A Thesis is a high-level paper based on original ideas, detailed research, and credible sources. It requires students to use multiple methods for collecting relevant data when doing research.
A thesis is a common assignment in several graduate and postgraduate studies. It is also a degree requirement for many Masters and Ph.D. level degrees. Teachers usually use them to assess and grade students. Similarly, such papers also prove their eligibility to earn the degree. Although a thesis paper can be of any type, students mostly get an argumentative thesis that stresses a stance.
College theses are mostly just extended academic essays but it is important to include all of the elements that are expected in a well-developed college thesis. In this blog post, we will guide you on how to write a strong, impactful thesis that enlightens readers and enriches your field of study.
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 a student. In some cases, the word thesis is used to refer to a part of a bachelor’s or master’s course. It can also be 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 can reasonably disagree. It should be proactive and strong enough to justify the statements presented in the thesis paper. Please note that a thesis is not similar to a dissertation and you should not confuse them. A 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 this blog to clear up the confusion regarding a thesis statement and a thesis. This blog post will help you to find out the obvious differences between a thesis and a thesis statement.
Thesis vs. thesis statement
You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement. Keep in mind that these are two very different things.
- A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay, and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your essay.
- A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement to complete a Ph.D. program.
On the other hand, you may hear the terms “thesis” and “dissertation” being used interchangeably. It’s important to note that their definitions differ significantly depending on your learning institution and country.
- In many countries, particularly the UK, a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.
- In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a Ph.D.
How Long Should a Thesis be?
The length of a thesis varies from one project to the other. It highly depends on the department, faculties, level of study, and fields of study. A bachelor’s thesis is usually 40-60 pages long while a master’s thesis is normally 60–100 pages. On the other hand, a PhD thesis writing must not exceed 80,000 words which is approximately 100-250 pages. These pages contain all the text and reference lists except appendices.
Nevertheless, in thesis writing, students should go for brevity rather than length. The main goal is to come up with the shortest possible paper that contains all the required data. You should also avoid including unnecessary and repetitive information.
Important Tips For Writing A Great Thesis
If the time for writing your thesis has come, we would be happy to share with you our best advice on how to successfully complete this task. Writing a thesis is not an easy task but the information shared here will guide you on how to write a thesis that will earn you a good grade. Consider the following tips when writing your thesis.
Think about your topic and pick it in advance
Picking your thesis topic early is important as you will be able to reflect, read about it and maybe plan the structure of your work before the real pressure knocks on your door. Please do this as soon as possible and try to take advantage of the tight schedule that you will be submitted to over the following months.
If you decide to follow this advice, we can guarantee that you will forever be thankful to yourself as it will give you a boost of confidence at the beginning of your writing process and this will make all the difference in the workflow. Although the advice might seem obvious, very few people implement it. Make sure you are among the few to come up with the best thesis.
Planning is the most important phase
A few students are outstanding planners and every project here should have at least one-third of the time dedicated to the planning step. Such students are very efficient in delivering amazing results, as the planning process is the most important in everything you will do in life! You can adopt this style and don’t be afraid to dedicate a substantial amount of time and energy to the planning phase of your thesis. With this, your work will flow naturally and effectively.
In the planning phase, define the aim and the outline of your work carefully and then structure the summary of your thesis. After this, you can be sure that you have 50% of the work done – of course, that is an exaggeration but it does feel like that when you have a sustainable plan to follow!
Select carefully the method and material you will use
Once you are done with planning, you can put extra effort into defining your work method and selecting the material you will use to base your ideas and consequently your work. Dedicate some quality time to reading and developing confidence in the topic you are going to write about and then stop searching for thousands of other sources. Remember you need to put an end to that reading phase in order to start the writing process.
Don’t waste your time reading unnecessary material and learn to select the right ones. I know it is hard, but being able to identify and effectively extract the information you need is also part of the task!
Be consistent and don’t underestimate the work
Please note that writing a thesis is not going to be an easy assignment and so you should take it seriously from the beginning. The process is designed to take you out of your comfort zone and force you to produce unique and valuable work. The process takes a lot of effort.
Treat it like a job, establish working hours, get yourself dressed properly and take breaks. Most importantly, be consistent, work hard, focus on your project and push your limits even when you feel you have reached them already. You can do it, but you need to commit!
