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Sample Doctoral Thesis Proposal

Below is a sample doctoral thesis proposal in APA 7 ed. titled: “Environmental Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Fashion Industry.” This example is intended to help PhD students write better thesis proposals.

APA Doctoral Thesis Proposal

PhD Thesis Proposal Outline: Environmental Sustainability & CSR in the Fashion Industry

Here is the outline for this sample thesis proposal:

  1. Introduction
    1. Background
      • Environmental challenges and climate change have become critical global concerns, with the fashion industry playing a significant role in contributing to environmental degradation.
      • The fashion industry is known for its resource-intensive and polluting practices, such as water usage, chemical pollution, and textile waste.
    2. Rationale
      • The fashion industry’s environmental footprint and social responsibility have gained increasing attention from consumers, regulators, and industry stakeholders.
      • Fashion companies are increasingly adopting sustainability initiatives and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs to address environmental and social issues.
    3. Research problem and significance
    4. Research objectives 
    5. Hypotheses: The adoption of sustainability and CSR initiatives within the fashion industry positively correlates with improved environmental practices and greater social responsibility.
    6. Research questions
    7. Scope and limitations
  2. Literature Review
    1. Historical context of the fashion industry and environmental concerns
    2. Current state of sustainability practices in the fashion industry
      • Sustainable sourcing and supply chain management
      • Eco-friendly materials and production techniques
      • Circular economy and recycling initiatives
    3. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the fashion industry
    4. Consumer attitudes and behavior towards sustainable fashion
    5. Gaps in the existing literature
  3. Theoretical Framework
    • Theories related to corporate sustainability and CSR
    • Framework for assessing sustainability practices in the fashion industry
    • Conceptual model for the study
  4. Research Methodology
    1. Research design
      • Mixed-methods approach
      • Data sources
        • Surveys and interviews with fashion industry stakeholders
        • Analysis of sustainability reports and initiatives
      • Sampling strategy
    2. Data Collection
      • Description of the data collected
      • Data preprocessing and cleaning
      • Challenges and potential biases in the data
    3. Data Analysis
      • Quantitative analysis of sustainability practices in the fashion industry
        • Adoption trends over time
        • Industry leaders and laggards
      • Qualitative analysis of CSR initiatives and their impact
        • Case studies of fashion companies’ CSR programs
        • Stakeholder perspectives on CSR effectiveness
      • Consumer perceptions and behavior related to sustainable fashion
      • Comparative analysis of sustainability practices across different fashion segments
    4. Ethical considerations and informed consent
    5. Methodological limitations
  5. Expected Outcomes
    • Anticipated findings and contributions
    • Implications for the fashion industry and sustainability efforts
  6. Timeline
    • Phases and milestones for the research project
    • Estimated duration for each phase
  7. Budget
    • Estimates for data collection, analysis, and research-related expenses
    • Funding sources and financial plan
  8. References: Comprehensive list of sources cited in the doctoral thesis proposal

Remember, the key to writing a successful doctoral thesis proposal is a clear, focused research question, supported by a strong literature review, a well-defined methodology, and a realistic timeline and budget.

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