A PhD thesis from scratch: helpful suggestions

Who Needs to Write a Thesis?

Theses are written by students pursuing advanced degrees that involve a lot more research than what is encountered at the undergraduate level. Graduate and post graduate students have the option of completing their degrees with a thesis or non thesis option. A thesis option degree opens the doors to a successful research based career. Any graduate or post graduate student pursuing a degree with a thesis option needs to write a thesis in order to satisfy the degree requirements.

What's in a Thesis?

A thesis consists of several sections that are ordered and formatted according to the rules governed by the university of institution of higher education where the thesis will be presented for defense. While the format can vary, it is important to include the following sections in a thesis as these are general and required by virtually every institution of higher education.

The Abstract

Since theses often deal with complicated technical subjects, it is important to state the objective of the research efforts before delving into the subject matter. The abstract is the section that does just that. In this section the problem or research goal is described clearly and briefly and the entire thesis is placed into context.

Literature Review

Once the context for the thesis has been created, it is important to analyze and describe all relevant existing research data on the topic in question. This is accomplished in the literature review.

Problem Formulation or Goal Definition

Every problem or goal needs to be well defined before it can be solved or achieved. This section of the thesis deals with the definition of the problem or goal. It also deals with the methods of resolving the problem or achieving the goal in much more detail than the abstract.

Procedures & Experiments

This is the section in which the procedures and experiments conducted are listed and described in utmost detail.

Observations Made

This is the section that lists the observations made during the procedures and experiments conducted during the research. It is also the section where the results of the previous section are brought into context and explained in detail.

Conclusions & Future Scope

This is the penultimate section of the thesis wherein the final conclusions of the research are drawn from the observations and the scope for further research work, if any, is outlined.

References & Bibliography

This is the final section of the thesis which mentions all the books and papers from which references were drawn.

Writing An Easy to Defend Thesis

This is arguably the most important part of the entire thesis writing process. A thesis must be defended in a panel interview that consists of professors and peers. A well organized thesis is one that places all the relevant information in the right places and minimizes the potential questions that the thesis defense panel can ask.