Thesis Writing

The first part of writing a thesis should begin with the outline including chapter headings, sub-headings, and charts/graphs. Let this outline be a guide to writing the thesis. Once it is broken down into different headings and sub-headings it will not seem such a massive job. The outline also helps in organization. A word to the wise is to have the outline and all work on the thesis to be on back-up files. If for some reason the original disk malfunctioned, all of the work would not be lost.

Set goals and deadlines. Use the outline to set these goals and deadlines. Reward yourself when you accomplish these goals. The sections of a thesis are:

Title page (This includes the author’s name, title, and name of university)

Abstract (A concise summary of the research topic. This should include methods and final results of the research paper)

Table of Contents

Introduction (This includes why the topic is important and why you have chosen the topic. State the problem in simple terms. It should include background information about the topic. Never overestimate the reader’s familiarity with the topic. Define any terms necessary. This section should be written several times because it is one of the most important parts of the thesis. It needs to be interesting enough to catch the reader’s attention and keep them reading)

Literature Review (This should include an annotated bibliography of sources showing what research has been done on the topic)

Methods (What are your methods of research? Do you plan on questionnaires? Observation? What is your specific method of determining whether your thesis is correct?)

Results and discussion (This discusses what you found during your research process. Different graphs and charts should be used to display the results you found. Carefully describe the conditions that led to the results of your research)

References (Be sure to cite every source used in proper style such as APA or MLA)

Appendices (This should include any materials that you consider important but not in the actual thesis)

Different instructors may have different parts of a dissertation or PhD thesis. These were examples of the common subtopics in a thesis. If in doubt about any section, do not be afraid to ask your professor questions. Different instructors may put more emphasis on different sections so knowing for sure what the professor wants is important.

Set goals for each section of the thesis so it does not seem so overwhelming. Once you complete each section, proofread it.

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