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How to Write a Thesis

There is no need for waxing poetics about thesis writing. You know it’s a big project, and it will help you attain a Master’s degree. Moreover, you know you will need to take time from your usual responsibilities to work on it. So, how can you write a great Master’s thesis and not lose track of other needs?

Preparation is always key. Let’s first define what parts the thesis consists of and what kind of preparation you might need to complete them. Your university will specify what sections are optional and which are mandatory, but the simplified structure is this:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methods
  • Results and/or findings
  • Discussion and conclusion

Prepare for Thesis Writing

The simplest definition for a thesis paper is a long research paper. It’s longer than any research paper you’ve written previously, but it’s still research, and preparing for it will take considerable time before you actually start writing.

Literature review, or your theoretical section, will take the longest to prepare for because you will need to read many sources, develop ideas, and build an argument. Before you start this section, though, you should define your research problem and the method you will use to conduct the research. It’s not the most time consuming part, but it is the most relevant. You need to define a problem that is worth researching. Having stated that, you should also know that writing the entire introductory section correctly is always necessary, along with your abstract and conclusion. Even so, you can leave the abstract section, title and bibliography pages for the last part of your writing.

The section describing your methodology will need some time, as well. You need to first understand what methods there are and determine which one is most suitable for your research paper. You always choose the method to match your research questions. In your thesis paper, you need to discuss which methods are most suitable for your work and which one you have chosen and why. This is another section for which you should prepare and start before the theoretical part, but it is not necessary to write more than a bullet point list.

Tips for Researching a Topics

  • A notebook is your best friend, either in paper or digital format, so bring it everywhere you go. Great ideas come when you least expect them. If you don’t have anything on which to record your thoughts, you will most likely forget the exact wording before you reach home.
  • If you don’t know where to start your research, look up the subject on Wikipedia. Now, citing from it is a bad idea, but every Wikipedia article should have a references section that might get you started on your own research. Also, it can provide general information that could provide keywords for locating relevant sources.
  • Get into the habit of making annotated bookmarks and referring back to them. Don’t tackle each question or idea as it comes to mind; you will only create chaos for your brain. A better way is to look up a new idea on the Internet and bookmark a few promising hits in a separate folder. When you are finished with one idea, go on to the next.

After you’ve completed the research, draft your literature review and methodology sections. Then, you can now write about your findings and complete the discussion section.

Tips for Writing a Thesis Paper

Now that you’ve started drafting your paper, here are a few suggestions on how to make your writing more effective.

  • Make a writing schedule you can stick to; for example, 30 minutes every day. However, don’t get distracted during your writing time or the 30 minutes will turn into hours, and you will end up exhausted with little work done.
  • Strive for perfection, but don’t overdo it. Handing in a neatly written thesis paper with no loose ends and a good argument is great, but if you self-criticize every little detail, you will waste a lot of precious time.
  • Ask for help as needed. You have several options here. First, there should be a writing center at your school, designed especially to help students overcome writing issues. You can also ask friends and family for an opinion on your style. In addition, you can buy an example paper or thesis section from a reputable service.
  • Make an outline. It should include more than just a basic structure. Describe what you are going to add to each section.

Most importantly, remember that a Master’s thesis defines your success as a student, but not how successful you will be in life. So, don’t be too hard on yourself.

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