How to Develop a Thesis Proposal Outline

Typically, a thesis proposal comprises five sections or chapters. Before you embark on the writing process, it helps to know the outline of your thesis so that you can have a road map. The thesis proposal’s outline will help you organize your content in a logical manner and ensure there is a flow of new knowledge from one chapter to another. But first, here is a simple cheat sheet that you can use to incorporate all the crucial details into the thesis proposal outline:

Introductory Section

Start this section with a hook or a topic sentence to establish the purpose of the conversation. Next, give background information on the topic and define any technical terms that you will use extensively in the text. When doing research, stay in context and avoid applying highly technical terminologies. Once you are done with the introductory bit, note down the next key points to add later on.

Literature Review

This section allows you to show that you have conducted extensive research on the topic you are writing about. For a proposal, you might have to work with a topic that has already been done before. However, if it is a new area that you want to get research done, then you will have to reference previous studies to establish your new area of research.

Research Methodology

This section allows you to justify the methods that you will use to gather data for your thesis proposal. State the details of the research objectives, how you will sample data, and the statistical methods that you will use.

Research Findings

Once you are done with the literature review section and the research methods section, move to the findings section. You should capture the exact steps you took to conclude and explain why you are confident that the findings support your thesis statement. Be very clear about the steps you took to come to your final conclusion.


This is a subsection of the findings. In this section, you can discuss any discrepancies or drawbacks that you encountered during your research. However, do not add any new points in this section.


This is a subsection of the findings that allows you to give your thoughts and recommendations on addressing the findings. However, do not add any new arguments here.


This section is mandatory if you want to cite any other author in your research. Before you start writing the content, ensure that you have thoroughly read all the specifications provided by your lecturer. It helps a lot to take time and go through the reference section to identify all the sources used.