How to write a thesis proposal?

You worked hard, destroying all those standardized tests, doing well in class, and completing your undergraduate degree to get to this point. Grad school is a whole other challenge along with some fun and excitement. It is the opportunity to obtain new knowledge, insights, networking, and advance in your career. Whether you are pursuing a Masters or a Ph.D., the one thing that everyone dreads and cannot escape is the thesis proposal. The thesis proposal is the most crucial aspect of your academic career; it can make or break you, and sources like Formrly can help you along the way! Countless students had their thesis proposal rejected and had to go through feelings of failure and despair. It could be very stressful, but with the right information and preparation, you will be able to write a phenomenal thesis proposal.

You have gotten this far in your academic journey, and now it’s time to create a masterpiece so you can complete grad school successfully with a grin on your face. We have all the pertinent information that you would need to know how to write a thesis proposal.

What is a thesis proposal?

Before we get to the nitty-gritty details on how to write a thesis proposal, let’s dive into the essential question of what is a thesis proposal. This research paper is a roadmap that your professional and academic career depends on. It requires extensive and meticulous planning to get the proper results. The thesis proposal is basically an outline of your research that you plan to complete in your dissertation. The most challenging part about the thesis proposal is finding a good topic, but the excitement lies in writing the paper. The goal of your proposal is to identify all the problems or questions, provide accurate and thorough research, describe the resources that you have used, interpret data and evidence, and provide reliable results and conclusions.

How long should a thesis proposal be?

This is a very popular question that a lot of students often ask. The answer to how long should a thesis proposal be can vary from different academic institutions. It’s best to talk to your professor about that to get an accurate range. According to the University of Houston, if you are in a masters program, then your thesis would be between 40 to 80 pages. If you are in a Ph.D. program, then it’s around 50 to 250 pages. Usually, people would write around 150 pages, depending on your institution.

Know the requirements

Before planning or writing your thesis proposal on Formrly, it’s essential to talk to your supervisor and review all the requirements. Your supervisor will define the length of the paper and other elements like space, fonts, and other aspects. He or she may also have requirements on the structure and organization of the proposal as well as specific topics to emphasize or avoid. You may also want to ask your professor or supervisor about the citation list. There are a variety of citation styles such as APA, Chicago, Harvard, Vancouver, MLA, etc. Your teacher should know which one is required for the thesis proposal. It’s best to have this discussion with your supervisor before proceeding to write your paper.

Brainstorm and find your passion

The most difficult part of a thesis proposal is finding the right topic to write. You want to choose a topic that is unique and thought-provoking so you can introduce new ideas and flavors. You also want the topic to raise a critical question and provide solutions that can benefit society. It could be a tough process, but keep in mind that the best topic always comes from the heart. Thesis Writing has a great post that goes deeper into this topic. If you emphasize on topics that you love and enjoy, your research and writing can reflect your passion. This is the main aspect that separates an ordinary thesis proposal to a phenomenal one. For example, if you are a psychology major, and your passion lies within the subject of pediatric ADHD, then emphasize on a thesis proposal for that subject. If Alzheimer’s is highly recommended by your peers, but you are not interested in that subject, it would be hard for you to come up with groundbreaking and thought-provoking ideas and evidence.

Getting your references together

Once you find the topic of your dreams, then it’s time to do some research. You want to find reliable and legitimate research articles. You can try Google scholar, pub med, Medline, or any other research modality that relates to your topic of interest. You can also go to your university library to see what they have available. The most vital part of obtaining the proper references is to make sure that they are relevant, recent, and originate from a reputable source.

Planning and structure

Your professor should let you know the overall structure of your paper. Make sure to have a copyright wager, which your academic institution will provide. The next thing is to indicate that all your work is original and that there’s no plagiarism. Again, your university should have a standard format for these factors.

Now it’s time for this fun part. Time to get started on Formrly and layout the general organization of your thesis proposal:

1. Title page

This page should include the title and the author of the paper, which is you. It’s essential to have a unique, professional, and catchy title that explains everything. It’s best to create the title after you have completed your thesis proposal.

2. Abstract

The abstract is like the trailer to the movie. People would read your abstract to understand the basic details of your paper. It’s usually a one-paragraph section that describes what your paper entails and what to expect. It basically gives people an overview of what they will read. This section is often written after the paper is complete.

