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write thesis 7 tips

Write your thesis with 7 tips

Tip 1: Where is the content?

Perhaps the most difficult thing about writing a good thesis: you read your own text with too much knowledge. Suppose you have done research on the effect of social media use on the depth of the user’s sleep. Now you have to report your findings. Fortunately, many training courses provide guidance on how to report this. For example, they give you the highest level table of contents you can use. Something like: introduction, problem, method and results. I often see such a table of contents literally come back in the report and that makes sense. If you read these titles you will have a clear idea of what to expect from that chapter.

What if you didn’t have that knowledge of your project, would those titles still be as clear to you? Suppose you’re a new reader interested in social media usage and the relationship to sleep, does this table of contents give you something to hold on to? Well, it does indicate what type of information I can find where, but what is the conclusion of the writer for each piece is the question. Is the problem that users get too little sleep? Or that we don’t know the effect? Or that sleep isn’t deep enough? We don’t get a grip from the writer so we have to read the whole report. Keep in mind that writing a thesis is not only about what you want to say (the purpose of the text) but especially about what your message is to your reader and how easy it is to read.

Even worse: imagine you’re a new reader and interested in social media marketing. Then suddenly the report is less interesting for you. However, you should start reading part of the report because the titles of the table of contents do not give you any guidance. And if you’re a new reader looking for information about something completely different. You understand, then the titles do not give you any guidance on what and if you should read the report at all. It is important to keep an eye on the reader as much as possible while writing your thesis.

So that’s a big difference, as a writer you read your own text with all the project knowledge you have. A reader does not have that knowledge and uses his own frame of reference which he can expect for ‘problem’ or ‘results’.

If you want to get your reader on the right track faster, put content in your titles. What is clearer to the reader: ‘problem’ or ‘problem: social media use by adolescents leads to too short a sleep duration’. The more specific you can make your message, the easier it will be for your reader. What’s more, your message becomes much clearer to the reader and that’s why you write your text.

In other words: put content in your titles.

And what you do and what you don’t select, that’s another story…

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