This is your formal presentation of your specific topic and thesis argument, along with a comprehensive list of primary and secondary sources. Each student submits a proposal before officially beginning work on the thesis. Its purpose is to demonstrate to the thesis advisor and content specialist that the project is worth doing and manageable; that the research question is sound and worthwhile; that the thesis contains some element of originality; that the proposed method is appropriate to the research question; that the student has the requisite knowledge to carry out the method; that the student is conversant (or becoming conversant) with the appropriate literature bearing on the question; that significant primary sources can be obtained; and, that the scope of the project is reasonable for a master’s thesis. Only when the thesis advisor officially approves the proposal may the student consider that he or she is formally working on a thesis. Each thesis proposal also includes a literature review. It tells your audience what we already know about your specific subject (what other historians have published), and where specifically you will be making an original argument and contribution to the field. You accomplish this with the proposal, and also a very detailed list of all relevant primary and secondary sources. The Proposal and Literature Review should be between 1000 and 1500 words, not including your bibliographical listing at the end of primary and secondary sources.
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