How To Write A Thesis - A Step by Step Guide
Table of Contents
- 1. What is a Thesis?
- 2. How to Structure a Thesis?
- 2.1 Title Page
- 2.2 Abstract
- 2.3 Table of Contents
- 2.4 List of Tables and Figures
- 2.5 Introduction
- 2.6 Methods
- 2.7 Results
- 2.8 Discussion
- 2.9 Conclusion
- 2.10 Recommendations
- 2.11 Acknowledgments
- 2.12 Reference
- 2.13 Appendices
- 3. Thesis Paper Length
- 4. What To Look For in a Thesis?
Are you at the stage in your high school where you are about to start your thesis? If yes, then below you can find a complete step by step guide on how you write a thesis from the introduction to its conclusion.
Writing in college takes students to persuade others by convincing them that you have an interesting point that makes logic as well. This form of persuasion is often known as an academic argument that is followed by a pattern in writing that is somehow predictable.
After introducing your topic briefly, you should state your point in only one sentence. After that summarize the complete argument that you will make in the paper afterward.
What is a Thesis?
A thesis is a document that is submitted to complete an academic degree or a professional qualification to present the research and findings of an author.
In some particular contexts, the word thesis is used for a part of a bachelor’s or master's course. The term thesis is used to refer to a claim of an essay or a work of a similar kind.
A good thesis should propose an arguable point to which people could reasonably disagree. It should be proactive, strong enough to justify the statements presented in the thesis paper.
Do not confuse the term thesis with the dissertation. The dissertation is another form of assessment that differs from a thesis in so many ways. It is a subject that you choose for yourself and is required for a doctoral program degree.
Continue reading to clear the confusion regarding dissertation vs thesis. It will surely help you to find out the obvious differences between thesis and dissertation.
Coming back to my thesis. Another important thing in the thesis is the thesis statement.
Whether it's a short essay or a full-length doctoral dissertation. A good thesis statement is one of the trickiest sentences that you will have to formulate.
How to Structure a Thesis?
It is important to note that not all thesis is structured in the same way. It completely depends on the discipline, location, approach and topic on which you are going to write.
There are different types of a thesis such as analytical thesis, Argumentative thesis, Expository thesis etc. and all of these follow a different structure depending upon the guidelines provided by the instructor.
So it is essential for you always go through the department’s guidelines and consult it with your instructor so that you don’t end up with a weak thesis.
It is the first page of your paper and contains the following things:
- Thesis Title
- Author’s Name
- Submission date
- Degree program
- Research supervisor
- Their institutions
- Their email addresses
It is a shortened summary of your thesis. It is written to explain the importance of the thesis in one line. A good abstract is quantitative readable and concise. Keep in mind the following things when writing an abstract for your paper.
- An abstract should be written in a way that will explain the importance of your paper.
- It should end in 400 words approximately i.e. 1-2 paragraphs
- Generally, it does not contain citations
- It should not repeat the information in the title
- Use numbers when needed
- Be explicit
- Your abstract should contain the answer to a specific question or questions such as why does it matter? What did you learn? What are the methods that you will use? What are the significant implications? Etc.
Table of Contents
All parts of the thesis should be included in the section of the table of contents.
- Headings and subheadings with page number
- Indent subheadings
You can see in the diagram, it will look something like this
List of Tables and Figures
If you have a lot of tables and figures in your paper. Then you should item them all in a list of numbers.
- List page numbers for all the tables/figures.
- Add a short title for each table/figure.
In this part of your paper, you set the topic its purpose, relevance and eventually tell the reader what to expect in the paper.
It is impossible for you to write a good introduction if you don't know what the body of your paper says. It is a good approach to write the introduction after completing the rest of your paper.
Make sure to add the hook statement at the start of your introductory paragraph. It will motivate the reader to read the entire document.
The introduction must have the following things:
- Describe the research topic
- Define the scope
- Write the statement problem that indicates why the study was undertaken. But do not repeat the abstract.
- Narrow down the paper's focus
- Discuss the existing research paper and show how your paper is relevant to solve the problem that is discussed in the paper
- State your question and research paper's objective
- Overview of the structure of the thesis paper
- A verbal road map to guide the reader
A good thesis introduction is very important because this section will decide the fate of your thesis paper. Divide this section into logical sections by using subheads. You can also explore our step by step guide to write a good thesis introduction.
After the introduction, comes the thesis statement. It is an important part of a thesis paper.
For a strong thesis statement, it should be specific and usually found somewhere in the first paragraph of the thesis paper.
A great thesis statement is the one that should only cover what is being discussed in the paper with the help of specific evidence.
The method section explains how you have conducted the whole research. This will let the users check the paper's validity.
