How to Write a Thesis

One is required to write a thesis at the end of an undergraduate course of study, or at the end of a postgraduate year. A thesis is a reasonably long piece of writing that contains a hypothesis, which the student develops during an entire course of study.

One of the most important aspects of a thesis is its structure, which is directed by logic, and cannot diverge or vary as far as the subject is concerned. It must have considerable substance and importance, which depends on the subject, and also on the topic chosen.

A thesis must have an inherent quality, which is generally decided and qualified by the ability of the student, the knowledge demonstrated, and the mastery of the fundamental aspects of the area of knowledge that are confirmed by the student.

A valid thesis should combine the skills learned from a number of different topics and subjects, and culminate in a product that validates what the student has taken on during a degree program. A unique characteristic of a thesis is that it must propose a hypothesis and attempt to suggest its solution.

Steps for Writing a Thesis

  • Consider what was covered since your freshman year. Make a list of all the essays, projects, exams, quizzes and courses you took.
  • Add substance to the list by writing a brief description of each examination, quiz, test, essay and paper. A plan must be created from the result of this summary.
  • Analyze your topic and discuss it with your supervisor. It must incorporate a hypothesis. It must also be expertly worded in a way that embraces the salient points of the ground you have covered.
  • Gather as much as you can in the way of up-to-date references such as books, articles, journal entries, websites, and other scholarly material. Some of it will be familiar and vital: and reading can be considered revision in some cases.
  • Reserve a liberal length of time to cover the required reading.
  • Take plenty of notes and start to draft the thesis, using revised material with a fresh slant and taking new perspectives on covered ground.
  • Draft the introduction last. This method provides the opportunity to introduce your work in an appropriate way, and devise an effective and well-written hypothesis.

Topic Selection

Remember two crucial points about picking a topic: the first is that your topic must be put in context with existing research – stated succinctly, it means that you must make sure that no one else has studied a similar topic before, as a thesis is about producing new knowledge; the second factor in finding an appropriate topic for your thesis is whether or not you can prove that your research is valuable to your target audience. When choosing a thesis topic, not only your subjective interest matters, but its objective significance as well. In other words, you may find out how they make holes in macaronis, but this discovery will hardly be of a benefit for world science.

One more key aspect to remember about choosing a thesis topic is that an original idea rarely comes into one’s head on its own. Therefore, you must seek it. Brainstorm, research, and study previous research in the field that interests you in order to find it.

Key Points to Consider

  • A thesis can be the most important work you will do in your academic life. It brings a course of study to its logical end. It also demonstrates to a board of examiners and off-campus readers the work you are capable of. Your thesis must showcase what you have learned, and must add new information to an area of knowledge.
  • A table of contents, abstract, list of references and cover sheet must be included, according to college guidelines and the style chosen.
  • A thesis is generally quite long, but they vary according to subject, area of knowledge and topic. It should never cover less than 60 pages in length, with a substantial number of references, which should number something in the region of 25 sources or more. Take care that no reference is older than 5 years if the subject is topical, scientific or relates to information technology.
  • Depending on the college/university and subject, an undergraduate thesis is usually graded on the quality of its research, the weight of the influences, and the style of presentation and writing.
  • A postgraduate thesis such as a PhD is an original contribution to scholarship. It must add to an area of knowledge by detection of data. It must formulate a theory or reinterpret known records and established concepts.
  • Use a chart, or a software program such as Endnote to keep references from becoming disorganized and confused. Use paper folders to keep all your notes together, and word-processing folders for written work.

Do and Don’t

Do

  • Do track decisions you make during the entire research period and note all alterations you make – it is worthwhile to keep a diary of writing, references, research and notes.
  • Do remember to choose the correct referencing style – MLA, APA, or Chicago/Turabian.
  • Do start and finish in an engaging, scholarly way, without being too ostentatious.
Don’t

  • Don’t omit significant details.
  • Don’t pad your writing with flimsy minutiae.
  • Don’t forget that this project is the one that will demonstrate what you know about your subject.
  • Don’t use clichés or hackneyed phrases. Making sure your language is precise is one of the vital features of writing a commendable thesis.
  • Don’t neglect the fact that grammar, syntax, punctuation, and word choice affect meaning, and that you must impress the board of examiners with your semantic skills.

Common Mistakes

  • Rushing the reading, or compressing research and drafting into a short a period of time.
  • Repetition – this must present original thinking, so it is not a sound idea to copy from your own previous papers or projects. All work must be freshly written, even if it treats the same subject or similar topics to those already covered.
  • A hypothesis that diverges from the one discussed with your supervisor. Keep to the stringent wording and theme of your topic.
  • Lack of focus. Sometimes students include such an abundance of material in their thesis that it omits to give prominence to the fundamentals learned during the degree course.
  • Not gathering data in a methodical way. If you are muddled and disordered, the whole project becomes confused and random.
  • Lack of analysis. It is not nearly enough to regurgitate what you have read in the primary sources. You must deduce and analyze all material, apply critical thinking, and devise a hypothesis that is novel, stimulating, and memorable.
  • Not presenting an integral, planned project. You need to formulate your thesis by reading, summarizing and synthesizing the research materials properly. It is essentially analyzing the work of others to create an original work of your own.
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Samples for Thesis

Thesis Sample

The following sample is only an excerpt that is meant to demonstrate the structure of a thesis and the writing involved. Annotations will accompany the examples. Title Page ...
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Questions for Thesis