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What is a thesis | A Complete Guide with Examples

Madalsa

Table of Contents

A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It’s typically submitted at the end of your master’s degree or as a capstone of your bachelor’s degree.

However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners. From the initial challenge of pinpointing a compelling research topic to organizing and presenting findings, the process is filled with potential pitfalls.

Therefore, to help you, this guide talks about what is a thesis. Additionally, it offers revelations and methodologies to transform it from an overwhelming task to a manageable and rewarding academic milestone.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic.

Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research, which not only fortifies your propositions but also confers credibility to your entire study.

Furthermore, there's another phenomenon you might often confuse with the thesis: the ' working thesis .' However, they aren't similar and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages.

As you research more and gather more evidence, your initial thesis (aka working thesis) might change. It's like a starting point that can be adjusted as you learn more. It's normal for your main topic to change a few times before you finalize it.

While a thesis identifies and provides an overarching argument, the key to clearly communicating the central point of that argument lies in writing a strong thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A strong thesis statement (aka thesis sentence) is a concise summary of the main argument or claim of the paper. It serves as a critical anchor in any academic work, succinctly encapsulating the primary argument or main idea of the entire paper.

Typically found within the introductory section, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap of your thesis, directing readers through your arguments and findings. By delineating the core focus of your investigation, it offers readers an immediate understanding of the context and the gravity of your study.

Furthermore, an effectively crafted thesis statement can set forth the boundaries of your research, helping readers anticipate the specific areas of inquiry you are addressing.

Different types of thesis statements

A good thesis statement is clear, specific, and arguable. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right type of thesis statement for your academic papers.

Thesis statements can be classified based on their purpose and structure. Here are the primary types of thesis statements:

Argumentative (or Persuasive) thesis statement

Purpose : To convince the reader of a particular stance or point of view by presenting evidence and formulating a compelling argument.

Example : Reducing plastic use in daily life is essential for environmental health.

Analytical thesis statement

Purpose : To break down an idea or issue into its components and evaluate it.

Example : By examining the long-term effects, social implications, and economic impact of climate change, it becomes evident that immediate global action is necessary.

Expository (or Descriptive) thesis statement

Purpose : To explain a topic or subject to the reader.

Example : The Great Depression, spanning the 1930s, was a severe worldwide economic downturn triggered by a stock market crash, bank failures, and reduced consumer spending.

Cause and effect thesis statement

Purpose : To demonstrate a cause and its resulting effect.

Example : Overuse of smartphones can lead to impaired sleep patterns, reduced face-to-face social interactions, and increased levels of anxiety.

Compare and contrast thesis statement

Purpose : To highlight similarities and differences between two subjects.

Example : "While both novels '1984' and 'Brave New World' delve into dystopian futures, they differ in their portrayal of individual freedom, societal control, and the role of technology."

When you write a thesis statement , it's important to ensure clarity and precision, so the reader immediately understands the central focus of your work.

What is the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement?

While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

A thesis refers to the entire research document, encompassing all its chapters and sections. In contrast, a thesis statement is a brief assertion that encapsulates the central argument of the research.

Here’s an in-depth differentiation table of a thesis and a thesis statement.

Now, to craft a compelling thesis, it's crucial to adhere to a specific structure. Let’s break down these essential components that make up a thesis structure

15 components of a thesis structure

Navigating a thesis can be daunting. However, understanding its structure can make the process more manageable.

Here are the key components or different sections of a thesis structure:

Your thesis begins with the title page. It's not just a formality but the gateway to your research.

title-page-of-a-thesis

Here, you'll prominently display the necessary information about you (the author) and your institutional details.

  • Title of your thesis
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date
  • Your Supervisor's name (in some cases)
  • Your Department or faculty (in some cases)
  • Your University's logo (in some cases)
  • Your Student ID (in some cases)

In a concise manner, you'll have to summarize the critical aspects of your research in typically no more than 200-300 words.

Abstract-section-of-a-thesis

This includes the problem statement, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. For many, the abstract will determine if they delve deeper into your work, so ensure it's clear and compelling.

Acknowledgments

Research is rarely a solitary endeavor. In the acknowledgments section, you have the chance to express gratitude to those who've supported your journey.

Acknowledgement-section-of-a-thesis

This might include advisors, peers, institutions, or even personal sources of inspiration and support. It's a personal touch, reflecting the humanity behind the academic rigor.

Table of contents

A roadmap for your readers, the table of contents lists the chapters, sections, and subsections of your thesis.

Table-of-contents-of-a-thesis

By providing page numbers, you allow readers to navigate your work easily, jumping to sections that pique their interest.

List of figures and tables

Research often involves data, and presenting this data visually can enhance understanding. This section provides an organized listing of all figures and tables in your thesis.

List-of-tables-and-figures-in-a-thesis

It's a visual index, ensuring that readers can quickly locate and reference your graphical data.

Introduction

Here's where you introduce your research topic, articulate the research question or objective, and outline the significance of your study.

Introduction-section-of-a-thesis

  • Present the research topic : Clearly articulate the central theme or subject of your research.
  • Background information : Ground your research topic, providing any necessary context or background information your readers might need to understand the significance of your study.
  • Define the scope : Clearly delineate the boundaries of your research, indicating what will and won't be covered.
  • Literature review : Introduce any relevant existing research on your topic, situating your work within the broader academic conversation and highlighting where your research fits in.
  • State the research Question(s) or objective(s) : Clearly articulate the primary questions or objectives your research aims to address.
  • Outline the study's structure : Give a brief overview of how the subsequent sections of your work will unfold, guiding your readers through the journey ahead.

The introduction should captivate your readers, making them eager to delve deeper into your research journey.

Literature review section

Your study correlates with existing research. Therefore, in the literature review section, you'll engage in a dialogue with existing knowledge, highlighting relevant studies, theories, and findings.

Literature-review-section-thesis

It's here that you identify gaps in the current knowledge, positioning your research as a bridge to new insights.

To streamline this process, consider leveraging AI tools. For example, the SciSpace literature review tool enables you to efficiently explore and delve into research papers, simplifying your literature review journey.

Methodology

In the research methodology section, you’ll detail the tools, techniques, and processes you employed to gather and analyze data. This section will inform the readers about how you approached your research questions and ensures the reproducibility of your study.

Methodology-section-thesis

Here's a breakdown of what it should encompass:

  • Research Design : Describe the overall structure and approach of your research. Are you conducting a qualitative study with in-depth interviews? Or is it a quantitative study using statistical analysis? Perhaps it's a mixed-methods approach?
  • Data Collection : Detail the methods you used to gather data. This could include surveys, experiments, observations, interviews, archival research, etc. Mention where you sourced your data, the duration of data collection, and any tools or instruments used.
  • Sampling : If applicable, explain how you selected participants or data sources for your study. Discuss the size of your sample and the rationale behind choosing it.
  • Data Analysis : Describe the techniques and tools you used to process and analyze the data. This could range from statistical tests in quantitative research to thematic analysis in qualitative research.
  • Validity and Reliability : Address the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your findings to ensure that your results are both accurate and consistent.
  • Ethical Considerations : Highlight any ethical issues related to your research and the measures you took to address them, including — informed consent, confidentiality, and data storage and protection measures.

Moreover, different research questions necessitate different types of methodologies. For instance:

  • Experimental methodology : Often used in sciences, this involves a controlled experiment to discern causality.
  • Qualitative methodology : Employed when exploring patterns or phenomena without numerical data. Methods can include interviews, focus groups, or content analysis.
  • Quantitative methodology : Concerned with measurable data and often involves statistical analysis. Surveys and structured observations are common tools here.
  • Mixed methods : As the name implies, this combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Methodology section isn’t just about detailing the methods but also justifying why they were chosen. The appropriateness of the methods in addressing your research question can significantly impact the credibility of your findings.

Results (or Findings)

This section presents the outcomes of your research. It's crucial to note that the nature of your results may vary; they could be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both.

Results-section-thesis

Quantitative results often present statistical data, showcasing measurable outcomes, and they benefit from tables, graphs, and figures to depict these data points.

Qualitative results , on the other hand, might delve into patterns, themes, or narratives derived from non-numerical data, such as interviews or observations.

Regardless of the nature of your results, clarity is essential. This section is purely about presenting the data without offering interpretations — that comes later in the discussion.

In the discussion section, the raw data transforms into valuable insights.

