Guidelines for writing thesis/research proposal (Revised by IRB, NAMS 2012)
The thesis proposal for MD/MS/MDS/Research students of NAMS should be written under the following headings:-
This should be comprehensive, self-explanatory and concise.
This should touch upon all the relevant aspects of the study.
The length should be about 1-2 pages.
Introduction should focus upon the following main points:-
What is the importance of the problem?
The incidence, prevalence or number of admissions/ outdoor attendance of patients with the disease or problem to be studied should be mentioned.
Findings of relevant past studies should be highlighted
What is known about the problem and what are the lacunae in the knowledge about the problem? What were the points previous studies failed to address? These should be highlighted.
Why does the student wish to do the present study? Is it because previous studies have not addressed the problem or is it because such studies have not been done in this part of the world or in this country?
This should be written in smooth, flowing language in paragraph form with the topic at the beginning of the paragraph. This should not be written in tabular form or point wise numbered format.
Around 8-10 of the most relevant and most important previous studies should be reviewed and the overall length should be about 3 to 6 pages.
The literature reviewed should highlight the findings of previous studies, the relevance to the present study, the recommendations of previous studies (in relation to present study).
It should also highlight the deficiencies of previous studies and especially the deficiencies which the present study is going to address.
While reviewing the past literature, the student should mention the findings of past studies in adequate details like names of authors, year and place of study, sample size, findings in fair detail, recommendations of the authors, etc.
Overall, by reviewing past studies, the student should try to justify why the present study is being carried out and how the study will add to previous knowledge.
The hypothesis on which the study is to be based should be stated clearly.
Objectives need to be given under general and specific objectives.
General objectives should mention the broad aims of the study
Specific objectives should mention the specific and measurable findings one is going to record.
Materials and methods
Methodology should be written in great detail and needs to be written in around 2-3 pages. This should include the following:-
Type of study
Place of study
Sample size which should be statistically valid? What was the sampling technique used? Sampling technique should be given in detail.
Intervention details. This should be given in great detail and the following points have to be included:-
How the groups are to be divided
How the control group or comparative group is to be formed
Details of the study subjects
What tests or procedures are to be performed in the different groups.
Details of the special tests or procedures to be performed should be given(including reference to show that these tests or procedures are standard and internationally accepted).
What parameters or findings are to be observed and recorded about the subject?
How the various groups are to be followed up including detailed timetable.
What measures will be taken in special circumstances? What are the possible side effects or accidents envisaged due to the procedures or special tests during the study period and what precautions will be taken to prevent or mitigate these? How is the student going to deal with irregular follow-up or drop-outs, etc.?
In data collection, the student should discuss the following:-
Pretesting: What are the provisions for pretesting and how it will be done? (If it is required)
True collection of data: How is the data going to be collected – whether by interview or by questionnaire. How are the clinical records going to be completed and what are the various findings that are going to be recorded?
Data collection should be written in about 1 page.
A master chart should also be planned.
Data analysis and statistical analysis
This should be written in about 3 pages. It should include the following:-
The student should plan what findings he is going to record and how he is going to compare the various findings.
There should be provision for interim analysis of data and the time frame should be mentioned.
How is the final data analysis going to be done?
Is it going to be done by computer or manually?
Dummy tables: At least 5 dummy tables should be included. These tables should show the characteristics of the subjects and controls, the findings in various groups, the comparisons between various groups, subgroups and/or control, etc related to objectives.
Which statistical values (like p values, chi square, etc) are going to be measured and what values are going to be taken as significant? Which statistical computer program is going to be used for statistical analysis?
What measures are to be taken for maintaining ethical standards and from where ethical clearance is to be obtained? What are the provisions for taking consent, and whether written or verbal consent is to be obtained? A copy of the written informed consent form needs to be included where applicable.
A brief account of the time schedule, when the data will be collected, when it will be analyzed and when the final thesis will be written should be given.
A brief account of the structure of the proposed budget for the thesis needs to be given.
A list of all the literature reviewed or quoted needs to be enumerated in standard Vancouver format. These should be numbered and listed in the same order as they appear in the citations in the protocol write-up.
A detailed Performa to include the details and characteristics of the study subjects, the tests or procedures performed, the results obtained, etc. needs to be attached to the thesis protocol. It should be written in about 2 pages. (To maintain uniformity, the protocol should be preferably written in Times New Roman font, letter size 12, margins of 2.5 cm. both sides and 1.5 spacing between lines).