A thesis by any other name would sound just as scary. Indeed, whether you call it a thesis, a dissertation, a term paper, it still evokes the same sense of panic in most students. But the truth is, any thesis, no matter what the degree or educational level that requires it, still consists of roughly the same parts.
Knowing the parts of a thesis would actually make completing the daunting task a little more imaginable, if not easier. However, the use of technical language as names for the parts only serves to make thesis writing all the more unappealing and unreachable.
So what are these parts all about, in simplified language?
First, the thesis opens with several introductory pages, which contain the following parts:
1. Executive Summary or Introduction. Here, the writer gives the basic description of the problem and the hypothesis the thesis sets out to explore and prove or disprove.
2. Objective of the Study. This describes the end result that you hope the study would provide.
3. Scope and Limitations of the Study. This part sets the parameters that would be included in the study and specifies areas that are no longer within your bounds.
4. Review of Related Literature. This gives the basic background of similar studies to set the mood for why this particular thesis was picked.
5. Methodology and Procedure. This describes the overall way that the proponent aims to arrive at a conclusion. This is especially important for science-related studies.
Next, the main content of the thesis can be split into the following sections:
1. Data Analysis and Interpretation. This is where the main body of the thesis is put, describing the data gathered and how they were manipulated to arrive at results.
2. Case Studies. This provides examples wherein the thesis subject is shown in a practical scenario.
3. Processing Data for Hypothesis Supporting Acceptance or Rejection. This includes any mathematical computations or qualitative analysis that supports the decision for accepting or rejecting the hypothesis.
The thesis then wraps up neatly using the following components:
1. Summary, Conclusion, Major Findings. This gives a quick description of the answers found in the process of writing the paper. This is also where the decision of acceptance or rejection is laid out.
2. Suggestions or Recommendations and Contribution of the Study. Here, the writer sets out recommended courses of action and lists out the positive impact the study may have on other aspects of study.
3. Scope for Future Study. This area includes the bibliography and list of related material that any interested reader may explore for further study. It may also have an appendix to contain some materials that were used in the study but could not be written in the main text, such as sample questionnaires or charts.
Once you understand the basic parts of the thesis and their functions, it becomes easier to input your ideas into the particular section in which they belong. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself staring at page upon page of slowly but surely forming text, and thesis writing suddenly doesn’t feel too scary!
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