Start by revisiting your research question and contrast it with the findings. How do your results expand, constrict, or challenge current academic conversations?

Dive into the intricacies of the data, guiding the reader through its implications. Detail potential limitations transparently, signaling your awareness of the research's boundaries. This is where your academic voice should be resonant and confident.

Practical implications (Recommendation) section

Based on the insights derived from your research, this section provides actionable suggestions or proposed solutions.

Whether aimed at industry professionals or the general public, recommendations translate your academic findings into potential real-world actions. They help readers understand the practical implications of your work and how it can be applied to effect change or improvement in a given field.

When crafting recommendations, it's essential to ensure they're feasible and rooted in the evidence provided by your research. They shouldn't merely be aspirational but should offer a clear path forward, grounded in your findings.

The conclusion provides closure to your research narrative.

It's not merely a recap but a synthesis of your main findings and their broader implications. Reconnect with the research questions or hypotheses posited at the beginning, offering clear answers based on your findings.

Conclusion-section-thesis

Reflect on the broader contributions of your study, considering its impact on the academic community and potential real-world applications.

Lastly, the conclusion should leave your readers with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your study.

References (or Bibliography)

Every theory you've expounded upon, every data point you've cited, and every methodological precedent you've followed finds its acknowledgment here.

References-section-thesis

In references, it's crucial to ensure meticulous consistency in formatting, mirroring the specific guidelines of the chosen citation style .

Proper referencing helps to avoid plagiarism , gives credit to original ideas, and allows readers to explore topics of interest. Moreover, it situates your work within the continuum of academic knowledge.

To properly cite the sources used in the study, you can rely on online citation generator tools  to generate accurate citations!

Here’s more on how you can cite your sources.

Often, the depth of research produces a wealth of material that, while crucial, can make the core content of the thesis cumbersome. The appendix is where you mention extra information that supports your research but isn't central to the main text.

Appendices-section-thesis

Whether it's raw datasets, detailed procedural methodologies, extended case studies, or any other ancillary material, the appendices ensure that these elements are archived for reference without breaking the main narrative's flow.

For thorough researchers and readers keen on meticulous details, the appendices provide a treasure trove of insights.

Glossary (optional)

In academics, specialized terminologies, and jargon are inevitable. However, not every reader is versed in every term.

The glossary, while optional, is a critical tool for accessibility. It's a bridge ensuring that even readers from outside the discipline can access, understand, and appreciate your work.

Glossary-section-of-a-thesis

By defining complex terms and providing context, you're inviting a wider audience to engage with your research, enhancing its reach and impact.

Remember, while these components provide a structured framework, the essence of your thesis lies in the originality of your ideas, the rigor of your research, and the clarity of your presentation.

As you craft each section, keep your readers in mind, ensuring that your passion and dedication shine through every page.

Thesis examples

To further elucidate the concept of a thesis, here are illustrative examples from various fields:

Example 1 (History): Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807 by Suchait Kahlon.
Example 2 (Climate Dynamics): Influence of external forcings on abrupt millennial-scale climate changes: a statistical modelling study by Takahito Mitsui · Michel Crucifix

Checklist for your thesis evaluation

Evaluating your thesis ensures that your research meets the standards of academia. Here's an elaborate checklist to guide you through this critical process.

Content and structure

  • Is the thesis statement clear, concise, and debatable?
  • Does the introduction provide sufficient background and context?
  • Is the literature review comprehensive, relevant, and well-organized?
  • Does the methodology section clearly describe and justify the research methods?
  • Are the results/findings presented clearly and logically?
  • Does the discussion interpret the results in light of the research question and existing literature?
  • Is the conclusion summarizing the research and suggesting future directions or implications?

Clarity and coherence

  • Is the writing clear and free of jargon?
  • Are ideas and sections logically connected and flowing?
  • Is there a clear narrative or argument throughout the thesis?

Research quality

  • Is the research question significant and relevant?
  • Are the research methods appropriate for the question?
  • Is the sample size (if applicable) adequate?
  • Are the data analysis techniques appropriate and correctly applied?
  • Are potential biases or limitations addressed?

Originality and significance

  • Does the thesis contribute new knowledge or insights to the field?
  • Is the research grounded in existing literature while offering fresh perspectives?

Formatting and presentation

  • Is the thesis formatted according to institutional guidelines?
  • Are figures, tables, and charts clear, labeled, and referenced in the text?
  • Is the bibliography or reference list complete and consistently formatted?
  • Are appendices relevant and appropriately referenced in the main text?

Grammar and language

  • Is the thesis free of grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Is the language professional, consistent, and appropriate for an academic audience?
  • Are quotations and paraphrased material correctly cited?

Feedback and revision

  • Have you sought feedback from peers, advisors, or experts in the field?
  • Have you addressed the feedback and made the necessary revisions?

Overall assessment

  • Does the thesis as a whole feel cohesive and comprehensive?
  • Would the thesis be understandable and valuable to someone in your field?

Ensure to use this checklist to leave no ground for doubt or missed information in your thesis.

After writing your thesis, the next step is to discuss and defend your findings verbally in front of a knowledgeable panel. You’ve to be well prepared as your professors may grade your presentation abilities.

Preparing your thesis defense

A thesis defense, also known as "defending the thesis," is the culmination of a scholar's research journey. It's the final frontier, where you’ll present their findings and face scrutiny from a panel of experts.

Typically, the defense involves a public presentation where you’ll have to outline your study, followed by a question-and-answer session with a committee of experts. This committee assesses the validity, originality, and significance of the research.

The defense serves as a rite of passage for scholars. It's an opportunity to showcase expertise, address criticisms, and refine arguments. A successful defense not only validates the research but also establishes your authority as a researcher in your field.

Here’s how you can effectively prepare for your thesis defense .

Now, having touched upon the process of defending a thesis, it's worth noting that scholarly work can take various forms, depending on academic and regional practices.

One such form, often paralleled with the thesis, is the 'dissertation.' But what differentiates the two?

Dissertation vs. Thesis

Often used interchangeably in casual discourse, they refer to distinct research projects undertaken at different levels of higher education.

To the uninitiated, understanding their meaning might be elusive. So, let's demystify these terms and delve into their core differences.

Here's a table differentiating between the two.

Wrapping up

From understanding the foundational concept of a thesis to navigating its various components, differentiating it from a dissertation, and recognizing the importance of proper citation — this guide covers it all.

As scholars and readers, understanding these nuances not only aids in academic pursuits but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the relentless quest for knowledge that drives academia.

It’s important to remember that every thesis is a testament to curiosity, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of discovery.

Good luck with your thesis writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

A thesis typically ranges between 40-80 pages, but its length can vary based on the research topic, institution guidelines, and level of study.

A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements.

To identify a thesis topic, consider current trends in your field, gaps in existing literature, personal interests, and discussions with advisors or mentors. Additionally, reviewing related journals and conference proceedings can provide insights into potential areas of exploration.

The conceptual framework is often situated in the literature review or theoretical framework section of a thesis. It helps set the stage by providing the context, defining key concepts, and explaining the relationships between variables.

A thesis statement should be concise, clear, and specific. It should state the main argument or point of your research. Start by pinpointing the central question or issue your research addresses, then condense that into a single statement, ensuring it reflects the essence of your paper.

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Dissertation vs Thesis: Your 2024 Guide

Chriselle Sy

If you’ve been thinking about going to graduate school, you may be familiar with the application requirements, rigorous academic schedule, and thesis or dissertation you’ll be expected to complete. So, what exactly is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation? While there are similarities, there’s a clear difference between the two. In our guide, we compare dissertation vs thesis. Discover more about both – and what you can expect during your graduate program. Let’s get started!

  • Table of Contents

What Is a Thesis?

A thesis is an academic paper or project that’s completed towards the end of a master’s degree program . It is typically completed as the capstone project , meaning it’s the final project required for a student to graduate.

Students need to select a narrow, specific topic within – or relating to – their field of study. Once they’ve selected a topic, students must conduct an in-depth review of existing research on their chosen subjects. The next step is to formulate an academic argument, an assertion they’ll need to support or prove with said research.

Therefore, a thesis is akin to an in-depth research paper. It’s comprised of research that essentially proves what a student has learned during their program.

What Is a Typical Thesis Structure?

