Components of a Thesis

So, what is a thesis?

A thesis is a long dissertation or research paper. It starts with a thesis statement which is the main point of your thesis paper. It can be a question, a statement, or an assessment. You will need to prove the thesis statement in your thesis with the help of the data that you collect and the analysis you come up with. These are part of the course requirement for university students, particularly those in the US.

Here are a few of the essential components that you need to include in a thesis no matter what

Components of a Thesis

Title Page

A person should be able to get information about the topic of a thesis and its author just by looking at the thesis. The title page of a thesis should include your name, the name of your course, institute, professor, or advisor along with your ID number and the title of your thesis. Write these things in bold letters and space them appropriately. Your details are as important as your thesis.

Table of Contents

An index of all the contents of a thesis is like a good skeleton of the thesis, given at the very beginning. It includes the sections and subsections in the proper order of their occurrence in the thesis. Each heading should be a part of the table of contents along with the page numbers it starts and ends on respectively. The title and its respective page numbers need to be in the same horizontal line or row.

Acknowledgements

Here, you can mention all those who have helped you in your efforts to create an impressionable thesis. We would suggest describing how your colleagues supported you, your advisors guided you and your family looked after you as you worked on your thesis. Make sure you do not miss out on mentioning important people in your life.

Literature Review

The literature review is a list of all the sources of information that you used for reference. It can be substituted with a ‘References’ section at the end of your thesis. However, it is important to cite sources in a section dedicated to references. Specify the particular sections of research papers, articles, and journal entries you referred to in your thesis. The authors, page numbers, editors, publishers, and organizations need to be mentioned. In-text citations are required as well. The format of citation should be the one mentioned by your university/institute/advisor. The different citation formats are APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.

Thesis statement

The introduction should include the thesis statement. It is the most important thing in your thesis. It should convey the motive of your thesis. Restate the thesis statement in the conclusion. Your thesis statement can be creative, but not complex. You cannot work on something already worked on unless you want to disprove a theory or refer to it as you come up with a different argument. Every point that you explain in your thesis should be related to your thesis statement and should work towards proving the same.

Abstract

An abstract is like a summary of the thesis at the beginning of your thesis. It gives a reader an idea of what you would be covering in your thesis. Detailed explanations are not needed in the abstract. But it is important to state the main points from most of the sections- methodology, results, analysis, and conclusion. The abstract should not give away your research. It should just be like a concentration of your thesis.

Methodology

Your thesis starts getting detailed from here. A proper description of the methods you will be used to collect information and data relevant to your thesis should be stated in the ‘methodology’. Be sure to use methods that are suitable for your research and not those that are redundant. They need to be feasible. You should be able to execute the methods on your own.

Observations or results

This is one of the most important parts of your thesis. Following your methodology, come up with results that support your thesis statement. They need to be organized logically and, in a point-wise format. Highlight the keywords as you explain your results. You can also have a summary of your results if your results are too many and stretch over several pages. This will help readers remember important details.

Analysis

This is a crucial part of your thesis. Your analysis shows how much you apply your knowledge to the data and come up with interesting implications. The points in the analysis need to be explained well and logically in order. Do not jump from one point to the other. Do not spring up new information out of the blue. Make sure that the explanations are easy to follow for a reader.

Conclusion

A conclusion includes a brief summary of your thesis. It should restate your thesis statement, followed by your findings and what you deciphered from the data you collected. Write down how the research you conducted impacts your field or humankind at large. Convey whether the point you started your thesis with was achieved or not. Did you come across something unexpected? Did your argument or thesis statement change as you started conducting research?

Appendices

All the extra information and subsidiary data should go in the appendices at the end of your thesis. They should include details that are not directly connected to your thesis in a systematic format. Create different appendices to organize the contents logically. State the subheading along with its page number that contains the point that you are referring to in your appendix. The elements in the appendix should follow the order of their occurrence in the thesis. One should not be on top of the other if the latter comes before the former in the main thesis.

Contributor’s Page

This is a list of people who have worked on the thesis. If you are part of a group working on a single thesis, it would be better to include a contributor’s page. You can also include the credentials of the group members and the parts covered by them. Any personal details need to be edited before they can be included as part of a contributor’s credentials. Only those that are relevant would be better to consider.

Extra information

It is always better to make your thesis rich with details and evidence. Do not hesitate to include as much information as you want. The relevant details can be included in the main body of your thesis. However, subsidiary information needs to go in the appendices at the end of your thesis. Remember to explain each point in your thesis thoroughly. But do not bombard a reader with irrelevant information that can very well go in the appendices. It includes dates, days, and time frames that do not impact the thesis.

Tables, graphs, charts

To make your thesis interesting and inclusive of all forms of information, add graphs, tables, diagrams, images, and/or charts that are relevant to your research. Label these elements properly and insert them wherever necessary. They can be referred to further in your thesis to make a point. You will have to cite these elements in-text and add the citation to the references section of your thesis. Explain the elements properly in your thesis either before or after you have inserted them. They need to be clear to a reader. Extra charts and tables can go in the appendix.

A Final Thesis Checklist

To Wrap Up

Writing a thesis is no piece of cake. It requires months and at times years of dedication. The compilation can be difficult considering the large volume of information to be included in the thesis. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the work and the sections to be covered. You can take months to complete it. Don’t worry if you miss out on writing a particular section. You can always refer to this article and go over the basic elements of a thesis. Cross-check them with the sections and elements in your thesis. Edit your thesis properly before you submit it. Just stop procrastinating and start working! And don’t forget to enjoy the process!

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