What is a thesis?
One’s academic life is full of newness at every step. There are so many things to learn in a short time. To be able to implement those things in life after college is another part of the learning process. You must have written several academic and research papers by now. There is a step-by-step process to be followed as you get working on a paper. Keep these steps in mind as you read on!
In your academic career, there is a point when you are faced with what is termed a ‘thesis’. Do not worry even if you have no idea about how to write a thesis. What are we here for? We will try to explain what a thesis is, from its conception to its execution, editing, and submission.
What are a thesis paper and a thesis statement?
A thesis can mean two things- a thesis paper and a thesis statement. A thesis paper cannot be created without a thesis statement.
In simple terms, a thesis paper is a long research paper or dissertation. It compiles several sections addressing a question or a statement known as a thesis statement. A thesis statement is fleshed out in a thesis paper.
The thesis statement is the focus of a research paper. The entire list of contents works towards building an argument or addressing a question. A thesis statement is analyzed from different angles and made into a thesis paper. It might take months, or even years to develop a thesis paper, considering the amount of research that goes into forming an argument.
Purpose of a thesis
There are different types of theses. They can pertain to the sciences, engineering, and humanities or can even be interdisciplinary. Though the topic of research is unique and unprecedented it must be related to and in reference to other theses in a field. Your thesis joins you to a canon of work in your field. You connect to other contributors in your field of study.
A thesis sums up your work and knowledge in a particular field. These are ways of promoting research. They build onto previously done research and contribute to different areas known to humankind. They might have important practical applications leading to progress of the society.
Format of the Thesis
Each Thesis Advisor/ University/ Institute has its guidelines on how to format a thesis. Refer to these guidelines as you start working on your thesis. Here is a general format to help you in the process-
1. Title Page
This is where you write the topic name along with your name, the name of your professor/advisor, the title of your course, institute name, and other details like ID number, etc.
2. Table of Contents
The table of contents should be an index where you write each topic name alongside its respective serial number. Include the subheadings serially as well. The starting and ending page numbers of a section should be in the same row as the title of the section. The table of contents is like a map that will help the reader navigate your thesis.
This section contains all the people, institutes, researchers, colleagues, and universities that have been of help to you in the process of creating your thesis. This can include, friends, family members, partners, etc.
The introduction should include your thesis statement. The point and context of selecting your particular thesis statement can be mentioned as well.
The methodology should be a systematic explanation of how you would be collecting data for your research. State whether you would be conducting interviews, site visits, using the information on websites, etc.
After you have collected your data according to the specified method, state your collected data in this section. It should be detailed and well-curated.
Based on the collected data, start forming an analysis. State the reasons behind your analysis.
Sum up your arguments in a point-wise format in your conclusion. Restate your thesis statement and make a compelling point. The conclusion should be to-the-point and precise.
The extra information goes in the appendix section of your thesis. Create multiple appendices if you need them.
This section enumerates all the sources of information that you referred to while creating your thesis.
How do you start writing a thesis?
You must be like, stop blabbering about the technicalities of a thesis and tell me how to start writing one. Well, here is a thesis guide to creating a strong thesis.
Make sure you have a toolkit
A thesis toolkit needs to start with Microsoft Office Word and an internet connection. A lot of resources are available online on different websites. You can research academic papers, dissertations, and journals and refer to the data that they provide. Microsoft Word will help you compile and format your data and analysis into a Grade A thesis.
Start brainstorming topics to research
Starting a thesis can be daunting but a few steps in the right direction can help you form a good argument. Begin ideating and noting down ideas that you feel motivated to work on. Even if you do not think these ideas through, try to have a rough understanding of what you can cover under a topic. Quite a few apps are available to help you brainstorm research ideas that come under a variety of topics. Just download and start using one of these apps. They will make you more efficient and focused.
Form a thesis statement
Writing a good thesis statement is one of the first steps in forming an effective thesis paper. So, start developing a good question or thesis statement after brainstorming ideas and reading articles related to those ideas. It should be worth talking about and spending time on. The thesis statement should cover the main point you are trying to make. It can be long but it should not be too complex to read.
Make a list of possible arguments and points of consideration supporting your thesis statement
As you think about all that you can do with your thesis statement, make a list. Keep noting down important points so that you do not forget. Don’t worry about how long the list gets. Shortlisting can start once you have more than enough points to research and build a coherent conclusion.
Choose a method to start collecting data
Each thesis statement needs a proper research method to be executed well. Your research methods can be multiple- interviews, observations, surfing the internet, visiting sites, etc. the chosen methods need to be suitable for your study and feasible to be done on your own.
Gather information/data about the points you will be considering
Use the selected methodology to gather as much data about your thesis statement as you can. You can always choose what to include or not to include in your thesis once you have a lot of information. Read research papers, talk to professors, and peers and refer to websites.
Have a sense of where you are going
Your research might be leading you to a conclusion. Try to have a sense of what the conclusion is by roughly analyzing the data you have. Don’t beat around the bush while forming a conclusion. A proper analysis is needed to write a coherent conclusion.
Write a rough draft
Now you are ready to start writing a rough draft of your thesis! Do not be overwhelmed by all the information you have in store; just start writing, and thoughts will follow. Make sure to cover all points, results, observations, etc. Do not worry about editing as you write and prepare an argument. That can be done later!
Add more elements like graphs, charts, diagrams, etc.
Your thesis can use interesting flow charts, diagrams, graphs, or even images. These need to be connected to your research directly. They will make your thesis very interesting to read. Label these tables and charts accordingly and explain them in context to your research.
Start structuring your thesis draft
As you have prepared a rough draft of your thesis, you can start structuring your thesis to make it flow in proper order. The data points and elements should have a logical order. They need to build your argument in a step-by-step process. The different sections of your thesis also need to be in the right order (specified in the format).
Check whether you have explained each point well
After structuring your draft, check whether all points have been covered properly. Do not spring up new information on your reader abruptly. A reader should be able to follow your methodology and observations and be able to move on to the analysis and conclusion.
Format your thesis and prepare a final draft
Check the guidelines given to you by your professor/advisor/institute and format your thesis accordingly. Use the right font, text alignment, paragraph spacing, etc.
Add citations and references
References and citations are very important for a thesis. Prepare a references section to include all the research/academic papers, books, and other articles you have referred to in your thesis. Do not forget to add in-text citations wherever needed (quotations, paraphrasing). The citation formats (APA, Chicago, MLA) will be specified in your guidelines. Adhere to those formats as you prepare your references in order. You can use citation generators available online to cite different sources.
Extra information should go in the appendices
Read through your thesis and cut the extra information that is not directly connected to your argument or thesis statement. This extra information can go in the appendix at the end of your thesis. Appendices should include the meaning of words and phrases as well. They need to be in a point-wise format.
Fill out the Title page and the table of contents
Check grammar and spelling mistakes
One of the important steps in having a presentable thesis is checking the grammar and any spelling mistakes that might have happened during the writing of your dissertation. Correct these mistakes as soon as possible.
Read through your thesis for any last-minute changes
Do not celebrate just yet! Go through your dissertation one last time. Check whether you are making the points in a logical order and making sense while explaining them.
Submit your thesis!
To Sum Up
This article was to help you get a better understanding of what a thesis or a thesis paper is and how to write a thesis. Writing an effective thesis is very important in a degree course, especially in the US. The guidelines for writing a thesis are simple and can be implemented as you develop your thesis! Start brainstorming ideas right away!