38+ Sample Thesis Research Proposal

What Is a Thesis Research Proposal?

A thesis research proposal is a document that details the thesis topic, defines all the necessary issues the document addresses, and explains why the subject matter requires further research. A thesis research proposal is prevalent in universities, especially for undergraduate degree holders. Thesis research proposals must first get approval from a professor or a significant individual from the department and panel. Afterward, the document acts as a structural template for the writer. It is more likely that the writer presents and constructs the thesis research proposal soundly and starts building the thesis paper or research paper as a polished product in the future. For undergraduate students, the purpose of writing the thesis research proposal goes two ways. One, it is a formality process that shows an individual is capable of addressing various research topics, research questions, and subject matter. Second, it serves as an outline for the thesis topic to expand knowledge. For the latter, the thesis research proposal must contain the research topic validity, viability and succession of research methods, and the assurance of measurable outcomes.

According to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) under the National Science Federation (NSF) with Publication Output: U.S. Trends and International Comparisons, the global research output, with measurements from peer-reviewed science and engineering journal articles and conference reports, increases at the rate of four percent annually over the last ten years.

Types of Thesis or Research Papers

There are various types of research papers that students and professionals use. It is necessary to identify which one to utilize for a writing assignment as each one requires different preparation methods. Whether the research paper is for university assignments or business research, below are the variations of thesis papers that an individual can use for their research.

Analytical research paper: In using an analytical research paper, a researcher asks a question then proceeds to collect relevant information from previous research to analyze and study different points of view. A researcher focuses on previous research findings and conclusions and develops a personal conclusion about the subject. When it comes to creating an analytical paper, the researcher must stay neutral and impartial, basing the conclusions from concrete data without citing positive and negative positions on the matter.Argumentative or persuasive research paper: An argumentative research paper represents two sides of an argument or issue. The purpose of crafting the document is to get the readers to take the researcher’s side of the argument. In this research paper, the writer must indicate and cite all necessary findings and arguments from different sources that describe both sides of the issue while favoring one side over the other, trying to persuade its readers to agree to their point of view. A researcher must maintain composure and not let arguments become too emotional. These must have the support of logical facts and statistical information.Definition research paper: In a definition paper, a researcher describes facts and objective arguments without any bias or opinions of the author. Its sole purpose is to provide needed information. A definition research paper must include facts from various legitimate sources without analysis. Compare and contrast research paper: Researchers use this type of research paper to analyze differences between different points of view, authors, subjects, topics, or stories. A compare and contrast research paper must sufficiently describe both sides of the matter, then compare and contrast the thesis study, supporting one side afterward.Cause and effect research paper: A cause and effect paper is one of the more common types of research papers present in universities and other educational institutions. This type of thesis research focuses on probable or expected results stemming from specific actions and activities that provide an answer to questions of why and what, reflecting the cause and effect. In the fields of education or business, this type of thesis research helps in tracing various outcomes that arise from specific situations and activities.Interpretative research paper: The interpretative thesis requires researchers to utilize prior knowledge from previous case studies particular to the topic at hand. A researcher writes the paper from a theoretical perspective to create a suitable framework that uses valid and supporting data that supports the research statement and conclusion.Experimental research paper: This type of research paper thoroughly describes an experiment. An experimental research paper is prevalent in fields like biology, chemistry, or physics. The purpose of these experiments is to explain certain outcomes or phenomena accompanying specific actions. The thesis research must describe the experiment together with factual data with sufficient analysis methods.Survey research paper: A survey research paper must come from performing a survey that involves asking questions to a certain group of individuals. The researcher that conducts the survey collects all the necessary information from a questionnaire, analyzes the results then presents it in a comprehensible manner in the research paper.

Elements of a Thesis Research Proposal

When writing a thesis research proposal, there is no standard format available. However, if there are structural guidelines to follow, the researcher must observe them. Depending on the type of research paper and the subject scope, some thesis research proposals are lengthy in comparison to others. When writing a thesis research proposal, take note of the following components.

