Format of the Thesis
In form, the thesis is a lengthy experimental, design, or theoretical report, with a problem-method-results-discussion structure. This recurrent
hypothetico-deductive pattern of developing a thesis to solve a problem and then constructing a
methodology and testing for results is common in research writing. When you begin to write the first
draft of your thesis, try to salvage useful material for problem statements, methodologies,
and bibliographies from your thesis
proposal. Make use of your laboratory notebook for detailed
accounts of your procedures.
The front matter frames the thesis work. It includes these elements:
- Title page. Your department will have
a standard title page form you are required to follow. The title should be
informative, contain keywords, and reveal the topic of the thesis. Include the title,
author, thesis supervisor, place, and date.
- Abstract. Briefly state the (1)
research problem, (2) methodology, (3) key results, and (4) conclusion. Generally,
abstracts are between 100 and 150 words--roughly 5-10 sentences.
- Table of contents. List the key subject headings and subheadings of your thesis with their page numbers. Number the front-matter
section in lowercase roman numerals. Be sure to list acknowledgments, appendixes, and bibliography.
- List of figures. Include the figure
numbers, figure titles, and page numbers.
- List of tables. Include the table
numbers, table titles, and page numbers.
- Nomenclature (optional). List
unfamiliar terms, symbols, acronyms
and their meanings.
In the thesis body, you provide the introduction, narrative, and analysis of your work. The body
includes these elements:
- Introduction. State (1) the purpose of the investigation, (2) the problem being investigated, (3) the background (context and importance) of the problem
(citing previous work by others), (4) your thesis and
general approach, and (5) the criteria for your study's success.
- Theory. Develop the theoretical basis for your design
or experimental work, including any governing equations. Detailed calculations go to an appendix.
- Materials, apparatus, and procedures. List and describe key materials and
apparatus. Then describe the procedure in enough detail that others can duplicate
it. For design studies, this section includes component design, fabrication, assembly,
and testing procedures. Use illustrations.
- Results. Present the results, usually with
accompanying tables and graphs. Characterize the
patterns and quality of the results and estimate their accuracy and precision.
Detailed data go to an appendix. Use analytical
- Discussion. Discuss the meaning of the results,
stating clearly what their significance is. Compare the results with theoretical
expectations and account for anything unexpected.
- Conclusions. Review the results in relation to the
original problem statement. Assess the success of the study in light of the criteria
of success you gave in the introduction.
- Recommendations. If applicable, recommend
directions for future work.
The end matter is mainly referential material too detailed to fit well
in the main narrative of work done. It includes these elements:
- Acknowledgments. Acknowledge assistance from
advisors, sponsors, funding agencies, colleagues, technicians, and so
- Appendixes. Provide detailed calculations,
procedures, data in separate appendixes. Give each appendix a title, a letter
(Appendix A, B, C), and an introductory paragraph.
- Bibliography. List alphabetically any works referred
to in your study. Follow the bibliographical and
footnote formats of your department or of a
prominent periodical published by a professional society in your field.
## Thesis Format ##
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