How to Properly Write a Master's Thesis: Useful Academic Guide
Writing a master’s thesis is not the huge difficult task that it is sometimes made out to be. You have been in school for years, conducting research, and writing papers. Your master’s thesis simply goes deeper.
It is helpful to divide up the writing project into five steps:
- Preparing to Write
- Planning to Write
- Writing the final copy
Your master’s thesis needs to be something original and significant in your field. In order to gauge the degree of originality and significance expected of you, ask your advisor to share exemplary masters theses with you as a reference point.
Next, you need to choose your topic. The more focused your topic, the better. It will be easier to write, and it will be easier to define something significant with a narrow focus.
You need to begin with an outline. An outline will ensure that your writing follows a clear and organized structure. Before you can begin to write your outline, you should know whether your thesis will follow MLA, APA or some other style. Regardless of the style you need to follow, there are certain essential elements common to every style.
The common elements of any outline are headings, sub-headings, and topics. The MLA outline style, which will be a part of the work you turn in if your thesis is written in MLA style, must have complete sentences; however, during the planning stage and for your own use, it is acceptable to write short words and phrases for the purpose of guiding your research and writing. Just be sure to write a complete MLA version for your professor before you turn it in.
Once your research is complete, and you have analyzed your data and written your outline, you need to write a first draft. It is best to go ahead and write this as quickly as you can, paying little attention to grammar, spelling, and other details. The idea here is to get all of your thoughts and analysis out on paper in a somewhat complete format.
After finishing your first draft, walk away from it for a few days or week if you can. When you come back to it with a fresh mind and fresh eyes, you will catch all of your mistakes much more quickly. While using spelling and grammar check is a good first step, it is not enough. You need to read through it with a critical eye. This is the time to make your first print out of your thesis. When you have it on paper, you can get a ruler or another piece of paper and move it slowly down the page as you read. This will help you to see what is there and not just automatically correct errors in your mind.
If you are not familiar with standard editing marks, look it up. You need to use standard editing marks to make changes on your paper because as soon as you have finished your first markup, you need to give it to someone else to edit and markup. It might be advisable for your friend and you to use different colors of ink when editing.
After you have marked up the paper, you need to go back to the computer and make the changes to your document file. If you have time, it might be a good idea to print it out again and give it to someone else to edit, just to be sure it is error free. Repeat this process until you give it to someone to edit, and they cannot find any more errors, and then turn it in.