3. Introduction

The introduction should contain background information about your research. It should be exciting and narrative to provide a proper summary. In this section, you will briefly summarize your research question, and provide valid reasons to why it is worth providing answers and solutions to the topic. If anything, this is pretty much the appetizer before the main course.

4. Literature review

This is where you provide other sources to support your topic. In this section, you will review each article by summarizing their research and what you can take out of it. Make sure to provide both the pros and cons of the literature review.

5. Methods

This section is to allow readers to decide the validity of your results. The method section showcases the accuracy of your references and the entire research article.

6. Results

The results section should identify the data, interpretation, and analysis of it. It should also indicate any bias, problems, or incongruence. It should show how clear you have gathered your information, variables that were in it, if you have any control, what makes the research a success or a failure, and how accurate the information is.

7. Discussion

The discussion is the meaty part of the paper. In fact, it’s the longest and the most crucial aspect that shapes your thesis proposal. Your discussion should focus on identifying the patterns and data in your results and incorporating meaningful interpretations to it. This is where you provide direct answers, solutions, and strategies to your research topic. The discussion should also emphasize new ideas, new questions, new problems, and what possible solutions that you can provide for in the future.

8. Conclusion

The conclusion is where you summarize your research in a concise manner and provide future recommendations, strategies, and ideas.

9. References

The references should contain a list of citations in the proper format. Usually, a thesis proposal will have around 20 to 30 citations, but it’s best to ask your professor about the maximum and minimum number that he or she needs.

After you get the proper skeleton of your paper, you’ll outline what you are going to talk about in each section. The more structured and organized you are, the easier it will be to write a research paper.

Writing your paper

Once you have outlined the skeletal structure of your paper, it’s time to write it on Formrly. Before writing your paper, find a good place that gives you energy and creativity. The most common areas that people tend to be more productive in is the library or coffee shop. Once you find a quiet place to write, you can then open your laptop and start writing. The best strategy is to write whatever comes in your mind without stopping. Just let the words flow from your brain to your fingers. Don’t worry about grammar and punctuation at this point; you can always go back and fix it. That way, you will not run into writer’s block, and can effortlessly allow your thoughts and information to flow into your word document.


Once you have completed your paper using Formrly, then give yourself at least 24 hours to relax and unwind. Do not proofread or edit your paper right after the writing process; it can be very mentally draining. You want to start fresh because editing a paper is like doing surgery; the whole process requires care and precision. When you proofread, make sure to read the paper out loud so you can easily spot any sentence and grammar issues. You can also give the document to at least three colleagues or friends to proofread. That way, you can get different perspectives and opinions about the paper. It’s advisable to use software like Grammarly to help edit and proofread. There are also editing services that are geared towards thesis proposal and dissertations. It might be expensive, but it’s worth it because this is your life‘s work.

Keep checking your work

It is normal to constantly check, edit, and re-write your paper. As a matter of fact, majority of the work entails editing and rewriting. After all, new ideas and insights often come on a daily basis, and you want to incorporate them into your writing. Because of all the work that is involved, a thesis proposal usually takes forever to complete

Answer as many questions as possible

When you write and edit your paper on Formrly, you will definitely come up with new questions out of nowhere. Make sure to have a notebook that lists all these questions, so you will not forget. After all, research often spontaneously sparks innovation and creativity. With all that in mind, there will always be inquisitive thoughts, so why not incorporate those questions and provide concrete data and interpretation. This strategy can help your paper stand out from the rest of the pile. The mistakes that students make is ignoring those questions and letting them slide. If your paper does not bring out new ideas and thoughts, it can easily get rejected. You want to instill a sense of originality and analysis to the paper. The best way to do that is to ask questions that you may come up with when you think about your paper.

Take home message

With all these tips and tricks on writing the perfect thesis proposal, you are on your way to completing grad school. It’s time to put yourself to work to create a masterpiece. Take charge and be your own Picasso. Find a topic that you are passionate about, know the requirements, organize and structure your paper, write effortlessly, edit like crazy, bring new ideas and questions, and finally finish it. You may not know this, but your paper might be the next groundbreaking research to change the world. Take it seriously, love it, and enjoy every moment of it. At the end of the day, you don’t just want to complete grad school; you want to take some experience out of it. This can give you the knowledge to think outside of the box, face obstacles, and conquer the world. This experience is your contribution to the academic and professional world. Don’t hesitate to put your best foot forward and make it happen using Formrly.

So what are you waiting for? Take the information that we have provided you and bring your thesis proposal to life.

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