Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.

A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.

A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.

When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.

Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.

Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.  

Descriptive thesis (not arguable) 

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence) 

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim 

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim 

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis 

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • picture_as_pdf Thesis

BS Thesis Guidelines and Timeline

Bachelor of science in biological sciences.

Bachelor of Science (BS): The BS is designed for students who wish to delve more deeply into the field of their major through additional electives, participation in scientific research, and completion of a BS thesis that summarizes their research. Successful BS students will (1) learn how scientists design and conduct scientific experiments; (2) collect data as part of a research effort; (3) evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of that data; (4) interpret the data in the context of a specific scientific discipline; and (5) describe their work in a BS Thesis

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biological Sciences in any of the tracks by:

(1) completing three upper-level elective courses in Biological Sciences beyond those required for the BA degree, including  BIOS 28900  Undergraduate Bachelor of Science Research (or both quarters of  BIOS 00296  Undergraduate Honors Research if also pursuing Biology Research Honors)

(2) writing a BS thesis under the supervision of an adviser who is a member of the Biological Sciences Division research faculty.

Guidelines and Timeline for the BS in Biological Sciences

If you are participating in the BSCD honors program or a specialization that requires a thesis, you do not need to prepare a separate proposal (or thesis) for the BS degree, but you should submit copies of these materials to the BS program. Honors and specialization students are required to submit the BS Faculty Consent form in Spring of the 3rd year as directed below. You should adhere to the honors or specialization guidelines as you prepare your proposal, select faculty readers, and write your thesis. BS students who are writing a specialization thesis but are not in the BSCD Honors program are required to register for the BS research course (BIOS 28900) as directed below.

Spring of 2nd year

Declare your major as BA or BS in Biological Sciences. Remember that, in addition to the thesis, a BS requires three upper-level BIOS courses (numbered BIOS 21xxxx through 28xxx) beyond the five required for the BA degree. One of these courses must be BIOS 28900 unless you are taking BIOS 00296 for Research Honors.

Autumn of 3rd year

Start looking for a member of the BSD research faculty to serve as your thesis adviser and start developing ideas for your thesis research.

Description of the BS thesis

BS students will write a thesis based on original research. The topic must be a current issue in Biology, including basic science, medicine, and other applied fields, be described in a compelling thesis proposal, and be supported by a willing and appropriate Mentor. In most cases the thesis will present and analyze primary data collected by the student during their time in a mentor's lab. Students may also conduct critical and novel analysis of existing primary data (e.g., a critique of a healthcare policy such as methadone maintenance, a meta-analysis of recent clinical trials of antidepressants, or an argument against punctuated equilibria based on a fossil collection or genomic data). In either case, the work must be hypothesis driven and present evidence that tests the hypothesis. Topics related to global and public health will be accepted only for majors in the global and public health track. Please contact Chris Andrews if you have questions about the appropriateness of your topic. The thesis should follow the format of a published paper in a target journal appropriate for your topic but should include more extensive literature review and context in the introduction and conclusion.  A typical BS thesis is approximately 30 pages of double-spaced text (not including figures, tables and references).

Spring of 3rd year

To declare your interest in pursuing the BS in Biological Sciences, please submit the BS Faculty Consent Form  by 11:59 PM on Friday of finals week. If you have not already done so, please make sure you have officially declared your major as a BS in Biological Sciences so your college adviser can correctly slot courses into your degree program.

All BS students who will not be registered for BIOS 00296 (Undergraduate Honors Research) must register to take the BS research course (BIOS 28900 Undergraduate BS Research) in Autumn of their 4th year. We will add BIOS 00296 students to the BIOS 28900 Canvas site as unregistered students so they will receive announcements and can submit their materials for the BS degree. BS students who are writing a specialization thesis but are not in the BSCD Honors program are required to register for BIOS 28900.

Summer between 3rd and 4th year

BS students will typically conduct the bulk of their thesis research during this summer.

Autumn of 4th year

Unless you are in the BSCD Honors program and registered for BIOS 00296, make sure you are registered for the BS research course (BIOS 28900, Undergraduate BS Research) and have access to the associated Canvas site. BS students who are writing a specialization thesis but are not in the BSCD Honors program are required to register for the BS research course.

Submit a 1-2 page (single-spaced) thesis proposal (approved by your thesis adviser) as an assignment on the BIOS 28900 Canvas site by the end of Week 1.

Minimally, this proposal should include:

  • the name, e-mail address, and department of your thesis adviser.
  • a working title for your thesis.
  • one introductory paragraph giving the background and rationale for your project.
  • three to five paragraphs outlining your research question, hypotheses, predictions, and proposed methods.
  • a few sentences regarding your proposed research timeline.
  • a list of references cited in the proposal.

Winter of 4th year (by end of quarter)

During finals week , submit the names and e-mail addresses of two faculty readers from BSD research departments (other than your thesis adviser) to review your thesis in the spring. You will submit these names as an assignment on the BIOS 28900 Canvas site.

Spring of 4th year

By 11:59 PM on Friday of Week 4

Submit your thesis to your thesis adviser, who must approve it before you send it to readers for review. You do not need to submit this version of the thesis to the BSCD. This checkpoint allows your adviser to confirm that your thesis is in acceptable shape to send to readers.

By 11:59 PM on Friday of Week 5

Submit your thesis, approved by your thesis adviser, to your two faculty readers, along with the faculty review form (make a copy of the review form to share with readers here ). You should request that these readers return their reviews to you by Wednesday of Week 7 so you have time to respond to their feedback by the final deadline at the end of Week 8.

Between Weeks 7 and 8

In collaboration with your thesis adviser, revise your thesis in accordance with the feedback from your faculty reviewers. Both your thesis adviser and your two readers must sign off on the revisions before your final submission.  

By 11:59 PM on Friday of Week 8 

Submit the final version of the approved thesis, with confirmation of approval by your thesis adviser and two additional readers. You may collect signatures on a cover page ( here's the TEMPLATE)  or ask your adviser and readers to provide confirmation of approval by email to: [email protected]

Reference management. Clean and simple.

How to write an excellent thesis conclusion [with examples]

Tips for writing thesis conclusion

Restate the thesis

Review or reiterate key points of your work, explain why your work is relevant, a take-away for the reader, more resources on writing thesis conclusions, frequently asked questions about writing an excellent thesis conclusion, related articles.

At this point in your writing, you have most likely finished your introduction and the body of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper . While this is a reason to celebrate, you should not underestimate the importance of your conclusion. The conclusion is the last thing that your reader will see, so it should be memorable.

A good conclusion will review the key points of the thesis and explain to the reader why the information is relevant, applicable, or related to the world as a whole. Make sure to dedicate enough of your writing time to the conclusion and do not put it off until the very last minute.

This article provides an effective technique for writing a conclusion adapted from Erika Eby’s The College Student's Guide to Writing a Good Research Paper: 101 Easy Tips & Tricks to Make Your Work Stand Out .

While the thesis introduction starts out with broad statements about the topic, and then narrows it down to the thesis statement , a thesis conclusion does the same in the opposite order.

  • Restate the thesis.
  • Review or reiterate key points of your work.
  • Explain why your work is relevant.
  • Include a core take-away message for the reader.

Tip: Don’t just copy and paste your thesis into your conclusion. Restate it in different words.

The best way to start a conclusion is simply by restating the thesis statement. That does not mean just copying and pasting it from the introduction, but putting it into different words.

You will need to change the structure and wording of it to avoid sounding repetitive. Also, be firm in your conclusion just as you were in the introduction. Try to avoid sounding apologetic by using phrases like "This paper has tried to show..."

The conclusion should address all the same parts as the thesis while making it clear that the reader has reached the end. You are telling the reader that your research is finished and what your findings are.

I have argued throughout this work that the point of critical mass for biopolitical immunity occurred during the Romantic period because of that era's unique combination of post-revolutionary politics and innovations in smallpox prevention. In particular, I demonstrated that the French Revolution and the discovery of vaccination in the 1790s triggered a reconsideration of the relationship between bodies and the state.

Tip: Try to reiterate points from your introduction in your thesis conclusion.

