Writing a Thesis Proposal
- What is a thesis proposal?
- How to start a thesis proposal: Tips on how to start
- How to write an abstract
- How to write an introduction
- How to write a thesis statement
- How to describe an approach/method
- How to write about preliminary results and discussion
- How to write a description of the procedure
- How to make a trial table of contents
- Tips on organizing a bibliography
What is a thesis proposal?
A thesis or dissertation is a long paper of specific length which is submitted by candidates for particular educational qualifications, such as Honour’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees, and Ph.D. The thesis is the total sum of the work done by a student over a certain period of time. It sums up their research and findings based on an original topic of their choice.
A thesis is normally long enough. It has chapters rather than paragraphs; but in essentials, it is the same as essays – it has an introduction, a conclusion, and body chapters (paragraphs) which lay out the research in question. Additionally, theses have bibliographies/literature reviews in them, and sometimes one or more appendices.
How to start a thesis proposal: Tips on how to start
A thesis proposal is the shorter paper written before an actual thesis, therefore it needs to contain a clear idea of what the thesis is, the questions and sub-questions that will be asked, and some idea of the initial research which will be done. To start a thesis, first ask yourself what you want to write about: what is your subject? Make sure you know what questions you want to ask and how including how those questions will break down.
- Have a clear thesis statement
- Know what questions you want to ask in the thesis
- Have a good amount of possible research lined up and ready to be used in the proposal
How to write an abstract
An abstract is a page which is found at the start of the thesis. It summarises the work that has been done in the thesis itself, along with highlighting some keywords. While the abstract appears at the start of the thesis, it is best to present it at the end.
An abstract is normally one hundred to one hundred and fifty words in total, so it is important to keep a focus when writing it. Only the important points of the paper should go into an abstract, and they should ideally have some connection to the keywords which are added at the top of the page. The abstract is what briefly covers the entire thesis in a few paragraphs.
How to write an introduction
An introductory chapter is the same as an introductory paragraph; it introduces everything that will follow in the thesis. The introduction is where you bring up your main thesis, your questions, your research, and how you will go about finding the answers you need. The introduction is also where the smaller bits of history and knowledge that are needed for understanding but don’t fit anywhere else, will go.
To write an introduction, break down everything into the appropriate sections. The thesis comes first, and then, history and basic knowledge. Another section can contain the research questions and the explanations for them. Finally, the last section will be used to explain the research being done.
How to write a thesis statement
A thesis statement is the main idea behind someone’s research, condensed into one single sentence. This sentence should appear in the introduction, quite near the beginning, so that everyone reading knows what the research is about.
To write a thesis statement, make sure you know what the ultimate point of your research is, and work on how to condense it down into a sentence. The statement should contain the ultimate point of the research, and maybe reference one of the questions along the way.
Make sure that the thesis statement is clear and understandable. Don’t get bogged down in unnecessary statements – the rest of the thesis itself is there to describe the research in detail.
How to describe an approach/method
There are many different ways to write about the methods you use in a thesis. This, of course, is partially dependent on the subject that the thesis is on; there are different methods of research which apply to different subjects, with science being approached one way, arts subjects another, and so on.
When writing about the approach in a thesis, it is important to keep being clear about what the research was in aid of, as that will help explain the results. Describe the approach taken in general terms quite briefly if it is an unusual one, or if the approach is new for that subject. Once that is done, move onto discussing specific parts of the method as they pertain to the research done.
How to write about preliminary results and discussion
The most important thing to remember at this point is to be as clear as possible when writing. Preliminary results of the research should come first, and then the discussion comes afterward.
The results are important because they are or are not what was expected of the research, so a thorough discussion of them is needed before anything else. Talk about what the results were, and whether they dovetailed with what was expected.
The discussion is the part of this section which actually looks in detail at the research results. The discussion involves more details about the results, whether they were what was expected, and if they weren’t, why not?
How to write a description of the procedure
The procedure is what steps were taken in order to bring the research to the conclusions. The description of the procedure needs to be clear and concise in order to show readers how everything was done. Start from the beginning and work forward, explaining things along the way, and the procedure will be understood and accepted by all readers.
How to make a trial table of contents
The table of contents is, of course, incredibly important for keeping everything sorted and giving people an idea of what chapter is where. The contents can only be finalized at the end of the writing process. However, keeping track of what goes where is still a good idea.
Word documents allow you to create a table of contents which automatically updates itself as you go along – you need to remember to use particular fonts for the headings, however, otherwise, they won’t be picked up as headings.
Tips on organizing a bibliography
- Before you start, make sure that you know which type of formatting you need to use – MLA is quite different from APA, for example.
- The bibliography needs to be alphabetical by author’s surname.
- Make sure that you know if a reference is a book, an article, or a website because they are all referenced differently in a bibliography.
- Make sure that your spacing is correct in the bibliography, and whether or not you need a hanging indent, and so on.