Let me put it straight: you will never feel inspired to write your thesis
Please, understand one thing and remember that every single day, you will never feel inspired to write your thesis. Don’t just sit there and wait for inspiration to come and help you to write a very good thesis because unfortunately, your work is not a piece of art. Academic work requires consistency and persistence and you need to push your limits every day. It hurts, and some days you will just hate it, but in the end, you will be proud of yourself and your efforts.
Establish a schedule and follow it
Honestly, there is no way you can be successful in your thesis writing process without a very good schedule that will not only guide your days but also impose some urgency on your productivity.
Try to establish a realistic yet ambitious schedule with the number of pages you need to finish per week or per day taking into consideration that you will have amazing and terrible cycles during the process.
You should never stop following your schedule but you can always adjust. Never give up and if necessary, you can define in advance some treats for accomplishing your goals and make use of positive reinforcement psychology.
There is no way to deny that we are all addicted to the distractions offered by technology. Social media, emails, videos, and, images, so much stimulation, and so much distraction. All of this is poison for your brain while writing your thesis as you will need your full focus dedicated to this project.
Establish the discipline of putting your phone away and turning off the notifications on your devices and especially on your computer to avoid interruptions in your attention when you are busy working on your thesis.
If you are stuck, go on to the following topic, but don’t stop the work
At times you will get stuck and that is fine. You just need to accept and deal with it in the best way possible. You can develop an effective strategy of moving to the next or just a different topic and start writing or reading something new, to give yourself a “fake break” instead of a real break.
By doing this, you push your limits and most of the time you find the idea or words you were looking for. This is very different from the case where you decide to stop and freeze and you will have to get back to where you stopped. You can give the strategy a try if you get stuck, as you don’t need to follow the order of your summary the whole time.
Sometimes, a change in your perspectives is exactly what you need to avoid or fight the agonizing writer’s block.
Treat yourself well
Are you super strict with yourself? Please understood that this is not the most healthy and productive way of dealing with life. Try to treat yourself better during the writing process and allow yourself some pleasant moments and experiences. Some things are absolutely necessary for all of us, like nourishing our bodies with healthy food, having quality resting time, and practicing physical activity.
During the time you have set aside to treat yourself, choose activities you enjoy like going out, watching a movie, having fun, meeting friends, or anything else that suits you better.
Have a plan to overcome the stress and anxiety in the moments
If there is one thing you can be sure about in thesis writing, there will be moments of stress and anxiety. This can be during the writing process or at the end. Be prepared to overcome them and don’t allow these moments to take away your focus and determination.
Planning how to deal with those crazy moments is very important as it will help you feel confident that the moments will pass and that you are in control of everything. The strategy will help you meditate whenever you feel like you are getting out of the tracks. You can try listening to music, dancing, running, swimming, or anything else that is able to take away the bad energies of your body and mind.
Writing a thesis is a stressful task and you will learn a lot about yourself, your strength, and your weakness during this process. It is also an opportunity to enhance so many aspects of your self-esteem and confidence. Try to make the most out of it.
Thesis Writing Format
Given below are the four major sections of a thesis format.
Section 1 – Preliminary Pages
- Title page (required)
- Dedication (optional)
- Acknowledgment (optional)
- Abstract (required)
- Table of contents (required)
- List of tables (required)
- List of figures (required)
- List of abbreviations (optional)
Section 2 – Text
- Introduction (referred to as Chapter 1)
- Body of Thesis
Section 3 – References/ Bibliography (required)
Section 4 – Appendices (optional)
Remember, the format of a thesis is the same as that of the other research and term papers.
Before starting to write a final thesis, the supervisors require the students to submit a well-planned proposal. It provides a detailed summary, outline, and layout of your research work. Moreover, it identifies the problem statement, questions, and methods used to carry out the study.
Follow this pattern for writing a thesis proposal.
- Literature review
- Theoretical framework
- Research question
- Methodological designs
How to write a thesis proposal in 5 simple steps
For graduate students, the most important proposal in the world is the thesis proposal. The thesis proposal is an outline of the research work you plan to do in your thesis. It is a roadmap on which your academic and professional career depends. As with any other type of proposal, the more careful the planning, the better the results you’ll get from your thesis proposal.
Once you have decided on a topic, the fun of putting together the thesis proposal itself begins. Writing the proposal of your thesis is challenging, but with the right templates and strategies, the process becomes easier. Let’s learn how to write a thesis proposal before we move forward to writing a good thesis.
