If you are pursuing PhD, you must be aware of what importance your thesis proposal holds and thus, has to be perfect. A PhD thesis is written at the end of the course and it is considered to be the highlight of your academic career and degree.
The basic idea behind writing a PhD thesis proposal is to make the supervisors believe that you are capable to initiate research on your own and that the research will contribute something valuable to the selected subject area.
Preparing a thesis proposal and conducting research based on that can be a challenging task. However, in this blog, you will find a step-by-step guide that will help you write a PhD thesis proposal that stands out from the rest. But first, let us learn the importance of a PhD thesis proposal.
Why is a PhD Thesis Proposal So Important?
Researches done during the academic year of postgraduation talks about original findings and contributions. Students who think that the research conducted is based on someone’s previous work are highly mistaken as the research is conducted with the sole motive of finding information from new areas that have been never touched before.
This is where you begin with your PhD thesis proposal. Make sure to demonstrate the following points to your thesis supervisor –
- What are your research plans?
- How do you plan to collect your data?
- What is your chosen analysis?
- What are you expecting your results to be?
Remember, that your PhD thesis proposal will vary a little bit from your final document, therefore; the proposal is simply a path to walk you through the strategy of composing a compelling PhD thesis. The proposal of your PhD thesis is thus, an essential tool that helps you to get support from the supervisors throughout the process of research and writing.
With the support of your supervisors, you can be assured to get the right guidance and materials to write your PhD thesis. For example, at the time of your submission of the proposal, the supervisors will go through it in-depth and figure out the gaps that can be filled with better ideas. They will help you in identifying those gaps as well as provide you the best ideas before you begin the research.
You have to decide a topic based on which you will form a proposal and present it to your supervisor. Following are the practical tips that show how you can choose a good PhD thesis topic –
- Ensure it’s original – it has already been mentioned that the research you conduct should be on a subject area that has never been explored before. Although, you can take ideas from previously done researches but ensure that your topic is original.
- Where do your interests lie? – while writing your thesis, you must get a sense of motivation or passion. This can only come when you are writing a thesis on a topic of your interest. Identify what subjects you are fond of and develop a topic based on your interest.
- Must have sufficient information – a topic that has more information is regarded as better than the topic that has less information. Therefore, make sure that your chosen topic has information available in abundance.
- Talk to your supervisor – another effective way to choose a topic is to talk to your supervisor and ask for their opinion. They can tell you if your topic is worth writing a PhD thesis on or not. If not, then they will surely help you come up with a better topic.
Once you have decided on your PhD thesis topic, it’s time to start forming its proposal. However, knowing what all has to be added to the proposal can be difficult to understand. At this time, you can talk to your supervisor and clarify your doubts regarding the word limit or format. To help you form an outstanding PhD thesis proposal, the following are the steps to guide you through the important elements that have to be added:
Your PhD thesis proposal must begin with the introduction chapter as it will demonstrate the topic you chose and the rationale behind the research. You can explain your topic by giving background details to make the supervisor understand if your topic is suitable according to your subject area or not. In the explanation, talk about your hypothesis and go deep by stating what are your expectations from the research, what results you are thinking would be, and so on.
After the topic, your supervisor will be more interested in knowing the rationale behind the research methodology that you chose. Selecting a good topic does not mean your research will be good too. How effective is your research will depend on your research methodology as compared to any other aspect. This is the reason that your supervisor will have a keen interest in knowing your overall research process including how you interpret your findings and not simply how you gather the information. In your proposal mention which approaches – quantitative approach or qualitative approach, you would like to use as well as how you are planning to gather information and analyze it. Make sure you know why you want to go with a particular approach and must have genuine and reasonable answers. The reason being, the supervisor will surely ask you questions regarding your decisions while reading your proposal.
Objectives and Literature Review
In simple words, mention the reasons for what you are planning to do and why. However, in PhD thesis, you need to be specific so don’t elaborate much on objectives. Keep them short and crisp. Coming to the literature review part, this is where you will explain the need for your research with the help of previously published work. The literature review is best used for bringing forth a new perspective on the knowledge that already exists. At last, end your proposal by concluding everything you mentioned in the beginning to give an overview of the idea and main purpose behind your research to your supervisor.
You must be thinking that there is a lot to be taken care of while writing a PhD thesis proposal, however, following all these steps will surely help you in forming a perfect PhD thesis proposal.