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How To Write A Thesis Proposal Outline

There are certain documents and processes that you must complete when undertaking things such as a Masters Degree or majors program. One of the first documents you will create is actually a thesis proposal. As you will see, this paper is extremely important. Most university bodies will require that part of a project include writing a thesis proposal – without one, you could fail the whole course. In this article, we look at exactly what a master thesis proposal is and examples of how to write one.

What is a thesis proposal?

First and foremost, you must understand exactly what a thesis proposal outline is. This document is a detailed breakdown of what your thesis project will contain. You will submit this document to a committee within your university, and they will analyze it for approval. Once they had read the contents, they will decide if the topic and thesis you have chosen are acceptable. This is why it is important you know how to write thesis proposal documents – it can have a great bearing on the rest of your semester and university education.

A topic proposal outline such as this will contain numerous things such as – the main subject, your actual proposed thesis statement, literature reviews, and a statement of your methodology and references used. All of this info is extremely useful as professors can analyze it and see the potential worth of your project. It will help them understand if what you have chosen is worthwhile, and can potentially score you high marks.

Masters thesis Proposal Format

As stated above, there is actually a general format used for this form of paper. Templates and structure can vary slightly (as seen in the examples below), but the general contents remain the same. These contents include – introduction, thesis statement, research questions, methodology, research design, literature review, and references. In the sections below we describe these different components in greater detail:

General format for a thesis proposal outline

  • Introduction
  • Thesis Statement
  • Research Questions
  • Methodology and research design
  • Literature Review
  • References

Introduction – The introduction should generally be 1 page long. Remember that it is important to avoid plagiarism in thesis outlines – ensure that all of your text is original and your own work. The introduction should simply state your main topic. It should also discuss why this subject has relevance and is worthy of analyzing. More importantly, the intro will state your specific train of thought and scope of your overall research.

Thesis Statement - A thesis statement will draw from what you have outlined in the introduction. This will state your question and exactly what your project will contain. A thesis statement should only be a short, concise paragraph.

Research Questions – Research questions are an important aspect of a master's thesis outline. Your research is important as it provides evidence to back up your thesis. You must be able to show that you have considered how the research benefits your documentation, and what exactly you expect to use the research for. This is why you must compile a list of research questions within your topic proposal outline.

Methodology and research design – Stating your methodology is an important part of the master's thesis proposal outline. This states how you will go about your work. It states what methods you will use to compile data, use research, and write your text. Moreover, it will also state your selection methods for research and what criteria you use. This is important because the professors and committee can see that you are using sound methods and that your thought process is adequate.

Literature Review – A detailed literature review is required to further document your research and source material. It should be organized and explain the research that is specifically related to your topic and thesis. It could include the main arguments and trains of thought relating to your topic. Moreover, it could also include a personal critique of the literature and research you have used. This could mean that you point out potential flaws that you have found or instances where the research falls short. By creating a literature review, you are demonstrating that you understand the research you are using and how it can affect your work.

References – As you will be including references from other sources in your work, you must clearly document them. You must cite the different authors that you have used for research and any material that you have included. This gives due credit and ensures that the master thesis proposal is free of plagiarism.  

Thesis proposal template/example

To help understand exactly what is required from a thesis template, we have listed three of the major bodies responsible for creating formats. These bodies are APA, MLA, and Chicago. In the text below, we have listed what these different templates mean and what their format commonly contain.

APA

APA = American Psychological Association

This is actually the largest organization in the US that deals specifically with psychology. The organization includes people from different professions, such as education, science, and medicine. APA is actually responsible for creating different guidelines – they are noted for creating the APA citation format, for example. The APA research proposal style includes the following elements – paper title, abstract, introduction, citation of sources, proposed method, participants, design, and procedure.

MLA

MLA – Modern Language Association

This is the main organization within the United States that deals primarily with literature and language. Currently, member count is over 25,000. As with APA, MLA is responsible for creating common citation formats, but also a thesis proposal outline. MLA thesis proposal includes an introduction, thesis statement, and a conclusion.

Chicago

The Chicago Manual Style has been used for many years (since 1906 in fact). It is widely used in many disciplines and areas of research. The Chicago style includes rules for document formatting, grammar, and punctuation. It also states that any sources should be cited in the correct format.

Which type of template you use will depend entirely upon the preference of your university course. Moreover, it will depend upon your studies and which subject your thesis statement is related too. Don’t forget that you can always gain help and buy thesis project outlines if you are struggling. This form of document is really important. If you put in the effort however, you can get it right and ensure that your thesis is approved.

Need assistance with writing proposal?

We hope you have found this guide on writing a thesis proposal useful. Remember that this is the document that could potentially get your ideas and work approved. You must, therefore, take great care when creating your thesis and outline. Ensure that you plan your work, use the correct format, and include all of the relevant information.

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