A thesis generally follows a rigid structure that’s decided by the program, department, or university. Here is an example of a thesis structure:

  • The Title Page
  • Summary of Thesis Abstract
  • Table of Maps and Figures
  • The Thesis Body (Sometimes divided into chapters)
  • The Results or Conclusion

Who Needs to Complete a Thesis?

Most master’s degree programs require students to complete a thesis. While some undergraduate programs may also require a thesis, these are generally shorter and narrower in scope.

Some programs will also require a master’s student to defend their thesis in front of a panel or committee.

What Is a Dissertation?

What is “the PhD paper” called? Some people refer to it as a PhD thesis, but it’s most commonly known as a dissertation in the US. Dissertations are the capstone project required at the tail end of a PhD program . It is almost always required, except for a select few one-year PhD programs .

Much like a thesis, dissertations are also academic papers that aim to prove a student’s expertise – while adding to the current body of knowledge – in their field. Thus, a student must look at existing research and conduct their own research .

thesis phd means

Basically, it’s the magnum opus of a doctoral journey in the United States. A dissertation isn’t just a long research paper; it’s a beast of a project. It demands extensive research, originality, and the ability to make a meaningful contribution to your chosen field. Think of it as a research odyssey guided by a seasoned mentor. Once you’ve conquered this scholarly quest and defended your findings, you’ll proudly emerge with your hard-earned doctoral degree, a testament to your dedication and scholarly prowess.

A dissertation typically comes after a PhD student completes their required courses and passes their qualifying exams. In some programs, the dissertation process is embedded into the coursework. In such cases, students receive a jump start on their work, allowing them to potentially finish their program earlier.

What Does a Dissertation Do?

PhD candidates must present a new theory or hypothesis. Alternatively, they must present their research to question (or disprove) the existing accepted theory on their chosen subject. Students may choose to tackle their topic from a new angle or take their research in a different direction.

Most programs will require students to defend their dissertations. During the defense, candidates must be able to justify the methodology of their research and the results and interpretation of their findings. Defenses are typically oral presentations in front of a dissertation committee , where the students are asked questions or presented with challenges.

Although the defense may seem daunting, PhD students work closely with their advisors to prepare for their dissertations. Students receive feedback and advice to guide their dissertations in their chosen direction.

What Is the Typical Dissertation Structure? 

Dissertations follow a rigid structure typically set by the program, department, or university. Here is an example format:

  • The Acknowledgments Page
  • The Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The Literature Review & Theoretical Framework
  • The Methodology
  • Findings/Results
  • Discussions of the Findings, including analysis, interpretation, and applications
  • The Conclusion
  • List of References
  • Any Appendices

What Is a Doctoral Thesis?

A doctoral thesis is a substantial piece of scholarly work that marks the pinnacle of a doctoral degree program, such as a PhD. Think of it as the academic grand finale. Its primary mission? To showcase the candidate’s mastery in their chosen field and their knack for delving deep into research.

thesis phd means

In a nutshell, a doctoral thesis is a mammoth project that calls for originality. You’ve got to dig, investigate, gather data, crunch numbers, and present real data-supported findings. All this hard work usually happens under the watchful eye of a knowledgeable mentor. Once you’ve conquered this scholarly mountain and defended your thesis successfully, you’ll be proudly awarded your well-deserved doctoral degree. It’s the hallmark of your expertise and contribution to your field.

And how does a doctoral thesis differ from a dissertation? That’s mainly a geographic explanation. While they’re largely similar in scope and purpose, when comparing a doctoral thesis vs. a dissertation:

  • A dissertation is the PhD capstone requirement in the US .
  • A doctoral thesis is the PhD capstone requirement in Europe .

Related Reading: The Easiest PhDs

Dissertation vs. Thesis: The Similarities

In the master’s thesis vs dissertation discussion, there are plenty of similarities. Both are lengthy academic papers that require intense research and original writing. They’re also capstone projects which are completed at the tail end of their respective programs.

Students must work closely with their respective committees (e.g., faculty members, advisors, professionals) who provide feedback and guidance on their research, writing, and academic arguments. Both thesis and dissertation committees have a committee chair with whom the students work closely.

In some ways, the requirements for theses and dissertations are quite similar. They require a skillful defense of a student’s academic arguments. What’s more, both papers require critical thinking and good analytical reasoning, as well as in-depth expertise in the chosen field of study.

Students must also invest a significant amount of time into both projects while also being able to accept and action feedback on their work.

Dissertation vs. Thesis: The Differences

What are the differences between a PhD dissertation vs. thesis? The first and most distinct difference is the degree program requiring a PhD dissertation or thesis. A dissertation is typically the capstone project for a doctorate, while a thesis is the capstone project for a master’s degree program (or undergraduate program).

Candidates will have to defend their dissertation during an oral presentation in front of their committee. Only some master’s theses require this.

During a thesis, students typically conduct research by reviewing existing literature and knowledge on their chosen subject. During a dissertation, students must do their own research and prove their theory, concept, or hypothesis. They should also expect to develop a unique concept and defend it based on the practical and theoretical results achieved from their rigorous research.

Theses are also typically shorter (around 40 to 80 pages). Dissertations, however, are much longer (between 100 and 300 pages). Of course, the actual length of the paper may depend on the topic, program, department, or university.

Related Reading : PhD Candidate vs Student: What’s the Difference? 

Dissertations and Theses: US vs. Europe

Whether you’re in the US or Europe, dissertations and theses are similar. However, European requirements and conventions differ slightly:

Doctoral Thesis

To ensure your PhD graduation, a dissertation is generally required. Doctoral theses in Europe are much like a PhD dissertation in the US : You must complete your own research and add to the existing body of knowledge in your field.

Master’s Dissertation

It may seem odd to require a dissertation for master’s degree programs, but in Europe, this is exactly what you’ll need. A master’s dissertation is a broader post-graduate program research project , though it’s most typically required for master’s programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most common questions we hear about the meaning of thesis vs. dissertation.

Is a Thesis and a Dissertation the Same?

Yes and no. In some ways, a dissertation and a thesis are the same. For example, both require original writing, critical skills, analytical thinking, plenty of research, and lots of academic effort. However, a thesis is more commonly reserved for master’s – and some undergraduate – programs. Dissertations are generally required by PhD programs in the United States.

Additionally, a thesis typically calls for heavy research and compilation of existing knowledge and literature on a subject. A dissertation requires candidates to conduct their own research to prove their own theory, concept, or hypothesis – adding to the existing body of knowledge in their chosen field of study.

How Long Is a Thesis vs. a Dissertation?

One of the primary differences between thesis and dissertation papers is their length. While a thesis might be anywhere from 40 to 80 pages long, a dissertation can easily run from 100 to 300. It’s important to note that these numbers depend on the specific program and university.

Does a PhD Require a Thesis or a Dissertation?

It all depends on where you are! While a US-based PhD requires you to complete a dissertation, a thesis (or “doctoral thesis”) is more commonly required for PhD candidates in Europe. In the US, a thesis is more commonly reserved for master’s degree programs and occasionally undergraduate programs. In Europe, a “master’s dissertation” is typically required for the completion of a master’s degree.

So, there you have it: an in-depth comparison of the dissertation vs. thesis academic requirements. Now that you know the primary similarities and differences between the two, it might become easier to decide your academic path. Just remember, you may be able to find a master’s program without a thesis or a doctorate without a dissertation requirement if you prefer. Good luck!

Are you ready to jump into your doctorate? Find out if you need a master’s degree to get a PhD .

thesis phd means

Chriselle Sy

Chriselle has been a passionate professional content writer for over 10 years. She writes educational content for The Grad Cafe, Productivity Spot, The College Monk, and other digital publications.  When she isn't busy writing, she spends her time streaming video games and learning new skills.

  • Chriselle Sy https://blog.thegradcafe.com/author/chriselle-sy/ Graduate Certificate vs Degree: What’s the Difference? [2024 Guide]
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thesis phd means

What is a PhD?

  • Types of Doctorates
  • A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest globally recognized postgraduate degree that higher education institutions can award.
  • PhDs are awarded to candidates who undertake original and extensive research in a particular field of study.
  • Full time PhD programmes typically last three to four years, whilst part time PhD programmes typically last six to seven years.
  • A PhD can lead to an academia teaching role or a career in research. A PhD can also equip you with skills suitable for a wide range of jobs unrelated to your research topic or academia.