Abstract: This section of the thesis research proposal consists of a summary of the different sections of the proposal. It describes the principal research question and hypothesis statement, provides a methodology outline, emphasizes the importance of researching the field, and relays utilized literature.Project statement: In this section, the researcher elaborates the principal hypothesis. It must provide all the necessary information with an explanation of how the hypothesis fits into the current research. The researcher must also mention any possible benefits that the outcome can provide.Literature review: A literature review aims to have two things. First, it must describe an overview of the current state of the research study. Second, it provides an opportunity for the researcher to communicate and elaborate on their expertise and understanding. All relevant literature and other research studies must be available, including a reference list.Approach: When creating the research methodology, a researcher must be specific. The reader of the proposal must have a clear picture of the viable procedures the researcher intends to use. It must include possible scientific experiments, written resources as references, and data gathering processes.Limitations: The thesis research proposal must also list down the boundaries of the research. It must clearly outline the areas the research that does not cover and how the researcher plans to keep the thesis on track. Contributions to knowledge: The thesis research proposal must contain information about the possible contributions of the study to the field of research. The academic thesis proposal focuses on solving problems that are part of a larger topic. The researcher must state a clear contribution of knowledge to see the real value of the research.Proposed chapters: The researcher can also include a chapter outline of the thesis to provide an accurate representation of the final document. Some institutions give formatting suggestions for the cover page, title page, and even table of contents.

How To Write a Thesis Research Proposal

The thesis research proposal allows individuals to have a guideline of the research. As there are different types of research papers, it matters to have comprehensive planning. Writing the proposal can become challenging but having practical strategies makes it doable. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you write a thesis research proposal for a business or educational purpose.

  • 1. Outlining the Proposal

    Begin writing the thesis research proposal with an outline of all the materials you have. It must carefully outline and define the parts of the thesis to have a guide in developing the actual study. A researcher must understand the data collection process to ensure that the research incorporates relevant information and literature. Familiarize yourself with the components of a thesis research proposal. Create a section for the thesis statement, list out the main points of the study, label all essential points in a bulleted list, indicate supporting information under each point, and continue to add ideas and data to make it comprehensive.

  • 2. Define a Structure

    Ensure you know the contents of a thesis research proposal. It must contain an abstract that summarizes the work and research methodology, a research introduction that puts the correct context of the content, a literature review to link existing research to give the work more credibility and prevent counts of plagiarism. It must also have the project statement and research methodology for the thesis. The proposal must also list possible outcomes, limitations, and contributions.

  • 3. Plan the Writing Style

    The ideal way of composing the thesis research proposal is to organize how you will write the research paper. When planning to write the proposal, start with a comprehensive outline, include visual elements like simple charts and tables, describe the methodology and data with a sense of expertise, support conclusions with statistical data, and don’t forget to indicate a complete list of resources and references.

  • 4. Start Writing the Thesis Research Proposal

    After planning how to write the proposal, it’s finally time to write. Remember that any research proposal follows a formal writing format, setting them apart from different proposal documents. Keep it simple, and work towards conciseness while preserving academic integrity and leveraging readability. When writing the research proposal, refrain from using the first and second person. Maintain objectivity throughout the length of the proposal, and it helps to consult with an expert regarding the choice of topic.

  • 5. Proofread the Written Proposal

    Perform thorough proofreading of the document. Allow co-workers or friends to read through the proposal to point out mistakes. You can also read the proposal out loud to spot possible errors in sentence structure and grammar. It is advisable not to proofread a document right after writing it. Multiple applications can help with spelling errors and other grammatical mistakes.


What is the difference between a thesis and a research proposal?

A thesis is the final product of the research proposal. An individual writes a research proposal or a thesis proposal and presents it to immediate supervisors or professors for approval.

How do you write a master thesis proposal?

Similar to a thesis research proposal, there are preparation phases for writing the master thesis proposal. The most vital part of any research proposal is finding a suitable topic. From there, the thesis proposal must contain a research statement, problem, and hypothesis. It must also provide the importance and significance of conducting the research. Lastly, the master thesis proposal must contain a methodology and cite concrete limitations of the study.

What are the types of research proposals?

There are two types of research proposals, the solicited and unsolicited research proposal. A solicited research proposal is a document submitted as a response to a request for proposals. Meanwhile, an unsolicited research proposal is a proposal that a researcher presents as a response to a public call to conduct a study.

Writing a thesis research proposal can be challenging at first. However, after knowing the essential components and the guide to writing one, researchers can complete a thesis research proposal with a sound structure and content. The key to writing a comprehensive document also relies on getting the necessary feedback from supervisors or thesis panels. Ensure that there are no glaring errors in writing by allowing other people to check on your work. Begin creating a thesis research proposal by downloading the documents available from the section above.