What Is a Thesis Proposal? Find the Definition Here!
Thousands of students all over the world type various requests in search engines, one of the popular ones being “what is a thesis proposal?” Indeed, although almost everyone has to deal with this assignment at some point in the process of studying, not all the students have a clear understanding of thesis proposal definition, which of course affects the writing process. In general, a thesis proposal is a brief and comprehensive overview of the future dissertation that shows the researcher’s vision and demonstrates how he or she will handle the study. Based on the proposal’s effectiveness, the thesis topic can be approved or denied by the professors’ board.
Obviously, writing a doctoral thesis proposal is an enormous responsibility for anyone, which places a lot of pressure on young researchers. Working on such a significant piece of writing without relevant experience and skills can become a sheer struggle, stressful and exhausting. Thus, it is good to get prepared to the process of writing and find out what should be avoided. To help you get informed, we have developed a step-by-step guide on how to write a thesis proposal easily. Use this plan in order to ensure a stress-free and well-organized writing process.
Create an Outline
A proper thesis proposal outline is essential for the general organization of your work process on the thesis itself and on the proposal in particular. Since dissertation is a rather voluminous and complex kind of paper that contains many sections and tons of information, it is extremely important to arrange all the content in a clear and consecutive structure. If you succeed at this stage, all the next parts of work will go smoothly and easily.
Obviously, a good outline is tightly linked to the thesis’ structure, and in order to include all the required sections, one has to know the basic elements of a dissertation.
Follow the Structure
The thesis proposal components may vary depending on the topic, educational establishments and individual requirements of your professor, but the basic elements include the following:
- Thesis Statement
- Tasks and deadlines
- Expected results
Let us discuss every section of the plan in a more detailed way.
The next thing your professor will see after the thesis proposal cover page is the abstract. As a rule, this is a paragraph that summarizes the content and purpose of your paper and shows the reader what should be expected further.
The main purpose of the opening part is presenting a thesis proposal in a brief and engaging way. The target audience, i.e. the committee, should get the general idea about your proposal from its introduction, and decide whether they want to keep reading on not. Thus, make a concise overview of your future study, explain why it matters, and mention the central research issue that your thesis will evolve around. Remember to explain the terms or definitions related to the topic and end the introduction with a thesis statement.
Placed at the end of the introductory part, a thesis statement is your main message. What does your proposal try to convey to the readers? What is the main argument it will be defending? These should be the questions behind that statement.
A thesis statement in some cases can be contained in a hypothesis that your paper will try to prove. In such case, you need to provide a background for your study, create a context for it. Summarize the research papers that have led you to the hypothesis, formulate it clearly, and declare your intention to defend it in your dissertation.
In addition, you should make a smooth transition from your introduction to the research methods that you chose for your thesis. Thus, when referring to the existing studies on your topic, make sure to mention the existing approaches used by different authors. In your next section, you will indicate the ones that you chose and that will work best for your paper.
All in all, your thesis statement should balance between a dry scientific presentation and a detailed explanation for the newcomers. Your proposal will probably be read by the professors who may not be familiar with your topic and its terminology, so make sure you make it understandable for them as well. In order to check if everything is clear to the unbiased audience, ask one of your friends to read the proposal and tell you if any clarifications are needed.
In this section of your thesis proposal essay, you should tell about the research approaches you will use in your dissertation. Explain your choice, supporting it with arguments. How will the methods help you to address the research questions? Why are these methods suitable for your particular topic? What tools will you need to conduct the study?
Here, you need to discuss how you will analyze the data gathered in the course of your research. How will you count it? How will you group the results? What will be done next? Mention the procedures and actions that will be applied at this stage.
Tasks and deadlines
Since it can take from a few months to several years to write a thesis, it is important to create a realistic work schedule where every task would have its consecutive order and a deadline. This way, you can show the professors that you know how to organize your work and handle the various stages of research. It is advisory to plan some extra time for emergencies and unexpected delays too.
Although it is almost impossible to predict what will be discovered in the course of thesis writing, there are still certain plans and expectations that every researcher has while starting the study. Based on your hypothesis and methodology chosen, make assumptions about the results that may be found in your thesis and discuss them in this section.
Step 3: Planning Your Writing
Any thesis proposal guide will tell you that time management is the key condition for any researcher’s success. Make sure that you do everything in a consecutive order; otherwise, you can keep jumping from one task to another, not really finishing any of them. We offer the following order of actions for proposal writing:
- Create an outline
- Gather all the existing literature on your topic
- Find the related methods and approaches
- Define the main terminology and key notions
- Assume what can be discovered in your thesis
- Write the introduction
- Work on the abstract
- Reference the sources in accordance with the required thesis proposal format
When all the planning, preparation, and scheduling is done, there is no need to postpone the actual writing process. Follow your outline and the offered work plan, and simply complete section by section. It is good to have clear time limits for creating the proposal, as this way you will know how many words a day are your obligatory minimum of work.
It is advisable to write the proposal from the third person, as the formal style often suggests. In general, keep your writing concise, clearly formulated, and with proper language. Stick to the structure in order to maintain all the essential elements and ensure quality content.
Many students exhale with a sense of relief when their proposal is ready, and think that they can take this burden off their shoulders. However, it is too soon to relax at this point, because the final part of the work is always the most intensive and requires a total focus. Once your paper is ready, you need to proofread it carefully and revise some of its parts if necessary.
Here are the tips on how to make your proofreading more effective:
- Take a pause before proofreading. Rest for a few days or at least one night: a fresh view will give you a clear vision of the work’s flaws.
- Read it out loud. Hearing your own sentences is very different from reading them, and many new aspects can be noticed.
- Let your fellow researchers read the paper and provide their feedbacks to you.
- Run your paper through a grammar checking program.
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