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use thesis format correctly

Write your thesis with 7 tips

Tip 2: Use the thesis format of your course in the right way

The thesis format of your educational institute is a handle, not a harness. I see many theses in which the structure proposed by the manual is (almost) literally adopted by the writer. The training itself indicates it, then it will be good and structured, won’t it? Yes of course it is good but for you as a writer you have to use it in the right way. It’s not a harness that you can’t change. If you apply it to your own project and thesis instead of dogmatically copying it literally, you are doing yourself a great favor as a writer and your reader.

A good thesis format, table of contents etcetera is of course useful for you as a writer, it looks like a structured thesis. However, does it also give your reader the right grip? Suppose all your fellow students would use the same structure and table of contents. So all reports have the same proposed table of contents to give just one example. Now if you take the role of reader and grab some of those reports to see what you can learn from them. What is the added value of the table of contents? Does it then help you to assess what you are going to learn in the different chapters of one report versus another?

Of course, as a reader you can immediately see where the ‘introduction’ or the ‘context’ or the ‘results’ can be found. But which thesis is most interesting for you? What makes one report different from another? You don’t learn that from the generic terms of that proposed format. Don’t get me wrong, that thesis format is good of course but it is a generic format. Suitable for different projects with different content, but with a structured structure.

For your reader it is a lot more pleasant if you make this generic structure specific to your project and your message. It gives the reader much more grip when you know the core of what you call ‘context’ in your project or what ‘result’ you have achieved. If you combine these main findings with the generic structure of the proposed thesis, you get a strong structure for your own thesis. And for the reader, it offers more grip.

Just as important: for you as a writer, it makes the writing process easier. With ‘context’ anything can be written. But what is the real core and what are the details? If you can first formulate the main message concisely of what you really need to convey to your reader, then it is easier to actually write the chapter or paragraph. If you don’t, how do you easily sort which information is the main thing and which is the detail?

So use the provided thesis format as a handle that you will tailor specifically to your project and thesis. This allows you to write your thesis in a structured way that is clear to your reader.

Good luck writing!

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