Definition of a PhD – A Doctor of Philosophy (commonly abbreviated to PhD , Ph.D or a DPhil ) is a university research degree awarded from across a broad range of academic disciplines; in most countries, it is a terminal degree, i.e. the highest academic degree possible.

PhDs differ from undergraduate and master’s degrees in that PhDs are entirely research-based rather than involving taught modules (although doctoral training centres (DTCs) offer programmes that start with a year of lecture-based teaching to help develop your research skills prior to starting your project).

In most English-speaking countries, those that complete a PhD use the title “Doctor” (typically abbreviated to Dr) in front of their names and are referred to as such within academic and/or research settings. Those that work in fields outside of academia may decide not to use the formal doctor title but use post-nominal letters (e.g. John Smith PhD); it’s unusual though for someone to use both the Doctor title and post-nominal letters in their name.

PhD vs Doctorate

A PhD and a professional doctorate are both research-based terminal degrees.

However, where a PhD focuses on original research mostly around theoretical concepts, a professional doctorate focuses on examining existing knowledge to solve real-life, practical problems.

While there is much crossover between the two, a PhD is generally better suited for an individual to wants to advance the knowledge and understanding in their field, and a professional doctorate degree is better suited to a working professional who wants to better be able to apply knowledge and understanding to their field.

What Are the Entry Requirements for a PhD?

To be accepted on to a PhD programme, students usually need to hold at least a high ( 2:1 and above ) undergraduate degree that is related to the field of research that they want to pursue. A PhD candidate may also be expected to hold a Master’s degree , however, this does not mean you must have one, as it is still possible to enrol into a PhD without a Master’s .

Self-funded courses may sometimes be more relaxed in relation to entry requirements. It may be possible to be accepted onto a self-funded PhD programme with lower grades, though these students typically demonstrate their suitability for the role through professional work experience.

Whilst a distance learning project is possible , most PhD candidates will carry out their research over at least three years based at their university, with regular contact with two academic supervisors (primary and secondary). This is particularly the case for lab-based projects, however, some PhD projects require spending time on-site away from university (e.g. at a specialist research lab or at a collaborating institution abroad).

How Long Does a PhD Take?

Typically, full-time PhDs last 3-4 years and part-time PhDs last 6-7 years. However, at the discretion of the university, the thesis writing-up period can be extended by up to four years.

Although most doctoral programmes start in September or October, they are generally much more flexible than taught-courses and can start at any time of the year.

How Much Does a PhD Cost?

Tuition fees for UK and EU students vary between £3,000 and £6,000 per year, with the average tuition fee of £4,712 per year for 2023/24 programmes.

Tuition fees increase considerably for international students, varying between £16,000 to £25,000 per year, with an average tuition fee of £19,600 per year .

Nonetheless, most students will secure PhD funding in the form of studentships, scholarships and bursaries to help pay for these fees. These funding opportunities can either be partial, which cover tuition fees only, or full, which cover both tuition fees and living expenses.

UK national students can also apply for Doctoral Loans from Student Finance England if they are unable to secure funding.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

What Does a PhD Involve?

To be awarded a PhD, a doctoral student is required to produce a substantial body of work that adds new knowledge to their chosen field.

A PhD programme will typically involve four key stages:

Stage 1: Literature Review

The first year of a PhD involves attending regular meetings with your supervisors and carrying out a search on previously published work in your subject area. This search will be used to produce a literature review which should set the context of the project by explaining the foundation of what is currently known within the field of research, what recent developments have occurred, and where the gaps in knowledge are. In most cases, this will be an extension of your research proposal should you have produced one as part of your application. The literature review should conclude by outlining the overarching aims and objectives of the research project. This stage of setting achievable goals which are original and contribute to the field of research is an essential first step in a successful PhD.

The supervisor is the main point of contact through the duration of a PhD – but remember: they are there to mentor, not to teach, or do it for you . It will be your responsibility to plan, execute and monitor your own work as well as to identify gaps in your own knowledge and address them.

Stage 2: Research

The second year (and prehapse some of your third year) is when you work on your research. Having identified novel research questions from your review of the literature, this is where you collect your data to help answer these questions. How you do this will depend on the nature of your doctoral research: for example, you may design and run experiments in a lab alongside other PhD students or visit excavation sites in remote regions of the world. You should check in regularly with your supervisors to update them and run any ideas or issues past them.

Have the structure and chapters of your thesis in mind as you develop and tackle your research questions. Working with a view of publishing your work will be very valuable later on.

Stage 3: Write up of Thesis

The next key stage of a PhD is writing a doctoral thesis , which typically takes from anywhere between three months to one year. A thesis is a substantial body of work that describes the work and outcomes of the research over the previous two to three years. It should tell a detailed story of the PhD project – focusing on:

  • The motivations for the research questions identified from the literature review.
  • The methodologies used, results obtained, and a comprehensive analysis and discussion of the findings.
  • A detailed discussion of the key findings with an emphasis on the original contributions made to your field of research and how this has been impactful.

There is no universal rule for the length of a PhD thesis, but general guidelines set the word count between 80,000 to 100,000 words.

For your thesis to be successful, it needs to adequately defend your argument and provide a unique or increased insight into your field that was not previously available.

Stage 4: Attending the Viva

A viva voce , most commonly referred to as just a ‘ viva ‘, is an interview-style examination where the PhD student is required to engage in a critical appraisal of their work and defend their thesis against at least two examiners. The examiners will ask questions to check the PhD student has an in-depth understanding of the ideas and theories proposed in their thesis, and whether they have developed the research skills that would be expected of them.

The viva is one of the final steps in achieving a PhD, and typically lasts at least two hours, but this duration can vary depending on the examiners, the university and the PhD project itself.

Once you have done the viva – you’re on the home stretch. You will typically be asked to make some amendments to your thesis based on the examiner’s feedback. You are then ready to submit your final thesis for either:

  • PhD – If you pass the requirements you will be awarded a PhD degree (most common outcome),
  • MPhil – If you failed to meet requirements for a PhD, you may be downgraded to an MPhil degree (uncommon outcome),
  • Fail – No award is given, typically for cases of plagiarism (extremely uncommon outcome).

What Is It Like to Undertake a PhD?

We’re often asked what it is like to undertake a PhD study. Unfortunately, this isn’t a simple answer to this question as every research project is different.

To help give insight into the life of a PhD student, we’ve interviewed PhD students at various stages of their programmes and put together a series of PhD Student Interviews . Check out the link to find out what a PhD is like and what advice they have to offer you.

What Are the Benefits of A PhD?

A PhD is the highest globally recognised postgraduate degree that higher education institutions can award. The degree, which is awarded to candidates who demonstrate original and independent research in a particular field of study, is not only invaluable in itself, but sets you up with invaluable skills and traits.

Career Opportunities

First, a PhD prepares you for a career in academia if you wish to continue in this area. This takes form as a career in the Higher Education sector, typically as a lecturer working their way to becoming a professor leading research on the subject you’ve studied and trained in.

Second, a PhD also enables the opportunity for landing a job in a research & development role outside of the academic environment. Examples of this include laboratory work for a private or third sector company, a governmental role and research for commercial and industrial applications.

Transferable Skills

Finally, in possessing a PhD degree, you can show to employers that you have vital skills that make you an asset to any company. Three examples of the transferable skills that you gain through a PhD are effective communication, time management, and report writing.

  • Communication – presenting your work in written and oral forms using journal papers and podium presentations, shows your ability to share complex ideas effectively and to those with less background knowledge than you. Communication is key in the professional environment, regardless of the job.
  • Time management – The ability to prioritise and organise tasks is a tremendous asset in the professional industry. A PhD holder can use their qualification to demonstrate that they are able to manage their time, arrange and follow a plan, and stick to deadlines.
  • Report writing – Condensing three years of work into a thesis demonstrates your ability to filter through massive amounts of information, identify the key points, and get these points across to the reader. The ability to ‘cut out the waffle’ or ‘get to the point’ is a huge asset in the professional industry.

Aside from the above, you also get to refer to yourself as a Doctor and add fancy initials after your name!

What Can I Do After a PhD?

One of the most desirable postdoctoral fields is working within independent Research and Development (R&D) labs and new emerging companies. Both industries, especially R&D labs, have dedicated groups of PhD graduates who lead research activities, design new products and take part in crucial strategic meetings. Not only is this a stimulating line of work, but the average salaries in R&D labs and emerging start-ups are lucrative. In comparison, an undergraduate with five years of experience within their given field will, on average, likely earn less than a new PhD graduate taking on a R&D position.

