Thesis Proposal Template

Proposal Prepared by [NAME] in part fulfillment of the degree requirements for the [DEGREE LEVEL] of [ARTS OR SCIENCES] in [DEGREE AREA].

[DATE]

ABSTRACT

PandaTip: The Abstract starts off your thesis proposal by introducing a summary of the complete proposal. This will explain the problem or issues you will address, investigate, or research. This section should be fairly brief, but should provide enough basic information to explain your proposed research and/or dissertation fully.

INTRODUCTION

PandaTip: This section provides an introduction to the problem you will be studying. This section, as well as the entire thesis proposal, will differ significantly depending on whether the proposal is for a science discipline or an arts and humanities discipline. This introduction section should emphasize that your topic is an area worthy of great study and attention.

a. Background

The proposed issue of this thesis has been addressed previously by numerous scholars. These scholars include such individuals as [NAMES OF SCHOLARS]. Their assessment of this topic has shown…

or

The proposed topic of this thesis has been addressed previously by numerous researchers in the field. Their investigations have shown…

PandaTip: Use this subsection to show your grasp of the topic you’ll be researching, providing a brief overview of what knowledge is already available. You will expand upon this in a coming section. You can discuss here various angles on the topic.

b. Significance of Research

PandaTip: Explain here how further research on this subject is important. If your thesis is for a science discipline, you might indicate how further knowledge on your particular area of research would be useful in practical ways. For a humanities thesis, you might emphasize how a new viewpoint on a certain topic could help make new discoveries in that area.

EXISTING KNOWLEDGE/SIGNIFICANT PRIOR RESEARCH

PandaTip: Although you have briefly covered this in a general way above, this section allows you to delve in to the particular existing research which directly affects your topic. In other words, you may here introduce the idea you will be refuting, the author/historian you will be challenging, or the piece of information you feel needs a closer look or new angle. Your understanding of the existing knowledge on your subject should clearly demonstrate that there is a GAP in that body of knowledge, and your proposed thesis intends to fill that gap.

THESIS OR PROJECT STATEMENT

PandaTip: Your thesis statement presents the argument you will make in your thesis/dissertation or asserts the specific question you will be asking or investigating with your research. This should relate to the previous section, by showing how you’ll be filling a gap in the existing body of knowledge or prior research.

APPROACH

PandaTip: Dependent upon whether your thesis is for a science or humanities discipline, this section can be altered to fit your program needs. A science or active research-based thesis may rely less heavily on  the Bibliography of Sources subsection and spend more time detailing research methods to be utilized.

a. Methods

This thesis project will depend upon the following research methods for garnering results:

PandaTip: Methods may include a wide variety of things, such as surveys for sociological or psychological research projects, laboratory experimentation, fieldwork, etc. Be sure to provide highly detailed descriptions of the methods you will use in your research, including specifics such as numbers, dates, locations, resources to be used, and more.

b. Bibliography of Sources

[LAST NAME, FIRST NAME]. [TITLE OF BOOK]. [CITY OF PUBLICATION]: [PUBLISHER], [YEAR OF PUBLICATION]. [MEDIUM OF PUBLICATION].

PandaTip: For a scientific thesis, this section may be more brief, including previous research projects and/or reports you will be referencing or using. With a humanities or arts thesis, this section will be much larger. Make sure you are formatting your sources properly, using the same referencing style you will use in your final dissertation or presentation. (Style provided in citation example above is MLA). Some programs require an annotated bibliography, meaning that you will need to briefly assess the viability of each source you will be using, and explain why it will contribute to your research. Check with your university guidelines.

c. Implications of Research

PandaTip: In this subsection you can indicate what implications your research will have in your field. Address how the addition of this research may change or alter the current knowledge on a subject. This will help further cement the need and usefulness of your intended research.

POTENTIAL OUTCOMES

PandaTip: This section is probably unnecessary in an arts or humanities thesis proposal, but should be included in a scientific or active research based thesis. Here you will outline what you believe the results of your research will show. This goes hand in hand with your thesis, as you intend or expect to obtain certain results.

LIMITATIONS

PandaTip: Again, this section may be more applicable to a scientific thesis, but is potentially helpful in a humanities thesis, if applicable. Using this section, discuss any limitations which may affect your research or obstacles which your research may encounter. Address potential faults in your research methods and look at ways in which your research may miss certain points. Having a well-thought out Limitations section will demonstrate that you know the pitfalls and potential challenges with your chosen research methods, but will show that you have selected the best methods with regards to your project.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO KNOWLEDGE

PandaTip: In this section, elaborate on what contributions your individual research or study will make to the body of knowledge as a whole in your field. Show once more how your thesis will help fill the existing gaps in knowledge or will show a particular topic from a new angle. If performing active research, explain how the intended results will contribute to the knowledge or how the results will change commonly held ideas.

PROPOSED DISSERTATION CHAPTERS

I. Introduction

II. [TITLE OF CHAPTER]

III. [TITLE OF CHAPTER]

IV. [TITLE OF CHAPTER]

V. Conclusion

PandaTip: Lastly, show that you have a well-conceived and fully designed thesis by introducing your intended dissertation chapters.This will help you as well, when writing the dissertation, as you will have a clear outline to follow and a well-developed way of introducing your argument, supporting information, and your conclusion. You can provide titles for these chapters, if necessary, or simply indicate what each chapter will contain.

 
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