Columbia University: How to Write a Thesis Proposal

Because the act of writing develops and solidifies one's thinking, students who have to produce written theses for disciplines that do not normally depend on the written word may find the exercise to be more beneficial than initially anticipated.

For more tips about writing thesis statements, take a look at our handout on

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Writing the Thesis - San Francisco State University

How to Write a Thesis | The MIT Press 8. Read through someone else's research proposal. Very oftena real stumbling block is that we don't have an image in our mind of whatthe finished research proposal should look like. How has the other proposalbeen organized? What are the headings that have been used? Does the otherproposal seem clear? Does it seem to suggest that the writer knows thesubject area? Can I model my proposal after one of the ones thatI've seen? If you can't readily find a proposal or two to look at, askyour adviser to see some. Chances are your adviser has a file drawer filled withthem.

How to Write a Thesis - University of Western Australia

9. Make sure your proposal has a comprehensive review of the literatureincluded. Now this idea, at first thought, may not seem to make sense.I have heard many students tell me that "This is only the proposal.I'll do a complete literature search for the dissertation. I don't wantto waste the time now." But, this is the time to do it. The rationalebehind the literature review consists of an argument with two lines of analysis: 1) this research is needed, and 2) the methodology I have chosen is most appropriate for the question that is being asked. Now, why would you want to wait? Now is the time to get informed and to learn from others who havepreceded you! If you wait until you are writing the dissertation it is toolate. You've got to do it some time so you might as well get on with itand do it now. Plus, you will probably want to add to the literature reviewwhen you're writing the final dissertation.

Writing a Thesis Statement - University of Washington


The thesis statement should remain flexible until the paper is actually finished. It ought to be one of the last things that we fuss with in the rewriting process. If we discover new information in the process of writing our paper that ought to be included in the thesis statement, then we'll have to rewrite our thesis statement. On the other hand, if we discover that our paper has done adequate work but the thesis statement appears to include things that we haven't actually addressed, then we need to limit that thesis statement. If the thesis statement is something that we needed prior approval for, changing it might require the permission of the instructor or thesis committee, but it is better to seek such permission than to write a paper that tries to do too much or that claims to do less than it actually accomplishes.The purpose of an essay is to encourage students to develop ideas and concepts in their writing with the direction of little more than their own thoughts (it may be helpful to view the essay as the converse of a research paper). Therefore, essays are (by nature) concise and require clarity in purpose and direction. This means that there is no room for the student’s thoughts to wander or stray from his or her purpose; the writing must be deliberate and interesting.