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How to Write a Thesis Proposal: an Effective Guide

Thesis Proposal Writing

If you do not know how to write a thesis proposal, you have to learn a few workable secrets that will facilitate this process. Following the tips presented in our efficient guide, you will be able to work on the framework, structure, organization, and other important stages.

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I. Framework

Working within the scope of a particular discipline, such as Environmental science, you have to consider the following aspects:

  • Identify an important environmental issue, which attracts public attention;
  • Carefully gather and evaluate the work and findings of other researchers;
  • Create a thought-provoking research question, which would serve as a basis for your thesis proposal;
  • Gather the data, which would help explore the research question in the best way possible;
  • Think about the methods, which can help you reach the goals as the researcher;
  • Present the results, which would prove the relevance of your research to this particular discipline.

As result, you will get a professionally written thesis, which exceeds the expectations of the most demanding professor. The fundamental goal of the semester for every student is to choose a research topic, find a professor, who would be glad to assist in the process of thesis writing, create a good hypothesis, understand the background of the project, consider the needs of the potential audience, develop the appropriate methodology, as well as define the project as a thesis proposal. Undoubtedly, the students submit their thesis proposals during the spring, but, undoubtedly, to get a satisfactory grade, they should start their work in the fall carefully working on every stage. If you have such an important assignment to do, you should totally forget about procrastination, as it will reduce your chances for academic success. A professional approach is a key to excellent academic performance!

It is considered that the fundamental purpose of a thesis proposal implies demonstrating the following items:

  • The thesis must address the certain environmental problem;
  • There should be an organized plan for gathering and collecting data, which would help solve the problem mentioned above;
  • The researcher needs to check if all the methods are appropriate to the dataset.

If you clearly realize what you should do in every part of the writing process, you will be able to reach your ultimate goal. The secondary purpose of writing a thesis proposal is to demonstrate excellent writing and organization skills. Unfortunately, many students commit a mistake by focusing mainly on the content of the paper and ignoring the obvious gaps in writing. We assure you that only a complex approach will help the student get an excellent result. If you are planning to continue your career in Environmental Sciences, you have to dedicate much time and effort to writing your thesis proposal since this assignment is a good investment into your career.

Undoubtedly, this task may seem rather troublesome and challenging, but we assure you that the determined and goal-oriented student can face this challenge. Indeed, any professor is interested in motivating and encouraging his/her student to continue the career in the chosen field of study. He/she wants you to handle the assignments without any problems, so if you experience some difficulties with writing your thesis proposal, do not be afraid to ask your professor to check if you are working in the right direction. Also, the professor may provide you with an excellent thesis proposal template, which would serve as a guide for you.

II. Learn More about the Structure of Thesis Proposal

A successful thesis proposal will always investigate the interesting idea that has theoretical and practical value in the particular discipline.

Usually, the thesis proposal consists of the following elements:
A cover page;
An abstract;
A table of contents;
An introduction;
A thesis statement (usually, it is put at the end of the introduction)
A discussion;
Preliminary results;
Research implications;
A reference list.

As one may see, the structure of the thesis proposal is very close to the structure of any other scientific paper. What is more, the students should remember that a huge part of their thesis proposal will be included in their thesis paper. Let us present every section in detail:

Cover Page

Usually, a cover page includes a short and thought-provoking title of the project. Besides, it includes the general information about the student and his/her educational institution such as the name of the author, the institution, department, the professor`s name, and the date of submission.


An abstract resembles a brief summary of the thesis proposal, though it is not a mere summary. Indeed, it includes the most significant ideas expressed in the paper. The length of the abstract varies from 150 to 250 words depending on the overall length of the paper.

Table of Contents

A table of contents helps the reader navigate the paper without problems. It should include the list of headings and subheadings along with the page numbers.


