Tips For Writing A Thesis: Clarifying The Structure

Theses, also known as dissertations, are academic documents often written to express the viewpoint of the writer, supported by their personal interpretations and collected research.

A thesis is a large project to undertake, one of the reasons why they're usually assigned to graduate students seeking a Master's or PhD. Researching a thesis is considered relatively daunting itself, due to the work and even funding that goes into effective research. Compiling all of that collected information into a coherent first draft is the next step in a long journey.

Clarifying the structure of a thesis

Theses need structure. Structure helps writers successfully compile the information in their thesis into a readable form.

Without some kind a structure, a thesis would just be a collective of statements, questions and odd words without a purpose or unifying idea behind them. Structure helps writers convincingly 'sell' their case to their reader, ultimately producing a more compelling thesis when complete.

Theses might vary in structure, generally depending on the writer's area of study. Though, in most cases, theses have the same structure in most contexts.

The basic structure of a thesis usually contains the following sections:

  • Introduction. The introduction does as described, bringing attention to the significance of the thesis statement or question to the reader. While chronologically first, the introduction is usually written last to effectively exemplify the information presented within the thesis.
  • Research review (body). The first part of the body reviews the research conducted for the thesis, mostly identifying the 'gaps' presented there. In other words, it presents what's known about that subject and what isn't known, setting the stage for the next section.
  • Projections (body). The projections or aims for the thesis are presented in this part. As explained by the name, it merely tells what the writer hopes to accomplish or discover through analyzing their research.
  • Methodology (body). The methodology behind the research, in this section, explains how the writer will discover from their research to answer or exemplify their thesis question or statement.
  • Results (body). The results within a thesis naturally expresses what the writer has found through their research and how they will interpret those results.
  • Discussion (body). The discussion portion of a thesis is also self explanatory, as it allows the writer to explore the meaning behind the results of their research in their own thoughts.
  • Conclusion. The conclusion is the natural end of the thesis, not only concluding the completed work, though also posing potential applications or recommendations for using the knowledge presented in the thesis.

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