The next step is to review the main points of the thesis as a whole. Look back at the body of of your project and make a note of the key ideas. You can reword these ideas the same way you reworded your thesis statement and then incorporate that into the conclusion.

You can also repeat striking quotations or statistics, but do not use more than two. As the conclusion represents your own closing thoughts on the topic , it should mainly consist of your own words.

In addition, conclusions can contain recommendations to the reader or relevant questions that further the thesis. You should ask yourself:

  • What you would ideally like to see your readers do in reaction to your paper?
  • Do you want them to take a certain action or investigate further?
  • Is there a bigger issue that your paper wants to draw attention to?

Also, try to reference your introduction in your conclusion. You have already taken a first step by restating your thesis. Now, check whether there are other key words, phrases or ideas that are mentioned in your introduction that fit into your conclusion. Connecting the introduction to the conclusion in this way will help readers feel satisfied.

I explored how Mary Wollstonecraft, in both her fiction and political writings, envisions an ideal medico-political state, and how other writers like William Wordsworth and Mary Shelley increasingly imagined the body politic literally, as an incorporated political collective made up of bodies whose immunity to political and medical ills was essential to a healthy state.

Tip: Make sure to explain why your thesis is relevant to your field of research.

Although you can encourage readers to question their opinions and reflect on your topic, do not leave loose ends. You should provide a sense of resolution and make sure your conclusion wraps up your argument. Make sure you explain why your thesis is relevant to your field of research and how your research intervenes within, or substantially revises, existing scholarly debates.

This project challenged conventional ideas about the relationship among Romanticism, medicine, and politics by reading the unfolding of Romantic literature and biopolitical immunity as mutual, co-productive processes. In doing so, this thesis revises the ways in which biopolitics has been theorized by insisting on the inherent connections between Romantic literature and the forms of biopower that characterize early modernity.

Tip: If you began your thesis with an anecdote or historical example, you may want to return to that in your conclusion.

End your conclusion with something memorable, such as:

  • a call to action
  • a recommendation
  • a gesture towards future research
  • a brief explanation of how the problem or idea you covered remains relevant

Ultimately, you want readers to feel more informed, or ready to act, as they read your conclusion.

Yet, the Romantic period is only the beginning of modern thought on immunity and biopolitics. Victorian writers, doctors, and politicians upheld the Romantic idea that a "healthy state" was a literal condition that could be achieved by combining politics and medicine, but augmented that idea through legislation and widespread public health measures. While many nineteenth-century efforts to improve citizens' health were successful, the fight against disease ultimately changed course in the twentieth century as global immunological threats such as SARS occupied public consciousness. Indeed, as subsequent public health events make apparent, biopolitical immunity persists as a viable concept for thinking about the relationship between medicine and politics in modernity.

Need more advice? Read our 5 additional tips on how to write a good thesis conclusion.

The conclusion is the last thing that your reader will see, so it should be memorable. To write a great thesis conclusion you should:

The basic content of a conclusion is to review the main points from the paper. This part represents your own closing thoughts on the topic. It should mainly consist of the outcome of the research in your own words.

The length of the conclusion will depend on the length of the whole thesis. Usually, a conclusion should be around 5-7% of the overall word count.

End your conclusion with something memorable, such as a question, warning, or call to action. Depending on the topic, you can also end with a recommendation.

In Open Access: Theses and Dissertations you can find thousands of completed works. Take a look at any of the theses or dissertations for real-life examples of conclusions that were already approved.

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Writing the Research Methodology Section of Your Thesis

bachelor thesis in

This article explains the meaning of research methodology and the purpose and importance of writing a research methodology section or chapter for your thesis paper. It discusses what to include and not include in a research methodology section, the different approaches to research methodology that can be used, and the steps involved in writing a robust research methodology section.

What is a thesis research methodology?

A thesis research methodology explains the type of research performed, justifies the methods that you chose   by linking back to the literature review , and describes the data collection and analysis procedures. It is included in your thesis after the Introduction section . Most importantly, this is the section where the readers of your study evaluate its validity and reliability.

What should the research methodology section in your thesis include?

  • The aim of your thesis
  • An outline of the research methods chosen (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods)
  • Background and rationale for the methods chosen, explaining why one method was chosen over another
  • Methods used for data collection and data analysis
  • Materials and equipment used—keep this brief
  • Difficulties encountered during data collection and analysis. It is expected that problems will occur during your research process. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities by explaining how you overcame all obstacles. This builds your readers’ confidence in your study findings.
  • A brief evaluation of your research explaining whether your results were conclusive and whether your choice of methodology was effective in practice

What should not be included in the research methodology section of your thesis?

  • Irrelevant details, for example, an extensive review of methodologies (this belongs in the literature review section) or information that does not contribute to the readers’ understanding of your chosen methods
  • A description of basic procedures
  • Excessive details about materials and equipment used. If an extremely long and detailed list is necessary, add it as an appendix

Types of methodological approaches

The choice of which methodological approach to use depends on your field of research and your thesis question. Your methodology should establish a clear relationship with your thesis question and must also be supported by your  literature review . Types of methodological approaches include quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods. 

Quantitative studies generate data in the form of numbers   to count, classify, measure, or identify relationships or patterns. Information may be collected by performing experiments and tests, conducting surveys, or using existing data. The data are analyzed using  statistical tests and presented as charts or graphs. Quantitative data are typically used in the Sciences domain.

For example, analyzing the effect of a change, such as alterations in electricity consumption by municipalities after installing LED streetlights.

The raw data will need to be prepared for statistical analysis by identifying variables and checking for missing data and outliers. Details of the statistical software program used (name of the package, version number, and supplier name and location) must also be mentioned.

Qualitative studies gather non-numerical data using, for example, observations, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.   Open-ended questions are often posed. This yields rich, detailed, and descriptive results. Qualitative studies are usually   subjective and are helpful for investigating social and cultural phenomena, which are difficult to quantify. Qualitative studies are typically used in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) domain.

For example, determining customer perceptions on the extension of a range of baking utensils to include silicone muffin trays.

The raw data will need to be prepared for analysis by coding and categorizing ideas and themes to interpret the meaning behind the responses given.

Mixed methods use a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches to present multiple findings about a single phenomenon. T his enables triangulation: verification of the data from two or more sources.

Data collection

Explain the rationale behind the sampling procedure you have chosen. This could involve probability sampling (a random sample from the study population) or non-probability sampling (does not use a random sample).

For quantitative studies, describe the sampling procedure and whether statistical tests were used to determine the  sample size .

Following our example of analyzing the changes in electricity consumption by municipalities after installing LED streetlights, you will need to determine which municipal areas will be sampled and how the information will be gathered (e.g., a physical survey of the streetlights or reviewing purchase orders).

For qualitative research, describe how the participants were chosen and how the data is going to be collected.

Following our example about determining customer perceptions on the extension of a range of baking utensils to include silicone muffin trays, you will need to decide the criteria for inclusion as a study participant (e.g., women aged 20–70 years, bakeries, and bakery supply shops) and how the information will be collected (e.g., interviews, focus groups, online or in-person questionnaires, or video recordings) .

Data analysis

For quantitative research, describe what tests you plan to perform and why you have chosen them. Popular data analysis methods in quantitative research include:

  • Descriptive statistics (e.g., means, medians, modes)
  • Inferential statistics (e.g., correlation, regression, structural equation modeling)

For qualitative research, describe how the data is going to be analyzed and justify your choice. Popular data analysis methods in qualitative research include:

  • Qualitative content analysis
  • Thematic analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Narrative analysis
  • Grounded theory
  • Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA)

Evaluate and justify your methodological choices

You need to convince the reader that you have made the correct methodological choices. Once again, this ties back to your thesis question and  literature review . Write using a persuasive tone, and use  rhetoric to convince the reader of the quality, reliability, and validity of your research.

