What is a Thesis?
At the culmination of your studies, some university courses require you to write a thesis.
To successfully accomplish this task, you need stellar skills on how to write a thesis paper.
Note that the thesis paper often consists of original research in the field of your studies that demonstrates your scholarly skills and knowledge.
It is always advisable to write a thesis paper on a subject that is of interest to you. This is because:
1. The thesis paper requires extensive research, a sizeable written document – that may amount to hundreds of pages, and
2. In some cases, the presentation and defense of your ideas before an advisory committee will be required.
The primary objective of writing a thesis paper is to show that you have the skills required to:
1. Look for useful information,
2. Organize the information, and
3. Communicate effectively about your findings.
Appropriate skills on how to write a thesis paper requires you to demonstrate a mastery of the research process.
This partly because your instructors are mostly interested in the breadth and depth of your exploration. You should document this exploration using:
1. Established citation formats,
2. The methods you have utilized to analyze the information, and
3. The effectiveness of your organization and writing style.
While most institutions require you to use a specific thesis paper format, you may be allowed to modify the layout to accommodate the requirements of your research.
The Nature of a Thesis Paper
When it comes to how to write a thesis paper, you have to clearly understand what distinguishes it from other forms of research work.
One key distinctive feature of a thesis paper is its originality.
Note that although a thesis requires original research, you do not have to discover something new to demonstrate your learning.
For example, in the sciences, you can conduct research on an area to confirm the findings of other scholars.
Accordingly, your research may utilize the same methods as others – but you can introduce some modifications to simplify or improve their approaches to suit your purposes.
In comparison, the humanities may require you to provide a new interpretation of a classic text.
However, even if you do not conduct revolutionary research that brings about sweeping changes to a research field, you should offer new ideas that enrich knowledge in your area of interest.
Steps on how to Write a Thesis Paper
A thesis requires rigorous inquiry and written work that you cannot be completed in a few days without compromising its quality.
You should be prepared to work on your thesis for an extended period.
By starting early during the course and seeking advice from the relevant instructor, you can produce quality work that has some scholarly value.
When instructors find an excellent thesis, they may recommend it for publication, in so doing, launching the student’s academic and professional career.
Consequently, it is prudent for you to produce quality work. The main steps on how to write a thesis paper include:
1. Choosing a suitable research topic
2. Formulating the thesis statement
3. Identifying sources and organizing them
4. Choosing an appropriate research methodology
5. Writing the thesis
1. Choosing a Suitable Research Topic
The most important step on how to write a thesis paper is making a good choice of research topic.
Such a topic should be:
1. Broad enough to be worth examining at length, and
2. Narrow enough to produce new insights without becoming unwieldy.
Involving your instructor in the process of choosing a worthwhile topic can help you identify the most interesting aspects of a given subject.
There are a number of factors you should consider when choosing the thesis topic. These factors may include:
1. Accessibility of research resources: Since the choice of the research topic influences the applicable research approaches, it would be practical to choose a topic that you can investigate properly using the resources you have at your disposal.
For example, if your choice of topic requires you to investigate a phenomenon using specific equipment, you should make sure that such equipment is accessible.
As well, you should ensure that you have access to the required sources for your topic.
Restricted access to important documents may have a significant and noticeable negative impact on the quality of your thesis.
2. Relevancy of the thesis paper topic: Since a thesis is often the culmination of your studies, your topic should relate to your course.
If the topic has an interdisciplinary aspect, you should consult your instructor to ensure that it satisfies the requirements of your course.
3. Possession of requisite skills: Finally, you should ensure that you have the skills required to conduct the requisite primary research for your thesis.
You must have all the skills requisite to how to write a thesis paper.
For example, you should make sure that you have the translation skills required to utilize documents that are pertinent to your area of research.
If your thesis requires complex quantitative methods, you should have the required skills – or be able to acquire them on time – to conduct the analysis effectively.
2. Formulating the Thesis Statement
This is another critical step on how to write a thesis paper.
Choosing a position that you will argue for is very important in the writing process.
A thesis statement provides a succinct description of the main idea you will develop throughout the thesis.
Consequently, choosing a good thesis statement will help you to approach the rest of your thesis effectively and efficiently.
The statement should appear within the first few paragraphs in the introductory section of your thesis.
It can be:
1. Argumentative (in which you make a debatable assertion),
2. Analytical (requiring you to explore a subject using analytical methods), or
3. Expository (in which you explain a given issue).
3. Identifying Sources and Organizing Them
This is also an essential step when it comes to how to write a thesis paper. You should endeavor to make new findings in your thesis research.
Accordingly, you should examine extant research to establish that you know what other researchers have accomplished.
You may also include a brief examination of the most significant historical developments in the research of the topic.
By identifying the most important sources and organizing them according to their relevance to your thesis topic, you are better placed to identify gaps in research, leading to an impactful thesis.
4. Choosing an Appropriate Research Methodology
This is considered a very critical step on how to write a thesis paper.
In this, your topic choice and thesis statement influence the type of primary research you have to conduct to complete your thesis.
However, several research methods may be available to you. The choices may include different qualitative or quantitative approaches, or a mix of both.
A prudent choice of a research method should provide you with enough valid information on the subject that would enable any researcher to make reasonable conclusions.
5. Writing the Thesis
Although you should direct your thesis writing to suit the requirements of your advisor, you can also take into consideration other readers.
If you plan to adapt the thesis – or part of it – for publication, you should also consider the requirements of the publishers and their audiences.
You should write the thesis as clearly as possible for the lay reader.
Consequently, you should define all terms and avoid the use of jargon that overly complicates the manuscript.
Through such an approach, you not only demonstrate your deep understanding of the issues but also enable all interested parties to comprehend and appreciate your thesis without difficulty.
Note that it is advisable for you to seek help where and when necessary.
The thesis writing process is usually a technical endeavor, and sometimes challenging to accomplish.
It is therefore only appropriate for you to ensure continuous consultations with your instructor or any other competent external expert.