How to Write a Perfect Thesis Proposal

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

19 min



How to Write a Perfect Thesis Proposal

How to write a thesis proposal? This question has been asked for many years by all graduate students. Scientific research is always a severe intellectual and physical effort.

Requirements for structure and content are regularly updated to meet international standards. Thesis topics that were relevant a few years ago can today consider non-innovative, stereotyped material. Universal tips will help you not to miss the main thing.

  1. Don't try to be objective. Mostly do not write in your thesis proposal that you adhered to the principle of objectivity. This is stupidity, and nobody believes in it. In the social sciences, objectivity arises from the dialogue between friends and enemies. We can say that this is the friendship of enmity. Someone takes one position, someone else, and objectivity, as a rule, is somewhere in between. Better to admit right away that you are subjective and don't fool people.
  2. DO NOT take your thesis proposal seriously. No such work is genuinely scientific. This is not science, but only a science pass. It's like being able to buy a ticket and get into a good theater. Your main task is to write a document quickly, make it investigated, submit, and protect.
  3. Write every day. If you write, you keep yourself in shape. For an athlete, these are daily exercises; for a scientist, these are scriptures. Try yourself in different genres and experiment.
  4. Sense of humor. If no one laughed at your lectures or speeches at least once, then you showed yourself badly. When people start joking, the ice begins to melt. Your listeners feel equal to you. If you can fool well, it will be easier for you to win the audience's favor.
  5. Learn languages. There is no need to debate that knowledge of languages in the modern world is essential. The scientist needs to know the context, the history of a particular issue, and the context is never limited to the United States. Our country is part of the global world. Therefore, before analyzing American problems, one must understand global ones.

What is a Thesis Proposal?

Many students don't know what a thesis proposal is. This is a special, strictly defined form of work with a scientific and qualification nature, prepared for public protection and obtaining an academic degree. Today, the availability of an academic degree is gaining in popularity. But novice researchers who begin scientific work on writing a thesis, as a rule, have a lot of questions related to the search for information, the method of writing, the design, and procedure for its public protection.

So, the thesis definition sounds like this - this is an experimental work with a qualifying nature. It is worth noting that there is often confusion about the concepts of "academic degree" and "academic title." An academic degree is a doctorate or candidate for a science degree, which is awarded based on the defense of a doctoral or candidate dissertation; the academic title is the professor or associate professor's title, which awards success in the scientific and pedagogical activity.

The thesis must prepare individually. It should contain a set of new scientific results and provisions put forward for public protection. As a scientific work, it must have internal unity and testify its author's contribution to science.

Main Features of a Good Thesis Proposal

Officially, the thesis has the following features:

  • Scientific research is carried out personally by the author;
  • The work contains a set of new scientific results and provisions;
  • The document has an internal unity;
  • The paper indicates the personal contribution of the applicant to the development of a scientific problem;
  • New solutions proposed by the author are clearly stated, reasoned, and critically correlated with previously known scientific developments;
  • The new author's solutions indicate - information sources testify to this, indicating information gleaned from them.
  • The experiment results present for public defense.

New ideas proposed in work should be reasoned and critically evaluated compared to the previously known ideas described. Documents of applied importance should provide information on the practical use of the author's scientific results and recommendations on using scientific findings in theoretical importance papers.

The paper should also provide scientific information in the complete form, necessarily disclosing the results and the experiment's course and describing the research methodology. The completeness of scientific data should reflect the most detailed factual material present, including detailed justifications, hypotheses, broad historical excursions, and parallels.

Thesis Proposal Step by Step Writing Guide

Analyzing the methodology for writing a thesis proposal, it is essential to note that goals and objectives should be set in the work. The main aspects of elaborating a particular problem are analyzed, a methodology or an organizational mechanism for solving the assigned tasks develop, scientific ideas for defense are determined, and the research topic teste. There are many requirements, so let's see from which steps you should start writing a work:

  1. Choose an exciting area of the experiment;
  2. Ask well-defined questions;
  3. Outline your work;
  4. Know the structure;
  5. Write your thesis proposal;
  6. Proof the proposal.

Choose an Interesting Area of Research

Choosing a thesis proposal is a critical step for a graduate student. A poorly chosen name can subsequently cause unnecessary problems in the preparation and defense process. Replacing a topic that is inconvenient for writing a dissertation is a waste of time and effort. The exceptional importance of a rational, informed choice of the work topic is also because the title largely determines the work's content and embodies the main attributes - relevance, novelty, scientific value.

