How to Write an Effective Research Proposal

Updated: Nov 9, 2016

Steps to Writing a Research Proposal

There is a number of useful tips that can be used for writing an effective thesis proposal. First, remember that a thesis proposal is generally written in a present or future tense. When you write your actual master’s thesis, you will need to use past tense.

STEP 1. MAKE A GREAT INTRODUCTION

The part that is designed to capture your reader’s attention is the introduction to your master thesis proposal. It is a good idea to write it last, that way it is more likely to become interesting and you will sound like you know what to do. This recommendation might seem strange at first; however, it’s perfectly logical because once everything has been researched, written and checked, you will have a good picture of what the end product is like. With this picture in mind, it’s best to work on the introductory part of your paper last.

STEP 2. STATE THE PROBLEM

Voice your research question. You might want to restate it in the form of the sentence so that your reader understands it better.

STEP 3. PROVIDE BACKGROUND

Explain how the problem emerged. Give some background information on the issue you are going to research to substantiate the need for the problem resolution.

STEP 4. DECLARE THE PURPOSE 

You should necessarily mention the purpose of your dissertation in the thesis proposal.

STEP 5. STATE SIGNIFICANCE

Mentioning the significance of the problem will add value to your research project.

STEP 6. EXPLAIN METHODS

Your reader should be aware of the methods your research project is going to utilize.

STEP 7. REVIEW LITERATURE

A master’s research proposal is unthinkable without reviewing literature that is relevant to the topic of research. A thorough analysis of the literature sources should be conducted and clearly explained in the proposal.  Do not forget to mention any alternative viewpoints on the topic; they too might be useful in researching your question.

STEP 8. FORMULATE A CLEAR HYPOTHESIS

Hypothesis section sets the goal for the thesis. If it is clear and understandable, the entire research project will become clear and easy to carry out.

STEP 9. DEFINE YOUR TERMS

Your proposal will be read by people who might not fully understand your dissertation and the terms it uses. You will need to provide a definition for every term you are using in your master’s thesis.

STEP 10. TELL YOUR READER ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH ASSUMPTIONS

The research proposal for your master’s thesis should contain the basic assumptions you are making while working on the essay.

STEP 11. DEFINE SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS

Any research has its scope and limitations; you just can’t cover everything with just one research project. Clearly, state the limitations and scope for your study and outline possibility for subsequent research.

STEP 12. EXPLAIN PROCEDURE

Your reader should be aware of the procedure you are going to follow in the writing process. You will need to explain what and how will be done within the framework of your research.

These simple steps will allow you to come up with a research proposal that will high chances of getting approved either by your advisor or the board of advisors. Once the research proposal is completed and approved, we can move on to reviewing the basic thesis structure.

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