How to Write a Senior Thesis - Step-by-Step Guide


How to Write a Senior Thesis - Step-by-Step Guide

If you want to deliver a senior thesis and start a professional career quickly, then you need not only to research a topic well but also to find all the necessary information for the final work and know how to properly format and structure a thesis. Thus, having a clear plan and understanding what steps to take will help you cope with the task easily and deliver an outstanding result with less effort from your side. 

Step 1 - Topic selection for a senior thesis

The first thing that a graduate will have to do is to choose a topic for the thesis. And the right choice of the topic is a determining factor for your success. If no topic is assigned to you and you do not know how to choose a theme for a dissertation project, then you can use the following logic for picking a theme:

  • Choose a discipline of your interest;
  • Continue/ develop the theme of your previous course projects;
  • Determine the topic based on plans for future professional activities;
  • Ask for help from a teacher.

In this case, you will pick a theme that will either be of your interest field or will bring you the maximum benefit in the future.

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Step 2 - Writing an outline

Once you are done with the topic selection and conduct in-depth theme research, you will have to smash your head over how to correctly draw up a senior thesis structure and develop an outline for your work. But do you actually need to spend your time on outline writing? Can you skip this step? 

The answer is that it is better to spend a few hours of your time on outline development and save hours of your time on working with the data. The thing is that by the fifth year of study, students receive such a mass of information that it is unlikely for all the data to be systematized. Thoughts get mixed all the time; one piece of information strives to replace another. Thus, having a clear structure of your work in front of you will make your life easier. 

This of a “schedule” will allow you to properly plan your work, structure your thoughts and convey all the important information in a concise form to the audience.

A senior thesis outline is designed to solve the following tasks:

  • Reveal the topic and a thesis statement of the diploma in full and comprehensively;
  • Show project relevance and expediency;
  • Select the optimal methodological base;
  • Logically and consistently expound your thoughts;
  • Draw objective conclusions;
  • Do not forget about the application part (tables, diagrams, figures, etc.).

In order not to miss out a single piece of information in your senior thesis, the following items are to be included in your outline:

  • Introduction;
  • Theoretical part;
  • The practical part;
  • Evidence of scientific novelty;
  • Conclusions;
  • Bibliographic list;
  • Applications

Each part must be detailed and logically completed. And in the outline, it is worth reflecting not only the main idea of the whole project but also the essence of each chapter and subparagraphs if they will be parts of your work.

Step 3 - Defining the goals and objectives of the thesis

Before you move further to dissertation writing, you need to determine two important goals for yourself. Therefore, one of the main requirements for writing a dissertation is taking not a formal but a creative approach to choosing a topic, developing an outline for the final work, determining your tasks/ goals, and drawing up conclusions.

  • Goal - A thesis is the systematization and consolidation of a theory in a particular specialty in the course of solving practical problems, identifying the abilities for independent work.
  • Tasks - Tasks must be clearly formulated: for example, to study and formulate literature on the topic; to research and learn the basic terms and concepts on this topic; to identify and analyze the impact of some indicators on the development of this topic; to give your own recommendations on improving the issue on a given topic.

Step 4 - Start writing

Writing a senior dissertation is a tricky thing - you are supposed to describe all the research data in detail, carefully analyze and format them.

Thesis structure

Knowing the senior dissertation structure, you will learn how to write a thesis yourself and what thesis parts to focus on. According to the academic standards, a dissertation consists of the following required elements:

  • Title page;
  • Table of contents;
  • Annotation,
  • An abstract containing a list of the main terms and their definitions, abbreviations with their brief interpretation;
  • Five-page introduction;
  • The main (theoretical) part of a thesis;
  • Two- to three-page conclusion;
  • Bibliographic list;
  • Applications.

Title page

Any dissertation project begins with a title page, which should contain the following information:

  • Full name of the university, faculty, and department - These are to be written on the first three lines of the title page, be center-aligned, and typed in Times New Roman font.
  • The theme of the graduation project - Center a dissertation topic and write it in a title case. Abbreviations and hyphenation are not allowed in the title.
  • Full name of a student and a supervisor - These are to be placed at the bottom of the page with a shift to the right.
  • City and year of the project submit - These are to be placed at the bottom center of the page on the last two lines and typed in Times New Roman.

Do not underestimate the design of the title page - it is the very first thing a teacher sees when evaluating your work. That’s why you need to make sure that the title page of your senior thesis is properly formatted and doesn’t contain any errors.

Paper content

The content is, in fact, the same outline of the thesis; the only difference is that it goes in a more expanded form containing in-text citations and reference data. But students cannot endure this particular part of the work because they need additional knowledge and perseverance to correctly compile the table of contents for the project.

The table of project contents is in no way connected with the literary genre. There are certain requirements on how to correctly write this part of the senior dissertation and what statements to include in it:

  • Include your reflection of all the topics raised in the work;
  • Cover the interconnected disclosure of research results;
  • Focus on the clarity and consistency of the data presented;
  • Check spelling in the form of inextricable narrative sentences not exclamatory or interrogative.

You do not necessarily need to do it manually. You can use the functions of Microsoft Word that will allow you to create a structure in Word quickly and efficiently.

Step 5 - Proofread the work

The final part of a senior thesis writing process is proofreading the piece and eliminating all types of errors. Here are the key aspects you need to focus on:

  • Smooth/ logical development of thesis contents;
  • Work structure;
  • Sentence structure and flow of thought;
  • All types of errors (stylistic, contextual, grammatical, spelling, punctuation, etc.);
  • Thesis formatting.

If you are not a member of the academic community and have no experience in this field, ask your tutor to advise you on proofreading.

Let’s make it a success together!

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