How to Write a Thesis

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This article outlines the basic points on how to write a thesis.

The graduating student, especially those seeking advanced postgraduate degree, is confronted with the problem on how to write a thesis as a final requirement of their course. In many universities, a graduate course integrates research and statistics as prerequisites for taking higher courses. However, the graduating student needs to refer once again to the essential elements on how to write a thesis as a refresher. Universities may have different formats on how to write a thesis but there are general guidelines that need to be followed.

The following tips on how to write a thesis present a simple outline of what needs to be done for each section of the thesis. It starts off with tips on how to write the introduction up to the acknowledgments section.

How to Write the Introduction

  • Reserve writing this portion after writing the body of the thesis
  • Write statements that strike curiosity among the readers and make them read the rest of the thesis
  • Present an interesting scientific problem that the research addresses or solves
  • Cite literature and studies that relate to the present investigation preferably the most recent and relevant ones
  • Make clear why you need to do more research on the problem identified
  • Provide sufficient background information to help the reader understand the thesis better
  • Explain the coverage of the thesis, identifying which will be included in the investigation and which will not
  • The introduction in general will guide the reader what is expected to be found in the thesis

How to Write the Methods

  • Describe the methods of the thesis in such a way that another researcher in the same line of interest can replicate it
  • Describe the materials used in conducting the thesis, the specific procedures followed as well as the overarching theory or theories regarding its use
  • State which statistical tools were used including the statistical packages used to run the analysis
  • Point out the limitations and assumptions used in writing the thesis
  • Describe the sampling procedure and where data was obtained

How to Write the Results

  • Present the results of the research by describing the data, results of statistical analysis, organizing the data into easily understandable and independent tables as well as graphs
  • The tables should show the most important elements of the findings first from left to right; limit the columns to 4 or 5
  • Present both negative and positive results of the investigation
  • Make the presentation as detailed as possible so as to allow interested researchers to draw their own explanation from the findings
  • If the university thesis writing format allows it, break up the results section by using subheadings to allow logical arrangement
  • Use the TSPU principle in writing the paragraphs, i.e., write the topic sentence first then support that topic sentence in the ensuing sentences
  • Write the interpretations using words like “apparently”, “it appears”, “the data presents sufficient evidence that…”, among others

How to Write the Discussion

  • Be concise and accurate in writing the discussion; summarize the most important results
  • Note the main findings of the research
  • Generalize from the results of the research by pointing out the relationships between variables, whether these relationships are significant or not
  • Point out the exceptions from the rule
  • Suggest possible predictions that could be made from the patterns identified in the statistical analysis
  • Confirm or refute the findings using the research of other researchers identified in the review of literature
  • Connect the findings with what the problem identified in the introduction of the thesis
  • Explore different explanations without undue bias to your own interpretation of things
  • Avoid subscribing to what is the trend in the literature unless your results support those contentions
  • Elucidate on the points earlier identified; describe the new things discovered
  • Always present evidence for every argument presented in the thesis
  • State the relevance of the results to the issues at hand
  • Be choosy in citing materials that relate to the findings; choose only the ones that directly relate to the investigation
  • Also break the discussion into logical sections using subheadings

How to Write the Conclusions

  • Summarize the most important findings that you have made in the thesis
  • Get back to the introduction and resolve the questions posed in that section using the findings of the investigation, state the insights gained and introduce new areas for further investigation
  • Write the implications of your results in the general context of the field you are in

How to Write the Recommendations

  • Write the recommendations based on the conclusions of the thesis
  • Identify areas that will need to be studied in the future

How to Write the Acknowledgments

  • Thank all those people who have helped in the accomplishment of the thesis particularly those who provided advice and ideas, did the statistical analysis, those who provided material and financial assistance as well as administrative support.

To the graduating student, it will take some time before the above guidelines on how to write a thesis will be thoroughly applied. This takes time and patience. It is best to write a thesis first in outline form. This can be done by providing a vacant space under each of the guidelines identified above and filling them up as information comes in.

You can come up with your theoretical and conceptual framework using the reference below:

What is the difference between the theoretical and the conceptual framework?

©Patrick A. Regoniel 1 November 2010 How to Write a Thesis

2 comments

Sharla Smith
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Posted on Nov 1, 2010
Felisa Daskeo
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Posted on Nov 1, 2010