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How to Write a Good Thesis
A thesis is the presentation of your work and it should be done in the best possible way. For those of you, who have never written one before, this article shares some tips.
Omkar Phatak
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
A thesis submission, is a necessary part of every graduate school course in arts and sciences. It is a part of training the student for research work and an exercise in original, as well as independent thinking. This article is aimed at explaining the writing of a good thesis to beginners, who have the desire to make a presentation of their research work, in the most lucid and economical manner.
Tips on Writing A Good Thesis
You may wonder, who is this guy, talking in an authoritarian tone, about writing a good thesis. Well, personally, I have been a part of research, in the field of theoretical physics and whatever I write here, is based on my own research and experience. Whatever I present here, are some tips that I got from my own research project guide, who himself is a master physicist.
One excellent piece of advice, which he gave me was, 'Do not write anything that you don't understand. Let everything be logically connected and precise.' That is, it's important that you 'know', what you write. These tips apply to any form of research thesis presentation, be it physics, sociology, psychology, or even art. Whatever be the field, the tools of rational analysis are the same and the rules of presentation are also similar.
The Statement
A thesis statement, also known as an abstract, in case of a PhD thesis, is a summary of your intentions and goals of research. It is usually written and submitted at the beginning of the research, when one is registering for a PhD. Be precise and realistic while writing it. Let it be brief, to the point, and cut to the heart of the subject.
Let the Introduction be Crisp and To The Point
The first part of your thesis, will be the introduction to the problem, which you are trying to solve, through research. It is also a summary of the work, that has been carried out till now, on that problem. Capture the essential idea and the problem in as simple words as possible, without compromising the meaning.
Put Forward and Summarize the Basics
Next, you must write about the basic things that need to be understood, which will enable one to understand the things you explain later. Just like before playing a game, the basic rules of a game need to be explained, you must explain the basic concepts on which your research is based. Introduce the basics in as condensed a form, as possible.
The Main Part - Your Work and Research
This is the part where you explain how you have solved the particular problem. Present your observational results, if any and your calculations and reasoning. You must justify how your solution to the problem is the right one, through rational analysis.
Presentation of Results, Analysis, and Conclusion
After you have presented your observations, calculations and reasoning, it is time to conclude, what you finally gather from all of it. Put down all the new things that you discovered on your own. Let there be a clear summary of your results. Then, make a causal analysis of the big picture, towards which your results point. Following that, complete the analysis with your conclusions.
Future Scope and Referencing
Now that you have talked about what you have done, you can talk about what could be done in the future, as part of your ongoing research. The points and problems which you want to explore in the future, but did not get time to explore, can be discussed. The next part is your references. None of us start from scratch in research. As Newton has said, he saw further, because he was standing on the shoulders of giants. So, you need to list all the references of research papers, books, and articles, which helped you.
Indexing and Representation of Data
At the start, even before the introduction, you must acknowledge all the people, especially your guide, without whom, your research would not have been possible. Then, you must put an index of contents, which will have the page numbers of all the different sections of your thesis. Lastly, you must create a numbered list of references, for all the observation tables, diagrams, and graphs.
Writing a thesis was a great experience for me, personally. It was during the final writing of it, that I recalled the entire research process, which I went through and the scattered thoughts and ideas were woven into a coherent and beautiful tapestry.
Man at workplace with six monitors
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726/27), wood engraving, published in 1880
PhD student pushing button about Doctorate of Philosophy concept