Ethical considerations

  • The young researcher should maintain objectivity at all times
  • All participants have the right to privacy and anonymity
  • Research participation must be voluntary
  • All subjects have the right to withdraw from the research at any time
  • Consent must be obtained from all participants before starting the research
  • Confidentiality of data provided by individuals must be maintained
  • Consider how the interpretation and reporting of the data will affect the participants

Tips for writing a robust thesis research methodology

  • Determine what kind of knowledge you are trying to uncover. For example, subjective or objective, experimental or interpretive.
  • A thorough literature review is the best starting point for choosing your methods.
  • Ensure that there is continuity throughout the research process. The authenticity of your research depends upon the validity of the research data, the reliability of your data measurements, and the time taken to conduct the analysis.
  • Choose a research method that is achievable. Consider the time and funds available, feasibility, ethics, and access and availability of equipment to measure the phenomenon or answer your thesis question correctly.
  • If you are struggling with a concept, ask for help from your supervisor, academic staff members, or fellow students.

A thesis methodology justifies why you have chosen a specific approach to address your thesis question. It explains how you will collect the data and analyze it. Above all, it allows the readers of your study to evaluate its validity and reliability.

A thesis is the most crucial document that you will write during your academic studies. For professional thesis editing and thesis proofreading services, visit  Enago Thesis Editing for more information.

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Introduce your methodological approach , for example, quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods.

Explain why your chosen approach is relevant to the overall research design and how it links with your  thesis question.

Justify your chosen method and why it is more appropriate than others.

Provide background information on methods that may be unfamiliar to readers of your thesis.

Introduce the tools that you will use for data collection , and explain how you plan to use them (e.g., surveys, interviews, experiments, or existing data).

Explain how you will analyze your results. The type of analysis used depends on the methods you chose. For example, exploring theoretical perspectives to support your explanation of observed behaviors in a qualitative study or using statistical analyses in a quantitative study.

Mention any research limitations. All studies are expected to have limitations, such as the sample size, data collection method, or equipment. Discussing the limitations justifies your choice of methodology despite the risks. It also explains under which conditions the results should be interpreted and shows that you have taken a holistic approach to your study.

What is the difference between methodology and methods? +

Methodology  refers to the overall rationale and strategy of your thesis project. It involves studying the theories or principles behind the methods used in your field so that you can explain why you chose a particular method for your research approach.  Methods , on the other hand, refer to how the data were collected and analyzed (e.g., experiments, surveys, observations, interviews, and statistical tests).

What is the difference between reliability and validity? +

Reliability refers to whether a measurement is consistent (i.e., the results can be reproduced under the same conditions).  Validity refers to whether a measurement is accurate (i.e., the results represent what was supposed to be measured). For example, when investigating linguistic and cultural guidelines for administration of the Preschool Language Scales, Fifth Edition (PLS5) in Arab-American preschool children, the normative sample curves should show the same distribution as a monolingual population, which would indicate that the test is valid. The test would be considered reliable if the results obtained were consistent across different sampling sites.

What tense is used to write the methods section? +

The methods section is written in the past tense because it describes what was done.

What software programs are recommended for statistical analysis? +

Recommended programs include Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) ,  Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) ,  JMP ,  R software,  MATLAB , Microsoft Excel,  GraphPad Prism , and  Minitab .

What are the chapters in the outline for the bachelor and master thesis?

One look at the outline will make your supervisor curious. Very good, he thinks, balanced, thoughtful. Although he wanted to take only a quick look, he continues turning the pages and starts to read... The clock says  it’s shortly before 10. His office hours start at 10. There are already some young people outside the door... Just read the introduction... a soft knocking on the door interrupts him.  Now the clock says way past 10:00. Come in, he calls.

Carefully a student sticks her head through the door and asks quietly if there are office hours today. Yes, yes, he said, a little testy, like someone who was interrupted in the middle of his favorite show...

The author of this bachelor’s thesis must have done quite a few things right... That she receives an A is clear. But how did she do it? Well, she's got "just" a great outline... Her thesis was a real story, with a storyline and a finale. No wonder the supervisor couldn't put it down...

YOU can do that too!

You don't have to start from scratch. You can work with an outline template. It shows you the appropriate content chapter by chapter and helps build all the chapters on each other. Takes only 10 minutes of your time and familiarise yourself with it.

If you include these chapter headings in your text, the storyline is immediately visible and your thesis will end up "on the supervisor's bedside table".

Chapter 1 of the Outline: The Introduction chapter

Your introduction is like an apéritif before dinner to stimulate the  appetite for the text. Your supervisor is curious, which puts him or her in a good mood.

Your first sentences draws him into the topic. Almost everyone understands it, can agree with it. Our patterns and examples in the Thesis Guide will help inspire you.

By the way, it is rumored that many supervisors only read the introduction and conclusion carefully then leaf through the rest. I can't really imagine that that’s true because they have to write a detailed report about it afterwards. But the rumor still persists.

Never mind how! Make sure that your introduction makes the best possible impression. Don't let it ruin your project. Stick to our examples, templates and formulations in the outline example. You will kill two birds with one stone: You have a plan for the entire thesis and you will have written the first pages, namely your introduction.

Chapter 2 of the outline: The theory chapter

The chapter that contains the theory is like the foundation of a house, everything depends on it. Describe all the important basics in the theory chapter. What should be in the theory chapter? All the important content for your text. It is best to follow the pattern for the theory chapter in our Thesis Guide.

By the way, with our guide, you will be finished with the theory chapter after ONE week, including all the reading. Simply adopt our five pages per day writing technique.

Chapter 3 of the outline: The state of research chapter

The chapter for the "State of research" incorporates the collection of previous knowledge about the topic. These sources are usually found in scientific studies rather than books. Write down which authors found out what and how they did so. If you assign a proper chapter to it, a very good grade is almost guaranteed.

You are inexperience in using scientific studies. Never mind. Simply fill out our review matrix from the Thesis Guide and follow our instructions. Then you'll be able to get a good grip on the chapter in a few days, even if your English isn't great.

Chapter 4 of the outline: The procedure or methodology chapter

Your supervisor wants to know how you proceeded, how you arrived at your results. That goes in this chapter. Describe the methods used and walk the reader through everything, step-by-step. Sounds simple... BUT: What is the method’s name? Where did you find it?

There is not only one method for the literature thesis but several that we have described in detail in our Thesis Guide. In addition, you will find examples and formulations so it’s easy to write the chapter in a few hours. It'll lift your spirits.

Chapter 5 of the Outline: The results chapter

Finally, it's getting exciting. So far you have only prayed for the best and copied from other sources. Finally, you are allowed to deliver your own findings. What kind of insight will this be? How will they make the world a better place?

If you have collected empirical data, the answer is clear.  But what is the result in a pure literature thesis? What are the findings? The answer to this question is less obvious.

Searching for weeks or even months in sources for new findings does not lead to your personal findings. Logically, your results must be findings that are NOT yet in the sources... Most of the old theses aren’t useful here because they are not YOUR findings.

What will help you immediately is a detailed guide to answer your research question and sub-questions, with examples and formulations. Get our Thesis Guide with enough time that you can follow it from the start.  Stick to our examples, instructions, techniques and formulations and your individual contribution will be a success.

Chapter 6 of the Outline: The Conclusion chapter

Finally, you’ve made it to the end! Your conclusion will complete the circle. Remember the rumor that supervisors only read the introduction and conclusion carefully... So they should go together very well. Do you want to look at an example of a great conclusion? You can find it in the Thesis Guide.

Of course, a great outline also requires writing a text without mistakes.

More tips for a great outline:

1. do not write more than 6 subchapters for one chapter.

Such a chapter is only a collection of short sentences, which can be safely summarized.

2. If there is a chapter 2.1, then chapter 2.2 is also necessary

Chapter 2.1 must always be followed by chapter 2.2. If you do not do so, the supervisor will see this mistake immediately and deduct points. But above all, it makes him or her doubt your seriousness and commitment because this beginner's mistake is evidence of negligence.

3. Do write more than 6 chapters with 60 pages

There is no fixed rule as to how many chapters may be included in a bachelor’s or master’s thesis, but the more chapters there are per fixed page number, the more unbalanced the chapters are likely to be. Five to six chapters of 60 pages are fine. For dissertations, there should also be no more than 10 chapters for 200 pages. The typical bachelor or master’s thesis is composed of the 6 chapters described above.

