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coherence and structure between parts of your thesis

Write your thesis with 7 tips

Tip 6: How to apply a good coherence and structure between parts of your thesis?

Consistency and structure, it seems like a death-eater. Isn’t it normal for that to be important, or maybe even normal for him to be there? Unfortunately not. Applying a good coherence and structure between parts of your thesis is difficult. At the same time, it is essential for an understanding for your reader.

Then how do you apply that consistency? You do that on different levels. In the paragraphs, between paragraphs but certainly so important: at the higher levels. So coherence between chapter titles, between the chapter titles and the corresponding paragraph titles and between (sub)paragraph titles.

At every level you have to connect with what the reader knows at that moment and build on that. Then he can properly place the new content in his overview until then.

The higher the level (chapter titles) the more important this structure and coherence is for the reader. You can achieve this by reusing a keyword from previous titles. You add the keywords of the new chapter to make clear what you add to the already known keyword in this chapter.

An example works easier here. What if you have two chapter titles: “1. solar panels save energy consumption” and “2. increase efficiency”. As a reader you don’t know which efficiency is increased, that of the solar panels or that of the energy consumption. Both are possible so in this case the coherence is not clear to the reader without reading the detailed information of both chapters.

Coherence and structure, however, is not just about understanding coherence if you know the whole work. More important is that an unimported reader quickly sees and understands the overall coherence.

The application of the structure is important and similar at all levels. At the paragraph level,“the language shop”provides 4 ways to indicate a relationship between paragraphs:

  1. by repetition
  2. by transitional phrases with referencing
  3. by announcing sentences
  4. by signal words

These ways work for the other levels as well. For example, between chapter titles or between a chapter title and the corresponding paragraphs.

So structure and cohesion between parts of your thesis is essential to your reader’s understanding and you should do this at all levels of your thesis.

Learn more: take a free trial lesson from the online ‘structured writing’ course or register for the full course.

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