As the name suggests, it introduces the topic to the audience and sets the context of the paper. Besides, it explains the background of the study narrowing the broad topic to the concrete research question. Besides, writing an introduction, you can mention what is already known about this topic and whether the previous attempts to discover this particular topic were successful. The introduction should be totally oriented on your reader, which means that it should be interesting and thought-provoking enough to attract his/her attention.

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Thesis Statement

Usually, a thesis statement is the last one or two sentences of the introduction. It may have the form of a hypothesis, a research question, or a goal statement, but its purpose is the same – to state the idea, which will be proved or disapproved within the paper. Indeed, the whole paper should be developed on a basis of your thesis statement, thus, the latter should be clear, thought-provoking, and precise.


This section contains mainly the methods and approaches, which are used in the essay. By explaining how the data are analyzed, you will demonstrate a professional approach and prove that the results of your research are valid. Usually, this section requires much time and effort since it includes the key techniques, equipment, statistics, graphs, assumptions, limitations, as well as the range of validity. In this section, the number of citations is limited as it mainly demonstrates your work. Many students commit the same mistake describing the methods and the results in this section. However, we assure you that you should avoid presenting the results in the methodology section.


It is a section, where the researcher should rove the evidence of his/her idea comparing them with the ideas of others. Feel free to discuss what theoretical and practical value your paper has.

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Preliminary Results

This chapter should include the results you have already obtained, as well as answer if these results fit the framework of the paper.

Research Implications

In this section, try to answer the following questions:

  • What new knowledge does this project present to the audience?
  • Why is this paper worth reading?
  • Does this paper give the way for further analysis?

Reference List

When writing your thesis proposal, you should be extremely careful with the sources used. It means that you should cite every thought or idea, which is not yours in accordance with the formatting style required by the instructions. If you experience some difficulties at this stage, feel free to ask your professor, and he will provide you with an effective guide on the formatting style needed. All the referenced should be organized in alphabetical order. You may site the single-author references by the author’s surname (followed by the date of publication in parenthesis). For instance,

… according to Johnson (1994);

– … the growth of population is one of the most significant environmental concerns of present-day science (Johnson, 1994).

The double-author references should be cited by the surnames of both authors (also followed by the date of the publication in parenthesis)

– e.g., Brooks and Johnson (1994).

If you need more information about the citation rules, address one of the writing manuals available online.

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III. A Standard Outline for a Research Proposal

If you want to know what order your writing process should follow, you may check our suggestion mentioned below:

  1. Create an outline, which will point to the key steps of your research.
  2. Prepare the key tables and figures.
  3. Think about the methods you will use when writing your thesis proposal.
  4. Write a good discussion where all your ideas will be presented in a logical flow.
  5. Write an introduction.
  6. Write an abstract.
  7. Create the reference list.

Although it may seem weird to write an abstract and introduction at the very end of the writing process, we assure you that it is a smart solution since it helps cover the whole research and write an abstract and introduction of excellent quality.

IV. Effective Tips

The statistics, figures, and tables have the utmost importance in your paper. Therefore, you have to spend enough time working on them. A good table may say more than a thousand words, so, before writing your thesis proposal, practice your table creating sills. Be sure to organize the flow of your ideas into a logical order so that the reader could find it easy to follow them. Do not forget about a good conclusion. A conclusion is not just a mere restatement of the ideas mentioned above. Instead, it should demonstrate the theoretical and practical value, as well as prove the relevance of the thesis proposal to this particular discipline.

Grammar Matters!

Without any doubt, poor grammar can distract the reader`s attention from the content of the paper. If you are not certain about your grammar and punctuation, there are many free grammar checkers, which would help you polish your essay until it will be perfect. Also, if you worry about the quality of the paper, you should read your thesis proposal aloud as it will help you get rid of any flow inconsistencies and other mistakes. Make sure to use the transition words instead of jumping from one idea to another. If there are some unknown words or concepts – do not hesitate to explain them, as the reader should understand everything you want to say. He/she reader should enjoy reading your essay.

Check the Effective Thesis Proposal Example!

I Am not Able to Write My Thesis Proposal! What Should I Do?

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