Norwegian version of this page

Research Proposal

The research proposal is a compulsory component that you have to pass before you can be assigned a supervisor and submit your Master's Thesis. The research proposal is compiled during the preparatory Master's Thesis seminars .

Two students can choose to write their Master's Thesis together. You may choose to do the data-collection abroad, i.e. in your home country. 

Compulsory attendance 

The preparatory Master's Thesis seminars take place in autumn, in the third semester of the master's programme. The seminars run over four times. Attendance at the seminars is compulsory and will be registered each time. If you are ill or have another valid reason for being absent from a seminar you may apply to get your absence approved.

Completion of the research proposal requires that you participate in the seminars.

Guidelines for the research proposal 

Through the work on the research proposal you are to plan and prepare for the completion of your thesis. 

You may find guidelines for different types of research projects here.

The research proposal shall contribute to ensuring the academic quality and efficiency of your research project. 

If you are to co-author the thesis with another student, you also write the research proposal together. 

Tentative title of the Master's Thesis

Formulate a tentative title which is clear and informative. 

Background, topic, aims and objectives

Describe what you would like to investigate. What is the background for the research topic you have chosen, and what would you like to achieve with your dissertation? Describe one or more aspects which forms the theoretical and empirical framework of the project:

  • problems related to the field of practice, or to own experiences
  • relevant research
  • theoretical point of departure/framework

This should be elaborated on with one or more research questions. 

Research questions 

Formulate a research question which is focused and feasible to answer within the given timeframe. The research question can be defined as one overall question with several sub-question which are clearly connected to the overall question. The research question may also be formulated as a specific thematic aim or as one or several hypotheses.

Research design and methods 

  • Outline a possible research design and the methodological approach you think would be effective to answering your research questions
  • Outline how you will select participants/sources and how you plan to gain access to them
  • Outline how you will collect data
  • Outline how you will analyse the data

Ethical aspects 

Describe the ethical aspects that must be considered in your project. Are there any specific ethical issues or challenges related to your project? How should these be dealt with?

Note that if you are to carry out interviews with participants, your project must most probably be notified to NSD for an assessment of privacy. Your may find more information on data handling in for master's students here.  


The research proposal must include a time schedule for how you plan to proceed with the project month by month until the submission deadline. Activities that you should include in the time schedule are i.e. notifying your project to NSD, data collection, literature reading, analysis, writing etc. Bear in mind that the writing should start early. 

Reference list 

The research proposal must include a literature list of the references you have used.

The reference list must be written according to the APA guidelines.

Cover page

The research proposal must have a cover page which contains:

  • Name of author(s) 
  • The proposed title of the Master's Thesis
  • Research proposal for Master's Thesis 
  • Year and semester (e.g. Autumn 2021)
  • Name of seminar teacher

Formatting requirements

  • Text size must be 11 or 12 Times New Roman, or 11 Calibri. 
  • Line spacing must be one and a half (1,5)
  • Page number must be placed at the bottom of the page
  • Margins must be standard
  • Maximum number of words: 2500 (excluding references)


You submit the research proposal in Canvas.

You submit your research proposal in November. The submission deadline is available on the semester page.    


The research proposals will be assessed as passed/not passed.  

If you do not pass, you will be given a second attempt to pass within a one-week deadline.

An approved research proposal is valid for three years. If you are delayed, and your research proposal is older than three years when you are to initiate your work on your Master's Thesis, you must deliver an updated research proposal for the Department's approval. The updated research proposal must be approved before you are assigned a supervisor and can start working on your thesis. Contact if this applies to you.

Published Nov. 12, 2020 1:03 PM - Last modified Nov. 25, 2020 2:26 PM