Phd Thesis Outline

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The following techniques may help you to decide upon a structure.

Once a rough structure is sketched out, it is a good idea to assign each chapter a likely word length and, if possible, a deadline for a first draft.

As your research and writing develop you will want to revise and rework your structure.

Try to review do this on a regular basis and amend plans for future chapters as you become more aware of what the thesis must contain.

The basic format of a thesis is, usually, an intro chapter, methodology chapter, lit review, data chapters, analysis, conclusion. You might not keep to those word counts, but it gives you something to aim for. Chapter 2: Methodology (or not, if you’re putting that somewhere else). There are basic formats on Google and most of them will work for you, with a bit of tweaking. [Unless you’re writing about rocket science.] Your other chapters will be less specific.

[If you keep to those word counts, more the better though. Google will probably stop being helpful around about the time you get to your data chapters, because each thesis is so individual.

If it’s very much a ‘whatever you feel is right’, then you have a problem. Your university department WILL have a maximum word count (or page count) and you MUST take that into account. Once you have that chapter list, start to break those chapters down.

It’s so much easier to start with a general idea than to start with nothing. It’s generally advisable that, when you first start writing-up, to sit down and work out your chapters – roughly – and assign a general word count to them. Introduction normally starts with an intro, then the research question, aims and objectives, etc.

For example, a feasibility study-based thesis may not follow the typical format outlined below: In this chapter you essentially need to outline what your thesis is about i.e., provide the background to your study, and clearly identify the gap in the literature that your study will fill.

This chapter should summarize the literature that is relevant to your research project, bringing out where the gaps in the literature are, and how your research helps to fill in one or more of these gaps.


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