It is better to choose a topic that will not cause great difficulties or one you already have an individual experience. On the other hand, it is necessary to determine what is in demand today, which is very relevant, promising, and not very problematic, and will not cause unnecessary disputes.

In most cases, you shouldn't choose a topic that you've worked on before. In this regard, it is advisable to refer to the thesis statement examples or catalogs of abstracts. Simultaneously, the document may contain a new solution to the problem already considered earlier, because science never stands still.

After the topic's actual choice, a plan is drawn up, and a justification for the study's relevance is written. It indicates the significance of the issue, the purpose of the study, research objectives, subject and object of the experiment, expected scientific novelty.

Ask Well-defined Questions for Your Thesis

You should not choose a problem that is actively discusses in the press, which requires an immediate solution. It may solve before the defense passes, and time will waste. It is also recommended to avoid controversial issues that have both their supporters and opponents. It is unknown who the opponent will be; it is quite possible - the enemy, so are the Academic Council members.

To formulate an experiment problem, the degree seeker follows a systematic approach. Suppose the abstract is drawn up in technical disciplines. In that case, the author analyzes all the theoretical and practical information on the document's topic, carefully separating the secondary ones' fundamental data.

Recommendations for formulating the problem:

  • dividing the main question into several additional ones;
  • systematization of available data, setting a sequence of answers to small questions describing the main problem;
  • identification of studied and unexplored parts of the issue under consideration.

Outline Your Work

To outline the work, you need to make a plan. For the entire period of work on a project, several experiment plans can be drawn up. Often, the final plan can differ significantly from the original.

The plan should never be "so urgently requested by the supervisor." Having studied bibliographic sources on the experiment topic, having estimated your developments' direction and volume, your capabilities, and abilities should draw up a real plan. If ideas for future work have not yet formed, you can draw up several versions of it, marking the questions through a hyphen it planned to disclose within the working framework.

Even though there are no strict requirements for the number of sections and subparagraphs, you need to be guided by common sense. A document cannot consist of one section and a section with one subparagraph. Recently, there have even been certain stereotypes, for example, regarding the number of sections. In particular, teachers are very often limited to two sections, while in many other specialties, it is customary to write at least three of them. It is better if the following points of the plan will somehow logically follow from the previous ones and balance themselves in terms of volume (number of pages).

Know the Structure

The structure of the text can vary depending on the tasks and is determined by the author individually. Some students choose the right structure, others not quite. As a result, some texts are easy to read: verbatim or diagonally, while others confuse the reader and plunge his mind into a chaos of misunderstanding.

All students need to know the logic structure. This structure's peculiarity: each subsequent paragraph follows from the previous one or is related to it, directly or indirectly. This is very convenient for creating texts that analyze something with the following conclusions.

The structure of the text largely determines its future success. In each case, the structure is selected based on the tasks that are set for the material. The main thing is for the reader to have the opportunity to receive the information he needs in the most accessible way, and at the same time, not get tired and not get lost. In this case, the reader will be grateful to you, as the author means that your works were not done in vain.

Write Your Thesis Proposal

When you have thoroughly done the previous steps of the work, start writing the proposal, which will allow you to fully concentrate on the research and not think about an unfinished plan. It is advisable to write all parts (introduction, theoretical and practical sections) in turn, since, in the end, they should represent a logical chain of interrelated information. You can also use the similar writing technique of separate paragraphs, since sometimes when writing a theory, great ideas for a practical section arise. It is essential not to "lose" them from memory.

Do not violate the rules of logic in the document: the thoughts, hypotheses, scientific conclusions you submitted should not contradict each other; if contradictions cannot avoid, be sure to make appropriate comments on them. As you write the main parts, there may be a need for new sources, do not be afraid to add them, changing the original list. It is better not to delay writing the work's main text, since it may be necessary to redo it several more times (remove the unnecessary, add the required).

Proof the Proposal

Justification confirms the thesis's truth, giving convincing arguments. Methods (types) of justification:

Boolean arguments:

  • Facts (presented in sentences fixing empirical knowledge).
  • Conclusions of science (theory, hypothesis, axioms, etc.).
  • Statistics (quantitative indicators of the development of production, society).
  • Objective indicators of the state of affairs.
  • Nature laws.
  • A definition whose task is to generalize, to give an idea of the subject as part of a broader category.
  • The provisions of legal laws, official documents, ordinances, and other regulations that must follow.
  • Experimental data.
  • Eyewitness accounts.

