Proposal and thesis writing are areas of research that have provided challenges to many students and scholars. However, the ability to identify, define and research an issue or problem impacting on education, business or society is a necessity for students undertaking undergraduate/postgraduate studies. Students are required to prepare scholarly research papers that examine in detail issues or problems and provide recommendations or solutions.

This text has therefore been written to address these challenges and to provide guidelines for the preparation of a scholarly research document. It will aid in the teaching and learning of social science research methodology in higher institutions of learning, co4leges and research institutions. The text attempts to use various examples to illustrate basic issues in research methodology. The illustrations draw heavily on the Kenyan context.

The authors invite readers’ contributions and criticisms towards the improvement of the text. Please feel free to send us an e-mail at or The authors acknowledge the invaluable services provided by various people.


This text attempts to analyze the five major chapters in proposal and thesis writing. It also pinpoints how the references should be formulated. In the appendix readers are informed on ways of preparing effective budgets and work plans. This text is divided into eight major sections. These are as follows:

Preliminaries  This section gives a brief overview of what research is. It also defines a research proposal and thesis. Research variables are discussed. The types of research and their applicability are discussed.

The section also discusses strategies in topic and title selection.

Introduction This section discusses the first chapter of the research proposal and thesis. This includes: Background of the study; Statement of the problem; Objectives of the study; Research questions; Justification of the study; Scope of the study; Limitations of the study and the Conceptual framework.

Review of Related Literature– This section discusses the second chapter of the research proposal and thesis. It pinpoints the importance of Literature Review in Research. It also discusses qualities of an effective Literature Review, guidelines in formulating effective Literature Reviews and challenges faced in the formulation of a Literature Review.

Research Design and Methodology — This section discusses the third chapter of the research proposal and thesis. It discusses the Research design, Research Site, Study Population, Sampling, Sampling Design, Target Population (Selection of Respondents), Research Instruments, Data Collection Procedure and Data Analysis.

Data Analysis and Presentation — This section discusses the fourth chapter of the thesis. It defines data analysis and indicates pitfalls in data analysis and interpretation. Errors in data analysis and problems with interpretation are highlighted.

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations — This section discusses the fifth chapter of the research thesis. It points out ways of summarizing, concluding and giving recommendations.

References — This section pinpoints various ways of writing the reference section.

Appendices — In this section ways of preparing an  effective budget and time frame are discussed.

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