Thesis Writing Demystified
A thesis is a lengthy piece of scholarly work that is focused on original study. Dubbed as thesis writing, it is usually done and submitted as part of the fulfillment of a master’s or Ph.D. and occasionally is a requirement for completion of a certain bachelor’s degree. Like any other kind of writing, a thesis requires a writer to follow strict pre-writing steps, a structure, and post-writing steps. Thesis writing can be likened to a long journey that has many stop-overs along the way. It has no shortcuts since it involves multiple steps which must not be skipped, lest one risks diverting from the right track. The following article examines the steps of writing a top-notch thesis paper without losing track along the way. If you intend to write or currently work on a thesis piece, this article might suit you in light of completing it promptly.
The primary step of thesis writing begins with a research question within which a writer proceeds to frame a topic and conduct primary and secondary research around it. The research question is often shaped by what the writer believes the body of information available does not adequately answer. One has to consider which subjects and ideas pique your curiosity and what you would like to learn more about in the program of study. The research process must follow the preparatory steps highlighted below.
Firstly, the student research must ask specific and well-articulated questions in light of their topic. During this step, the study must be tuned to particular issues such that it does not lead to research questions that are vague and poorly articulated. It is advisable that one selects a topic they find exciting or well acquainted with its knowledge. Notably, it is essential a writer’s attitude while completing a thesis, to some extent, determines how the reader will react to it too. Preferably, the journey should begin with an engaging, invoking, and OK-thought topic of study.
Secondly, a structured and systematic literature exposition in which the research skims through the relevant literature is also crucial. It entails taking down notes and abstract ideas to help arrive at specific research questions, which entirely depends on how better one understands the topic of study. The writer at this step digs into what other researchers have written about the particular subject of study in question and whether they have responded to it accordingly. The researcher undertakes an additional step by collecting data and analyses of scientific tests to prove the arguments raised while researching the research gaps.
The need to suggest the purpose of the study arises after interacting with the
prospective topic of research and conducting prior research. Once this need is
satisfied, the investigation can commence on preparing a thesis proposal. The
purpose of the study, tentative literature review, significance of the study,
research question(s), hypothesis, and bibliography section is presented.
Accordingly, there is a need to briefly discuss the structure of a thesis
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At this stage in thesis-writing, the researcher must select committee members who will steer through the writing process together with him/her. It depends and varies from one institution to another. Notably, the committee members composed of specialists in the topic of study are selected to supervise and guide the researcher through the entire writing process. As such, the preliminary meeting with the committee members involves refining the researcher’s writing plan and stating the intended goals of their respective endeavors. The conference provides a forum within which the committee members engage with the student researcher to perfect their work throughout the writing process. Additionally, it serves as part of the qualifying exam for doctoral and bachelor’s students, which makes this step more critical in thesis writing. The student must then submit a memo enlisting all that was deliberated and agreed on during the session.
Informed consent approval
Once the memo is submitted, the instrumentation of informed consent begins for purposes of data collection. It is then submitted to the individual institution’s Review Board for approval. The board advises the researcher on the dos and don’ts during the data collection process. Consequently, the student researcher is permitted to collect data in line with the informed consent instrument.
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Structure of a Thesis Proposal
Chapter I: Introduction
Like in any other kind of writing, the introduction in a thesis is expected to give background information about the topic of study. It may be done by citing the existing literature and research findings of the specific details of the subject under investigation. Remarkably, it is the stage at which the thesis topic is established and founded, giving it strength, relevance, and purpose. Additionally, the research must introduce that persuades their reader that the investigation is a worthy and rewarding endeavor. It should not be boring and disengaging because, like a light, it should lead the way and not mislead or confuse the reader.
Accordingly, a good introduction for a thesis must establish the topic by giving relevant background information, including the definition of terms and concepts around the subject of study. Rather than commencing on generalized research, the introduction narrows the focus of the study while delimitating its scope. Also, it must be concerned with contextualizing the topic of study with the past and existing research around it. The process involves citing past and existing research in connection to the subject of the study to show the relevance of the ongoing investigation. In a nutshell, the introduction should be concise, clear, and relevant to research questions. The reader should be able to understand the what, why, and how of the future research.
Purpose of the study
The section responds to the question addressing the reason why the research is being conducted. It states the goal of the study. The purpose of the study might be the need to explain or predict a solution to the research question in light of the topic in question. A study goal is usually skewed using a statement with which the student researcher identifies, illustrates, and explains concepts concerning population and variables. It is often stated objectively to avoid biases by the researcher. It may sound unprofessional to include personal preferences and values in scholarly work. The purpose statement is generated from the research question(s) or problem statement. For example, in a research of a study problem “uncontrolled social media use can affect mental health wellbeing,” the purpose of the study would be “the purpose of this study is to examine the effects of uncontrolled social media use on the mental health of its users.”
The research question is described as one that the research is set to answer. It addresses or points to a problem being investigated by the study. The research question is only responded to through critical analysis and interpretation of primary and secondary data in light of the topic of study. Research questions serve the role of narrowing the researchable issues from the subject of study. Consequently, it reduces it from a broad spectrum to a more specific one intended to answer the research question(s). The research question flows hand in hand with the hypothesis. A hypothesis is a supposition or proposed interpretation based on minimal evidence that serves as a jumping-off point for further research. Accordingly, the research question alongside assumptions helps to guide the framework of the study. The question and hypothesis set the limits of investigation, ensuring cohesion of the survey from the beginning to the end.
