Therefore, you should not present theoretical perspectives that are not being put to use. Doing so will create false expectations, and suggests that your work is incomplete. Not all theses have a separate theory section. In the IMRaD format the theory section is included in the introduction, and the second chapter covers the methods used. What kind of theory should you choose? Since the theory is the foundation for your data analysis it can be useful to select a theory that lets you distinguish between, and categorise different phenomena.
Other theories let you develop the various nuances of a phenomenon. In other words, you have a choice of either reducing the complexity of your data or expanding upon something that initially looks simple.
How much time and space should you devote to the theory chapter? This is a difficult question. Some theses dwell too long on theory and never get to the main point: the analysis and discussion. But it is also important to have read enough theory to know what to look for when collecting data. The nature of your research should decide: Some studies do not require much theory, but put more emphasis on the method, while other studies need a rich theory section to enable an interesting discussion.
In a scholarly research article, the section dealing with method is very important. The same applies to an empirical thesis. For students, this can be a difficult section to write, especially since its purpose may not always be clear. For example, if you have carried out interviews, you do not need to list all the different types of research interview. You also do not need to describe the differences between quantitative and qualitative methods, or list all different kinds of validity and reliability.
What you must do is to show how your choice of design and research method is suited to answering your research question s. Demonstrate that you have given due consideration to the validity and reliability of your chosen method.
Getting on with the writing
This way, the method section is not only able to tie the different parts of your thesis together, it also becomes interesting to read! Your analysis, along with your discussion, will form the high light of your thesis. This is where you report your findings and present them in a systematic manner. The expectations of the reader have been built up through the other chapters, make sure you fulfill these expectations.
To analyse means to distinguish between different types of phenomena — similar from different. Importantly, by distinguishing between different phenomena, your theory is put to work. Precisely how your analysis should appear, however, is a methodological question. Finding out how best to organise and present your findings may take some time. In this case it will be important to choose analytical categories that correlate to your chosen theory.
Engaging emotions is not the main point, but a way to elucidate the phenomenon so that the reader understands it in a new and better way. In many thesis the discussion is the most important section.
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Make sure that you allocate enough time and space for a good discussion. This is your opportunity to show that you have understood the significance of your findings and that you are capable of applying theory in an independent manner.
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The discussion will consist of argumentation. In other words, you investigate a phenomenon from several different perspectives.
To discuss means to question your findings, and to consider different interpretations. Here are a few examples of formulations that signal argumentation:. The final section of your thesis may take one of several different forms.
Writing a Dissertation Proposal
Some theses need a conclusion, while for others a summing up will be appropriate. State the general field of interest in one or two paragraphs, and end with a sentence that states what study will accomplish. Do not keep the reader waiting to find out the precise subject of the dissertation. This section is critically important as it must contain some mention of all the subject matter in the following Chapter 2 Review of the Literature 2 and the methodology in Chapter 3. Key words should abound that will subsequently be used again in Chapter 2.
A minimum of two to three citations to the literature per paragraph is advisable. The paragraphs must be a summary of unresolved issues, conflicting findings, social concerns, or educational, national, or international issues, and lead to the next section, the statement of the problem. The problem is the gap in the knowledge. The focus of the Background of the Problem is where a gap in the knowledge is found in the current body of empirical research literature. Arising from the background statement is this statement of the exact gap in the knowledge discussed in previous paragraphs that reviewed the most current literature found.
A gap in the knowledge is the entire reason for the study, so state it specifically and exactly. The Purpose of the Study is a statement contained within one or two paragraphs that identifies the research design, such as qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, ethnographic, or another design. The research variables, if a quantitative study, are identified, for instance, independent, dependent, comparisons, relationships, or other variables. The population that will be used is identified, whether it will be randomly or purposively chosen, and the location of the study is summarized.
Most of these factors will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3. The significance is a statement of why it is important to determine the answer to the gap in the knowledge, and is related to improving the human condition. The contribution to the body of knowledge is described, and summarizes who will be able to use the knowledge to make better decisions, improve policy, advance science, or other uses of the new information. The primary research question is the basis for data collection and arises from the Purpose of the Study.
There may be one, or there may be several. When the research is finished, the contribution to the knowledge will be the answer to these questions. Do not confuse the primary research questions with interview questions in a qualitative study, or survey questions in a quantitative study.
The research questions in a qualitative study are followed by both a null and an alternate hypothesis. A hypothesis is a testable prediction for an observed phenomenon, namely, the gap in the knowledge.
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Each research question will have both a null and an alternative hypothesis in a quantitative study. Qualitative studies do not have hypotheses. The two hypotheses should follow the research question upon which they are based.
4 Parts of the Thesis
Hypotheses are testable predictions to the gap in the knowledge. In a qualitative study the hypotheses are replaced with the primary research questions. In Chapter 1 this is a summary of the methodology and contains a brief outline of three things: a the participants in a qualitative study or thesubjects of a quantitative study human participants are referred tyo as participants, non-human subjects are referred to as subjects , b the instrumentation used to collect data, and c the procedure that will be followed.
All of these elements will be reported in detail in Chapter 3. In a quantitative study, the instrumentation will be validated in Chapter 3 in detail. In a qualitative study, if it is a researcher-created questionnaire, validating the correctness of the interview protocol is usually accomplished with a pilot study. Scroll down until you see Heading2 and Heading3. These are the headings that you previously created when setting up your document.
Type a number 2 next to Heading2. Type a number 3 next to Heading3. Populating the Table of Contents:. As you type your document, remember to use each of those font styles as appropriately required. After adding content:. Updates just the page numbers of the existing TOC contents. Updates all headings and page numbers in the TOC, adding new content as needed. When finished, click on the Insert tab, and click on Page Break to start a new section. Faculty Resources Feedback! Schedule Appointment.
If the Dedication page is not used, then starts with the Abstract page. Lists the titles of each chapter, plus all Heading Level 2's -- these are the main sections within each chapter.