Introduction – A short section outlining the background, aims and objectives of your research. If you’re conducting an experiment, the hypotheses should go here as well.
Main text – This will usually be spread out over several sections or chapters, covering the complete details of your research. What this involves will depend on your project, but there is a standard structure for experimental work (see below for more information).
Conclusion and recommendations – The conclusion is where you summarize your findings and explain how they are related to your predictions. You may also need to make recommendations for further research or applications of your results.
References – A complete list of all sources cited in your work.
If you’re missing any of these when you come to hand your work in, make sure to ask your supervisor in case you’ve overlooked something.
If you’re reporting on an experiment, your thesis should also include:
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Literature review – All theses should engage with past research, but experimental studies usually include a section dedicated to setting out studies and theories you’ve drawn upon.
Methodology – Whether you’ve conducted a sociological survey or a medical laboratory test, you need to explain your methods. This includes both the techniques used and your reasons for picking them.
Results, Discussion and Analysis – For any experimental study, you must report your results. You should also discuss and analyze their significance. Depending on your university, the results, discussion and analysis may be presented in separate sections, so check your style guide if you have one.
Appendices – You don’t have to use an appendix (or appendices). But most studies will have extra information (e.g., complete test results, questionnaire transcripts) that doesn’t fit in the main body of your thesis. Adding this to appendices at the end of your document is a good idea.
Of course, every thesis is a little bit different, but as long as you include most of the above somewhere in your work, you’re on the right track!
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One last thing! Before submitting your thesis, you’ll want to have it proofread. This will ensure your writing is all easy to read and typo free, helping you win valuable extra marks for your research.
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