IMPORTANT: As soon as your supervisor gives you guidelines for the outline of your bachelor’s or master’s thesis, you must follow these instructions. Obviously the department’s requirements have priority!

These tips will help you captivate your supervisor with your work. And you have much less to do with your thesis.

Good luck writing your text!

Silvio and the Aristolo Team

PS: Check out the Thesis-ABC and the Thesis Guide for writing a bachelor or master thesis in 31 days.

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How to Write a Bachelor/Master Thesis in Social Sciences (Step-by-Step + Examples)

  • Post published: April 19, 2021
  • Post category: Resources
  • Post last modified: January 18, 2023

When it comes to theses, the guidelines depend on your university, your program, and your supervisor. Always make sure to follow these rules first.

I have written three theses in my academic career and passed all of them the first time.

This article will explain how to write a bachelor or a master thesis in social sciences.

You’ll learn:

  • how I found my research question and two guaranteed methods to do so
  • how I structured my work
  • the five parts of theses and how to write them
  • the different research methods and which ones to select
  • how to find respondents
  • the mindset to adopt to write your thesis
  • how not to be late

You can also download my three theses to have a look at them yourself.

Table of Content

Click to expand/collapse

Part 1: The Theory

  • Finding Yout Topic

What to Do if You Cannot Find a Thesis Topic?

Finding the research question and the introduction of your thesis, how to establish the theoretical framework of your thesis, which research method to select for your thesis, how to conduct the research for your thesis, how to find respondents for your interview, transcript analysis and presenting the results of your research, how to conclude your thesis, part 2: the mental behind writing a thesis.

  • Don’t Focus on the End-Goal – Focus on the Next Step Instead

Break the Routine

Load up on things to do, realize what your time is worth.

  • You’ll End up Dying at Some Point…
  • Use Parkison’s Law

The Bottom Line

How to write a thesis, finding your topic.

The first thesis was the most complicated to write.

Even though I was studying communication, the theme I had chosen was “business model innovation” because it looked interesting to me.

Initially, I had decided to write something related to online news websites.

I wrote my research proposal and sent it to my supervisor.

He hated it and gave me zero.

While everyone in my class was already contacting people to interview, I had to do it all over again.

But I didn’t want to.

I was angry, and I considered quitting my bachelor’s altogether.

I wrote an email to the faculty asking to change group and join a political-themed thesis class.

They said no. Great.

I wouldn’t graduate then.

As I was weighing my options, an idea came to me.

I had written days earlier a paper for another course about the challenges that TV stations had to face due to Netflix and Amazon.

I thought the theme was great for my thesis because it had all I needed: innovation, media, and business.

I asked my supervisor if I could research this theme, he said yes, and off I was.

The second thesis was easier. Written in the context of a master’s in management, I had decided to base it on the first one but with another industry.

Instead of writing about Netflix VS TV stations, I wrote about hotels VS Airbnb.

I bought a ticket to Colombia and wrote the paper under the sun of Medellin.

For my third thesis, I wanted to analyze the power of the US, China, and Russia.

However, it was more suited for a book, so I didn’t do it and wrote instead about an idea I wanted to publish in Quillette (but they never accepted it).

One day, as I was daydreaming, I wondered how we could improve political decision-making.

So I looked at how private companies handled their own decision-making.

Turns out that they use data, algorithms, and AI.

So I thought that political decision-making would probably come to that point as well, with all the consequences on democracy.

That idea stayed in my mind, so I wrote about technological decision-making in politics, namely data science within the EU Commission.

Take a paper you already wrote and derive your thesis topic from this paper.

Let’s be honest, it is difficult to randomly come up with ideas to research.

Look at what you have already done, and go deeper.

The alternative is to take a paper you enjoyed reading and to look at their “suggestion for follow-up research” section.

A thesis is no more than an answer to a question.

Look around you, read the newspapers, ask questions.

What are people wondering about? What are the impacts of new technologies? What could be the link between such a field and another one?

How do people perceive such a phenomenon? What does it mean for both people and the phenomenon?

Find what you wonder about, and go research it.

Personal trick:  think for yourself. 

When I was studying for my master’s in political science, everyone went to research boring topics in international relations. As a result, they all struggled to find supervisors.

I did not research a boring topic in international relations. I went for a topic that was different and that  I liked . As a result, I had four different professors ready to supervise me, when most students couldn’t even find one.

Look outside the box and stop caring about other people.

The best way to succeed is not to be better than anyone else, but to  escape competition and rule over your own empire.

To summarize, here are all of the ways you can find a thesis topic:

  • Take an assignment or a topic you have already written about and go further for your thesis.
  • Take a previous thesis that you apply to another area (like I did with hotels and Airbnb).
  • Find an interesting scientific paper and look at the “further research” section.
  • Same thing as 3, but with a thesis from a student that wrote it the previous year.
  • Be aware of what you are daydreaming about and see if it could apply to a thesis.
  • Ask a researcher or professor about the unanswered questions in their domain of expertise. Don’t be obvious though, they shouldn’t know that this is because you want to write about it. Make it sound like it’s a simple conversation you are interested in.
  • Read a bunch of papers about a topic and see which question has not been answered yet.
  • Replicate: take a study, do it again, and see if it replicates (great for psychology).

Back to my first thesis.

As soon as my supervisor gave me the green light, I worked like a madman for the next few days.

The first step is to find a research question, aka, a problem to solve.

The problem should be as simple and as small as possible.

That’s what makes research difficult.

It’s easy to find big philosophical questions. It is less so to answer them.

Find the smallest problem possible for your question, or your theme will be too broad and you’ll have issues.

My question, as we said, was the survival of TV stations. I imagined they were going to die because of Netflix.

To make sure this problem was real, I had to read maybe 4 or 5 academic papers talking about this problem.

Once I had my proofs, I could come up with a research question.

Originally, I wrote:

“What is public TV stations’ strategy and response to counter new competitors in the TV landscape such as streaming companies?” 

But my supervisor didn’t like it and told me to write this instead:

“What societal remit should PSBs (public service broadcasters) fulfill in an increasingly innovative and competitive media landscape?” 

Now, I kid you not, I understood the question only weeks after I had gotten my final mark.

I had no clue what I was writing about until after I had finished writing it.

Instead of focusing on what TV stations did to survive, my supervisor wanted me to focus on what was public TV stations’ role in society.

Instead of asking “what do you do to survive”, it was asking “why do you even exist?”.

That guy was smart.

Next up, you’ll have to formulate hypotheses (some people work without them as I did).

Hypotheses are answers you believe you will find. They are based on the current literature.

When you write hypotheses, it will help you later on to structure your questionnaire into different parts so that you can answer your research question.

While I’m not a fan of hypotheses because it gives you more work, I do admit it eases your task.

Ask your supervisor.

For my second thesis, I did the exact same thing as for the first one, but with Airbnb’s and hotels instead of TV and Netflix.

I could have also chosen Uber and taxis, but that looked more like a done deal since they are the same service.

Hotels and Airbnb still differ to some extent.

The research question was:

How do high-end hotels use innovative strategies to overcome challenges and be more competitive in the hospitality business?

My third thesis was written in the context of a master’s in political science and EU studies.

“How does the EU Commission use data throughout the policymaking process?”

As you can see, the second and third research questions suck. They are badly phrased.

Since a thesis is built on a research question, a bad research question will give a bad thesis.

Don’t do what I did. Do it better. Do it simpler.

Getting your research question is the most difficult and critical step of any research work .

Once you got it, you just need to put your brain on “pause” for one or two months, and follow the plan.

Theses in the humanities and social sciences are not about thinking, but about writing what people tell you to write.

Once I got my RQ (research question), I could write my introduction: for the first thesis, I wrote about the challenges of TV, then of public TV, then about the specific challenges that these streaming newcomers represented for public TV, then I introduced my RQ.

Afterward, I presented an outline of how I researched the problem (technically, an intro is the last thing you write, so if you write it first, write in the past tense) and what research method I used.

And boom. I got my intro.

