposal lies in showing what your dissertation or thesis will deal with. It introduces the research topic, specifies the problem and outlines basic approach to researching it.  Actually, if a thesis proposal is constructed in the right way, it will significantly determine the contents of the actual dissertation or thesis.

The necessary sections of a thesis proposal

Any thesis proposal has a rather solid structure and needs to include certain specific elements in order to convince the committee that the topic in question has to be investigated.

  • A title page will require you to give your name and course, your advisor’s details and mention the phrase stating that your proposal for research is submitted as a partial requirement to obtain a Master’s or doctoral degree depending on your specifics.
  • An abstract has to follow afterwards. Although its word count is usually no more than 200 words, it is a very important component of any thesis proposal. It summarizes its contents in a few brief sentences.
  • In the introduction which follows next, you should present your topic. Here you would need to formulate a thesis statement which can also come in the form of a research question or hypothesis. The primary goal of any introduction is to compel the reader to review your thesis or dissertation proposal.
  • The next part will be a literature review where you will need to analyze the resources on your topic and find their authors’ suggestions for future researches which match with your topic.
  • In the method or approach section it is necessary to outline what research methodology will be used and rationalize your choice. If some preliminary research was conducted, the obtained results should be mentioned as well.
  • In a conclusions chapter, it is recommended to summarize your research rationale and explain what kind of results you expect to get as an outcome of your research. Also, you will be required to address any implications that your research may have and explain how you will deal with them.
  • The references are the last part to be written. They should contain all resources used to conduct the preliminary research. Remember to reference all quotations.

It will take approximately from 1 to 3 months for the researcher to write a decent thesis proposal. It is important to take into account that an excellent thesis proposal gears one’s research and pretty much determines whether it will be successful and useful or not. It is crucial to make every effort and create an outstanding paper in order to get it approved by the committee and be able to obtain your degree.


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