Theses represent both the thorough examination of previously published research, as well as your own unique contribution to that research; if research including published books, articles and other theses can be considered a dialogue or conversation about a specific topic, your thesis represents sharing your viewpoint in that conversation. A thesis proposal, therefore, attempts to articulate how your current research project fits into the larger conversation of research related to your topic, and a thesis proposal focuses more specifically on the research to which you are responding, how your individual research moves the conservation forward and how you plan to accomplish your research goals.

Summarize the research you conducted in preparing for your thesis. Identify trends or positions within the research, as well as any existing debates that might exist between these positions.

Articulate your project's participation in the ongoing scholarly dialogue pertaining to your topic. Your position can either criticize a position related to your topic, defend a position related to your topic, synthesize positions related to your topic, connect your topic with other significant scholarly topics or present a new focus of research within your topic. Whatever you feel your research does, you must clearly state to the panel how your research contributes to further research of your particular topic.

Define your research project's methodology or research methods. In social sciences and humanities, this might mean the critical or theoretical lens you use to analyze a particular issue (psychoanalysis in literature or Keynesian theory in economics, for example). In hard sciences, this might mean the experimental methods you employ to gather empirical data related to a particular issue in your field (double-blind surveys in chemical experiments or control group experimentation in biological experiments, for example).