Illustrative example arguments. In contrast to a fact, an example has a visual descriptive form; its task is to explain the understanding of the hypothesis, to prove its correctness:

specific example:

  • an example-message about an event (taken from life, tells the case that took place);
  • literary example (illustration from a well-known work);

A conjectural example (tells about what could have happened under certain conditions).

Authority links:

  • the opinion of a well-known, respected person - a scientist, philosopher, public figure, etc .;
  • a quote from an authoritative source;
  • the opinion of a specialist, expert;
  • appeal to the experience and common sense of the audience;
  • the opinion of eyewitnesses;
  • public opinion, reflecting how it is customary to speak, act, evaluate something in society.

Key Elements of Thesis Proposal

Writing a scientific work in each case is a unique experience, and therefore there is no consensus on how to structure it properly. When preparing a document, you should probably consult with your supervisor. It will be useful to flip through other authors' scientific papers and consider your research project's topic.

All thesis proposals are unique to some extent, but one should hardly deviate too far from the classical structure that is customary to follow when preparing a scientific work. The first possibility is to structure the text as a series of journal articles that could submit for publication in one of the professional journals in your area of expertise. Such a structure will save you unnecessary effort. You will not have to write a separate thesis and separate articles for publication; however, this view may seem too innovative to some professors. Check out the classic thesis-format:

  • Title page;
  • Abstract;
  • Table of contents;
  • Introduction;
  • Questions;
  • Literature review;
  • Methods of research;
  • Conclusion;
  • Reference list.

Title Page

The title page is its first page, containing the work's main parameters and the author. The title page contains:

  • the name of the organization where the work was carried out, surname, name, patronymic of the author;
  • job title;
  • the code and name of the specialty for which the work will be protected;
  • an indication of the degree to which the applicant is applying;
  • surname, name, patronymic, academic title, and degree of the supervisor or scientific consultant.

Tips for designing a title page:

  • Please do not put the page number on the title page, but consider it while counting. Start page numbering on the next sheet with the number 2;
  • The title page write is on standard sheets (A4 format), in the settings of the editor's Word and Google Docs, specify the book orientation, mark the page margins: left - 30 mm, top - 20 mm, right - 10 mm, bottom - 25 mmph, the text is placed on one side of the sheet;
  • When filling out the title page, use Times New Roman font size 14. At the bottom of the page, write the city where the job indicates, and the defense year indicates.


It is necessary to know that your work summary should contain all the selected research topic's specifics. So, suppose you need to write annotations in the field of the humanities. In that case, it will be more voluminous since such a presentation presupposes the presence of visual language tools. But such methods will no longer be so justified in technical disciplines, where the text should be more concise and informative.

Do you know what is an abstract in a thesis? An abstract is an effective way of conveying information to an interested reader about a study's results. When compiling a summary, it must resort to the instrumental type tools to deliver the information component more effectively. Annotations allow readers to learn about the main findings of the scientific work done.

Table of Contents

The Table of Contents is an essential element. The main objective of the content is to display the sequence of structural elements of the document accurately. The author prohibits from spontaneously changing the arrangement's order - this is considered a gross mistake.

The word "Table of Contents" is separated from the list of headings by one indent. The names of the structural elements must be identical to those indicated in the thesis (the full coincidence of graphic and verbal display)

All points are put down according to the principle of continuous numbering. The first paragraph always indicates the introduction (the rule is relevant in the absence of a preface, abbreviations, and symbols). The last is a list of sources or applications used (if any). All pages are subject to obligatory numbering and indication in the content (including the number of sheets for the main sections, appendices, introduction, bibliographic list).


The introduction is a mandatory element of research at any level. Even in scientific articles that do not require an introduction as a structural section, its function assumes the annotation and the article's immediate beginning. In this regard, the thesis differs little from the term paper - the requirements for its structure are quite typical. Despite some features of the needs of each university, the introduction proposes to built according to the following structure:

  • Relevance, i.e., the adequacy of the study of modern reality, including scientific and practical. The presence of this item allows you to prove that your work answers fundamental questions of our time;
  • Theoretical elaboration. This paragraph implies not only a presentation of the primary sources used but also a summary of their essence;
  • Based on the previous paragraph, it is possible to substantiate the scientific novelty of the research;
  • Object and subject and research framework;
  • Because the essence of any scientific work is to test the truth or falsity of the hypotheses put forward, a mandatory point of the introduction is the working hypothesis of the research;
  • Purpose and objectives, as well as research methods;
  • Scientific and practical significance.


