Today we provide you with a guide to the writing of the thesis. The questions, when starting to plan the final work of a degree course, are many: where do I start? How do I choose the topic? Are there any precise rules to follow? How do I clarify my point of view? These are just some of the many questions that the students ask themselves when writing the thesis. Let’s see how to write the thesis by providing advice and rules that can guide you through the process and also taking into account what the great Umberto Eco wanted to convey to the students about this work.
Let’s start by clarifying that the thesis work is divided into four parts: conception, preparation, drafting and presentation of the work. Let’s see, for each of us, how to proceed in the best way.
How to write the thesis: suggestions for the conception
How do you find an interesting topic and a new point of view from which to deepen it? Writing the thesis is something that takes place step by step. Let’s start with the idea, or think about the topic and point of view, search for a title, write a lineup and an introduction that explains to everyone – first of all yourself – where you start and where you want to go. How to choose the topic? The first rule is not to overdo it by choosing something too complicated that you are struggling to investigate in order to hit the commission at all costs. The best job will be what you will feel yours regardless of the difficulty of the subject addressed.
To find the right idea it may be useful to consult the thesis archive of your faculty and set as an objective that of starting from one of these to update it to today’s times. Another way may be to draw inspiration from the field of work that you would like your day to be, thus breaking down a real project that you could carry out in the future.
Sketched a first idea of what you want your thesis to be, it’s time to find the speaker. How to choose it? Not the nicest or the best: bet on reliability and attention (you want someone who really reads and corrects your work). Present your project with an emphasis on the reasons that make it unique and interesting.
Once you have approved your thesis project and found the agreement with the professor, it is time for the practical part. First of all, make sure you gather all the useful information on writing the thesis provided on your university website and to apply for the degree: you will find that, based on the session you are discussing to discuss the thesis, there are a number of papers deadlines to meet in order for everything to be in order.
The last thing to do in the ideational phase is to understand where and how to collect material for writing: books, essays, scientific articles, online material that can be useful for your purpose. The more you consult the more what you write will be complete and exhaustive. You can go to libraries, search on the internet and ask your university to access scientific journals that they surely have a subscription and that can be useful to you.
How to write the thesis: ladder and material collection
This is the part of preparing the thesis. Depending on the length and structure you want to give it, the thesis can be divided into several chapters. The rule for dividing the chapters is that of the inverted triangle and the funnel: it passes from the general to the specific. We then begin with a general theory to arrive, in the last few chapters, to translate our knowledge into something more empirical (a research, a questionnaire, an interview …). Once the ladder is spread out, it is good to consult the speaker to see if, working in that way, the result will be satisfactory and consistent.
Once the situation is over, the speaker should provide you with a series of texts and books to draw on based on the topic and direction of the work. The ideal way to find books quickly is to consult the catalog of national libraries online and see where that text is in your city. Alternatively, without a title, you can also perform a thematic search on the OPAC database, so as to be able to independently select useful texts to consult. It may also be a good idea to draw from the bibliography of the theses in the archive that have a similar topic to yours.
How to write the thesis: the drafting
Let us now turn to practical work proper: there are rules to keep in mind so that the drafting work continues in the best possible way. As an indication, for each chapter one month of work plus one month should be counted for the conclusions, the introduction and the final revisions. This is a basic rule for working calmly and well, then it depends on the difficulty and length of the individual chapters: everyone must know how to adapt the timing to their work.
Whenever you finish a chapter, send it to the professor for a comparison. While writing a good idea is to write down the bibliography so as to take less time, when the drafting will be finished, to write the list of books, documents and articles consulted.
In the drafting period it is good to proceed by objectives giving yourself a minimum time of daily work taking care to take breaks at the right times; working excessively and obsessively risks being counterproductive.
How to write the thesis: prepare the slides for the presentation
Often, to finish the work, it is necessary to expose it preparing a power point summarizing the work done to write the paper. To prepare for the discussion it is good to produce a complete power point on which to then base the discussion to present the thesis.
As for the powerpoint, take care to start preparing it at least a week before; usually we use well readable fonts and fonts of size 24 or 28. As for the images, it is good to put one for each slide (even if there are exceptions, of course, based on the thesis work). Always remember that the first slide must be a cover, so contain information such as the title of the paper, the name of the university, your name and that of the speaker.
As for the speech, however, even in this case it is good to move ahead of the day of the discussion by transposing it and taking care to learn it well. You don’t have to know it by heart, of course, but even just having a precise idea of the paragraphs in which it is divided and the topics to be talked about, you’ll already be halfway there when you find yourself having to expose it. You can also think about registering and listening to yourself trying to improve the setting, the speed of exposure and the excessive use of interlayers.
Umberto Eco: the rules for the thesis
Umberto Eco wrote an essay entitled “How to do a thesis” which is always current. First of all, it distinguishes the research thesis, which is longer and more difficult, from the compilation thesis, which can take less time and certainly less energy. Choosing whether to perform a compilation or research thesis and, more generally, choosing the topic, Eco refers to a series of useful rules:
- the subject must reflect the interests of the candidate;
- there must be sources available, that is, at hand;
- the sources and the methodology must be within the reach of the candidate’s knowledge.
According to Umberto Eco to write a thesis it takes no more than three years and not less than six months: if in six years you have not been able to complete the job it means or that the choice of the topic was outside the our reach or that we are insatiable.
Regarding the search for sources, Eco argues that one must choose original books, not anthologies or translations or even reports made by others.
Speaking of the form of the thesis, Eco recommends that you never do too long periods or, if you write like that, break them later. The thesis must be pleasantly usable and readable in a fluent way. No, therefore, to the abuse of pronouns and coordinates.