Don’t forget to add the “academic relevance” (why your research is academically interesting) and the “societal relevance” (how it can be applied to society).

Next up is the theoretical framework, also called “literature review”.

The literature review consists of reading a bunch of academic papers and make them  speak to each other .

What you need to write is who says what about what and who agrees with who or contradicts who.

You’d think that writing a thesis is about writing, but it’s not.

It’s mainly about reading, then rephrasing whatever you read ( that’s one of the reasons why science stagnates , it has too many protocols and people are mostly concerned about what has been written instead of writing new stuff, but that’s a topic for another time).

So, reading then re-writing about 20-40 academic papers will do for your theoretical framework.

“40?! But Auré, how could you remember what you read?”

I didn’t, because I never read them entirely.

Here’s why.

First of all,  time is important  (remember that at the end of the article).

You’ll most likely die before you turn 80 because of the micro-plastic in your body and the low-quality air you breathe, so you want to maximize your time spent doing cool stuff, not writing papers no one gives a crap about.

When you read an academic paper, you want to focus on three parts only : the abstract, the introduction, and the conclusion/discussion.

The rest has not been written for you and you can ignore it.

Here’s what I did. I read the paper, then write a summary on a word document that I called “sources”.

This document was my database containing everything I had read.

If I didn’t remember where I had read a particular piece of information, all I had to do was a quick search in my database, and boom, I got what I wanted.

Sometimes, I’d just copy-past the abstract or the conclusion and add some keywords to find them easily in the database.

Since I often had +- 50 sources for my theoretical framework, this database was huge.

Once you established your database with the academic papers, you can start writing your TF (theoretical framework). Basically, you should define and explain all the concepts of your RQ.

For my first thesis, I explained the evolution of the TV landscape, then explained Netflix and all of the issues and strategic problems they caused for public TV (well, “explained” is a big word, you’re not allowed to explain, only to rewrite what other people had already written for you).

For my thesis on data and the EU Commission, I explained the entire policymaking process, defined “data”, and defined the few evidence-based policymaking strategies that I could find (research was lagging, I couldn’t find much).

Once you got your RQ, your introduction, and TF in order, congratulations!

You’ve done about 69% of the thesis.

I have no clue about theses in engineering or math, but theses in humanities and social sciences can choose between quantitative research (numbers) or qualitative research (people).

Needless to say,  you should never go for quantitative research. 

Here’s why:

1. You need a lot of respondents: every year, Facebook is assaulted with “hey, I’m writing a thesis for my master in gender studies, can you please fill up this short survey that will only take 5 minutes of your time? Thaanks!!”

Students often need to find 100-250 respondents for their results to be valid, and that’s when you realize that your 1000 friends on Facebook are completely useless when you can’t even get 20 people to fill up your survey.

A girl I know was smart. She paid a company whose job is to find respondents and got her results within 2 days.

Trust me, you don’t want to waste time and alienate your Facebook friends, nor do you want to pay to find people.

2. Analysis is hard: dunno which software you’ll have to use, but if you’re not in love with statistics, the analysis of your data will be difficult. You’ll have to perform regression analysis and who knows what else.

Let’s not even speak of results interpretation.

A girl I knew paid a guy in Bangladesh to analyze the results for her.

That only cost her 25€, but still.

-> quantitative research is dumb.

Qualitative research is much better (if you don’t know what it is, google it).

Whether you interview people (5-15) or do content analysis, you are the master of your time.

I did interviews for my three theses and never regretted it.

The only annoying thing was transcribing them, but it gets faster as you progress and gain skills.

In order to avoid interviews that are too long, don’t hesitate to interrupt your respondents if they give answers not relevant to your research.

The next part of your thesis is the “research method”.

I am not sure if what I’m about to tell you is correct. The three research method sections I wrote were done differently according to the wishes of my three supervisors.

Make sure to always follow the guidelines you are given since they are the requirements on what you will be judged on.

For the first thesis, I had to write a mini-theoretical framework about the research method, basically explaining what is qualitative research, in which context it is used, and why it was suitable for my work.

For the second thesis, I had to add a small part on  how  I had conducted my research.

For the third thesis, I had to scrap this research explanation structure to explain the steps I had taken instead.

I believe the third one is the best.

If you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to create the questionnaire you will use for your interviews.

The questionnaire should whether answer your hypotheses (or your theoretical framework) and overall, answer your RQ.

Count around 5-10 questions.

Be specific in what you’re asking, and don’t hesitate to elicit more answers if your respondents remain vague and elusive.

image 27

One easy way is to ask your supervisor if they don’t know anyone to interview. Usually, people in small industries know each other.

If they don’t, you’ll have to find respondents by yourself.

Contacting people by email is best.

If you’re a girl, you’ll have more success contacting men.

If you’re a guy, you’ll have to offer value in exchange for the time you’ll spend interviewing the person.

Start your email by briefly introducing yourself, then introduce your research project.

Ask if you can interview them, by Skype or in real life, whatever suits them best.

Don’t forget to add that you will share your results with them (they usually give you an interview because of that specifically).

If they answer they can’t give you an interview, ask them if they know anyone else.

Find below an email template I sent to people I wanted to interview for my first thesis,

“Dear Mister X,  

My name is Auré.

I am a communication and media student at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. I am currently writing my thesis on the innovative strategies that public service broadcasters have implemented/are implementing in order to overcome the challenges of the media landscape.

In order to do so, I’m currently interviewing media innovation experts/managers from public service broadcasters.

Would it be possible for me to interview you? 

I would be happy to come to Brussels to do so, or to do it over Skype, whatever suits you best.

I would of course be happy to share the results of my research with you, once it is completed. 

Looking forward to hearing from you, 

Best regards,

Auré”

Tip! Sending emails manually is a waste of time. There are many free email software out there you can use to send a high number of personalized emails easily (I use Zoho Campaigns, but use the one most adapted to your needs.)

Also, the Chrome extension Email Hunter will automatically capture any emails you run across on the web, and hunter.io enables you to find the email of an important person.

The second way to find respondents is to ask for names at the end of each interview . If you manage to find one respondent that gives you the name of one other respondent that gives you the name of etc, you will easily find all respondents you need.

As such, finding 3-4 respondents should be enough, as these people will likely help you find more people.

When I wrote my political science thesis, I only found 3 respondents myself, and the 9 others had been introduced to me by the 3 original respondents.

Don’t underestimate people’s willingness to help you. 

We’re all humans and as humans, we are wired to enjoy helping others. It’s important to frame your work as  you helping them  rather than the opposite since you are the one tackling a problem  they have.

No one has ever said no to free value.

Send as many emails as you can. I must have sent about 50 emails for my first thesis, more than 200 for my second thesis, and about 40 for my third thesis.

Writing a thesis is not hard. Like all things of value, it just takes time.

Side note: some industries have professionals that are sick and tired to answer students’ questions (marketing). Avoid well-known industries and choose a rare topic where experts are seldom interviewed.

Once you have all of your interviews and transcripts, you can do your analysis. First, I made a list of all the concepts I had asked questions. Then, I assigned a color to each of them.

Then, I’d read all the transcripts and highlight the corresponding concepts to the right color.

That made the organization easy when I had to write the results section.

When I wrote my first thesis, my supervisor told me to “make experts speak to each other”.

Basically, I had structured the section like I had structured the TF. Who says what, about what, and who contradicts who and why.

Afterward, I had written a conclusion and that was it.

For my second thesis, I was told to add a summary of the main findings. For my third thesis, my supervisor screwed me up (no, not in that way).

As I had finished a nice-looking analysis that had taken me two full weeks, she told me it wasn’t “enough”. My research also had to include content analysis.

So I went back to my computer, looked for content, and analyzed it. I subsequently presented the findings according to the hypotheses I had developed in the research question part.

The summary of the findings was included in the conclusion part.

The conclusion is the easiest part. If it doesn’t include the “summary of the main findings”, it usually includes the following: recommendations, limitations, and suggestions for future research.

Recommendations are the part where you can freely express yourself without having to cite anyone else.

It’s you, as an expert, advising people that have the problems you researched.

