How to prepare yourself for writing a proposal?

Writing a thesis proposal is basically presenting an outline of the research you are planning to do on the topic of your thesis. It’s intended to demonstrate to your thesis committee, advisor, or mentor that you are prepared to move forward with the thesis. Think of it as being analogous to the blueprint of a house. If your proposal is well written, clear, and concise, your mentor or committee will be able to look at it and envision what your final thesis will be like in a positive way.


There are five elements of your proposal with which you should be particularly concerned if you wish for the proposal to be accepted early in the process. These are as follows:

  • Hypothesis, thesis statement, or problem you intend to solve
  • Make sure you can state your topic as a clear, defensible statement. It needs to be specific enough that you can defend it, and that someone else could argue against it. Steer clear of vague, qualifying, and imprecise terminology

  • Why the research you are planning to do is important
  • Basically, you need to justify the work you are about to put into this topic. Ideally, you could find an authority in your field that says somewhere that the research you are planning to do would be of benefit to the academic community. However, if you can’t do that, consider how the research will change or expand on current ideas and approach it in this manner.

  • Prior research that is significant to your thesis
  • You don’t have to know everything that’s been done on the topic thus far, but have at least a solid foundation in the background of your topic. It will not go well if you haven’t read up on the topic well enough to know, for example, that your thesis has been disproven or that a very similar thesis has already been written.

  • Research methodology; how you will approach the research process
  • Be as detailed as possible here; this is perhaps the most important part of your proposal, and your advisor will scrutinize your plans closely to ensure that they actually have a chance of success.

  • Any outcomes your research could potentially have; why each of these are important or significant
  • You’ve already defended your research as being important now; now it’s time to consider what future outcomes could result from your research.

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