Step 1: Outlining
Your thesis proposal starts with outlining the materials you’ve gathered. This is very important because the thesis proposal is as much for your benefit as it is your instructor. If you can carefully outline the parts of the thesis, you can follow the outline in conducting the research to develop the actual project.
What your instructor is likely looking for is evidence in your proposal that you understand the process of data collection. Making it clear that your research will incorporate reviewing and integrating relevant literature is a big part of the proposal.
To do this most effectively, you need to know the structure of a thesis proposal. Here are the steps you’ll take to outline your thesis:
- Create a separate section with your thesis statement at the top of the outline.
- List out the main points you’re going to be making.
- Label your points with Roman Numerals.
- Write out supporting statements underneath the main points.
- Label your supporting statements with letters.
- Continue to add sub-ideas and statements until your ideas are fully fleshed out.
Step 2: Defining a structure
You need to know the common structure of a thesis proposal. The typical parts are as follows:
- Abstract: This is the outline or the summary of your work and research methodology.
- Introduction: An introduction is what sets the stage for the rest of your paper. It puts the rest of your research and ideas in the correct context.
- Existing literature/significant prior research: All of your ideas will be supported with research and other well-known literature. This gives your work credibility, and helps you avoid accusations of plagiarism.
- Thesis or project statement: Your thesis statement is a concise explanation of the argument made in your paper.
- Approach: In this section, you’ll include a brief overview of how you plan to approach the topic and the research method used for your work.
- Potential outcomes: In this section, you’ll outline what you expect to find through your research project.
- Limitations: Every study comes with its own unique limitations or constraints which impact the results. Outline these limitations, and explain how they could impact the findings in your research proposal.
- Contributions to knowledge: This is your opportunity to explain how your work will contribute to your field of study.
- Proposed thesis chapters: And finally, this section will include an outline of how you plan to write and format your thesis.
Step 3: Planning your writing
The best way to put together an organized thesis plan is to organize how you will write it before you get started. Many thesis proposals have been rejected simply because the students didn’t plan their writing and instead tried to hack it all together. If you attempt that, it will show, and the thesis structure is likely to be rejected.
Don’t let that happen to you. Plan the flow of your writing and stick to the plan!
The usual flow of writing a thesis proposal is as follows:
- Outline: You’ll start by coming up with a detailed description of the major points you’ll be making in your thesis.
- Prepare visuals (any charts or tables): If your thesis includes any visuals, like charts or tables, it can help to prepare these ahead of time. This will help support the arguments made in your thesis.
- Describe methodology: In the methodology chapter, you’ll explain the approach you took while compiling your work. This should explain the validity of your research and add credibility to your work.
- Explanation of data: In this section, you’ll include an overview of the data you uncovered.
- Conclusions drawn from your data: You’ll also include a brief explanation of the conclusions you’re drawing from the data, and how you believe the data supports your thesis.
- Introduction: Again, the introduction sets the stage for the rest of the paper.
- Abstract: Your abstract is a concise summary of the paper.
- References: The reference list is a complete list of the resources you used to create your thesis. This is also known as a literature review, and it shows how your work fits within the larger field of study.
Note that the writing of a thesis proposal does not follow the actual structure of a thesis proposal. For instance, how can you write an abstract if you do not know what the research actually says? You have to write out of sequence to be able to create an accurate introduction and abstract.
Step 4: Writing the thesis proposal
Once you’ve planned your writing, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get it done! Thesis proposals are written in a formal style, which is what sets them apart from many other types of proposals.
Although the proposal will be in a formal style, it is still important to keep it simple. Work towards concision while maintaining academic objectivity and leveraging readability.
When you’re writing a thesis proposal, it’s best to avoid using the first or second person. Aside from the thesis statement itself, you want to maintain objectivity in all aspects of your thesis proposal. It may be helpful to consult with your instructor before beginning your thesis statement as well.
Step 5: Proofreading your proposal
A thesis proposal is no place for typing errors or poor readability. If you show your proposal to a fellow student or friend and they have a hard time understanding what you are trying to say, even though they are in your field, you will want to revise it.
The best practices for thoroughly proofreading a thesis proposal are as follows:
- Read the proposal to yourself (aloud!) — you’ll spot problems with grammar and sentence structure more easily this way
- Do not proofread it immediately after writing it — give your brain a rest so you can view it objectively
- Consult with colleagues first — have three friends or colleagues that have a deep understanding of the material proofread it first.
- Use multiple spell checkers — this will help you identify any hard-to-spot errors.
