The aim of a thesis proposal is to provide a preliminary view of an intended research on a given problem for your dissertation. It also identifies the research resources and the methods of data collection and the schedule for the research process. Similar to other types of academic papers, students should learn the basics of both research and writing to develop a good paper. Following the thesis proposals’ guideline is also essential in attaining approval from your instructor to proceed to work on the dissertation.
Structure of a Thesis Proposal
Students present their ideas in a proposal as per the approved structure. Here is the basic structure which can also be seen in any thesis proposal example:
- 1. Title page
It contains a short and descriptive title of your thesis project which should be easy to understand. In addition, you will provide the author’s name, in this case, you, the name of your institution, professor’s name and date of submission. It is important to note that the presentation of this information will vary with the formatting style required.
- 2. Abstract
It is a brief presentation of what will be in your thesis. It should not exceed 200 words. The aim is to introduce the reader or examiner to the topic area that you will cover in your thesis. Clearly, state the problem and how you intend to resolve it. You can also add a few approaches of how you will address the issue and a possible impact if your work is completed successfully. Despite the abstract being among the first items, it is advisable to write it last as it a summary of your paper.
- 3. Introduction
This section not only sets the context for your intended project but also must capture the reader’s interest. You can highlight one or two problem statement that you intend to tackle and explain its background up to a point where the reader understands your research question entirely. Provide a literature review of what is known about your topic area in relation to your thesis. You can consider the work of various authors for literature review citing the relevant references. Make it easy for the readers to understand by a smooth transition from availing the background information to resonating with you about your problem statement.
- 4. Thesis Statement
A thesis statement outlines the intent of your project briefly placing boundaries around it. You can use a hypothesis, project statement, goal statement or research question to present it.
- 5. Methods or approach
This segment contains your approach towards solving the problem. Describe the approach to use while solving your problem. Which methods do you incorporate? How will you collect and analyze data? What materials will you use for your project to attain the results? Detailing your work in this segment is essential. You need to procedures, equipment, calculations, graphs and techniques that you will utilize. In case of any assumptions, limitations or range of validity, do state. Note that you will not provide the results and discussions in these segment.
- 6. Preliminary Results And Discussion
In this section of your thesis proposal, you will provide the results and discuss if they align with the framework of your thesis.
- 7. Work Plan
This step is optional depending on the guidelines from your instructor. Some instructors will require you to provide your work plan from the beginning to the end of your project. It means you need to include a timetable with some time aspect on when you are likely to complete every task. You can also include the challenges you predict to encounter and how you intend to deal with them.
- 8. Your Research Implications
Other than the existing information about your problem, will your project bring forth more knowledge about it? Is it worth it? Are there any other implications you expect?
- 9. List Of References
Referencing is important for any thesis proposal. It will reduce your chances of plagiary and provide proof for the work done. You should cite all the data, ideas or concepts that are not yours. Back up your factual statements with a citation. The referencing format will vary with the instructions.
Qualities of an Excellent Proposal
Every student strives to develop a good proposal as a pass to work on their dissertations. The dissertation contributes a huge part in their final score. Helping you understand some of the dissertation traits that will attract the interests of the examiner will help you work efficiently towards your goals. These qualities include:
- Your energy and interests
It is so easy to tell if someone is passionate about what he or she is writing. That is why it is always advisable for students to select a topic they resonate with for ease to deliver and have fun while tackling it. Your examiner can read the mood of your thesis proposal from the first paragraph. He or she will either take time to understand your concepts better or just blush it off and move on to the next proposal. Make sure your proposal shines with passion.
Your intended project should be clear in terms of the problem statement, how you want to solve it and your goals. Ensure that your goals are measurable and your plan is outcome-based and clear too. The manner in which you transition from one idea to another should be smooth. Avoid ambiguity as it may interrupt the flow and understanding of your work.
Your work should reflect that you are knowledgeable on the selected topic. Take time to research and understand the topic. You can inquire from an expert or your instructor in case of any difficulties. If the problem statement proves difficult to deliver, go for another one that you are conversant with to enhance your performance. Look at how a thesis proposal example has been written. You need to convince your instructor that this problem can indeed be solved by the solutions you have proposed so research and be knowledgeable.
The outcome-based program that you choose should be effective in terms of measuring the success of your project. Does the proposed solution match and cater to the problem stated? This will reflect the complexity of the program as it will match the intricacy of the proposed solution.
- Presentation of your ideas
The manner in which you organize your work will determine the flow of the content. Other than following the structure of a thesis proposal, you need to come up with an organized approach to present the collected information. Preparing an outline before the proposal will help you capture all the relevant information and provide a platform to present in a chronological manner. It is advisable, to begin with, the basics on to the complex explanations. Your reader will follow up with ease and great understanding.
Referencing your work assists in persuading the board examiners to consider your work for approval. It is evident that you have done your research and eliminates any chance of plagiary. Think out of the box when developing your problem statement to avoid a replica of what most students cover. Be keen not to settle for a wide-scope topic that will be challenging at later stages of research. Incorporate some creativity and back up with scholarly references in that thesis proposal.