of a proposal for a thesis or any research project
proposal for thesis or any other research must have the following as
Statement about the general problem
addressed. This specifies the topic or area of work. It sets the stage
for broadly identifying the area of research and the problems encountered
in that area.
An explanation of the significance
of this area of inquiry.
work: a review of the most pertinent
literature, works or achievements related to the problem at hand. This can
include a few general works and a few significant applications or research
studies. This can be a sample of the relevant literature, stated as an indication
of what will be extended.
or model: any theoretical background
that will be used or may apply to the investigation of the problem in this
study. Or if there is no applicable theory, any model(s) that may be applicable.
This can be extracted from the literature and modified as necessary. It can
also be said that this is the starting model and will be modified after the
investigation, thus development of a model can be one of the research objectives.
objectives: the specific issues addressed in the
framework of this problem. This can be in terms of either questions (ending
with a “?”), statements of specific issues, or hypotheses that will be tested.
For each research question there will be also a methodology and at the end
of research a set of findings or answers with discussion. Purpose is general.
Objectives are specific and directly connected with what is planned to be
- Methodology: methods and procedures to be used for each research
question in gathering of data. These methods may include survey of literature
on basis of which models may be developed or extended; collection and synthesis
of data; surveys of given populations or institutions; observation of practices
or behaviors; experiments; etc. Social science, ethnographic, systems, historical,
political science and other methodologies can be used.
methods and procedures used in analysis and synthesis of gathered data data.
This may be subsumed under methodology in general.
a projection of results or achievements
as the results of the proposed research. This can be short and general.
can be summarized in questions to be answered in each section:
- What do you call this investigation?
- What problem or area will you investigate
- Why is this problem important to investigate?
- What was previously done in relation to this
problem? What were some of the significant studies?
- What theory or model is going to guide your
- What will you specifically investigate or
do in the framework of that problem? What are your specific research questions
- How will each research question be addressed?
What methods will you use for each research question?
- How will the results be analyzed?
- What are the deliverables? What can or will
be gained by investigation of this problem?
is not necessary to follow exactly this order, but it is important that all
of these points be clearly and directly addressed. For instance, it is usual
to have the problem statement in the introduction. This can be followed by
research objectives, and then other points, rather then following the order
start developing the proposal in your own mind and on paper it is best first
to state clearly the problem and research questions, and as necessary restate
them as you go along. The process of developing a proposal is not linear but
reiterative, with a lot of feedback loops. Start with concentrating on questions
2 and 6.
Extensions: This list may be
modified for organization and writing of papers presenting results of research
or for papers critically reviewing works related to a research topic or an
area of scholarly studies.
revised 21 June 2005