Before writing a thesis, a student is first required to submit a thesis proposal for approval. This is, however, can be a daunting task, especially for first-timers. A writer should put several things into consideration when planning this stage of your academic work. Among these is the structure of the thesis. The structure of your work may determine the practicability of your topic to fit in.
Things to consider when structuring a proposal
When structuring your research proposal, you need to include the following:
- A research topic
- What is the existing research on the selected topic and which of them are you trying to develop or contradict?
- Set out your research question
- What process will you employ to collect your research data
- What technique would be adopted to analyze and utilize the collected data? You do this while being mindful of your research purpose and statement of the problem.
Purpose of a Thesis Proposal
Preferably, most students would wish to go straight ahead to write the actual thesis without having to struggle with a proposal. Nonetheless, if you can’t write a proposal, then how would you manage the main research? The thesis proposal serves as the ‘foundation’ of your thesis. It should prove that
- Your thesis topic is relevant to the study field.
- You can collect the needed data to support your claims
- Have adopted the right methodology to investigate the topic and come up with deserving findings.
- To demonstrate your ability to your ability commence a research
If these points are clearly summarized to communicate your intentions, then you’ve been able to clear an important hurdle. However, aspire for great work and not a perfect one. You cannot come out with perfect research devoid of flaws. Take it as a contribution to your field of studies and other researchers would pick it up from there.
Structure of a Thesis Proposal
The proposal structure and that of the actual thesis are almost the same. In fact, you can use most of the information/materials in the proposal for the thesis itself. A thesis proposal structure must contain
- Abstract. The abstract summarizes your entire proposal in about 200 to 300 words. It highlights the important points in the proposal and why they are relevant and its implication to your field of studies. It also tells the reader how you will tackle the actual thesis.
- Table of contents. It contains all the contents of the proposal in the order they appear. The numbering of your heading and subheadings should follow.
- Introduction. Your introduction should be the magic wand of your proposal. It should be written in a way that your readers would want more of it. The introduction should contain your thesis statement and must briefly elaborate on your topic. It also sets the background for your thesis proposal.
- Thesis declaration. The thesis proposal declaration can be in the form of a hypothesis, a statement, or a studies inquiry. It narrows down the terms of your research and clearly defines its relevance.
- Methodology. In this chapter, you describe to your readers the approach or methods you will adopt in collecting and processing data. Will you collect data through interviews, surveys, or use existing data. You need to also state what aspects of the data collected would be used in the research.
- Research significance. Some aspects of your research area might have been already explored. So what do you intend to add or contribute to the existing knowledge? Also, how significant is this new information to your field of studies?
- References. It is important to cite every foreign information you included in your proposal. This should comprise direct quotes and paraphrases. If you are oblivious of your university’s referencing style, consult your head of department.