Main Steps Of The Thesis Writing Process

Writing a thesis is intimidating work, and that intimidation makes just getting started hard. But get started you must—because it’s the only way to finish!

  1. Refine, refine, and refine your thesis some more.

    You came up with a thesis idea, and it’s good. Chances are, though, it needs to be refined. Typically your committee or instructor will guide you through this initially, but it’s important not to stop there. As you research, revisit your thesis statement again and again and tweak it—the goal is, that when you actually sit down to write, your thesis statement will be waiting for you, polished and ready.

  2. Research the mainstream and classic materials first.

    No matter what your thesis is or how unusual it is, there will be some basic, well-known materials that relate to it. You may want to dive right into the niche material looking for gems that will support your thesis, but having a strong background in the general topic—right down to the details—will aid you enormously when you start to write. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time backtracking.

  3. Organize your notes by section as your research.

    From the start, organize your notes by section. That means organizing the background material as well. Then, each supporting idea will need to be cross referenced by section, along with the sources that support it. It might feel like busy work now, but it will help you a great deal during the writing process.

  4. Outline, outline, and outline some more.

    Again, this feels like busy work, especially if you’re enthusiastic about researching and feel like your thesis will just “write itself.” Hint: it won’t. You need to take those organized notes and start hammering out section outlines yesterday. As an added bonus, this will keep your own ideas organized and direct your research.

  5. Write every day.

    As soon as you’ve got enough information to start writing, even if it’s only background material and introductions to your sections, start. Not a lot, of course, because you’ll need to tweak things as you go, but you’d be surprised by how much of this material will be usable when putting together your rough draft. Write for forty five minutes to an hour every day. Your thesis won’t write itself, but it doesn’t have to be a painful process if you follow these tips.

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