Writing a Great Thesis - Points to RememberThe focus of this article is to identify or remember the primary points while writing a great thesis.
A thesis is fundamentally different from an essay as a thesis is longer, more detailed, has a definite hypothesis and findings or data either prove or disprove the hypothesis. A thesis is based on a hypothesis as all information regarding a thesis are obtained from resources or reading material and is based on a specific topic or research area.
To write a thesis, first seek a research question. a topic or a title. Once the research title or topic is clear, proceed to create an outline for your research. The outline of the research is the skeleton on which you develop your thesis. With the outline in place, you are clear about the direction you would take for the research. Look up on the different methodologies available and identify whether you would use qualitative research, quantitative methods or the mixed-methods approach. Identifying and selecting the right research question, the right hypothesis, the right methodology and the appropriate literature review is central to getting the research process started.
So, when you have the research question and hypothesis and you are also sure about the research variables, elaborate on the research methodologies and if data is available, interpret the findings and complete the thesis analysis and conclusion. Your thesis is complete when you have adequate supportive data or findings for your research. A thesis is usually 10000+ words and certain sections of the thesis - like the literature review, methodology and analysis or interpretation are considerably elaborate.
Determine how the research variables relate in your thesis and once you have identified the variables, focus on establishing a connection between the variables and show how the literature review relates to your findings or data and interpretation.
So the first stage of writing a thesis is determining the research topic and questions. Once you have the topic and research question determining title of research, the next stage, stage 2 is to identify data collection procedures and methodologies.
Step 3 of the thesis writing process is creating an outline according to the already available research questions, research topic, title, methodology and findings. The outline is very important as it serves the guideline for your research. Step 4 is to find and study the relevant resources so that the literature review can be elaborated. Read up all sources related to the literature review. All identified sources of literature review must be analyzed in detail to understand how the literature review finally contributes to the thesis. Use the information from different relevant sources to write a detailed literature review. Writing an elaborate and detailed literature review goes a long way in creating the basis for a great thesis. A thesis can be great if the material, sources and integration of material and information reach a perfect balance and if you are able to write a great review that adds to the value of the paper.
Step 5 relates to studying up different types of methodologies that are relevant to the study and decide which methodologies are most relevant to your dissertation. If your study type is survey research with a large sample, quantitative methods of study may be more appropriate. For a more subjective research type, qualitative methods are more appropriate. Many researchers prefer mixed-methods research approach as such as approach is the most comprehensive and can provide detailed and in-depth information on the area of study.
Step 6 is data collection. You must have all the data and relevant information for literature review before beginning with your research. Usually qualitative data is collected from secondary research, interviews and other qualitative assessments tools. Quantitative data are collected with the aid of survey forms and other forms of questionnaire or quantitative assessment tools. Data collection may have to be done before you write your project as collecting your data in the middle of your project would be a waste of your time and interruptions will delay the process of writing. So, collect data just after writing the literature review but any elaboration on data collection will have to wait until you have actually collected the data. So write the literature review and then collect the data and then move on to writing the data collection procedures and finally add insights from the actual data collection. Thus Step 6 is writing about data collection.
Step 7 is assessing the results of the collected data and presenting them in a tabular format so that results and data can be easily connected and readers have no difficulty relating one to the other. The presentation of the results with graphs, tables and charts will emphasize on the main numbers and findings and will thus make the thesis more presentable. So always use a generous number of tables and charts because that improves the quality of the thesis drastically. You will also get a higher grade when results are graphically or visually explained.
The step 8 is to provide your analysis of the thesis and the findings. This is where you have considerable wriggle room to write about your interpretation and analysis of the data. You can choose to be creative or critical, whatever your approach, the analytical section allows you to provide your own opinion or interpretation on the research findings.
Stage 9 is to write the conclusion and recommendations. Summarize your primary arguments, what you expected, what you found and what the results and data findings reveal. Provide recommendations for further research, what do you think can be done further to improve the research process?
So you're done, Almost done. As you still have to reread, check , edit although these are integral part of the overall writing process. Step 10 requires going back in time and writing the abstract. Remember the abstract is your chance to create interest in the reader so make it precise, impressive in a way that compels the reader to read beyond it.
Writing a thesis seems challenging at first and this is especially true of all PhD theses and every PhD writer goes through these challenges. The essentials of PhD writing will be tackled in a different post.