Questions are some contradictory situations that have arisen due to work, have determined the research topic, and require their resolution due to research work. The problem determines the tactics and strategy of work. It should be clear from the wording of the topic: what is wrong; why not; what happens if you do it right.

The question is understood as the contradiction between the desired future and the real situation, which is most often expressed in the absence, lack of something, inconsistency between one part of reality and another. The correct wording of the research question must meet the requirements:

  • it should be indicated explicitly that in practice, it does not correspond to the ideal situation described in theory;
  • the wording of the question should indicate why the practice does not correspond to the theory.

Literature Review

A literature review is considered the most challenging chapter of scientific work to write. This is due to both the objective difficulties, consisting of the need to search for and critical processing of a large volume of literature and the fact that a literary review is usually a pen test. It is during its implementation that graduate students learn to formulate their thoughts correctly.

Before writing a literature review, it is necessary to formulate the idea that it should carry in itself. First of all, the purpose review describes what understudy at the time research and determine the place of this research in the knowledge system on the issue under study. Moreover, the literature review should, if possible, justify the need for research. It is necessary to show that the course of the issue raised in work, on the one hand, is relevant and promising, and on the other hand, it has not been carried out yet or has not been carried out in sufficient volume.

Methods of Research

The research method is a set of techniques and rules that a researcher uses to obtain new knowledge and facts, discover new laws, formulations of categories, improve the theory, and develop sound practical recommendations. The characteristic of the methodological part of the final qualification work involves the description of methods for collecting scientific and valuable information and its processing.

The methodology is the sequence of solving particular problems based on the selected research method, a system of conditions, requirements, and limitations. For example, the chosen method of chain substitutions is concretized in the methodology by a specific sequence of calculations: quantitative indicators (factors) evaluate, then - qualitative ones. The research methods and thesis methodology chapter serve as tools in solving the stated research goal.


In conclusion, the most critical findings on the work, in general, are given. Conclusions should strictly correspond to the work's goals and objectives, formulated in the introduction, and reflect the scientific and practical value of the results to which the author came.In conclusion, applying the results and the prospects for the further development of this scientific direction can discuss.

Reference List

Without the reference list, the teacher will not accept your work. With the help of this section, the reader can see how you applied the knowledge in practice. You can safely confirm your thoughts using accurate facts, statistics, quotes, borrowing from various sources. Suppose you carefully study the culture and ethics of scientific work. In that case, you will notice that a well-written literature list, bibliographic references, footnotes are information that you are an educated researcher and know all the requirements. Therefore, when compiling a reference list, follow our advice:

  1. It is recommended to submit a single list for the work as a whole. Each source is mentioned in the list only once, regardless of how often it refers to in the text.
  2. The list must be numbered.
  3. Depending on the principle underlying the grouping of works, the following bibliography types are distinguished: alphabetical, where all scientific works of the authors arrange in alphabetical order, that is, first the surname and then the works; if the names of the authors not indicate, place the list in the order that you used in work.
  4. Official documents occupy a special place in the list of references. They are always placed at the beginning of the list in a specific order:
    • The Constitution;
    • Codes;
    • The laws;
    • Presidential decrees;
    • Government Decree;
    • Other regulations (letters, orders, etc.).

Professional Tips: Figures and Grammar

Illustrations and tables should be placed in the thesis directly on the page with the text after the paragraph they mention for the first time, or separately on the next page. They should locate so that it is convenient to view them without turning the thesis or turning it clockwise. Illustrations and tables, which locate on separate sheets of the dissertation, are included in the general page numbering. If they are more extensive than A4, they are placed on an A3 sheet and counted as one page.

Illustrations and tables are designated respectively by the words "figure" and "table" and are numbered sequentially within each chapter. All tables and illustrations should reference in the text. The words "figure," "table" in figure captions, tables, and links to them are not abbreviated.

We also recommend checking grammar using programs. They will show you syntactic, punctuation, linguistic errors. Right in the program, you promote to replace the wrong word or correct errors.

User ratings:

User ratings is 4.5 stars.

4.5/5 (8 Votes)

I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

Add Your Comment

We are very interested to know your opinion

Name Email


Get Help