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How to write a thesis

A thesis is a document that manifests a writer's command on a particular domain and their ability to autonomously build the hypothesis or theory. Many graduate and post-graduate students find thesis writing, the most stringent and challenging task in their whole academic life. The thesis writing is harder but not an impossible task that you cannot do. The process of writing a thesis is from selecting a suitable topic according to your area of interest to composing appealing and stimulating results. Here is a comprehensive guide covering all the steps and tips to help you write your thesis paper without getting bored or feel resented.

  • Choose the research topic as per your area of interest: the very first step of thesis writing begins with the consideration of such issues or theories you might have an interest in or want to seek more knowledge about it. There might be some questions regarding an item in your interested field that you are passionate to get answered. Once you find a problem, try to search all the information relevant to the question arisen in your mind as much as possible. You can collect relevant information about the topic from researches conducted in the past. It is essential to gather knowledge from the perspective, methodology, data, and findings of the past investigations. You must be able to relate recent researches with your current study. When you are done with gathering the prior information relevant to your topic, you must be able to convey the aim of your thesis with their reference. Then you will be ready to move further and draft a proposal for your dissertation.

  • Compose the proposal/ prospectus of your study

  • Proposal report also called "Preliminary research plan" consists of an introduction and aim of your research, importance and motive of your research topic you are planning to study, a little literature review of the issue gathered from past studies, the brief description of methodology you will use in your research, hypothesis or parameter, the outline of research questions, details about how you will conduct the study, assumptions, limitations, and references of data you entered in the proposal. The proposal is a brief sketch of how you will do your review. The final research paper/ thesis might differ from the project, as the final report will cover the findings you will generate from current data analyses.

  • The proposal should be submitted and approved by the advisor/ instructor to take the process of the study further. A master's level, the students must conduct an advisory meeting to polish and clarify their plans.

  • Collect and analyze the data

  • Gathering the information from the previous paper, you will be transparent with how your data will be collected and analyzed. The very first step is to identify the category of your study, either it would be a qualitative study or a quantitative study. Quantitative and qualitative research is a vast topic to discuss. Briefly, qualitative research is the process of practical examination that explores an intensive conclusion of social aspects in their original frame. It asks questions like "why" And a quantitative study underlines actual amounts and the statistical, or numerical examination of data gathered from surveys, questionnaires, and reviews, or by shaping existing analytical data using calculations.

  • Categories require a different methodology of data collection. Basically, for a quantitative study, you have to develop the hypothesis they either get rejected or not rejected. For finding which theory drawn in the thesis will not deny, you required to construct a questionnaire for a survey. It is essential to find the population, your thesis covers and aims to build a theory in their context. Then you have to select a sample that represents the population, and then you can start your data collection and make an analysis.

  • In the qualitative study, you have to decide parameters that your thesis will conclude, or come up with new ones. The data collection of qualitative research is done by conducting interviews or long term studies. Usually, for qualitative studies, there is no particular instrument for designing data collection. There should have a specific idea about what you will ask, observe and record to gather and analyze data.

  • Finally, draft and organize the research paper.

  • The thesis paper is unique according to their topic and conclusions, but all of them share various common aspects. The basic format of a thesis is always identical. A thesis report contains the following element in a specified order.

    • Cover page

  • cover page of the thesis mentions the title, and the necessary details of who it belongs to, who supervised the research, the name of institution, department and the date on which you will deliver your thesis.

    • Abstract

  • In the abstract portion, you need to present a summarized idea about the thesis to the readers. The summary should be comprised of 300 to 700 words, giving the reader an underlying sense of the purpose, scope, a sample of study and the most important findings and the result of the study.

    • Table of contents

  • The portion is simple to understand by its name, presents the structure of the thesis. It contains the list of chapters, headings, and sub-headings with their page numbers. You have to add indentations to demonstrate the order of headings and subheadings. It is advised to construct a separate table to display the figures and tables presented in the thesis.

    • Introductory chapter

  • The most exciting and vital discussion starts with this phase. We can say that at this step, you will begin writing your thesis. In the introduction, you have to describe the topic of the argument, its background, the reason behind the study, its significance in context to value this study will add to the researches conducted previously, a brief discussion about the research methodology which you will be discussing further in the survey. If your research is quantitative, then you must consider the important conclusions in this portion as well.

  • To add a statement at the start of this chapter, which narrates that something is interesting in the study and motivates the reader to read the whole paper. This statement can be any scientific dilemma the study figures out to draw the reader's attention in the thesis.