Limitations are the problems with your thesis or the reasons why people that read it shouldn’t believe what you wrote.

The suggestions are what you think should be researched next.

To summarize, here’s how your thesis should look like:

1. Introduction part: introduce the topic with some background information and present your RQ, research method, possible hypotheses, academic and societal relevance.

2. Theoretical framework: the academic knowledge onto which your RQ is built.

3. Methodology: what methods you used, how (and why).

4. Your results: the part where you answer your RQ whether through your hypotheses or the structure of the TF.

5. Your conclusion: the part where you give your main findings, recommendations, limitations, and suggestions for future research.

Congratulations! You know now how to write a thesis.

If you’re interested in having a look at how the final result looks like, you can download below the three theses that I’ve written.

Obviously, I had to take down names and personal details.

117 1

Here are some tips to make the process of writing a thesis easier.

Don’t Focus on the End-Goal – Focus on the Next Step Instead

First of all, take your eyes off the “final moment” when you’ll “be free”.

When Dilma Roussef was getting tortured, she’d think “one more minute, all it takes is one more minute” not to give up.

She could handle 20-25 minutes this way.

You should do the same: only look at what remains to do for the day.

You’ll reach the end before you know it.

Writing a thesis is like sex: you’ll go nuts if you always do the same thing at the same place at the same time.

Go write at the library, in a café, at your friends’ house, change rooms in your apartment and  never write in the room where you sleep. 

On Procrastination

Procrastination is what happens when doing something is more costly than not doing it.

When you enjoy what you do, you don’t procrastinate.

So make sure you find actual, meaningful reasons to write your thesis. Or choose a topic that’s fun to write.

Another way to look at it is to think about  why  you are studying/what are the perks you’ll get once you finish your studies.

It motivates and breaks procrastination.

“What?? But I already don’t have enough time, why would I load up on activities too?”

Technically, writing a thesis would take about one month if you wrote 6-8 hours/day every day, but no one does that nowadays because we’re all lazy and unfocused.

Let me tell you a story.

When I was a kid, I was doing music, sport, and theater. I’d perform best when I “didn’t have enough time” because I didn’t have time to procrastinate which forced me to create a schedule to be on time.

Hence, I was on time. Had I had a week to write something, I would have written it last minute because “I have the entire week, why bother now?”, but since I had many activities, I didn’t procrastinate.

People that procrastinate are those that have time to do so, hence, they end up wasting it.

If I told you that a bomb will explode in a month if you don’t finish on time, trust me, you will.

So the best way to finish on time is to give yourself just enough time to finish.

Load up on activities so that it stresses you out a bit  before  you run out of time to finish your work.

Sometimes, I get paid 10€/hour, sometimes, 15€/hour. That’s what my time is currently worth.

If I spend one hour on Instagram, I’ll “lose” 10€.

Once you realize that time is the scarcest commodity on earth, you stop wasting it.

You’ll End up Dying at Some Point…

This thought scares the hell out of me.

Not dying per se, but not having had time to do all I want to do.

It’s when I realized I wasn’t immortal that I started being productive and stopped losing time like I did when I was a teenager.

Contemplating your own death is a formidable motivational experience.

Use Parkison’s Law

Parkinson’s law says that an assignment will take you the time you allow yourself to take to complete it.

Should you decide to write your thesis within a month, you will.

This law though, is tricky. You may decide upon a period of time that will end up being bigger than needed.

For example, I had given myself until the 15th of May to finish the thesis but was done by the 22nd of April.

While I did use Parkinson’s law as a safety, I didn’t plan my work around it. I worked let’s say…reasonably.

I could have worked faster, but I didn’t want to because we were in lockdown and I had enough working 4-6 hours per day on my piece.

I used to be a last-minute guy until I realized that the ultimate last-minute moment is not the deadline: it’s death.

That was a life-changing realization. Also, as life got more and more complex, I realized I wanted to enjoy full brain capacity and that couldn’t be done if I had a list of things to do in the back of my mind.

If you are a last-minute person, then simply move back in time your deadline and make your own.

If you have a week to write something and think it will take two days, make sure you load up your week with activities two days from now.

Not only you’ll do more stuff, but you’ll have more time and will feel more productive, happy, and energetic.

Personally, the best periods of my life were the ones where I was working 10-14 hours a day.

But well, not everyone is crazy like that.

Photo by Vadim Bozhko on Unsplash

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  • How to Write a Bachelor Thesis - Comprehensive Guide

How to Write a Bachelor Thesis - Comprehensive Guide

What Makes a Bachelor Thesis Important?

Bachelor thesis structure and components, how to pick a cool thesis topic, how to write a successful bachelor thesis.

Are you about to write a bachelor thesis? Congratulations - you are on the home straight and need to take the very last but important step to earn a bachelor’s degree. You have successfully handled all academic assignments; however, it doesn’t make bachelor thesis writing any easier. Writing a thesis takes a lot of time and requires real dedication to your theme in full.

Being one of the most important parts of your academic career, this assignment is to highlight your experience and knowledge in the chosen field of study. Therefore, it should be approached properly. Otherwise, you risk crapping all your academic achievements. Do not want this to happen to you? Then you need to plan your efforts properly or use writing thesis service  with professional writers to do the assignment for you. In the latter case, you can be sure that the paper you get is of top quality and meets academic writing standards at 100%.

The purpose of a bachelor’s thesis is to give students an opportunity to independently work on a complex assignment, demonstrate their ability to formulate a thesis topic , select relevant literature, and process the data. However, it is not all you need to do in order to produce a quality project. In order to deliver an all-covering paper, you are to conduct in-depth topic research, data analysis, apply relevant methodologies, make critical assessments, and present answers to questions raised in the problem statement. 

Thus, a bachelor’s thesis is far from being a purely writing assignment. It is more of a research nature and requires critical thinking from a student. Being the final task in your academic career, thesis writing is aimed at:

  • Teaching you to give an independent and clear treatment of a certain topic, discipline, or area of study;
  • Training you to independently identify and analyze a problem, find solutions, and predict outcomes;
  • Sharpening your skill to independently acquire and handle academic knowledge;
  • Cultivating your ability to evaluate and account for the key elements in a large literature base.

As you can see, bachelor thesis writing is a complex task that requires a step-by-step approach and proper planning of your actions. So what should you know about this type of writing? What should you take into account when coping with the task? And what makes a thesis good?

Your thesis is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve done so far, and it can be intimidating to know where to start. There is no general rule here. Not all dissertations follow the same thesis structure . Your discipline, topic, and research approach - these are what will determine paper formatting and structure. For example, theses in Humanities are often structured similarly to a long essay - with a central statement and arguments to support it. Paper chapters are organized around different themes or case studies bringing more details to help you with formulating research problem .

The situation is completely different when it comes to empirical research in scientific disciplines. In this case, your dissertation should generally contain the following components:

  • Title page;
  • Thesis acknowledgment ;
  • Abstract in dissertation ;
  • Table of contents;
  • List of tables / figures;
  • List of abbreviations;
  • Vocabulary;
  • Thesis introduction ;
  • Literature review ;
  • Dissertation methodology ;
  • Discussion in research ;
  • Thesis conclusion .

All these are intended to have thesis material structured in a proper way, ease its perception, and prove the relevance of your key research statement. If you are not a skillful scientist or writer and do not know what to start your writing with, then we strongly recommend that you develop a paper outline. Use it as the information backbone for your project, and you will never miss out on a single argument, paragraph, or a critical piece of research data.

Choosing a topic for your thesis can feel like a daunting point, but it can be an exciting thing to do. Picking the right theme for your thesis is a great chance for you to dive deep into a topic of interest to you and to contribute something new to your field. By the way, selecting your topic can ease thesis writing and make it a success with no special effort or labor on your end. So how choosy to be in order to pick a winning topic for your main academic project? Here are some points for your evaluation:

  • List your main interests related to your area of study;
  • Go through your past successful academic assignments;
  • Check gaps in current research related to your field;
  • Eliminate reserch topic ideas  that don’t promise avenues for new exploration;
  • Do preliminary research to estimate the scope of literature you can use as the source of information.