It’s a common misunderstanding that PhDs only opens the door for an academic career such as university lecturers and training providers. Although obtaining a PhD opens these doors, the opportunities extend far beyond educational roles. In fact, recent data from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) indicates only 23% of PhD graduates take a position in educational roles . This low percentage is primarily because PhD graduates have a wide range of skills that make them suitable for a broad spectrum of roles. This is being seen first hand by the increasing number of PhD graduates who are entering alternative roles such as research, writing, law and investment banking.

How Do I Find a PhD?

We appreciate that finding a PhD programme to undertake can be a relatively daunting process. According to Higher Education Student Statistics , over 22,000 PhDs were awarded in 2016/17 within the United Kingdom alone. Clearly there are a huge number of PhD programmes available. This can sometimes be confusing for prospective doctorates, particularly when different programmes are advertised in different places. Often, it is difficult to know where to look or where to even start. We’ve put together a list of useful sources to find the latest PhD programmes:

  • A great place to start is with our comprehensive and up-to-date database of available PhD positions .
  • Assuming you are still at university, speak to an existing PhD supervisor within your department.
  • Attend as many postgraduate open days as you can. Whilst there, speak to current PhD students and career advisors to get an awareness of what PhDs are on offer.
  • Visit the postgraduate section of university websites and the PhD Research Council section of the UKRI website.

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Know How to Structure Your PhD Thesis

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In your academic career, few projects are more important than your PhD thesis. Unfortunately, many university professors and advisors assume that their students know how to structure a PhD. Books have literally been written on the subject, but there’s no need to read a book in order to know about PhD thesis paper format and structure. With that said, however, it’s important to understand that your PhD thesis format requirement may not be the same as another student’s. The bottom line is that how to structure a PhD thesis often depends on your university and department guidelines.

But, let’s take a look at a general PhD thesis format. We’ll look at the main sections, and how to connect them to each other. We’ll also examine different hints and tips for each of the sections. As you read through this toolkit, compare it to published PhD theses in your area of study to see how a real-life example looks.

Main Sections of a PhD Thesis

In almost every PhD thesis or dissertation, there are standard sections. Of course, some of these may differ, depending on your university or department requirements, as well as your topic of study, but this will give you a good idea of the basic components of a PhD thesis format.

  • Abstract : The abstract is a brief summary that quickly outlines your research, touches on each of the main sections of your thesis, and clearly outlines your contribution to the field by way of your PhD thesis. Even though the abstract is very short, similar to what you’ve seen in published research articles, its impact shouldn’t be underestimated. The abstract is there to answer the most important question to the reviewer. “Why is this important?”
  • Introduction : In this section, you help the reviewer understand your entire dissertation, including what your paper is about, why it’s important to the field, a brief description of your methodology, and how your research and the thesis are laid out. Think of your introduction as an expansion of your abstract.
  • Literature Review : Within the literature review, you are making a case for your new research by telling the story of the work that’s already been done. You’ll cover a bit about the history of the topic at hand, and how your study fits into the present and future.
  • Theory Framework : Here, you explain assumptions related to your study. Here you’re explaining to the review what theoretical concepts you might have used in your research, how it relates to existing knowledge and ideas.
  • Methods : This section of a PhD thesis is typically the most detailed and descriptive, depending of course on your research design. Here you’ll discuss the specific techniques you used to get the information you were looking for, in addition to how those methods are relevant and appropriate, as well as how you specifically used each method described.
  • Results : Here you present your empirical findings. This section is sometimes also called the “empiracles” chapter. This section is usually pretty straightforward and technical, and full of details. Don’t shortcut this chapter.
  • Discussion : This can be a tricky chapter, because it’s where you want to show the reviewer that you know what you’re talking about. You need to speak as a PhD versus a student. The discussion chapter is similar to the empirical/results chapter, but you’re building on those results to push the new information that you learned, prior to making your conclusion.
  • Conclusion : Here, you take a step back and reflect on what your original goals and intentions for the research were. You’ll outline them in context of your new findings and expertise.

Tips for your PhD Thesis Format

As you put together your PhD thesis, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. Here are some tips that might keep you on track.

  • Don’t try to write your PhD as a first-draft. Every great masterwork has typically been edited, and edited, and…edited.
  • Work with your thesis supervisor to plan the structure and format of your PhD thesis. Be prepared to rewrite each section, as you work out rough drafts. Don’t get discouraged by this process. It’s typical.
  • Make your writing interesting. Academic writing has a reputation of being very dry.
  • You don’t have to necessarily work on the chapters and sections outlined above in chronological order. Work on each section as things come up, and while your work on that section is relevant to what you’re doing.
  • Don’t rush things. Write a first draft, and leave it for a few days, so you can come back to it with a more critical take. Look at it objectively and carefully grammatical errors, clarity, logic and flow.
  • Know what style your references need to be in, and utilize tools out there to organize them in the required format.
  • It’s easier to accidentally plagiarize than you think. Make sure you’re referencing appropriately, and check your document for inadvertent plagiarism throughout your writing process.

PhD Thesis Editing Plus

Want some support during your PhD writing process? Our PhD Thesis Editing Plus service includes extensive and detailed editing of your thesis to improve the flow and quality of your writing. Unlimited editing support for guaranteed results. Learn more here , and get started today!

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Writing Your Doctoral Thesis with Style

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Know the Difference: PhD Dissertation vs. Thesis

PhD thesis vs PhD dissertation

One of the biggest turning points of any PhD student’s journey is the submission of a research writing project in the form of either a PhD thesis or a PhD dissertation. From an academic perspective, the thesis/dissertation is in many ways a major indicator of the abilities and expertise that you have gained as a doctoral candidate.

The mere task of understanding the requirements and compiling a PhD dissertation/thesis is in itself huge. However, what may be confusing to understand, especially if you are just embarking upon your doctoral journey, is the difference between thesis and dissertation.

Table of Contents

Similarities in phd dissertation vs. thesis, 1. understanding differences in the meaning of the two terms, 2. difference between thesis and dissertation based upon geographical location, 3. understanding a difference in content for a phd thesis v/s phd dissertation.

These two terms are often used interchangeably when referring to doctoral studies as there are a number of similarities between them:

  • The very first commonality between thesis and dissertation is that the submission of both is considered to be an official culmination of the doctoral work of the candidate.
  • Both the thesis and the dissertation demonstrate the ability of a doctoral candidate to effectively communicate their process of resolving a problem statement.
  • The thesis and dissertation both test a candidate’s ability toward analytical reasoning and critical thinking , while showcasing his/her expertise in a particular subject area.
  • Both the thesis and the dissertation are evaluated by an official review committee consisting of internal as well as external examiners who are experts in the specific subject area being explored in the doctoral study.
  • Based upon the reviews of the committee members, both of these documents are then subject to changes and re-submission as required .
  • Lastly, both a thesis and a dissertation can be treated as official publications that may be available as resources in the university library .

Owing to the above-mentioned similarities, the confusion between the correct usage of dissertation vs. thesis is quite understandable. In order to ensure the proper usage of these two terms, it’s crucial to understand the differences in a PhD thesis v/s PhD dissertation. Here are some quick pointers that may be useful.

Differences between thesis and dissertation

Since most academic institutions will continue to use these terms interchangeably, it is imperative that you confirm the intricate details regarding the expected structure of a PhD thesis/dissertation with your respective institution. However, for now, we hope that the above article helps in clarifying some of the major doubts that you may have had regarding a PhD thesis v/s dissertation.

In order to better understand the meaning of thesis vs dissertation, let us go back to the origin of the terms. The term ‘thesis’ originates from the Greek word ‘tithenai’, which means ‘to place a proposition’, while the term ‘dissertation’ has a Latin origin, which essentially means ‘disserere’/’dissertare’, i.e., ‘to (continue to) examine and discuss’. 1 To simplify further, a thesis by itself may simply represent an argument that you put forth and describe in depth, while a dissertation may represent a written summary/discussion of a particular work. 2

thesis phd means

In countries/institutions that follow the British education system, it is common to term the final doctoral research writing project as a PhD thesis, while the countries/institutions that follow the American education system prefer to call it a PhD dissertation. In case you are unsure which education system is followed by your institution, it may be a good idea to verify this with the respective personnel, so that you can plan your doctoral journey effectively.

