The dreaded thesis. You knew when you began your studies that somewhere along the way, you would be expected to hand in some form of final assignment. As a student, it’s pretty much a right of passage to spend months dreading the task, procrastinating it until the last possible minute and moaning about it to all your friends from start to finish. However, you gotta do what you gotta do!
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, we’ve gathered some tips on how to write your thesis.
Depending on the level of degree and field of study, the final assignment will be called a thesis or a dissertation- the terms are often interchangeable. Generally, it will be a more extensive assignment whose grading will count for a significant (enough) part of your final grade.
In most cases, a Thesis could be:
If academics are your future, a well-written thesis could help back up your recommendation letters, which in turn could help you get into better programs or snatch a scholarship.
Before we get down to the details, it’s important to understand WHY students, in most cases, are required to write a thesis. While it’s obvious that a thesis can prove as a testament to how much you’ve learnt over the course of your studies, your advisor/professor(s) are looking to see if you are:
This, however, does not mean you read a bunch of research papers and regurgitate the information to your audience. Rather, view your work as a missing jigsaw piece of a larger puzzle. Ask yourself what other academics have missed and how your research could be considered a contribution.
Perhaps one of the biggest decisions you will have to make: WHAT will you write about. The options are endless but there is an easy way to narrow it down.
Write about something that:
If you can state in one sentence, why your chosen topic deserves attention then it’s a good sign! Once you have that behind you, check for approval with your advisor before beginning what could be considered, the most labour-intensive stage of writing a thesis: Research. To ensure that you master this phase effortlessly, take our advice and be structural and organized from the get go! You will save yourself a few breakdowns further along in the process.
Here are a few tips for when you begin your research:
As a wise twitter (@SciBry) user once said:
“Research is spending 6 hours reading 35 papers, so you can write one sentence containing two references” .
With that, we say make it count!
Once you’ve done a good portion of your research, you can begin structuring your paper. Depending on the type of thesis you are writing, the structure may vary but will generally consist of the following segments:
Armed with these tips, we hope you are feeling ready and motivated to begin your thesis-writing journey.