How to Write Your Thesis Proposal: 4 Essential Steps

Are you looking for information on how to write your thesis proposal? Here’s just what you need to be able to do so. Write your thesis proposal with confidence by following the four steps outlined below.

Writing your thesis proposal requires the incorporation of four essential elements. These elements provide the thesis panel with a snapshot of a full-blown study. If you are a graduating student, writing your thesis proposal proves challenging and difficult if you lack these four elements to guide you along the way.

Hence, before you write anything, you will need to be very familiar and should be equipped with a good understanding of these four things before you write your thesis. While there may be more extensive tips on how to do it, this simplified approach will get you started.

Without further ado, here are the essential components of a quick thesis proposal that you can develop and refine further with the help of your thesis adviser.

Step-by-Step Guide in Writing the Thesis Proposal

Step 1. Know where to begin.

It is important that in writing your thesis proposal, the specific topic or topics that you will need to investigate should be within your particular discipline or interest. This alignment is one of the most challenging tasks you need to do in writing your thesis.

Where should you begin? There’s just a lot of things to investigate out there, but how will you narrow it down?
In reality, this is the most troublesome part because our mind has a tendency to fly somewhere else. It pays to have some guideposts where you will align your thinking processes.

Here are four ways to capture the topic that’s most suited to you.

Know what you like

No one can compel you about what to do unless you are interested, right? Thus, you must pin down those research topics that align with your interest. Being thoroughly interested in a topic of your choice given your interest will keep your passion burning.

If your interests are quite varied, take a pen and jot down the first things that come to your mind. Just write anything. Don’t edit while you write. Do that later as you review what you have written.

Once you have the list of topics, prioritize them. Merge similar topics.

Note issues and concerns about your chosen topic

A good researcher is keen enough to note issues and concerns related to their interests. Armed with your identified thesis topic, go to the field or explore issues and concerns about those topics.

For example, if your topic is about the COVID-19 insomnia, read the news or articles, view videos, and ask people around if they have had such a problem. Doing so widens your knowledge about what is going on.

Review literature and studies about your subject

thesis proposal
Ideas pop as you read the literature.

Once you have a good grasp of the problem at hand, you can now undertake a more systematic review of scientific literature. Reviewing the literature further gives you an idea of what has been studied so far.

This sub-step is easy to do with all the online databases available at your fingertips. Just type the keyword in Google Scholar and Voila, you are flooded with a lot of articles to read and evaluate.

Talk to your colleagues, friends, classmates, or professor about the thesis proposal topic

Consulting your colleagues, friends, classmates, or relevant professor or expert about your intention will give you valuable ideas if it’s workable or not. More heads are better than one.

Prepare an outline

An outline of the contents of your thesis proposal serves an excellent guide before writing in more detail. It will give you an overall picture of where you are going, what specific contents you need to write about, and a way to eliminate irrelevant ones.

You may then proceed to step 2 once you are comfortable with your thesis topic.

Step 2. Write your problem statement.

How do you write a problem statement?

After you have gone through Step 1, you should be able to write your problem statement. The problem statement is just a question that is not answerable by a simple Yes or No, but will require a more in-depth study.

If you are doing a quantitative study, I have listed five statistical research questions in detail based on actual studies.

Step 3. Come up with your conceptual framework.

What is a conceptual framework?

Again, the conceptual framework is your concept of things after reading theories that try to explain the phenomenon that you want to look into in writing your thesis proposal. It will serve as your map or guide so that you will be able to figure out what are the specific things you need to do to pursue your goal or intention in writing your thesis.

How do you will figure your conceptual framework? Here is a simple example of how the conceptual framework is prepared. But, of course, before you come up with your conceptual framework, you will need to have a useful review of the literature.

Step 4. Write your Methodology Section

Once you have already drawn out your conceptual framework in Step 3, you are now ready to write the method or the methodology section of your thesis proposal. Go back to your problem statement and figure out what you should do for each question to provide answers to each one.

There should be a one-to-one correspondence Gothe statement of the problem and the method section. That is, statement of problem number 1 should be matched with method number 1. You can do this better by preparing a matrix or table.

Your methodology section should contain at least the following things:

  • make sure that the methods you describe can be replicated or can be repeated by someone who will investigate along the same line as yours
  • describe the specific materials that you will use in conducting your study
  • state which statistical tools you will need to apply to analyze the data that you will gather
  • state the limitations, assumptions, and scope of your thesis
  • make a detailed description of your sampling technique and what will be the source of your data

At this point, you should now be able to write your thesis proposal. You can add dummy tables or example outcomes to show what you will expect to present as findings in writing your thesis proposal.

To avoid missing out on the important components of a thesis proposal, use a matrix or a table with the essential elements written as headers. See how it’s done in my post titled Using a Matrix to Write Your Research Proposal.

© 2012 October 20 P. A. Regoniel

Updated October 24, 2021



  1. Victoria Yeboah September 25, 2019
  2. Ijeoma January 29, 2019
  3. Adeel November 20, 2016
  4. Regoniel, Patrick A. October 30, 2016
  5. Fayaz Hussain October 29, 2016
  6. Regoniel, Patrick A. August 10, 2016