While the above two points may be useful to understand the differences between thesis and dissertation on a surface level, as a PhD student it is crucial for you to understand the deeper differences in the content and the type of work that goes into each of them. Let us do this by revisiting the differences in the origin of the two terms: ‘dissertare’ or to discuss (dissertation) v/s ‘to place a proposition’ (thesis). In my experience, the content of a PhD dissertation often comprises peer-reviewed publications that are published by the doctoral candidate during their doctoral work, along with supplementary chapters.

On the other hand, while compiling a PhD thesis, a doctoral candidate may need to describe the doctoral work in detail with the help of distinct chapters comprising: abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion and bibliography/references. Thus, the main difference between thesis and dissertation, lies in the way the written document is being presented although the doctoral work done by the candidate will mostly remain the same .

References:

1.         What is the Difference Between a Dissertation and a Thesis? | Postgrad.com. https://www.postgrad.com/advice/exams/dissertation-and-theses/difference-between-a-dissertation-and-a-thesis/

2.         The PhD Thesis | FindAPhD.com. www.FindAPhD.com https://www.findaphd.com/guides/phd-thesis.

The time it takes to write a PhD thesis vs. dissertation can vary depending on several factors, including the research topic, the scope of the project, the research methodology, and the specific requirements of the academic program. However, in general, a dissertation is typically longer and more comprehensive than a thesis, and therefore may take longer to complete.

A dissertation for doctoral programs is typically required after the completion of required coursework, passing comprehensive exams, and hitting any other specific milestones outlined by the program. This means PhD students usually devote years in developing their dissertation, which demonstrates your ability to conduct independent research and make original contributions to the field

A thesis statement is used in academic writing to provide a concise summary of the main argument or point being made in an essay or paper. It should be used at the introduction at the beginning of the paper to guide the reader and provide focus for the writing. A thesis statement can be used in academic essays, research papers, analytical papers and literature reviews and presents readers with a clear roadmap of the research being conducted.

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What is a Dissertation? Everything You Need to Know 

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What is a Dissertation? Everything You Need to Know 

Your dissertation, the final piece of the puzzle that stands between you and the completion of your doctoral degree . Okay, so that’s not the actual definition of the word “dissertation,” but when you’re writing one, that can feel true at times! Keep reading to learn the academic definition and take a more in depth look at what a dissertation is and how to navigate writing one. So, let’s go!  

Related : Top fully funded PhD programs

Dissertation vs. thesis  

While dissertation and thesis are sometimes used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different pieces of writing. A thesis is traditionally completed at the end of a masters program . It is based on pre-existing research and showcases your ability to understand the information you have been learning about in your program.   

A dissertation is much longer than a thesis and is completed at the end of a PhD or doctorate program . It is the last thing you need to complete in order to earn your doctorate in your chosen field. It will be about a topic of your choosing that is within your field of study. Instead of using all pre-existing information though, you will conduct a portion of your own research and propose new ideas.

See also : Top scholarships for graduate students   

What do you write about when completing a dissertation?

What you write about will depend on what field of study you are in. A dissertation is designed to be your own. Meaning that what you write about should be a new idea, a new topic, or question that is still unanswered in your field. Something that you will need to collect new data on, potentially interview people for and explore what information is already available.  

Generally, an idea will need to be approved or at least discussed with whoever is overseeing your dissertation before you begin writing. It’s important to put time and effort into choosing a topic that you will be able to find either existing research for and add to, or a topic that you will be able to establish your own methods of data collection for. Again, the goal of your dissertation is to add to your field.   

How long does a dissertation need to be?  

Your dissertation length will vary, but you can generally count on it to be around 2-3 times the length of your thesis. A standard thesis is roughly 80 to 100 pages. So, on the short end you’re looking at a 200 pages dissertation, while the longer end can reach as high as 400 pages.  

How long does it take to write?  

The page count for a dissertation is enough to scare even the best writers away, but take a breath and rest easy knowing that this is not something you complete in just one semester or even two. On the short end you will have a year to write your dissertation, while the longer end can offer as much as two years to complete your dissertation. During this time, you will work with an advisor who can watch over you and help you along the way.  

The parts of a dissertation   

A dissertation is not just one long paper you must write. Thankfully, it is broken down into manageable pieces that you complete over time.  

Choosing a topic  

The first thing you will do is come up with your topic. Again, your topic will need to be approved by whoever is overseeing your dissertation. If they think that it may not be a strong topic, they will let you know. Even if a topic is approved though, you’ll need to do research around that topic first to make sure that it has not already been covered, or if it has that you take into consideration what has been done and add to the topic in a new way.  

Research  

Research can mean looking at what already exists, as well as conducting your own research to add to a proposed idea of yours. Your research can take many different forms depending on what field you are in. Research can be costly at times, so be sure to check out what funding opportunities are available for doctoral research. There are even post PhD research grants you should be familiar with if you intend to continue researching.  

Chapter break down  

A dissertation generally consists of five chapters. We’ve written them out below with a brief description of each and what they include.   

Introduction – Just as you would expect, this is where you will introduce your topic and what you plan to discuss  

Literature review – This section will address the research you have found that has already been done, or found has not been done, that pertains to your topic  

Methodology – How you go about collecting information for your dissertation, whether it be conducting your own research or delving deep into what has already been done, will be discussed in the methodology section 

Results – Your results will analyze the information you gathered  in regard to your topic 

Discussion – Finally, your discussion section will assess the meaning of your results and it is also where you will add your own ideas, rooted in research, about what those results mean in a broader context in regard to your field 

There will be more parts of your dissertation that are not included in the chapters, but the bulk of your dissertation will be made up by these five chapters. Things like title pages, references, appendices, and table of contents will also be included.  

Defending your dissertation  

Believe it or not, it’s not enough just to write your dissertation–you also have to defend your dissertation. This is another reason why taking a thorough amount of time to choose your topic is so important. You’ll likely need to propose your initial dissertation idea, but that will be much simpler and shorter. Your final defense will be much lengthier and in depth.  

During your defense, you will present your dissertation to a committee. It’s likely that you’ll be at least somewhat familiar with those on the committee; they are not just randomly picked. They will ask you questions about your research, and you will need to respond to each question. A defense generally takes around two hours. The point of a defense is not to have people try to undermine your work, but for you to exemplify your expertise in your field.  

Failing your dissertation  

Nobody wants to think about failing, but unfortunately, you can fail your dissertation. However, let’s talk about a few things before we just leave it at that. First, if you are afraid of failing your dissertation, this is something that you should speak to your advisor about. They can help you determine if there should be legitimate concerns or if you are getting in your own head.  

Second, even if you do fail your dissertation, you are usually allowed to resubmit one time. This of course is not ideal, but it does give you a little room to breathe. Your goal is to do great from the start, but remember this is not an easy task. You’ll likely have plenty of bumps along the way! 

Again, if you have concerns about failing, address them sooner rather than later and seek help. There are bound to be plenty of people and services around you, as well as additional services that you can pay for which will help review your materials and guide you along.

Key Takeaways

  • Dissertations are completed as the last step of your PhD or doctorate degree 
  • Your dissertation will be related to a topic or question in your field of study that you choose 
  • Dissertations take anywhere from one to two years to complete and can be upwards of three hundred pages long 
  • Your dissertation is designed to showcase your expertise in your field and your addition of new ideas to the field about a particular question or area 

Frequently asked questions about dissertations  

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What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

Published on 15 September 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on 5 December 2023.

Structure of a Thesis

A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a PhD program in the UK.

Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Indeed, alongside a dissertation , it is the longest piece of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .

Thesis template

You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.

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Table of contents

Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, frequently asked questions about theses.

You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.

  • A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarise the central points of your academic essay .
  • A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement to complete a PhD program.
  • In many countries, particularly the UK, a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.
  • In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.

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The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:

  • Your discipline
  • Your theoretical approach

Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.

In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section ,  results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .

Thesis examples

We’ve compiled a short list of thesis examples to help you get started.

  • Example thesis #1:   ‘Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the “Noble Savage” on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807’ by Suchait Kahlon.
  • Example thesis #2: ‘”A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man”: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947’ by Julian Saint Reiman.

The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:

  • Your full title
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date.

Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.

Read more about abstracts

A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.

Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.

Read more about tables of contents

While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the ‘Insert Caption’ feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetised list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialised or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetise the terms you want to include with a brief definition.

Read more about glossaries

An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:

  • Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
  • Define the scope of your work
  • Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
  • State your research question(s)
  • Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed

In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.

Read more about introductions

A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:

  • Selecting relevant sources
  • Determining the credibility of your sources
  • Critically evaluating each of your sources
  • Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:

  • Addressing a gap in the literature
  • Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
  • Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
  • Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
  • Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyses the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
  • Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
  • Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
  • The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.

Your results section should:

  • State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Explain how each result relates to the research question
  • Determine whether the hypothesis was supported

Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.

Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.

For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasise what your research specifically has contributed to your field.

Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.

Read more about conclusions

In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.

Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.

Read more about appendices

Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!

Consider using a professional thesis editing service to make sure your final project is perfect.

Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.

After your defense, your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5-7% of your overall word count.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation, you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimising confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organise your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation, such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review, research methods, avenues for future research, etc.)

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Thesis Title: Examples and Suggestions from a PhD Grad

Graphic of a researcher writing, perhaps a thesis title

When you’re faced with writing up a thesis, choosing a title can often fall to the bottom of the priority list. After all, it’s only a few words. How hard can it be?!

In the grand scheme of things I agree that picking your thesis title shouldn’t warrant that much thought, however my own choice is one of the few regrets I have from my PhD . I therefore think there is value in spending some time considering the options available.

In this post I’ll guide you through how to write your own thesis title and share real-world examples. Although my focus is on the PhD thesis, I’ve also included plenty of thesis title examples for bachelor’s and master’s research projects too.

Hopefully by the end of the post you’ll feel ready to start crafting your own!

Why your thesis title is at least somewhat important

It sounds obvious but your thesis title is the first, and often only, interaction people will have with your thesis. For instance, hiring managers for jobs that you may wish to apply for in the future. Therefore you want to give a good sense of what your research involved from the title.

Many people will list the title of their thesis on their CV, at least for a while after graduating. All of the example titles I’ve shared below came from my repository of academic CVs . I’d say roughly 30% of all the academics on that page list their thesis title, which includes academics all the way up to full professor.

Your thesis title could therefore feature on your CV for your whole career, so it is probably worth a bit of thought!

My suggestions for choosing a good thesis title

  • Make it descriptive of the research so it’s immediately obvious what it is about! Most universities will publish student theses online ( here’s mine! ) and they’re indexed so can be found via Google Scholar etc. Therefore give your thesis a descriptive title so that interested researchers can find it in the future.
  • Don’t get lost in the detail . You want a descriptive title but avoid overly lengthy descriptions of experiments. Unless a certain analytical technique etc was central to your research, I’d suggest by default* to avoid having it in your title. Including certain techniques will make your title, and therefore research, look overly dated, which isn’t ideal for potential job applications after you graduate.
  • The title should tie together the chapters of your thesis. A well-phrased title can do a good job of summarising the overall story of your thesis. Think about each of your research chapters and ensure that the title makes sense for each of them.
  • Be strategic . Certain parts of your work you want to emphasise? Consider making them more prominent in your title. For instance, if you know you want to pivot to a slightly different research area or career path after your PhD, there may be alternative phrasings which describe your work just as well but could be better understood by those in the field you’re moving into. I utilised this a bit in my own title which we’ll come onto shortly.
  • Do your own thing. Having just laid out some suggestions, do make sure you’re personally happy with the title. You get a lot of freedom to choose your title, so use it however you fancy. For example, I’ve known people to use puns in their title, so if that’s what you’re into don’t feel overly constrained.

*This doesn’t always hold true and certainly don’t take my advice if 1) listing something in your title could be a strategic move 2) you love the technique so much that you’re desperate to include it!

Thesis title examples

To help give you some ideas, here are some example thesis titles from Bachelors, Masters and PhD graduates. These all came from the academic CVs listed in my repository here .

Bachelor’s thesis title examples

Hysteresis and Avalanches Paul Jager , 2014 – Medical Imaging – DKFZ Head of ML Research Group –  direct link to Paul’s machine learning academic CV

The bioenergetics of a marine ciliate, Mesodinium rubrum Holly Moeller , 2008 – Ecology & Marine Biology – UC Santa Barbara Assistant Professor –  direct link to Holly’s marine biology academic CV

Functional syntactic analysis of prepositional and causal constructions for a grammatical parser of Russian Ekaterina Kochmar , 2008 – Computer Science – University of Bath Lecturer Assistant Prof –  direct link to Ekaterina’s computer science academic CV

Master’s thesis title examples

Creation of an autonomous impulse response measurement system for rooms and transducers with different methods Guy-Bart Stan , 2000 – Bioengineering – Imperial Professor –  direct link to Guy-Bart’s bioengineering academic CV

Segmentation of Nerve Bundles and Ganglia in Spine MRI using Particle Filters Adrian Vasile Dalca , 2012 – Machine Learning for healthcare – Harvard Assistant Professor & MIT Research Scientist –  direct link to Adrian’s machine learning academic CV

The detection of oil under ice by remote mode conversion of ultrasound Eric Yeatman , 1986 – Electronics – Imperial Professor and Head of Department –  direct link to Eric’s electronics academic CV

Ensemble-Based Learning for Morphological Analysis of German Ekaterina Kochmar , 2010 – Computer Science – University of Bath Lecturer Assistant Prof –  direct link to Ekaterina’s computer science academic CV

VARiD: A Variation Detection Framework for Color-Space and Letter-Space Platforms Adrian Vasile Dalca , 2010 – Machine Learning for healthcare – Harvard Assistant Professor & MIT Research Scientist –  direct link to Adrian’s machine learning academic CV

Identification of a Writer’s Native Language by Error Analysis Ekaterina Kochmar , 2011 – Computer Science – University of Bath Lecturer Assistant Prof –  direct link to Ekaterina’s computer science academic CV

On the economic optimality of marine reserves when fishing damages habitat Holly Moeller , 2010 – Ecology & Marine Biology – UC Santa Barbara Assistant Professor –  direct link to Holly’s marine biology academic CV

Sensitivity Studies for the Time-Dependent CP Violation Measurement in B 0 → K S K S K S at the Belle II-Experiment Paul Jager , 2016 – Medical Imaging – DKFZ Head of ML Research Group –  direct link to Paul’s machine learning academic CV

PhD thesis title examples

Spatio-temporal analysis of three-dimensional real-time ultrasound for quantification of ventricular function Esla Angelini  – Medicine – Imperial Senior Data Scientist –  direct link to Elsa’s medicine academic CV

The role and maintenance of diversity in a multi-partner mutualism: Trees and Ectomycorrhizal Fungi Holly Moeller , 2015 – Ecology & Marine Biology – UC Santa Barbara Assistant Professor –  direct link to Holly’s marine biology academic CV

Bayesian Gaussian processes for sequential prediction, optimisation and quadrature Michael Osborne , 2010 – Machine Learning – Oxford Full Professor –  direct link to Michael’s machine learning academic CV

Global analysis and synthesis of oscillations: a dissipativity approach Guy-Bart Stan , 2005 – Bioengineering – Imperial Professor –  direct link to Guy-Bart’s bioengineering academic CV

Coarse-grained modelling of DNA and DNA self-assembly Thomas Ouldridge , 2011– Bioengineering – Imperial College London Senior Lecturer / Associate Prof –  direct link to Thomas’ bioengineering academic CV

4D tomographic image reconstruction and parametric maps estimation: a model-based strategy for algorithm design using Bayesian inference in Probabilistic Graphical Models (PGM) Michele Scipioni , 2018– Biomedical Engineer – Harvard Postdoctoral Research Fellow –  direct link to Michele’s biomedical engineer academic CV

Error Detection in Content Word Combinations Ekaterina Kochmar , 2016 – Computer Science – University of Bath Lecturer Assistant Prof –  direct link to Ekaterina’s computer science academic CV

Genetic, Clinical and Population Priors for Brain Images Adrian Vasile Dalca , 2016 – Machine Learning for healthcare – Harvard Assistant Professor & MIT Research Scientist –  direct link to Adrian’s machine learning academic CV

Challenges and Opportunities of End-to-End Learning in Medical Image Classification Paul Jager , 2020 – Medical Imaging – DKFZ Head of ML Research Group –  direct link to Paul’s machine learning academic CV

K 2 NiF 4  materials as cathodes for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells Ainara Aguadero , 2006 – Materials Science – Imperial Reader –  direct link to Ainara’s materials science academic CV

Applications of surface plasmons – microscopy and spatial light modulation Eric Yeatman , 1989 – Electronics – Imperial Professor and Head of Department –  direct link to Eric’s electronics academic CV

Geometric Algorithms for Objects in Motion Sorelle Friedler , 2010 – Computer science – Haverford College Associate Professor –  direct link to Sorelle’s computer science academic CV .

