Advice on How to Write a Degree Thesis
Reaching the thesis is an important moment in our university career: the final goal is almost reached, it’s up to you to make only the last effort!
However, this is a final sprint that is not at all easy to accomplish since it is confronted with a completely new and very demanding type of work, that is to write a few hundred pages on a given topic.
Such an arduous task can bring, especially in the initial phase, anxiety and frustration. Many stop for whole months because they don’t know how to deal with it all. What is most frightening is the inability to organize a large amount of work that you are not used to and for this you cannot even understand where to start.
The secret to getting started this kind of work is good planning!
Steps to follow for your thesis
The first phase is fundamental because it must be a solid foundation for the structure we are about to build.
- You can start with simple questions such as
- What do I want to do?
- a thesis on a new church of late medieval age
- How do I want to do this?
through archive research, the study of sources, the study of materials, the analysis of the architecture of the church, the comparison with other similar churches, the comparison of all the data I have and the conclusions.
I want to date the church precisely, reconstruct its history, collect new information.
In this way you will have established in general terms which are the fundamental points of the research to be addressed.
Knowing what you want to do will save you a lot of time!
Once you understand what you want to achieve with your thesis work, we start the real job starting from the end, or from the bibliography!
The bibliography is the list of all the texts, arranged in alphabetical order, which you consulted, inserted at the end of the thesis.
Have you no idea how to do it?
Your supervisor can give you a hand in advising you on the first guide texts, after which it’s up to you to continue!
A very simple trick is to look at the bibliographies of the starting texts and select those relevant to the topic.
The ideal is to divide the bibliography according to the topics, this will not only give a much more professional aspect to your thesis, but it will also be useful in organizing your research work.
The Internet can make your work much easier in writing the bibliography and consulting the texts, but it is important to make proper use of them.
Today on the net we have numerous catalogs of online libraries and it is often possible to make requests for texts that you also want from the comfort of your home. Some are even available online.
But there are many untrustworthy sources on the internet, such as those available from amateur and non-specific sites, and it is good to keep them away because they could discredit your thesis work!
Timing for your thesis
The next step is to determine the timing and organize the work. Setting up a sort of roadmap will encourage you in no time and don’t lose heart!
You have a vast and varied job to bring to an end, many libraries and archives to visit with different opening hours and days. You can organize your days taking this into account and set daily, weekly, etc. goals.
Always compare the same news in multiple texts: this will give you the opportunity to have more points of view on the same topic, developing in you also a critical sense and a more objective and lucid vision. Furthermore the teachers will appreciate this trick!
Once you have written the bibliography and consulted and first texts, you will certainly have clearer ideas at this point, you will already be able to do a draft of your index, which will follow the points we discussed earlier but in a more analytical and detailed manner.
The index lists the titles and the page number of the beginning of the parts that make up the text of the thesis: chapters, paragraphs, subparagraphs, bibliography, etc. and provides an overview of the content and organization of the document both for you and for those who read it! Probably it will remain unchanged in some parts but on the other hand there will be many variations and additions in itinere.
The introduction, helps the reader to understand what kind of work we have done, any problems we have encountered in itinere, the hypotheses made valid by the demonstrations.
The introduction should also include the acknowledgments addressed to all those people who have been helpful in preparing your thesis. Inevitable thanks, of course, to the co-rapporteur … otherwise you can mention family, friends, whoever you want, just be careful not to overdo it and make it become a page-long list of names! It would not make sense.
The text must be subdivided into chapters, paragraphs and subparagraphs with a progressive numbering. All this will make our work more organic and well organized.
It is also important to insert the notes, which have different functions:
- cite the sources of the topics covered
- contain in-depth or digressions;
- refer to other sections of the text.
It is therefore important as you take notes to always mark the source, or pages, author and title of the text from which you have obtained the information. Many students forget to do this job and then they are forced and resume the texts in order to write the notes, losing a lot of time in a frustrating and completely useless job. The notes should be inserted at the bottom of the page, with a smaller font size than the text.
As for layout, character, etc. I advise you to use sobriety and standard rules, fonts that are like “times new roman”, and not to make eccentric or exotic choices! What will distinguish you will have to be the contents.
When you have finally reached the end it will be time to write the conclusions, which must be included in the last chapter of the thesis. It is one of the most interesting parts of the lyrics because there will be your final reflections, arising from your research and supported by well-considered hypotheses. It is here that our thoughts and our theses will mature … which perhaps will surprise us even ourselves!
I hope to have been of help with these suggestions and to have sent you the enthusiasm that has distinguished me in the preparation of my thesis.
It is precisely the passion you put into it that will make the difference and make your work unique.