- Remember that your future success depends on a successful thesis proposal — make sure it’s error-proof to maximize your odds of acceptance.
How Do You Start Your Thesis?
Below are the prewriting steps to start a thesis successfully.
- Choose an interesting thesis topic, along with your central argument.
- Research credible sources to support your claims. It may include online journals, periodicals, and books.
- Collect relevant statistical data for scientific studies.
- Search and gather opposing views to present your work in a better and more in-depth manner. It will also identify the strength of counterarguments.
- Create a well-structured outline to organize all the chapters and headings in one place.
- Make sure to list down the sources in the referencing section from the start.
- Check the format, methods of research, and thesis writing guidelines to ensure that you are on the right track.
How to Write a Thesis Paper?
After planning how to start your thesis, the actual writing process begins. Generally, a thesis consists of the following sections.
Thesis Title Page
A thesis title page is the first page of your paper and contains the following things:
- Thesis Title
- Author’s Name
- Submission date
- Degree program
- Research supervisor
- Name of the institutions
- Email addresses
It is an optional page in a thesis paper. Here, the writer appreciates the people who supported the research technically, financially, or intellectually.
An abstract 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
A good abstract must answers the following questions:
- Why did you conduct the research?
- What did you learn?
- What question were you trying to answer?
- What methods you have used to conduct the research?
- What are the research findings?
- How will your research contribute to the field area?
Table of Contents
A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.
Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table in Microsoft Word.
The introduction chapter of your thesis outlines its core arguments, hypotheses, and results. It is longer than the abstract and contains adequate background information on your topic of interest. Furthermore, it establishes the relevance of your thesis by highlighting its contribution to the knowledge base of its topic. Writing a gripping introduction helps the readers understand the context of your thesis. The introduction of a thesis should have the following stages:
- State the general topic and give some background information.
- Provide a review of the literature related to the thesis subject
- Define the terms and scope of the thesis topic
- Outline the existing situation
- Evaluate the current situation and identify the gap in the literature
- Identify the importance of the proposed research
- State the main research questions
- State the purpose of the study and/or research objectives
- State the study hypotheses
- Outline the order of information in the thesis
- Outline the methodology.
In this section, mention the reasons for choosing a particular topic. Also, think about why the research is important and how it will contribute to the field.
Conduct thorough research to review the relevant literature on the topic. Identify the literature gaps and structure your arguments according to them. Also, analyze the methods used by other scholars to acquire the results.
A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic. It involves the following,
- Selecting the relevant resources.
- Determining the credibility of your sources.
- Critically evaluate each of your sources.
- Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps.
A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research by:
- Addressing a gap in the literature
- Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
- Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
- Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
- Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate
As the name suggests, the methodology section of a thesis consists of all methods and procedures you have used in your thesis. A well-written methodology accentuates the plausibility of your research methods. In addition, it enables your readers to understand why you chose specific methods and how they are justified for your research.
To garner more credibility, you can include the pitfalls and difficulties associated with your choice of research methods. The methodology section is an unavoidable part of a thesis or a research paper. Considering errors in the methodology section enervates the entire thesis.
Follow the steps below to write a perfect methodology for your thesis:
- Give an outline of the research design
- Don’t forget to define the philosophy behind the research
- Mention the research approach
- Introduce the research methods
- Avail professional proofreading and editing services
You can choose to highlight the following points in the methodology. No matter what methodology you have chosen, you have to focus on the following:
- Explain the sampling strategy.
- Clearly state the procedure of the research paper.
- Mention how you collected the data. (Data collection)
- Explain how data are analyzed for your research. (Data analysis). Suppose you have written in qualitative strategy like thematic analysis, mention the researcher you have followed.
- Mention the validity of the data and result.
- Discuss all ethical aspects of your research paper.
The following are the most important tips to compose an impactful methodology for a dissertation
- Don’t drift from your objective and the purpose of your dissertation.
- Explore scholarly research papers and their methodology sections to have a better idea.
- Plan a proper writing structure.
- Understand your audience and target group.
- Don’t make mistakes in citing relevant sources. You may use APA and MLA.
- Refer to all the hurdles you have experienced while writing your dissertation.
- Make sure to rectify grammatical and punctuation errors.
- Ensure that the section is readable and doesn’t consist of long and complex sentences. Long sentences can hamper the tone of the methodology.
