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How to Write a Good Master’s Thesis – It’s All about the Planning

October 19, 2015 - Posted to Dissertation topics and examples

How to Write a Good Master’s Thesis – It’s All about the Planning

If you are at the point of preparing to write our Master’s thesis, then you are at that tail end of obtaining that degree. It’s a great feeling. Now, to get that thesis written. There is no way to sugar coat this – a thesis is a complex and difficult project, and anyone who tells you differently is not being truthful. At this point you may even be wondering how to write a Master’s thesis, but here you will find the step-by-step process along with some good tips.

Steps for Thesis Writing

Each step in this process is absolutely necessary, so review them carefully as you go through your production process.

The Process

Your Proposal: A thesis proposal is only written after you have identified a general topic area and then refined that topic area to a research question you want to study. Usually that research question will have to be approved by your advisor, before you write your proposal. Take your advisor’s advice if he wants to tweak your topic a bit. Your proposal must include the following:

  1. Your hypothesis. This is generated by looking at your research question and deciding how that question will be answered. For example, if you are going to implement a specific program of intervention for at-risk middle school students, then you research question may be, “Will this program improve academic performance and behaviors?” Your hypothesis is that, “__________(name of program), when implemented with 26 at-risk middle school students will improve their academic performance and behavior over a one-year period of implementation.”
  2. You will need to provide a brief summary of the existing research on this topic – only that literature that you have read thus far.
  3. You will need a summary of your research design. How are you planning to select the 26 students? How will you monitor the implementation of the program? What data will you use to determine academic performance and behaviors? How will you analyze the collected data?
  4. What do you believe you will contribute to your knowledge field by your study? This is how you justify your research project.
  5. What is your timeline for completion?

Note: Not all theses involve a quantitative study. Many Master’s theses involve case studies or qualitative research. There is a thesis writing service that can help you out on any part of your writing or even conducting the preliminary research.

Writing the Thesis

Once the Proposal has been approved, you are ready to begin. If your project will be implementing a treatment over time, then you should of course begin that treatment right away, while you prepare the first sections of your thesis.

  1. Section 1: the Introduction

Much of what was in your proposal will be in your introduction. You have to clearly state your research question and hypothesis. You will need to justify its importance to your field, speak to your research design (very briefly), and the conclusions you believe you will reach.

  1. Section 2: The Literature Review

Think of your literature review as a research paper. You will need to review all studies by others (theses and dissertations) that directly relate to your research and summarize them, so that the reader is well-aware of that other researchers have found.

  1. Section 3: Your Design/Methodology

This section will provide a detailed explanation of your design and methodology, including the instruments you will be using. In the case of the at-risk middle school students, you will speak to the treatment program (details may be included in an appendix) and to what you will use to evaluate academic performance and behavior during the treatment period. Typical instruments will include progress and grade reports, disciplinary referrals, and other data that teachers may be able to provide.

  1. Section 4: The Data Collection and Analysis

This section will report the data that was collected and then analyze that data to determine if you hypothesis was correct. In the case of the middle school students, your analysis will involve comparing their academic and behavioral records with the previous year.

  1. Section 5: Your Discussion/Conclusion

This section will state whether or not your hypothesis was supported or not, will summarize the highlights of the study and will point to any constraints that existed within your study. Further, you may want to make recommendations for further research.

Some Important Tips

  1. Meet with your advisor often, and certainly when you complete each section. You want approval all along the way, so that you know in the end, the final product will be approved.
  2. Absolutely, have the entire final draft proofread by someone other than yourself. This cannot be stressed enough. You will not catch the errors that someone else will.
  3. Keep a calendar for completion. You cannot stay on track if you do not work on this project in chunks.

Now you know how to write a thesis. Stay calm, work on it a bit at a time, and follow these steps. Yours will be great.

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