How to Write a Thesis: Outline & Thesis
1. What is a Thesis?
A thesis is a high-level research paper that is, unlike high school, quite common in several graduate and postgraduate studies. It is based on detailed research and students use multiple methods to conduct research and collect relevant data for it.
A good and solid thesis is based on original ideas and research and credible sources.
It is the degree requirement for many graduate and masters level degrees and teachers use them to assess and grade the students. Regardless of the academic level and field of study, students have to write and submit the thesis to prove their eligibility to earn the degree.
The thesis could be of any type but mostly, what the students get is an argumentative thesis that stresses on a stance.
1.1 How Long Should a Thesis Be?
In thesis writing, go for brevity rather than the length. The goal is to come up with the shortest possible paper that contains all the required information to describe the work. Avoid including unnecessary and repetitive information.
Coming back to the length, although it varies from project to project. Average thesis length is about 40 pages. This page includes all the text and list of references but does not include any appendices.
2. How to Start a Thesis?
Writing a thesis becomes easier and less stressful when you have planned and prepared everything beforehand. Therefore, having a complete plan of what you are going to add to the thesis and how you are going to divide them into sections is a great way to stay focused.
Many people go astray during the writing process and this is why having a clear outline is essential and something that you should work on.
Some of the prewriting activities include:
- Choose the main topic and your main argument and claim carefully because chances are that once you have chosen the topic, you will not be able to change it.
- Research relevant and credible sources to support your claims. Use online journals, periodicals, books, and other credible sources to find information to back your claims and arguments.
- Research and gather opposing views and claims also. These arguments will help you present your research in a better and in-depth manner. It will highlight the counter side’s frailty and your arguments’ strength.
- Collect relevant statistical data, in the case of scientific studies and write it down.
- Make and keep a proper and complete list of references and findings that you will add to your thesis.
- Check the guidelines to make sure that you are on the right track.
3. How to Write a Thesis?
The chapters in a thesis are the sections that are based on the main points of the research. Generally, a thesis has the following chapters;
3.1 Research Significance and Purpose
Why did you choose this research topic? What is the topic important and what is its significance? Mention and explain the reasons why did you choose this particular topic and why do you think that this research is important.
Before writing, make points and add details one by one. However, be careful that you do not add any research results in it.
Here, a brief background and overview of the research is discussed in the paper. It also includes the thesis statement. A strong thesis statement offers a brief explanation of the thesis. It is brief and is no more than a few lines, however, keep the thesis statement short and to the point.
A good thesis statement is one of the important parts of a thesis used to present a specific question and answers the question in the main body paragraphs.
Keep in mind that this is not a review paper, make sure to include original work and analysis by you. Don’t forget to break the introduction into logical segments by using subheads.
3.3 Literature Review
Add the review of the relevant literature in this section. To conduct your research and results, you must have studied previous research and how the researchers conducted their research.
What methods they have used and how did they acquire the results, add and analyze all the details thoroughly. Discuss how they are relevant to your research and add relevant quotes, if applicable.
3.4 Research Methodology
What type of research did you employ? Qualitative or quantitative? It depends on your field of study. Scientific fields mostly have practical types of subjects while theoretical fields like humanities work with theories and practices.
For humanities and other theoretical studies, qualitative type of study is used while for scientific types, quantitative research is used.
3.5 Research Findings and Results
After talking about the methodology, it is time to discuss the research results. Discuss the results in reference to the thesis statement and the hypothesis. Inform the readers if your hypothesis was true and if you are able to generate the expected results or not.
The results should be stated clearly in the beginning of the paragraphs and describe the nature of the findings.
Discuss your search results. Mention what were the findings and how did you get them. State the hypothesis and explain your research findings thoroughly.
If the results are different than what was expected then discuss the reasons and explain why the results are different.
When you write a thesis statement, chances are that you must have already discussed some part of the discussion. However, writing a solid thesis is not as easy as it may seem. It should be precise and focused on the main topic. Presenting the main question and theme of the research thesis is the main goal of writing an effective thesis introduction.
For creating a thesis worth of A grade, include references to similar work and some background information required to interpret the results.
Conclude your thesis and the closing paragraphs. Some people do the mistake of opening new ideas here. It will not impress your teacher but will leave a bad impression. A conclusion is the closure of your work so treat it like this.
Restate your thesis statement and briefly state the research findings. However, keep every brief and state the most important points only.
Try to include broader implications of your results and do not repeat anything the same way as you did in the start of your thesis.
3.8 Research Limitations
State your research’s limitations here. There are times that the researchers could not do certain level and depth of research and, generally, everyone does have some sorts of limitations.
Some limitations include shortage of finances, shortage of subjects, time constraints and lack of rigorous data. Whatever they are state them here and propose some ways that could refine the research further.
Add all the references of the work that you have used in your thesis. Adding proper and correct references is important to avoid plagiarism and to add credibility to your work. Arrange the list alphabetically and according to the given format.
If you make a new statement, don’t forget to back it up with your own data or a reference. In addition to that, avoid using footnotes in a thesis paper.
Bibliography is generally bigger and more extensive than the list of references. It includes all the sources that you have studied for your research. There will be a number of researches and papers that you must have gone through when writing your thesis.
However, you do not cite everything in the thesis.
In the references list, you add only those studies that are cited in your work while in the bibliography, every relevant source that you consulted for your research is added.
It is important that you proofread and refine your thesis before you hand it in. remember that a strong thesis is based on a great thesis statement so make sure that you make it worth it.