Are you nervous about starting your thesis project? Remember that the first key to making your thesis paper a success is choosing a great topic. Once you have an idea in mind, you will have to get your topic approved, which is accomplished by writing a proposal. Basically you will create a basic outline about what you would like to discuss in your thesis paper and then you will use this proposal to gain approval for your project.
Make sure that you prepare your proposal using the specific guidelines provided by your institution. Generally this will mean that you will create a written proposal, but occasionally you will be asked to create an oral presentation. Following the required guidelines is very important, since failure to adhere to guidelines can result in your proposal being declined. The sooner your proposal is approved, the sooner you can get started on your paper.
Typically a proposal should include 13 sections and a title. Creating your title is key and it needs to be something extra special. Your title should stand out and really catch the reader's attention so that it will encourage the thesis committee to read the entire paper from start to finish.
The 13 sections are the introduction, problem statement, background behind the problem, purpose, significance or why, methodology, literature on the subject, hypothesis, definitions, assumptions, scope and limitations, procedure followed and long range implications. Let's look at each of these sections a little more in depth so that you can get a basic idea of what to cover in each section.
Introduction- In this section you need to spark the excitement of the reader. Tell them something interesting to ensure that they will read this entire proposal. It is a good idea to write the rest of the paper first and then to finish up with the introduction.
Problem Statement- What is the question that your research is trying to answer? State this in the form of a statement and use it in this area.
Background Behind the Problem- How did you come to choosing this problem statement? Help the readers to see the purpose behind your paper by providing a little extra insight into the problem.
Purpose- What will your research achieve? In this section you will need to cover the reasons behind your research.
Significance or Why- Answer the question of why you have chosen your topic. Address the significance of the topic that you have chosen.
Methodology- How will you do your research? What specific research methodologies will you use? Generally including 3 specific methodologies is ideal in this section.
Literature on the Subject- Often there are applicable literary sources that apply to your specific subject matter. List your sources and be sure to include a little summary of the information to show your readers how they apply.
Hypothesis- Create a scientific hypothesis that outlines what you hope to achieve through your studies. Write this before doing your research so that you have an accurate statement of what you hope to achieve rather than what you do achieve.
Definitions- You will definitely use some terminology in your paper and proposal that will not be familiar to a layman. Explain that terminology in this definition section. If there are terms that your readers might not understand, define them here.
Assumptions- Life and life experience gives everyone a few assumptions. You may have opinions about this subject matter that you have held for many years, or that you have developed recently. Your assumptions may shape the project, so take a little time and explain them here.
Scope and Limitations- How deeply will you research this project? Are there any limitations that will keep you from fully researching the project? For example, a lack of finances or other physical constraints may have an effect on your project.
Procedure- What will you have to do to achieve your project. Go into detail and don't just provide a general synopsis. The more information you provide in this section, the more likely you will be to gain approval. This section can really make your project come alive.
Long Range Implications- How will your project impact the future? Do you think that you will be able to find a solution to your hypothesis or will your results remain inconclusive? Explain your thoughts and feelings on this subject matter.
Your proposal will take a lot of time, research and effort, so start early. Make sure that you follow the provided formatting guidelines and that if a presentation is required that you practice in advance. Many find it easy to start with a sample thesis instead of starting from scratch. Having a well planned proposal is the first step in the approval process.