Students often develop preconceived notions about thesis writing. Since a thesis is meant to judge the student’s ability to contribute to available information or add to existing knowledge, its imperative that the students do not blindly follow some vague norms.
While writing a thesis, its important to do away with certain ideas.
• Evaluators and readers know the subject
No. They will surely be aware of the general problem but, unlike you, they have not been grappling with relevant details on a daily basis. So, don’t take their understanding for granted. Explain new concepts clearly in your degree thesis.
• Evaluators and readers will work hard to understand the thesis
No. The harder they are made to work to understand your argument or answer, locate your evidence, interpretation and findings, the more irritated they will become. Its imperative to identify sections and sub-sections with clear titles and proper wording so that they need not search for information.
• Its not necessary to simplify
It is. Give pointers to all new information, proof, conclusions etc by highlighting the significant titles. The important thing about thesis writing is to remember that you have to guide the readers through the considerable amount of information in it by chalking out an easily definable path.
• General phrasing is acceptable
Its not. Using phrases like ‘obviously this points to…’, ‘its clear that…’ will mean that any failure on the part of the evaluators to get the point indicates that they are not smart enough. Maybe, they failed to get the meaning because it was not explained properly?
• Making a rigid statement indicates authority.
It can lead to trouble. A statement like “Silver is the most important metal in the world” can only be a personal viewpoint. Its not backed by evidence or solutions through experiment. The evaluators may well ask you to demonstrate that silver is the most important metal in the world! So, word your thesis very carefully.
Misconceptions About Thesis Statement Writing
• All papers require a good thesis statement.
Not so. Assignments asking you to explore a particular topic or your personal assessment don’t seek a pre-judgment from you. Papers related to literary analysis also usually want you to discuss different aspects rather than restrict yourself to one rigid view.
• The first paragraph should contain the thesis statement
Not really. It can be anywhere in the essay or even a separate entity altogether.
• The thesis statement should be written in just one sentence.
This is not mandatory. Complex ideas might need two-three sentences to be properly explained. Feel free to do that.
• The statement has to be finalized before writing the essay
Wrong. A thesis statement can drafted in the beginning to work on the thesis but it should be finalized only when the paper is almost ready. Statement and thesis go together, so several revisions for both will be necessary before you achieve the perfect combination. Thesis organization will speed up the process.
Go with your own instinct while writing. Preconceived notions only cause confusion. The main thing about thesis writing is that you convince others about your argument. That’s the only fixed requirement.