The Thesis Proposal

Your thesis proposal should be developed in consultation with your supervisor and committee. The thesis proposal should include:

  • a background theory
  • a working hypothesis
  • a methodology which should be organized under chapter headings
  • a body of work for analysis
  • a bibliography

If your thesis will be presented in an alternate format (such as performance), be sure to include this in your proposal.

Some graduate programs require students to undergo a thesis proposal defense. Check with your graduate program about the type of proposal required.

Documenting the Proposal

In order to save time and stress later, it is important to keep a bibliography of articles and other pieces of information that you come across as you do initial library research for your thesis proposal. Here are a few tips:

  • Always keep full bibliographic information (author, title, place and date of publication) for each source you read.
  • Write a full bibliographic reference on the first page of each article you photocopy.
  • Keep a running bibliography up to date.
  • Use a good bibliographic word-processing package; a librarian can help you choose one.
  • Carry a notebook around with you and jot down new titles or ideas as you come across them.
  • Work collaboratively if you can: ask friends to look out for articles or book chapters that you might be interested in.