How to Write a Thesis Proposal

28 Mar

Students often cringe at the challenge of writing a good thesis proposal, uncertain of how to select an appropriate topic (one broad enough to include supportive research, yet specific in theme) and create a polished, professional document. At proofreadingpal.com, we regularly edit thesis proposals of all shapes and sizes. Some papers require only minor polishing and helpful suggestions for clarification where needed, but other papers require a great deal of work in all areas—grammar and punctuation, sentence structure, document organization, and style formatting. Below are some helpful tips on how to select and write a good thesis proposal.

First, evaluate the scope of the task at hand. The length and required elements of thesis proposals may vary from class to class, so it is important that you verify the specifics with your instructor. However, good thesis proposals generally contain the following elements (in this order).

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement
  • Methodology
  • Preliminary results and discussion
  • Work plan, including timetable
  • Implications of research
  • List of references

Keeping in mind the length and elements required for your proposal, identify several potential directions that clearly relate to your discipline. Do a quick online search for previous research on each of your potential topics because you will need to cite other sources to support your claims. Although your proposal should indeed be unique, the support of experts in closely related fields will provide validity for your conclusions.

Once you have selected your topic, you should collect and evaluate related research and the methodology required for solving the problems you address within your paper. Do remember, however, that although outside sources are essential to a good paper, they are meant to provide support for your claims, not replace them.

Make an outline before beginning the actual writing of your thesis proposal, jotting down the issues to be addressed within each section of your paper. You will need to report the results of your analysis in an organized manner, clearly and concisely identifying not only the issue(s) that your paper addresses but also appropriate methods of data analysis and possible solutions.

Remember to follow the style appropriate for your field of study (i.e., APA, MLA, Chicago), and always verify with your instructor the specific requirements for the paper. Finally, review your paper for organization, style, sentence structure, and grammar. Consider also sending it to an experienced proofreading service, such as proofreadingpal.com, that can offer a reliable second opinion, identifying areas that may require further clarification and helping you to polish your paper.

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