When picking a topic for your thesis, the main task you have is to make sure that it is acute, scientifically valuable, interesting to you, and provides you research perspectives.

Do not know what topic to go with? Need help with proper topic formulation? Or maybe you need someone to do the proofreading job for you? Let us do the service for you and polish your paper to make your thesis shine.

Thesis writing can be an easy task if you have a clear plan of action. We have done it for you, so you just need to stick to the following steps:

  • Research the topic;
  • Formulate the key statement based on research findings;
  • Build a thesis research design ;
  • Group the data around the key subject;
  • Develop an outline of your piece;
  • Write a paper draft (start your writing attempts with the discussion section of a project);
  • Edit a paper (pay attention to key formulations and content of your piece);
  • Fix formatting, punctuation, and spelling errors;
  • Run a plagiarism check and make sure that all quotes and references are properly cited.

As you follow the above approach, your thesis writing efforts reach your main target and will bring you recognition in your field of study. 

Selecting a good thesis topic might be a real nightmare to many college students since you are expected to write about something new although nobody expects that you make some groundbreaking discovery. If you are stuck with formulating the key theme for your thesis project, we will share with you so...

To successfully come up with your thesis acknowledgement, read this helpful guidance article or contact our pro writers to get dissertation help. How to write an acknowledgement for a thesis? This section should be presented only to express your sincere gratitude to individuals who helped you in you...

When you write a thesis, you should pay exceptional attention to the introduction. The reader will start your thesis from the introduction, and he will make up his view and understanding of the problem, your ideas, professionalism and writing skills based on the introduction. Your introduction is an...

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How to Structure a Thesis: A Complete Guide

Writing a thesis can be an overwhelming task for many college and graduate students. Managing all the elements associated with a thesis while ensuring that the quality is not compromised can be challenging. However, what is even more strenuous is deciding on a thesis's layout. "How to structure a thesis" is a question that several final-year students struggle to answer. And understandably so, as all colleges and universities have their guidelines for drafting a thesis. However, there is an immutable structure that's common for every thesis. In this brief guide, we will take a look at this structure and analyze each of its components.

bachelor thesis in

This guide discusses how to structure a thesis effectively. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.  

A thesis or dissertation is a long academic document that a master's or doctoral candidate writes to obtain a relevant academic degree. Hence, writing a quality thesis is crucial for college and university students. A good thesis demonstrates a student's academic prowess in their field of study as well as helps hone their analytical and research skills. Writing a thesis can be an overwhelming task for many college and graduate students. Managing all the elements associated with a thesis while ensuring that the quality is not compromised can be challenging. However, what is even more strenuous is deciding on a thesis's layout.

"How to structure a thesis" is a question that several final-year students struggle to answer. And understandably so, as all colleges and universities have their guidelines for drafting a thesis. However, there is an immutable structure that's common for every thesis. In this brief guide, we will take a look at this structure and analyze each of its components. If you are also struggling to initiate the writing process for your thesis, follow this guide and get over your writer’s block.

How to Structure a Thesis: Examining the Constituents of a Thesis Structure

Here we have a list of all major sections that a thesis structure generally comprises. The entire thesis structure is segregated into 3 sections, with each section comprising its relevant subsections to facilitate greater legibility.

Front/Preliminary Matter of a Thesis Structure

1. abstract.

An abstract is a concise summary of an entire thesis and consists of the condensation of your entire thesis. A good abstract  is precise, concise (usually not more than 250 words) and emphasizes the importance of the document. When writing an abstract, make sure you explicitly mention the crux of your thesis. Also, avoid reiterating what you have mentioned in the title of your document.

Body of a Thesis Structure

2. introduction/preface.

The introduction chapter of your thesis outlines its core arguments, hypotheses, and results. It is longer than the abstract and contains adequate background information on your topic of interest. Furthermore, it establishes the relevance of your thesis by highlighting its contribution to the knowledge base of its topic. Writing a gripping introduction helps the readers understand the context of your thesis. According to USNSW Sydney, the introduction of a thesis should have the following stages:

State the general topic and give some background

Provide a review of the literature related to the thesis subject

Define the terms and scope of the thesis topic

Outline the existing situation

Evaluate the current situation and identify the gap in the literature

Identify the importance of the proposed research

State the main research questions

State the purpose of the study and/or research objectives

State the study hypotheses

Outline the order of information in the thesis

Outline the methodology.

3. Literature review

The literature review chapter sets the premise of your thesis. It examines and evaluates the research works that’s been conducted so far on your thesis topic and passively highlights the contributions of your thesis.

A literature review is a survey of academic sources on a specific subject, providing an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to discuss relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research. Writing a literature review contains finding relevant publications, critically analyzing the sources, and explaining your findings in the literature. A well-written literature review doesn’t only summarize sources, it also aims to analyze, synthesize, and critically evaluate to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the topic.

To write an impeccable literature review, consult a plethora of sources and mention the canon related to your thesis topic. Also, put forward your review in a logical, chronological, and structured manner to better outline the knowledge gaps in your field of study and how your thesis will fill them.

How structure a thesis

The following simple and straightforward tips can act as the exhaustive rubric and offer meaningful insight to prospective authors on how to formulate a flawless literature review:

Step 1. Probe similar works for a well-structured literature review

Step 2. Analyze, not just synthesize: Authors should provide a detailed critique of the subject

Step 3. Organize your literature review systematically

Step 4. Establish the purview: Authors should specify the scope of the literature review

Step 5. Abstain from plagiarism

Step 6 . Be mindful of the language

4. Methodology

As the name suggests, the methodology section of a thesis consists of all methods and procedures you have used in your thesis. A well-written methodology accentuates the plausibility of your research methods. In addition, it enables your readers to understand why you chose specific methods and how they are justified for your research.

To garner more credibility, you can include the pitfalls and difficulties associated with your choice of research methods. The methodology section is an unavoidable part of a thesis or a research paper. Considering errors in the methodology section enervates the entire thesis.

Follow the steps below to write a perfect methodology for a thesis: 

a. Give an outline of the research design

b. Don’t forget to define the philosophy behind the research

c. Mention the research approach

d. Introduce the research methods

e. Note the following points to highlight in the methodology. No matter what methodology you have chosen, you have to focus on the following points:

Explain sampling strategy.

Clearly state the procedure of the research paper.

Mention how you collect the data. (Data collection)

Explain how data are analyzed for your research. (Data analysis). Suppose you have written in qualitative strategy like thematic analysis, mention the researcher you have followed.

Mention the validity of the data and result.

Discuss all ethical aspects of your research paper.

f. Avail professional proofreading and editing services

g. Most important tips to compose an impactful methodology for a dissertation

Don’t drift from your objective and the purpose of your dissertation.

Explore scholarly research papers and their methodology sections to have a better idea.

Plan a proper writing structure.

Understand your audience and target group.

Don’t make mistakes in citing relevant sources. You may use  APA  and  MLA citation

Refer to all the hurdles you have experienced while writing your dissertation.

Make sure to rectify grammatical and punctuation errors.

Ensure that the section is readable and doesn’t consist of long and complex sentences. Long sentences can hamper the tone of the methodology.

This section comprises the outcomes of your research work. It includes all the observations you made and the answers to all your hypotheses in the thesis. When writing the “results” chapter, include only factual data and format it to be distinguishable. Use tables, graphs, subheadings, and generic comments for the results. The aim is to enable your readers to discern the result of your research.

6. Discussion

The discussion chapter of your thesis should begin with a brief summarization of the outcome of your research work. It should explain how your results address your hypotheses and highlight any repetitions in your observations. You can also add comments on how you want the readers to interpret your results and about your agreements and disagreements with the available research work in your field. 

Writing a flawless thesis requires much more than only subject matter expertise. It requires expertise, experience, and in-depth thinking, along with sharp intelligence. Though most students add a discussion chapter in their thesis or dissertation, many of them end up messing up the essay or missing out on the central issues.

A discussion chapter in a thesis is a place where you have the chance to delving into the analysis, importance, and relevance of your research. This section focuses on explaining and analyzing what you have researched, presenting how it is associated with the existing literature. It is also a place for argument supporting your entire discussion.