State your research limitations in this section. Some common limitations are as follows:
- Shortage of finances
- Shortage of subjects
- Time constraints
- Lack of rigorous data
In this section, mention the research findings in reference to the thesis statement and the hypothesis. Inform the readers if the hypothesis was true and if you could generate the expected results or not.
This is 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 the 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
The discussion chapter of your thesis should begin with a brief summarization of the outcome of your research work. It should explain how your results address your hypotheses and highlight any repetitions in your observations. You can also add comments on how you want the readers to interpret your results and about your agreements and disagreements with the available research work in your field.
Writing a flawless thesis requires much more than only subject matter expertise. It requires expertise, experience, and in-depth thinking, along with sharp intelligence. Though most students add a discussion chapter to their thesis or dissertation, many of them end up messing up the essay or missing out on the central issues.
A discussion chapter in a thesis is a place where you have the chance to delve into the analysis, importance, and relevance of your research. This section focuses on explaining and analyzing what you have researched, presenting how it is associated with the existing literature. It is also a place for an argument supporting your entire discussion.
We often find that people seek thesis writing help from experienced editing and proofreading services to help prepare a flawless discussion chapter. However, the following tips can help you design a perfect masters or Ph.D. thesis with an excellent discussion chapter:
- Understand the objective of your thesis
- Determine a clear structure
- Usage of grammar and tense
- Refer to hypotheses and literature review
- Evaluate your results and compare them with existing studies
- Understand the limitation of your research
- Don’t be afraid to be unique
- Don’t forget to avail a professional thesis editing and proofreading service.
The following 5 questions might be helpful to write a sound discussion section:
- How well do you understand the objective of your study?
- What message is conveyed by your results?
- How do your findings compare to findings in literature?
- Why should your findings matter?
- In what light should your findings be viewed?
Conclude your paper by writing the thesis statement and research findings. Keep it brief and discuss the important points only. Similarly, do not open new ideas in this section as it will leave a wrong impression on the teacher.
You can also recommend directions for future research to solve the problem.
- 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)
In this section, add all the sources that you have used in your thesis. It will add credibility to your work by avoiding plagiarism. Also, arrange the list alphabetically and according to the given format.
In order to avoid plagiarism, don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.
The style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA, APA, and Chicago.
In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions. These can be added as appendices, to save space in the main body.
- 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 unless they are more than 1-2 pages in length.
Include your data, procedures, references, and calculations in the appendices. Moreover, give each appendix a title, such as a letter (A, B, C). However, it should not be more than 1-2 pages.
Below are some interesting topic ideas for writing a thesis paper.
- Discuss cultural and economic approaches in the practical world.
- Influence of demographic change in urban areas.
- Multinational firms investing in Third World countries – Does it help?
- Roadways and the telecommunications industry are essential to the economy.
- Discuss the conflicts in Africa along with their causes & effects.
- Elaborate on the role of women in rural development.
- Discuss the economic analysis of real estate prices.
- Impact of regional trade agreements on SAARC.
- Relationship between migration and crime.
- What are the causes and consequences of long-term unemployment?
Thesis Writing Tips
Follow the tips given below to write a well-researched thesis.
- Start writing your thesis early.
- Determine the audience and their expectations.
- Organize your paper as a logical argument.
- Create tables and figures to present the arguments.
- Arrange the sections to make your first and last chapter engaging.
- Write the introduction after the conclusion. Ensure both sections are related to each other.
- Do a critical review of the literature to make your research credible and authentic.
- Read your work aloud to identify spelling, grammatical and punctuation mistakes.
- Set the deadlines for each day and make sure to work accordingly.
- Remember to proofread and refine your thesis before the final submission.
- Make changes according to the feedback.
- Use a simple sentence structure along with easy words.
Qualities of a good thesis
A good thesis has the following qualities
- A good thesis must solve an existing problem in society, organization, government, etc.
- A good thesis should be contestable, it should propose a point that is arguable which people can agree with or disagree with.
- It is specific, clear, and focused.
- A good thesis does not use general terms and abstractions.
- The claims of a good thesis should be definable and arguable.
- It anticipates the counter-arguments
- It does not use unclear language
- It avoids the first person. (“In my opinion”)
- A strong thesis should be able to take a stand and not just take a stand but should be able to justify the stand that is taken so that the reader will be tempted to ask questions like how or why.
- The thesis should be arguable, contestable, focused, specific, and clear. Make your thesis clear, strong, and easy to find.
- The conclusion of a thesis should be based on evidence.
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