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Thesis Structure

Thesis Structure

A good starting point when deciding upon structure is to read previous high quality theses.

Generic Thesis Structure

Introduction /Background/Context/Review of literature

  • The subject of the research is important because…
  • Those who have worked on this subject include…
  • What has not yet been done is…
  • The research project aimed to…

Theory/Approach/ Method /Materials/Subjects

  • This study was based on the approach of…
  • This approach was chosen because…
  • It was likely to achieve the project aims by…
  • Others have used this method to…

Analysis/Results

  • The steps in the research involved…
  • Analyses were conducted by…
  • Data/information/observations were gathered as…
  • These were organized into…

Interpretation/ Discussion

  • Analyses suggested that…
  • This interpretation was based on…
  • Taken together the analyses show…
  • Research aims were achieved to the extent that…

Conclusions /Implications/ Recommendations

  • Further research is needed in order to…
  • More information is needed on…
  • Practice could be improved by…
  • Proposed changes would be feasible if…

From Murray, R. (2002) How to write a thesis, pp. 215-216. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Paltridge's Four Thesis Types

Brian Paltridge indentified four common structures for theses in his paper Thesis and dissertation writing: an examination of published advice and actual practice, Volume 21, Issue 2 , 2002, Pages 125-143 (doi:10.1016/S0889-4906(00)00025-9).

Traditional Simple (6/15)
  1. Introduction
  2. Literature Review
  3. Materials and Methods
  4. Results
  5. Discussion
  6. Conclusions

Topic Based (4/15)

  1. Introduction
  2. Topic 1
  3. Topic 2
  4. Topic 3
  5. Conclusions

Traditional Complex (4/15)

  1. Introduction
  2. Literature Review
  3. (Background Theory)
  4. (General Methods)
  5. Study 1
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
  6. Study 2
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
  7. Study 3+
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions

Compilation Based (1/15)

  1. Introduction
  2. Background to the Study
  3. Research Article 1
    • Introduction
    • Literature Review
    • Materials and Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Conclusions
  4. Research Article 2
    • Introduction
    • Literature Review
    • Materials and Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Conclusions
  5. Research Article 3
    • Introduction
    • Literature Review
    • Materials and Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Conclusions
  6. Conclusions

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more about Theses
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Thesis Structure

A generic structure for theses.

Download: Thesis Structure.doc - (MS Word 23kb)

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Outlining

A guide on using outlining to help with your writing.

Download: Outlining.doc - (MS Word 28kb)


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Last updated 16 December 2015 by Student Learning Development (Email) .