How to Write a Thesis?
What is a Thesis?
A thesis is a long essay, often called the dissertation and is an essential part of a graduate or doctoral degree. A thesis states a position or a belief and sets to prove the thesis statement. A thesis, like a shorter essay begins with a topic, a problem or a question and emphasizes on the author's position on the topic. As the Harvard Writing Center has suggested on its website, a thesis is neither an opinion nor a fact, it is also not a topic but has two essential parts - it tells what you plan to argue and how you plan to argue. So a thesis presents an argument and the first part of the thesis is about your topic. Why is it important? What is it all about? What is the research problem? Why is it significant? Why do have to study the topic? The second part of the thesis is about the methodology. How do you intend to study the problem? How will you collect data? What is the method? How will you use and interpret the results of the data? How will you present the evidence to support your thesis statement? These are the main elements of a thesis.
What is the purpose of a Thesis?
A thesis is used as an assessment tool to understand the research capabilities of a student. Students seeking graduate degrees are required to write a thesis for completion of their degree. Higher graduate degrees like Master's and PhD are often based primarily on an original thesis. Students are able to show their originality and independent thinking by presenting a strong and original thesis. The purpose of a thesis is to present the author's ideas, to identify a problem and present an argument and to attract and engage the attention of the reader. A thesis is usually written for the practical purposes of completing a degree, although it has other academic and research purposes, pedagogical value and contributes to the development of knowledge.
How to write a Thesis?
The first step to a great thesis is to consult your supervisor and identify a relevant and interesting topic. You must come up with a very focused and feasible research question that will direct your thesis and finally you must identify the resources and develop a research plan. This is the first and perhaps the most important stage of research. You develop a clear plan and know what you want to argue about in your thesis and how you will go about presenting your argument. Developing a thesis requires identifying the most relevant primary and secondary sources. Analyzing the primary resources is very important as it provides the background for your thesis argument. It is necessary to have a thesis plan and write down the basic points that will be included and the resources that will support the thesis. Analyze the implications of related information available and identify how that would relate to your arguments. The introduction of the thesis is very important and it must clearly state the main argument of the thesis by using a precise thesis statement and this will clearly set the pace and direction of the research. A good thesis must move smoothly from statement to data and then to interpretation and analysis. It is necessary to present the possible counterargument to your thesis, showing why they are wrong or weak arguments. Strengthening your thesis position adds value and credibility to your analysis. Like any other shorter research paper, a thesis has the essential parts such as an abstract or summary, a strong introduction, research question, rationale or justification, literature review, research methods, data, interpretation, analysis and conclusion. A reference list and appendices are added to the end of the document.
What are the different types of Theses?
Most Universities and graduate writing centers contend that there are three types of thesis:
- The Research thesis is a lengthy research paper or a long essay, typically 40-120 pages long that describes or deals with a question, problem or phenomenon. Scientific research thesis usually describes and studies a phenomenon. Research theses are based on empirical evidence and data and tend to use and analyze primary or secondary sources. Published data and research papers are often used as resources to conduct the research.
- Graduate students in literary, fine arts or visual and performing arts tend to prepare an Artistic thesis. The artistic thesis provides a certain level of creative flexibility and such students can create plays, painting, novels, videos, films or choose another form of creative expression. The students can then write about the creative process and analyze their approach using theoretical concepts.
- Students in education, health and social sciences often submit a Project thesis. Business students can also create a project thesis that includes two elements: a project which may be a real-life professional activity, and an essay about the project. Project theses are used by graduate students who are also active working professionals and in the thesis they tend to use their professional experiences and relate them to theoretical concepts. Project thesis is most suited for students in business, education, social services and public administration.
A thesis is the primary document required for your graduate degree and your main focus must be to locate an original research problem with adequate resources. Always remember, you can write a great thesis only when there is relevant data, primary and secondary sources and adequate background information on the topic. For help with your thesis or to discuss your ideas, you can talk to a thesis and dissertation expert.