We often find that people seek thesis writing help from experienced editing and proofreading services to prepare a flawless discussion chapter. However, the following helpful tips can help you design a perfect master's or Ph.D.. thesis with an excellent discussion chapter: 

Understand the objective of your thesis

Determine a clear structure

Usage of grammar and tense

Refer to hypotheses and literature review

Evaluate your results and compare them with existing studies

Understand the limitation of your research

Don’t be afraid to be unique

Don’t forget to avail a professional thesis editing and proofreading service 

Click here to review the details of the aforementioned tips. 

The following 5 questions might be helpful to write a sound discussion section: 

How well do you understand the objective of your study? 

What message is conveyed by your results? 

How do your findings compare to findings in literature? 

Why should your findings matter? 

In what light should your findings be viewed?

7. Conclusion

The final section of your document consists of a precise answer to your hypothesis. In addition, the “conclusion” chapter of your thesis should stress the achievement of the aims of your thesis. You should also include certain limitations of your research to convey the fact that there is still scope for further research in your field. 

The end matter of a thesis structure

The components of this section include an acknowledgment, a bibliography, and (occasionally) an appendix. 

Parting words

The first step to writing a thesis is to chalk out its layout. Doing so not only helps you deal with the writing process one step at a time but also enables you to better attend to each component of a thesis structure.

Also, before you follow this thesis structure, make sure to check with your university for “how to structure a thesis” guidelines. If the guidelines offered by your institution deviate slightly from what’s mentioned in this guide, then make sure to prioritize the former.

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How structure a thesis

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How structure a thesis

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  • Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples

Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples

Published on May 15, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.

The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation , or research paper, alongside their page numbers. A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality paper will follow.

The table of contents (TOC) should be placed between the abstract and the introduction . The maximum length should be two pages. Depending on the nature of your thesis , paper, or dissertation topic , there are a few formatting options you can choose from.

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Table of contents

What to include in your table of contents, what not to include in your table of contents, creating a table of contents in microsoft word, table of contents examples, updating a table of contents in microsoft word, other lists in your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the table of contents.

Depending on the length of your document, you can choose between a single-level, subdivided, or multi-level table of contents.

  • A single-level table of contents only includes “level 1” headings , or chapters. This is the simplest option, but it may be too broad for a long document like a dissertation.
  • A subdivided table of contents includes chapters as well as “level 2” headings, or sections. These show your reader what each chapter contains.
  • A multi-level table of contents also further divides sections into “level 3” headings. This option can get messy quickly, so proceed with caution. Remember your table of contents should not be longer than 2 pages. A multi-level table is often a good choice for a shorter document like a research paper .

Examples of level 1 headings are Introduction, Literature Review , Methodology , and Bibliography. Subsections of each of these would be level 2 headings, further describing the contents of each chapter or large section. Any further subsections would be level 3.

In these introductory sections, less is often more. As you decide which sections to include, narrow it down to only the most essential.

Including appendices and tables

You should include all appendices in your table of contents. Whether or not you include tables and figures depends largely on how many there are in your document.

If there are more than three figures and tables, you might consider listing them on a separate page. Otherwise, you can include each one in the table of contents.

  • Theses and dissertations often have a separate list of figures and tables.
  • Research papers generally don’t have a separate list of figures and tables.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

All level 1 and level 2 headings should be included in your table of contents, with level 3 headings used very sparingly.

The following things should never be included in a table of contents:

  • Your acknowledgements page
  • Your abstract
  • The table of contents itself

The acknowledgements and abstract always precede the table of contents, so there’s no need to include them. This goes for any sections that precede the table of contents.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, be sure to first apply the correct heading styles throughout the document, as shown below.

  • Choose which headings are heading 1 and which are heading 2 (or 3)!
  • For example, if all level 1 headings should be Times New Roman, 12-point font, and bold, add this formatting to the first level 1 heading.
  • Highlight the level 1 heading.
  • Right-click the style that says “Heading 1.”
  • Select “Update Heading 1 to Match Selection.”
  • Allocate the formatting for each heading throughout your document by highlighting the heading in question and clicking the style you wish to apply.

Once that’s all set, follow these steps:

  • Add a title to your table of contents. Be sure to check if your citation style or university has guidelines for this.
  • Place your cursor where you would like your table of contents to go.
  • In the “References” section at the top, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Here, you can select which levels of headings you would like to include. You can also make manual adjustments to each level by clicking the Modify button.
  • When you are ready to insert the table of contents, click “OK” and it will be automatically generated, as shown below.

Table of contents example

The key features of a table of contents are:

  • Clear headings and subheadings
  • Corresponding page numbers

Check with your educational institution to see if they have any specific formatting or design requirements.

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Write yourself a reminder to update your table of contents as one of your final tasks before submitting your dissertation or paper. It’s normal for your text to shift a bit as you input your final edits, and it’s crucial that your page numbers correspond correctly.

It’s easy to update your page numbers automatically in Microsoft Word. Simply right-click the table of contents and select “Update Field.” You can choose either to update page numbers only or to update all information in your table of contents.

In addition to a table of contents, you might also want to include a list of figures and tables, a list of abbreviations, and a glossary in your thesis or dissertation. You can use the following guides to do so:

  • List of figures and tables
  • List of abbreviations

It is less common to include these lists in a research paper.

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All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.

The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .

Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Apply heading styles throughout the document.
  • In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
  • Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.

Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.

The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction .

Cite this Scribbr article

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  1. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation, it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete.

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  3. How to Write a Bachelor's Thesis: A Step-by-Step Guide

    The bachelor's degree is an important milestone in your academic life, and creating a successful bachelor's thesis is an essential part of this process. Although it can be a challenge, with a structured approach and a clear timetable, a well-researched, informed, and organized bachelor's thesis can be created.

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    Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim.

  5. PDF How to Write a BA Thesis

    have prepared you to write a BA thesis. You've taken the introductory and intermediate courses in your major, delved into more specialized topics in advanced courses, and written research papers. All of them prepare you to tackle your BA thesis, which many students say is the most rewarding project of their college years.

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    In a bachelor thesis you are usually not expected to expand the existing body of human knowledge in contrast to a PhD. Bachelor theses are closer to literature reviews. - Marc Claesen Mar 29, 2014 at 9:08 1 I see what you meant but I'm not really convinced.

  8. How to write an excellent thesis conclusion [with examples]

    This article provides an effective technique for writing a conclusion adapted from Erika Eby's The College Student's Guide to Writing a Good Research Paper: 101 Easy Tips & Tricks to Make Your Work Stand Out.. While the thesis introduction starts out with broad statements about the topic, and then narrows it down to the thesis statement, a thesis conclusion does the same in the opposite order.

  9. Writing the Research Methodology Section of Your Thesis

    A thesis research methodology explains the type of research performed, justifies the methods that you chose by linking back to the literature review, and describes the data collection and analysis procedures.It is included in your thesis after the Introduction section.Most importantly, this is the section where the readers of your study evaluate its validity and reliability.

  10. What chapters are in the outline of a bachelor and master thesis?

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    40 During my final year at university, I wrote what I thought was a "bachelor thesis". Right before printing it I stumbled upon several documents stating the name "bachelor's thesis". (Here we do not call it a dissertation just yet, so this question is only about the possessive bachelor's vs. bachelor .)

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    For example; start with your thesis statement at the beginning. Then list the major points that support your thesis. (I like to label using Roman Numerals) Next start listing supporting ideas or arguments for each major point. If applicable, continue to sub-divide each supporting idea until your outline is fully developed.

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  19. Referencing a Bachelor's Thesis

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  20. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion

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    I am currently writing my bachelor's thesis on Resource-Related Billing in SAP S/4HANA. My guiding questions are: How will the replacement of DIP profiles in SAP ERP ECC by the successor system SAP S/4HANA look? What does Resource-Related Billing look like in SAP S/4HANA? what are the possibilities? I am looking for helpful approaches for this.

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  23. Dissertation Table of Contents in Word

    Revised on July 18, 2023. The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, alongside their page numbers. A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality paper will follow.