Are you writing a thesis? That’s amazing! Give yourself a pat on the back, because reaching that point in your academic career takes a lot of hard work.
When you begin to write, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. That’s where outlines come in handy. In this article, we’ll break down an effective outline for a thesis chapter – one that you can follow for each section of your paper.
What Is a Thesis Chapter?
Your thesis will be broken up into several sections. Usually, there’s an introduction, some background information, the methodology, the results and discussion, and a conclusion – or something along those lines.
Your institution will have more specific guidelines on the chapters you need to include and in what order, so make sure you familiarize yourself with those requirements first. To help you organize the content of each chapter, an outline breaks it down into smaller chunks.
While the content and length of each chapter will vary, you can follow a similar pattern to organize your information. Each chapter should include:
1. An Introduction
At the start of your chapter, spend some time introducing what you’re about to discuss. This will give readers the chance to quickly get an idea of what you’ll be covering and decide if they want to keep reading.
You could begin with a link to the previous chapter, which will help keep your audience from getting lost if they’re not reading it from start to finish in one sitting. You should then explain the purpose of the chapter and briefly describe how you will achieve it.
Every chapter should have an intro like this, even the introduction! Of course, the length of this part will vary depending on the length of the chapter itself.
2. The Main Body
After introducing the chapter, you can dive into the meat of it. As with the introduction, the content can be as brief or as lengthy as it needs to be.
While piecing together your outline, jot down which points are most important to include and then decide how much space you can devote to fleshing out each one. Let’s consider what this might look like, depending on the chapter.
If your thesis is broken up into an introduction, a background/literature review section, a methodology chapter, a discussion of the results, and a conclusion, here’s what the main body could include for each:
● Introduction: A brief summary of the problem or topic and its background, the purpose of the thesis, the research questions that will be addressed, the terminology you’ll be using, and any limitations or unique circumstances.
Find this useful?
Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.
● Background/literature review: A more thorough explanation of the problem, relevant studies and literature, and current knowledge and gaps in knowledge.
● Methodology: A detailed explanation of the research design, participants and how they were chosen, and how the data was collected and analyzed.
● Results/discussion: A thorough description of the results of the study and a discussion of what they could mean.
● Conclusion: A summary of everything that’s been covered, an explanation of the answers that were (or weren’t) found to the research questions, and suggestions for future research.
This is a rough plan of what the main body of each chapter might look like. Your thesis will likely have more chapters, and some of these topics may be broken down into multiple paragraphs, but this offers an idea of where to start.
3. A Conclusion
Once you’ve detailed everything the chapter needs to include, you should summarize what’s been covered and tie it all together. Explain what the chapter accomplished, and once again, you can link back to the previous chapter to point out what questions have been answered at this point in the thesis.
If you’re just getting started on writing your thesis, putting together an outline will help you to get your thoughts organized and give you a place to start. Each chapter should have its own introduction, main body, and conclusion.
And once you have your draft written, be sure to send it our way! Our editors will be happy to check it for grammar, punctuation, spelling, references, formatting, and more. Try out our service for free today!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you outline a thesis chapter?
Each chapter of your thesis should have its own introduction, the main content or body of the chapter, and a conclusion summarizing what was covered and linking it to the rest of the thesis.
How do you write a thesis statement?
A thesis statement should briefly summarize the topic you’re looking into and state your assumption about it.