  • Sure that whatever you have added in this chapter should be precise and to the point. It should be narrating what you have presented in the report without losing the reader's attention. Keeping the discussion precise does not mean that it remains unclear or vague. If the purpose and analytical grounding are unclear, the whole thesis will show a flaw. So you can take several pages for this chapter or even add sub-chapters if required.

    • Theoretical framework

  • A theoretical framework or a literature review is the base of your whole study. It should give a detailed background and analyses of the thesis from the past researches conducted. The goal of presenting the literature review is to determine known facts about the topic in the context of previous studies. It gives an idea of events that not known in the earlier investigations, leading to the formation of questions, hypotheses, and parameters. On that basis, you are planning to find the unknown facts through your study, with the ultimate goal of adding up to the body of knowledge in the particular field.

  • The elements you will discuss in this chapter are important terms, abbreviations, and approaches related to a research topic, a conceptual structure of the study, and the description of research parameters and hypotheses to be tested further.

    • Data and research methodology

  • In this chapter, you have to mention the nature and reasons for the data you selected to conduct your study. You have clear that how you chose the specific data to address your thesis, discuss its relevance, quality and quantity. Discuss the whole process of the sample selection, the method used for collecting the data, and the process of data collection. You should clearly define that why the method you selected to collect and analyze the data was most appropriate and suitable. First, cite the description of the method with reference, then mention every single detail about gathering and analyzing the data should be mentioned. Address the research design, population, and sample selected with justifications, units selected for observation, instrument chosen and designing process of the instrument, method used for making observations, coding and finally the analysis of the data.

    • Findings

  • Mentioning every detail of your data, you have to say the results commenced from the data analyzed. In this chapter, stick with discussing only the finding. Begin the discussion outlining any of the approaches used (analytical, descriptive or exploratory) and the method used such as factor analysis, reliability test, etc. use tabular or figure diagrams to elaborate the numerical information used in the calculation. In the case of qualitative research, discuss themes and categories developed, also add a brief description of focus groups or interviews. Also, mention the participant's profile with their consent.

    • Conclusion and discussion

  • In this portion, discuss the meaning of findings concerning the topic of your study. Start the chapter by repeating a brief purpose of the thesis and specify the research questions.

  •  The conclusions with discussing the results, information evaluated and their relation to the analytical structure discussed in the literature review, the difference between current and previous research results. Also elaborate on the normality, reliability, and limitations of the results. Then mention what change your findings will bring in the field of knowledge. Also, discuss areas the thesis opens for future studies with a subheading of future recommendations. 

    • References or Bibliography

  • The references section lists all the recommendations for the journal and books from where you have collected the literature. Here literature means every single theory or context written the paper, other than findings executed from the data analysis.

    • Appendices

  • Appendices add all the definitions of the ambiguous terms used in the thesis. The times are not defined in the body of the argument because it turns the paper too long and destructive. You mention the references of the appendices in the text.

The saying "you learn to write from writing" is also applicable for practicing academic writing. Every single person has a slightly different style of writing in both formal and informal techniques. For writing a thesis, a writer needs to know basic academic proficiency practices. For thesis writing the writer should make sure to follow the requirements of academic text with correct usage of language and layout.

  • Writing style

Writing a thesis, the writer must be aware of the basic standard of language, and grip on formal technique. It is compulsory to use grammatical use in the text. Use precise and exact sentences, discard vague phrases such as "different researches shows…." Instead, use the reference to the research paper to relate or discuss.

  • Additionally, do not use contracted words such as "it's" "isn't", instead use full words "it is" "is not". Any standardized form of English is allowed to use in the text, without mixing them with each. Use a specific way in the whole thesis. Also, note that always define the terms when used first time in the text, for example, the United Nations Organization, afterward use the acronyms, e.g. UNO. Lastly, use neutral expression and passive voice in the text.

  • Reference citation

  • The text requires references to past studies to be cited also identifies as "in-text citation". All the theories and terminologies used for reasoning should be followed by the citation of researches with appropriate sources. You can use any citation style under the guidance of your instructor, such as "APA (American Psychological Association)".

  • Paraphrasing

  • Cannot write anything in the text of the thesis on your own. You have to quote theories, approaches or principles from other studies. But the text you add in your text should not be plagiarized or copied. The text from these studies can be used in your thesis through paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is narrating other concepts or theories in your own words. These are no standard rules of paraphrasing the text; the only thing matters are that the meaning of both original and paraphrased text should remain the same.

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