The first step to every good thesis is the proposal. Depending on your course, you would have to think of something and unique- something that sets your thesis apart from the rest of your class. Sometimes, it’s best to even think about it a few months before your research class and do a few consultations with your desired adviser along the way so that you would be aware on whether the topic itself is feasible and whether you would have the time to actually complete the proposal with the allotted time. Because some pairs or groups I know had to change their proposal at the last minute since their topic became too complicated to understand or it just was not feasible.
So, if you happen to be an undergraduate student reading this, then you have come to the “write” place. Welcome to Thesis 101 and learn how to survive it.
What is a Thesis?
This is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author’s research and findings. In some contexts, the word “thesis” or a cognate is used as an integral part of a bachelor’s or master’s course. The required complexity or quality of research of a thesis or dissertation can vary by country, university, or program, and the required minimum study period may thus vary significantly in duration. In my case, my whole thesis duration lasted for two semesters. And no two thesis outlines are similar, but below is a sample outline of my school.
But before that, allow yourself to take a few minutes to read some tips in formulating your said thesis proposal by your own with your partner or group:
What good is a thesis without a title to begin with? Since this is a title page, it would contain the name of the thesis proposal alongside the name of the researchers and the month the proposal hearing would set as well the type of thesis presented (graduate or undergraduate). It is also important to point out it the title page that this is a partial fulfillment for a certain subject to be presented to your respective school department.
The Table of Contents can only be made once you have finished making Chapter 1 along with its other subheadings. This Table of Contents also makes it easier for the instructor to locate certain subheadings immediately without flipping the pages too much.
In this chapter, you will have to introduce the problem itself and its extent that it has covered. Listed below are the components of chapter 1 broken down.
Like every good book, even a thesis must have an introduction. To further break down the introduction aspect, you have 3 sub-components namely: the rationale of the study, theoretical background, and conceptual framework.
The Rationale of the Study
In two to three pages, the researcher must indicate a little background of the said topic and come up with a purpose as to why he or she is delving into this subject. Is this an original study or has this been already studied before and you want to update the masses on this? In this section, it is also important to indicate on what specific components will you be tackling in your research.
It is the heart of every research. Also known as the most difficult and most exhausting part of chapter 1, the theoretical background comprises of the previous studies in relation to your certain study along with its findings as well based on the number of theories that you need to apply sub-component. Theories are formulated to explain, predict, and understand phenomena and, in many cases, to challenge and extend existing knowledge within the limits of critical bounding assumptions. The theoretical framework is the structure that can hold or support a theory of a research study.
This is nothing more than a diagram informing the people on how your study will be conducted and the theories that will be utilized in the research.
This part indicates the sub-components that the researchers would like to discover. The problem is divided into the statement of the problem and the significance of the study.
Statement of the Problem
A problem statement is a short description of the issues that need to be addressed by a problem-solving team in which they create a set of questions that need to be solved during the research.
The Significance of the Study
The significance of the study lists down the beneficiaries of the research study.
Now we proceed to the fun part of the thesis, fieldwork. This is further divided into seven categories: research environment, research data, research respondents, research instruments, research procedures, gathering of data and treatment of data.
This part indicates where the research will be conducted. If it is going to be in a school, make sure that the school will consent to your purpose before even conducting the research.
This is the data that you will be utilizing that will be able to answer your sub-problems. It is also in this part that the researchers will also give a brief description on how the data is going to be gathered and what is going to be done with the data once the researcher obtains it.
The respondents are the participants of your study and it is important that you should identify the demographics before you start giving out the research instruments.
These are instruments that researchers use for a measurement device (survey, test, questionnaire, etc.) to obtain the required data.
This segment purely gives a more detailed description of how the data will be gathered and how it will be treated.
Gathering of Data
Unlike the research data, this provides a more detailed explanation of how the said data will be gathered.
Treatment of Data
As for the treatment of the data, this part focuses on how the data will be sorted out, categorized and verified.
Definition of Terms
This is a separate section that enumerates and defines the related terminologies to the study to paint a clearer picture as to its meaning.
Along the proposal making, you will have to take note of the many references that was used in your theoretical background. Otherwise, your thesis proposal will be deemed incomplete and will be rejected without a list of references and citations throughout the work. Do not forget that anything that is not your own must be cited, which includes text, data, and ideas. When citing an idea or data, back it up with your own data.
Footnotes are not allowed in a thesis proposal. You must use a superscript number one, two, etc. by the ideas or data that are not yours and then correspond them with the same numbers in the list of reference.