Thesis Writing: A Guide for Students
By Jennifer Swenson
The Sparrow’s introduction to thesis writing is a clear-cut and comprehensive tool for those who are about to embark on one of the more difficult projects in all of academia. Thesis writing is not an art; rather, it is the product of many months of research and painstaking hard work. Whether you are writing a master’s thesis, a PhD thesis, or any other form of this venerable genre, I hope this guide will serve you well.
Thesis Writing Background
What is a thesis?
A thesis is essentially a research report. It addresses a very specific issue and describes what is known about that ...view middle of the document...
How Should I Write My Thesis?
Like any good piece of writing, your thesis should be well organized, have a clear thesis paragraph, and be written in a simple, clear active voice. Naturally, you will have to use an abundance of field-specific terms and, in fact, it is easier for other researchers to read scientific terms than it will be for them to read oversimplified English. As thesis writers come from a multitude of countries, slang or jargon should not be used. Choose formality over informality when writing your thesis, but do not be wordy or ungrammatical.
How Should My Thesis Look?
In general, worry more about the substance and writing of your thesis than about its presentation. Diagrams may be neatly hand-drawn instead of created in a graphics program if the results are easier to read that way. Other than that, standard academic form should be used. 12 point, Times New Roman, 1” margins, double-spaced type will do. Follow the guidelines given by your advisor on title pages, tables of contents, and other parts of the thesis.
How Will Thesis Writing Affect My Life?
During the couple of months before your deadline, a good part of your time should be devoted to thesis writing. Writing a thesis is a consuming endeavor. However, the work you put into it is at least equivalent to the satisfaction of having finished your thesis and obtained your degree. Anyone that was ever involved in the writing of a thesis remembers the experience for the rest of their life.
Before You Begin Writing Your Thesis
Before undertaking the task of thesis writing, it is necessary to clear you mind. Do not think about the fact that you have nothing done yet, and seventy-five pages left to be written. Take the project in small steps. The challenge is similar to that of a five-mile run. As you are taking your first steps, you can’t picture how you will feel an hour later when, panting, you complete that fifth mile. But you always finish. I assure you that when you are twenty pages into writing your thesis, you will feel far less intimidated. Like the run, there is indeed a “stride” one gets into when thesis writing. And when it is all over, the satisfaction you feel will be immense.
Step One: Making an Outline
How to Think Of an Outline for Your Thesis
If you’ve played with the idea of writing your thesis straight and organizing it into chapters and sections afterwards, I’d like you to give yourself a good shaking and accept the fact that it will be necessary to produce an outline. Writing a thesis without an outline would take the average student approximately twice as long as writing a thesis with an outline. The advantage of making an outline is that the project can be seen in terms of smaller parts rather than one daunting whole. Instead of saying “Residual Polar Ice Caps on Mars: Go!” why not calmly state “Let’s begin with the scientific significance of residual polar ice caps. After that, we’ll go on to their history.”
How to Make Your Outline