What is the Structure of a Thesis?
A structure is important for every object and element you can lay your eyes on, whether it is a building, a book, or a sentence. The human body has a well-defined structure that is suitable for its functioning. Once you know all that can be included in a particular body, you can form it properly only when you know how it is to be structured. There will be no functioning body without a structure. If the structure collapses, destruction follows.
A thesis structure is also important! A thesis is a long research paper that you write at the end of your academic life. Your thesis can be a sum of your work in a course or on a topic covered in the course. As part of your thesis, you will need to come up with a thesis statement that answers a question, takes a stance on an issue, or simply explains a topic. You can start researching the thesis statement and relevant topics to collect as much data about it as you can. This will help you prepare a good argument and analyze the results.
Each advisor, university, or institute has its guidelines about the structure and content of a thesis. Students need to adhere to these guidelines while writing their thesis. So, go through the guidelines given to you by your respective advisor, university, or institute as you begin writing.
This article gives you a few guidelines on how to structure a thesis.
Format of the Thesis
- Title Page
This is the first page of your thesis. Start making your thesis presentable from here itself. The title page should include your name, the name of your advisor, your institute, and your topic. All these elements need to be written on separate lines and need to be in bold font. Underline the headings and space out the words.
2. Table of Contents
The next section in your thesis is a table of contents. It is an index of all the sections in your thesis. It is like a map for the reader to navigate your thesis. It is comprised of columns. One has a list of sections alongside serial numbers. The sections should be in proper order. The third column has page numbers next to their respective sections. The starting and ending page numbers of a section need to be mentioned in the column.
Be creative in this section. Include all those people who have been helpful to you in your thesis writing journey. Mention your friends, family, colleagues, and advisors, along with how they supported you. Be grateful for their help and understanding. You could also include particular interesting contributors to your study.
The abstract is a summary of your thesis. It should give the reader the idea behind your research while intriguing them to read your thesis in detail. The abstract can outline the research for a reader. It extracts the essence of your research and findings and presents it in a couple of paragraphs.
You begin your introduction with a suitable thesis statement. It is the main point of your research. Your entire research works towards proving your thesis statement. The introduction also contains some initial thoughts pertaining to your research. It gives the reader context and might explain what motivated you to write a thesis on the chosen topic. The things to be achieved in your thesis need to be mentioned and explained in your introduction.
6. Literature review
This section can either be part of your introduction or separate from it. It has a list of all the research papers that you referred to or those that have contributed to the chosen topic in any way. You need to mention their contribution and the way your research adds new insights or revises their findings in any way. This makes your thesis appear well researched and aware of pre-existing papers in the field.
This section mentions the different methods you would be used to gather data and information for your research. It should explain the reason for your chosen methods along with the limitations of these methods. Stating limitations is like giving a heads-up on possible errors that might occur in the process of collecting data and analyzing results. Make sure to explain the methods well. Check whether they are reliable and feasible to use for your research.
Use the methods you have chosen for researching relevant data for your thesis. Collect as much information as you can. Add it to your thesis. You can always cut explanations short by editing your thesis later. Extra details can be included in the appendices towards the end of your thesis. So just write all your interesting findings in the results! Don’t forget to put them in order!
Once you use the methods for collecting data and find information about your topics, you are free to analyze these findings. This section will show how much you have learned in the process of conducting research and the way you used your skills and previous knowledge to analyze the data you collected. The analysis needs to be methodical and each point should be properly explained. The explanations should be in a logical order. The reader should be able to follow the analysis you come up with. Do not come up with new information in this section.
This is one of the most important parts of a thesis. Mention your thesis statement while beginning your conclusion. Specify the intention behind your thesis and the process of data collection. Sum up your thesis findings and analysis. The conclusion also includes your final thoughts about your thesis. Write your conclusion systematically and concisely. It should round off your thesis properly.
All the extra information that is not directly connected to your thesis can be included in the appendix. Different appendices can be created to organize extra information systematically. Points in your appendix should have proper references to the elements in your thesis, including page numbers, titles, sub-headings, etc. Tables, graphs, and charts can be included in the appendices to provide greater evidence on the topic of your thesis.
Citations need to be included towards the very end of your thesis. They need to be listed in order of their occurrence in the thesis. All the research papers, academic papers, dissertations, and websites that you refer to in your thesis, need to be referred to. In-text citations need to be added wherever necessary. Do not miss out on any references. The different citation formats are APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. Use the format specified in the guidelines given to you by your advisor/university/institute etc.
A thesis is an important final step for graduating from a university. The generic structure of your thesis is given above. Follow the guidelines given. Format your thesis according to the requirements of your university/advisor. Keep checking the structure and content of the thesis that you are working on. The proper structure needs to be adhered to have an impressionable thesis. So do not be lax when it comes to structuring your thesis!