All thesis research must contain at least one research question. Researchers are prone to facing difficulties in consolidating whatever comes on their minds and sound relevant to the topic under study. The research question also chats the path to follow during the entire process, minimizing cases of straying off-topic. With a straightforward research question, a writer can competently handle the subject of study without missing direction or mixing ideas.
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This section gives an account of the existing literature concerning the research questions and topic under study. It presents a survey of relevant materials and information written about the thesis topic in three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction provides relevant information about the subject, sparks a discussion on its significance, and draws the connection between the materials and the research question. The body section presents, discuss and examines information in line with certain organizational principles. The principles vary from one writing to another but are defined by themes, history, and study methodology. It gives a writer the freedom to discuss and present information from more than one source. The last part is usually a conclusion that summarizes the research findings, offering analysis and explanations as to why the research leads to a particular decision. It is the point at which a keen writer can identify and pinpoint the existing literature, thereby providing a future opportunity for further research.
At the very basic steps of writing, the researcher conducted a literature review to help shed insights and understanding on the chosen topic of study. Accordingly, this section features information, tasks, and propositions adopted by sources relied on by the researcher. Therefore, knowledge and suppositions derived from credible sources such as books, journal articles, magazines, and references are cited. It contains an analysis of the secondary data of the research concerning the research question. It lays down what is known and also not known about the topic. A literature review is not a mere presentation of other researchers’ views. Still, it must involve a critical analysis of the writer so that it does not end up looking like a summary of the existing literature. The writer must demonstrate an adequate understanding of it, give a touch of originality, intelligence, and authenticity by explaining the inferences made from the study in their own words.
More importantly, the writer should attune their suppositions in response to the topic. Notably, they should develop coherence in how they present ones’ ideas to justify various positions concerning the research question. It is done by drawing the connection between it and the information found in the existing literature to show relationships between themes, conflicts, or gaps in existence.
The theoretical framework section in a thesis writing presents a theory that tends to explain, understand phenomena, predict or challenge the existing knowledge based on critically bound assumptions. It provides and describes the path within which the research is conducted and understood within the confines of theoretical constructs. Hence, it is a part that presents a particular theory concerning the research question. The significance of this section is to make the research more meaningful in the sense that it is rendered and treated as acceptable by the proposed theoretical construct. An investigation that is theory-bound appears more stimulating and knowledge-provoking by raising its empiricism and rigor levels of the research.
Chapter II: Methodology
The methodology is the section that presents and discusses the methods of data collection employed in the study. A thesis without this section would be incomplete since it renders its conclusions shaky and unsupported by any kind of evidence. Thus, the methodology is crucial as it makes the reader of the research regarding the finding laid down as valid, reliable, and credible. Accordingly, it should feature elements such as the type of research the researcher wishes to adopt and the procedure to follow while collecting the data. It also provides a data analysis section about the available data analytic tools, coupled with the researcher’s rationale for choosing research methods. For the data collection methods, the researcher should indicate which research method they resulted in and clearly state the motive of the selection. The qualitative research method varies from one discipline to another. For example, it would be applicable to research questions intended to gather understanding, shape opinions or experiences. The second element would involve stating specifically about data collection methods such as sampling, interviews, and surveys, among others. The process of analyzing data must also be noted, be it statistical or discourse analysis. The tools and materials used in this section refer to the supporting materials, such as computer programs used to perform data analysis.
Further, the writer should also indicate the challenges and limitations experienced during research alongside their justification for the methods adopted in the study. It depends on the specific research needs of the topic, the type of targeted study population, time, and cost of conducting the research. It is not enough for a writer to point out the obstacles experienced in their study without informing the reader how they overcame them, hence the success of their research.
Chapter III: Results
The section discusses the findings of the study, both from the primary and secondary research fronts. The research’s main findings are reported in a logical, concise, and objective manner. The findings are presented by various means, including figures, tables, and graphs to illustrate certain conclusions or findings. The research results should be presented in a manner that proves the hypothesis of the task being tested.
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Chapter IV: Discussion
The discussion section allows the writer to interpret the results and describe their significance so far as responding to the research question(s). It offers new insights and explains new solutions to the research problem based on the research findings. The writer should pay a great deal of attention to ensuring coherence of the discussion with the introduction by citing the research questions or hypotheses being tested to avoid losing sight of the end goal. The section also relates to the literature review that responds to the research question and supports an overall conclusion of the research.
Chapter V: Conclusion
The conclusion is usually the final section of a thesis writing. It contains content, mainly summarizing ideas addressed in all the chapters. The writer should be cautious never about introducing new ideas or information at this stage. Most importantly, the concluding remarks should point towards the study’s main findings in line with the research question responses or hypothesis that has been tested in the study. It is not enough to point out the main findings without mentioning their connectedness within the research with the existing literature.
Consequently, one should state how their research challenges the current finding on the topic. Additionally, it should whether or not it fills any knowledge gap in the field of study. The last section should point to the potential prospects of further research stemming from the current progress made while emphasizing your study’s inputs.
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The bibliography section enlists all sources consulted by the research throughout the research and writing process. After the conclusion, complete references appear in an alphabetical order beginning with the author’s last name.