This section contains the following things:
- Type of research (qualitative, experimental, ethnographic, quantitative)
- Overall approach
- When and where the research is conducted
- Methods used in the paper to analyze the data
- Tools used in the paper
- Obstacles that you may have faced while conducting the research
- Justification or evaluation of your research
The purpose of this section is to report your findings and to convince the readers that why your approach is the best one to answer the questions of your research.
Similarly, the methods section should answer the following questions:
- Will the methods can be used to easily replicate the study?
- Can another researcher easily find and reoccupy the samples?
- Is there enough information being provided?
- If the data and information in the public domain?
- Can anyone replicate the laboratory or statistical analysis?
Now it's the part where you report the actual statements of your research. It includes tables, graphs, and statistics.
- Show information on a range of varieties.
- Include the negative results along with positive.
- Layout the complete case, present the required details
- Draw the inferences and add their own explanations
- Show key results at the start of the paragraph in clear sentences.
- Break your results into logical sections by using subheadings
This section is a brief essay. It is the point where you will have to explore the true meaning and the implication of your findings related to the questions of your research paper.
You should interpret the results in detail and discuss whether it successfully meets the expectations or not.
Start with a few sentences and summarize the most important results. It should be a brief essay in itself.
The discussion should also refer to scholarly work to emphasize how your findings fit the knowledge already existing.
It should answer the research questions in a precise manner. This should be written in a way that will leave the user with a clear understanding of the main argument of the paper.
Generalize the strongest statement that you have made in your paper. Also, include the wider implications of your work.
Go back to the problem and describe the conclusion with the help of your findings and summarize new interpretations and insights that you gathered from the present work.
Nevertheless, avoid repeating the exact information from the abstract, introduction, or discussion.
- Include in your paper when it is appropriate
- Action to solve the particular problem
- Add further research to fill in gaps
- Direct the reader for future investigations
Anyone who helped you in the process.
- Technically (include supplies, materials )
- Financially (travel grant, departmental support etc.)
- Intellectually (advice, assistance)
Add the details of all the sources that you have mentioned in your paper. It is sometimes known as a bibliography or works cited list.
- Cite all the concepts, ideas, data that does not belong to you
- Cite single author by its surname followed by the publication date
...according to Byrne (2000)
- Cite the references for double authors by their surname with the publication date
Alex and Byrne (2000)
- Avoid using footnotes
- List down all the references in alphabetical order
- Put the initials of the authors behind their last names, e.g. Pfirman, S.L.
Documents used in your paper that generally do not fit the main body of your thesis paper can be included as Appendices. Keep in mind the following elements:
- Include all the data in the appendix
- Reference materials are not available
- Tables and Calculations
- Include a key article
- Include a list of additional materials
- List of equipment used for an analysis
Note that figures and tables with captions should be mentioned in the text and not in this section until unless they are more than 1-2 pages in length.
Thesis Paper Length
Wondering how long should a thesis be?
Well, the goal should be in adding all the necessary information in the paper to describe the work and its supporting arguments.
Try to avoid unnecessary and irrelevant details. For repeated information, use tables.
Although the length of the thesis paper varies, the average length is 40 pages long.
This total word count includes all of the text and the list of references in the paper but it does not include appendices.
You should not take these instructions seriously. If you are a student, it is important for you to ask your instructor about the project guidelines early on.
What To Look for In a Thesis?
We are in search of critical analysis. We will gather evidence that will allow us to make judgments and interpret the findings. All your findings should clearly display the topic’s main context. You must cite the relevant literature.
A solid thesis paper should be a well-reasoned argument from questions to relevant findings to its implications. It should be clearly written and must follow the order mentioned below.
Order of Writing
Order might differ in different types of the thesis but this is the basic ordering that you can follow.
- Firstly, you need to organize your paper in a logical manner before you begin writing
- Write down your figures to support your argument
- Define the paper sections
- Analysis of conclusion
- Outline its main elements
- Start writing in paragraphs, sentences and words.
Editing and Proofreading
- Make sure that all the sections in your paper are in the correct place.
- It should be well written.
- Leave time for editing and proofreading it.
- Refine your thesis and make sure there are spelling and grammatical mistakes.
It is important for you to make time to write and revise drafts before focusing on typos, grammar and language mistakes.
Below you can find a format and sample of the thesis that you can check to clearly understand each and everything about thesis writing. However, we don't recommend you to copy the work.
Get Professional Help
Though you can find all the important steps to write a thesis. But keep in mind writing a thesis requires a lot of hard work as it is quite different from other academic writings.
Students usually get stuck in the process and eventually look for any thesis writing services to help them out.
Here is the good news!
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With all that, we will wrap up the article.
Is this guide helpful in starting your thesis writing process?