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My thesis proposal
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  1. 1. Parts of a Thesis A thesis consists of various parts. Some parts are compulsory, others are optional. The Title You often come up with a title after having written the thesis. It is important to have a good title because many readers are lead by the title in choosing what to read. If your thesis has an attractive title, it is more likely to be read. A good title: * covers the content * is not too long * is business-like * speaks for itself making it informative Title Page The following information needs to be on the title page: a. The title (and possibly the subtitle) of your thesis b. First name and surname of the author(s) c. Student Identification Number of the author(s) d. Whether it is a ‘Bachelor’s thesis’or a ‘Master’s thesis’ e. Faculty and department f. Name of the thesis supervisor(s) g. Place and date of completion List of contents The list of content presents the systematic structure of the thesis. Make sure that the layout of your list of content is as clear as possible. Make sure you use informative chapter headings and subheadings to give the reader a clear impression of what to expect where. Preface The preface can be used to include a personal comment about your text. For example, you can use the preface to thank people or to describe how you experienced writing your thesis. Abstract An abstract presents a brief summary of your thesis. The aim of the abstract is to briefly provide the reader with the most important information from the entire text. An abstract never contains new information. This summary is no longer than 2 pages of A4. Introduction The first chapter of your thesis is your introduction. This is where you provide an introduction to the topic of your thesis: you give the context in terms of content of the research project. Secondly, you also provide process information: you state the research question, the sub- questions and your research method. Finally, you provide product information, i.e. an explanation of the structure of your thesis. Body text The largest part of your thesis is the body text. This middle part consists of several chapters. A
  2. 2. very common structure is: * several chapters (or sections) to discuss the various parts and aspects of your research question;a chapter or section to describe the research method. This part can be included in the introduction;a chapter to link the previous chapters together using the method described ‘aimed’ by the wh-question and verb of the research question;a chapter with conclusions and the answer to the research question;a chapter or section with recommendations. Conclusion The research findings are interpreted in the conclusion. This interpretation is based on the research question and the theory used. You should explicitly answer the research question and the sub-questions. If you have formulated hypotheses then you must indicate to what extent the research findings confirm or refute these. In addition, you will need to deal with the following questions: > To what extent are the research findings generalisable? > What light do the research findings shed on the theory? > How are the research findings related to the findings and conclusions of other authors? Think of the possible similarities and differences between your research and the reasons behind it. Mention the added value of your research and what it contributes to the body of knowledge in this field. It may also be important – depending on the objective of your thesis – to answer the following questions: > What does the research say about the suitability of the research methods used and the choice of empirical material? Can you give recommendations about future research? > Do the research findings have practical or social implications? Can you make (policy) recommendations based on this research project? Bibliography and references You must use the APA guidelines for literature references. The bibliography contains all the sources you have used for references. These are categorised in alphabetical order using the surname of the first author. Footnotes Try to limit the number of footnotes and endnotes because they distract the reader from reading the main text. The use of footnotes can be useful in two cases: > To refer to sources that are not included in the bibliography, newspaper articles or unpublished sources; > To clarify or illustrate issues in the text or to provide extra information that is relevant to the topic but difficult to fit into the argumentation. Preferably give the notes consecutive numbers and place them at the end of the last chapter of your thesis (endnotes) or at the bottom of each page (footnotes). Appendices You can include information as an appendix to your text if this could be of interest to some readers as background material but not essential for being able to read and understand the body text.
  3. 3. Index (optional) An index with key words, an index with authors: This is a detailed index sorted by keyword or by author name. Parts of a Thesis Proposal When working on a masters or doctoral degree, in most cases, a student must submit an extensive thesis or dissertation. Before this, however, he or she must also submit a thesis proposal, or detailed summary of the dissertation. Presented as both a written report and seminar, this proposal is carefully reviewed by a committee, who determine if the subject is appropriate and whether the topic is relevant to the field of study. If the committee does not see any value in the chosen topic, the thesis will not be approved. As a result, the proposal is one of the most important parts of a dissertation, as it determines whether the student can write it. A successful thesis proposal outlines the thesis topic, defines all of the issues the paper will address, and explains why the topic warrants further research. To properly fulfill these criteria, it should identify a specific problem and provide a detailed solution for that problem. Although the proposal requires a very basic structure, the information included in the document is quite detailed. In fact, a large amount of the material presented in the thesis proposal will likely be used in the final thesis. A thesis proposal should include: * a title page and brief summary, or abstract, of the proposal. The abstract introduces the audience to the thesis topic and offers a brief summary of how the student plans to address the subject. Although the abstract should usually be no more than 200 words, it is a very important element in the proposal, as it defines the key statement of the thesis. * a table of contents, introduction, and thesis statement. The introduction will explain the background of the thesis topic, review what the student knows about the subject, and detail any research that is relevant to the thesis. The primary objective of the introduction is to capture the interest of the audience, so it should be written in a clear and easy-to-understand style. As the name implies, the thesis statement should state the thesis; this can be done in the form of a research question, project statement, or hypothesis. * approach, or methods, section. In this area, the student should provide a brief description of the research methods and materials he or she will use to complete the thesis. This should be followed by a section presenting any preliminary research he or she has done, and explaining how that research applies to the topic. After discussing the preliminary research, the proposal should then address the implications of the research. In this section, the student should describe what type of new information the thesis will provide and why this information is important. The student should next list all references that he or she plans to use in the thesis. This list should also include citations for any ideas or concepts that are not his or her own. A student should plan to spend approximately one to three months working on a thesis proposal. Once he or she has completed all of the required elements, the student should carefully review all of the information prior to the presentation. The thesis proposal determines whether the thesis topic will be approved, and more importantly, helps the student write a better dissertation.
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