Thesis papers for masters’ degrees are typically rather long, detailed documents detailing the information discovered through an in-depth research initiative or experiment series, a creative project, or a literature examination and analysis.
As with all large projects, it is best to start early and work in sections on the masters thesis. This will prevent poor workmanship that often results from rushing the work or from a lack of time for the revision process.
Building the written portion of the project slowly over time will also provide valuable information that can benefit the research left to complete, suggest new areas of research for the student to explore and address in their experiments or writing, and allow the author time to review and improve the quality of the written work before the thesis defense, preventing extensive revisions before the thesis is accepted.
Ways to Make Writing a Master’s Thesis Easier
Review the university requirements before beginning the writing process. This way, the format will be correct from the beginning (saving time when the deadline for document submission is close) and the student will be familiar with the specifications for the written project.
Sketch out the basic sections ahead of time. If the individual graduate department has additional requirements or standards, this should be considered and built in to the structure of the thesis from the get-go. Typical set-ups for scientific theses will follow similar outlines to scientific papers in that discipline, and creative projects may have more leeway in set-up. Either way, lay out the general flow and necessary components of the project before writing.
Perform an in-depth literature review. For most research-based thesis projects, scientific or otherwise, the student typically has to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of their chosen field of study. This is best to do early on, and should ideally be the first written section of the thesis, as it will inform the rest of the paper and even add to the quality of the research that will be performed.
Work in order of the project. If the project includes field research, the study design and methods must be well-established before the research can be performed and results can be obtained. Once the procedure is finalized, write those sections of the paper. Chances are that the research proposal or IRB documents needed for research approval and funding already contain the basic information (if not all the necessary points) for these sections of the paper, so get them out of the way. They can always be edited quickly if the research process changes.
Submit the paper for review in chunks. Instead of overwhelming mentors or friends generous enough to agree to revise the thesis by turning in a huge document all at once on a short deadline, send them sections as they are finished. Not only will the workload be more manageable, but they will likely offer helpful comments that can improve the rest of the paper and reduce necessary revisions later.
Make evaluations of the research and results during the process. This will make it easier to interpret results, provide a better foundation for evaluating the research efforts and results, and keep all the work from piling up at the end.
Keep track of potential appendices throughout the research project. Hold onto research approval documents, questionnaires, photographs, statistic printouts, etc., that might make useful appendices. Consider where to reference them in the main body of the thesis.
The Most Important Tip for Writing a Thesis
Don’t procrastinate. By leaving all the work for the short stretch of time between completion of the research and the deadline for the written document to be submitted and defended, students virtually guarantee themselves a sub-par thesis that is unrepresentative of their skill and high quality hard work during the research process.
Procrastination during the writing process also means rushing the reviewers, increased post-defense revisions, and a high stress finish to the last task in a graduate career. So when it comes to writing a thesis, the earlier the better.