A thesis proposal acts as a guideline for the research you plan to do. It is simply a summary of the outline of your research specifying the problem you will be studying and listing all the questions you seek to answer in your research and the materials you will need to conduct the research. This is a clear roadmap that helps you crafts the steps you will take towards conducting efficient research.
If you plan it carefully, you will get better results from your proposal. Your research supervisor shall consider if your proposal has a good process for data collection, a good statement, and a good work outline that you will follow during the research process. State clearly in your thesis proposal that your research shall review relevant and enough literature.
Undergraduate Thesis Proposal Purpose
The Purpose Undergraduate thesis proposal is thus to demonstrate that;
- The thesis topic addresses a relevant problem that is measurable
- There is an organized plan set up by the student for data collection to address the problem
- The methods for analyzing the collected data have been identified and are appropriate for the type of data that a student shall be analyzing. If you shall be analyzing qualitative data, then the specific methods for analyzing such types of data shall be content analysis or narrative analysis, etc.
The structure of an undergraduate thesis Proposal
You must familiarise yourself with the structure of the thesis proposal. The thesis proposal shall have the following sections;
The Title Page– this is the part of your proposal that shall contain the title of the proposed thesis project, your name, the institution’s name, the department, and the instructor’s name.
The Abstract – in this part, you shall include the summary of the proposal in around 200 words. You shall touch briefly on the issue being discussed. You shall also make key statements of your thesis. State the methodology of the research and a possible implication of the work i.e how it shall add to knowledge if the research is successful.
The Table of contents – in this section of the essay, you shall list all the headings within the work and the sub-headings with their page numbers. Indent your subheadings.
The introduction – in this part of the proposal, you shall explore the context of your proposed project, and explain the background of the study starting from a broad picture and slowly narrowing down to your research questions. Make the reader understand why this particular topic of interest is important to you. You will cite references to support your content.
A thesis statement – this is the main point of your study. State to the reader the essence of your project in a few words (30-40). Your statement can either be in form of a hypothesis or a research question or a goal statement.
The Approach/methods section – is a significant part of the proposal because it describes the approach you intend to have in your project. The materials and the procedure you will use to collect the data. You will tell the instructor about your data collection and analysis methods. If there are graphs you will use or calculations you will use, state them.
Potential outcomes/preliminary results and discussion – in this part of the thesis proposal, you can state what you expect to find
The work plan/ the timetable – this is your guide section. State your plan until the completion of the project. Outline the various stages of your project in a table format. Indicating your deadlines for each stage of the project will hold you accountable and make sure you don’t side-track from the task at hand. You can also discuss any challenges that you need to overcome in beating the deadlines you have set.
The implications of Research/ Contribution to knowledge – in this section of the proposal, you shall start with how your intended research will contribute to knowledge in a particular field. Why is whatever you intend to research worth knowing.
If there are limitations to your methods, state them in this part of the thesis proposal. Every study conducted has a few unique limitations that could impact a project in a certain way. Outline your limitations and state to the instructor how they might affect your research.
List of References Used
All the sources of information used in your proposal shall be cited here. All the ideas and facts stated should be cited. Any data you use that is not your own should be cited. The references you have used show the instructor or the reader how the study you intend to take fits within the larger field of that subject. The scope of your research can be determined by the number of sources you have used. Try to get relevant literature from reputable researchers and institutions.
Planning the Writing of your undergraduate Thesis (The Pre-Writing Process)
Once you have a clear structure of the thesis as listed above, you can start planning on how you shall write the different sections. Plan the flow of the writing, it shall help you immensely. Your Flow shall look like this;
- Come up with a detailed description of the main points you will be making in the thesis
- If there are any visuals you shall use, whether charts, graphs, or tables, you can prepare them in advance. A picture is worth a thousand words and visuals shall help you back up the arguments you will be making in your thesis
- Describe your methodology in advance and make sure it is convincing and validates your research. This is the credibility aspect of your approach, think of the best data collection method you shall use and why you decide to settle on that method. Consider the nature of your data, whether quantitative or qualitative
- You can state the conclusions you will be drawing from your data and write down how you believe the data shall support your thesis
- You shall then pre-write the introduction which will set the stage for the rest of your thesis. You can have a rough idea of what your thesis shall look like at this point
- Pre-write an abstract of the thesis proposal you intend to embark on
- Start collecting the relevant literature you will need to support your thesis
You can note that the pre-writing and even the writing process we shall look at in the next section shall not follow the structure of the thesis proposal listed above. For example, you won’t be able to write the abstract which is among the first parts of the thesis if you haven’t established the rest of the research. The sequence stated above shall help you create a better introduction and an abstract in advance before getting down to the writing stage.
Writing an Undergraduate Thesis Proposal
Once you have planned the writing process clearly, you shall get down to the writing process. Take note that a thesis proposal is often written in a formal style and that makes them different from any type of proposal you shall write at any point.
While writing the thesis, keep it simple, and use words that are easy to understand. Be concise. Remain objective in your statement and aim for good readability of the work you are writing.
Avoid using the first or second person while writing the proposal apart from when making the thesis statement, you will maintain objectivity in every aspect of the proposal. Consult with your supervisor on the right tense.
The Editing and Proofreading part of Your Proposal
Unlike in other types of academic writing, proofreading a proposal is very important because you don’t want to turn in work that has typos or poor readability. You can start by passing this work to fellow students in the same coursework and figure out if they have an easy time reading and understanding the content. If they find it difficult to understand the information, you may want to revise the information yourself by;
- Reading aloud the proposal – this way you can pick out the grammar issues and any sentence structure that might be in the proposal. Make sure your paragraphs are well developed too
- After writing, don’t get into the proofreading stage immediately, take a rest and review it later slowly and objectively
- Use spell checkers like Grammarly to pick out errors in the document that are difficult to spot with normal reading
- Share the work with your colleagues – consult with several colleagues to get different opinions on the work before getting back to the writing process
- Simple Tips to guide your undergraduate thesis proposal writing process
- Consult with your instructor on the right fonts and spacing required for the work. The formatting style differs from one institution to another and it is thus important to check with your instructor
- Constantly be checking your work for errors, it can be difficult going back to your work to review it especially if it is a long piece of writing
- When you set out to find solutions to a problem, in some cases you will encounter new questions in the writing process, you can try to address these new questions as they shall give you ideas for future research. However, if you decide to add new questions to the thesis, you shall have to resolve them