Geometrical models, constraints design, information extraction for pathological and healthy medical image Esla Angelini  – Medicine – Imperial Senior Data Scientist –  direct link to Elsa’s medicine academic CV

Why I regret my own choice of PhD thesis title

I should say from the outset that I assembled my thesis in quite a short space of time compared to most people. So I didn’t really spend particularly long on any one section, including the title.

However, my main supervisor even spelled out for me that once the title was submitted to the university it would be permanent. In other words: think wisely about your title.

What I started with

Initially I drafted the title as something like: Three dimensional correlative imaging for cartilage regeneration . Which I thought was nice, catchy and descriptive.

I decided to go for “correlative imaging” because, not only did it describe the experiments well, but it also sounded kind of technical and fitting of a potential pivot into AI. I’m pleased with that bit of the title.

What I ended up with

Before submitting the title to the university (required ahead of the viva), I asked my supervisors for their thoughts.

One of my well intentioned supervisors suggested that, given that my project didn’t involve verifying regenerative quality, I probably shouldn’t state cartilage regeneration . Instead, they suggested, I should state what I was experimenting on (the materials) rather than the overall goal of the research (aid cartilage regeneration efforts).

With this advice I dialled back my choice of wording and the thesis title I went with was:

Three dimensional correlative imaging for measurement of strain in cartilage and cartilage replacement materials

Reading it back now I’m reminder about how less I like it than my initial idea!

I put up basically no resistance to the supervisor’s choice, even though the title sounds so much more boring in my opinion. I just didn’t think much of it at the time. Furthermore, most of my PhD was actually in a technique which is four dimensional (looking at a series of 3D scans over time, hence 4D) which would have sounded way more sciency and fitting of a PhD.

What I wish I’d gone with

If I had the choice again, I’d have gone with:

Four-dimensional correlative imaging for cartilage regeneration

Which, would you believe it, is exactly what it states on my CV…

Does the thesis title really matter?

In all honesty, your choice of thesis title isn’t that important. If you come to regret it, as I do, it’s not the end of the world. There are much more important things in life to worry about.

If you decide at a later stage that you don’t like it you can always describe it in a way that you prefer. For instance, in my CV I describe my PhD as I’d have liked the title to be. I make no claim that it’s actually the title so consider it a bit of creative license.

Given that as your career progresses you may not even refer back to your thesis much, it’s really not worth stressing over. However, if you’re yet to finalise your thesis title I do still think it is worth a bit of thought and hopefully this article has provided some insights into how to choose a good thesis title.

My advice for developing a thesis title

  • Draft the title early. Drafting it early can help give clarity for the overall message of your research. For instance, while you’re assembling the rest of your thesis you can check that the title encompasses the research chapters you’re included, and likewise that the research experiments you’re including fall within what the title describes. Drafting it early also gives more time you to think it over. As with everything: having a first draft is really important to iterate on.
  • Look at some example titles . Such as those featured above!
  • If you’re not sure about your title, ask a few other people what they think . But remember that you have the final say!

I hope this post has been useful for those of you are finalising your thesis and need to decide on a thesis title. If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to hear about future content (and gain access to my free resource library!) you can subscribe for free here:

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6 July 2023

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Students at advanced levels of education have the desire to successfully write a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis. Basically, this type of writing demonstrates their expertise in a discipline. Also, it takes an extended period for the creation of a PhD paper because of its sophistication. Thus, the completion of a doctoral program is signified by a passing Ph.D. thesis, which depicts overarching interdisciplinary qualities.

The Defenition of PhD Thesis

A PhD thesis is a form of examination used for advanced degrees. For example, individuals in pursuit of doctorate degrees have to develop a thesis subjected to scrutiny by a committee of professors that judge its merit. In this case, students draft a thesis proposal that they present and defend to a select panel. After approval of the thesis proposal, the level of the panel’s participation may vary depending on the university’s PhD program structure. Then, people do not limit the length of a PhD paper. However, the author must ensure that the document contains a comprehensive exploration of a new approach. Also, the paper must contribute positively to the existing body of knowledge. Finally, a PhD work covers a clear understanding of previous studies. Thus, the doctorate is awarded after completion of a PhD paper to symbolize an individual’s mastery of content and research techniques.

PhD thesis

All doctorate program students must write a thesis that may assume different forms depending on the PhD model. For instance, the classical PhD model is based on the development of one ‘big book’ thesis that consists of integrated chapters with a word count ranging between 80,000-100,000. Basically, this approach does not involve much coursework. However, it focuses on thesis preparation throughout the program. Then, an alternative model is the taught PhD model that entails two stages: examinable coursework and a thesis comprised of at least four medium-length publishable papers. In turn, the PhD thesis has separate papers presumed to be the equivalent of the big book thesis. As a result, the authorship appears to be an essential concept of doctoral studies.

Differences in Disciplines

There are no substantial differences between PhD thesis papers developed for specific disciplines. For example, examiners tend to search for the presence of identical core qualities of a thesis regardless of the discipline. Basically, a PhD paper should attain a certain level of coherence, originality, and academic validity for it to pass a critical examination in any discipline. However, inconsistencies may arise due to the inadequacy of institutional criteria, vagueness in the desired level of contribution to existing knowledge, and examiners’ bias for personal assessment standards. In turn, the fluidity of examiners’ expectations causes slight differences in a thesis. Also, disciplinary demands modify the nature of a PhD thesis to a small extent.

Conclusion on PhD Thesis

The completion of the PhD thesis writing process precedes the attainment of a doctorate. Basically, research and authorship are fundamental skills for any doctorate holder. In this case, a PhD paper is not discipline-specific because examiners hold nearly identical assertions concerning its qualities. Thus, the writing of a PhD thesis is a unique learning experience. In turn, people may get thesis help .

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The PhD Discussion Chapter: What It Is & How To Write It

Sep 11, 2023

image of a green speech bubble on a yellow background

Your PhD discussion chapter is your thesis’s intellectual epicenter. Think of it as the scholarly equivalent of a courtroom closing argument, where you summarise the evidence and make your case. Perhaps that’s why it’s so tricky – the skills you need in your discussion chapter aren’t skills you’ve likely had to deploy before: it’s where you start to speak like a Doctor.

In this guide, I want to present a comprehensive guide to the PhD discussion chapter. We’ll look at a number of key topics:

What is the purpose of a PhD Discussion Chapter?

  • Suggested outlines for a discussion chapter:

Advice for improving your discussion chapter

This is not a normal blog subscription.

Each week we send two short, thought-provoking emails that will make you think differently about what it means to be a PhD student. It is designed to be read in thirty seconds and thought about all day.

  The PhD discussion chapter is the place where your findings, research questions, literature, theoretical framework and methodology coalesce into a coherent narrative. A common pitfall is when students see the discussion chapter as a summary of everything that has come before. This isn’t the case. Instead, the PhD discussion chapter offers a deep, analytical synthesis of your research, providing context, interpretation, and evaluation of your findings.

It’s the place in which you engage with existing theories, explore the significance of your work, and directly address the “So What?” question, highlighting the real-world implications and academic contributions of your research.

 Let’s dig down into each of these things.

Summarising and explaining the research

Before you launch into the detail, start by laying out your findings in a clear, easy to follow way. This is typically done in the introduction and the first proper section of the chapter.

Starting the PhD discussion chapter by clearly laying out your findings serves as an anchor for your reader and sets the stage for the more complex discussions that follow. This foundational step ensures that the reader is equipped with all the necessary information to fully grasp the significance and implications of your work. It’s akin to laying the groundwork before building a complex structure; without a solid base, the intricate analyses may lose their impact or be misunderstood.

For example, if you’re a PhD student in environmental science studying the effects of a specific pollutant on marine life, begin by presenting the key data points, such as the pollutant concentration levels in various regions and the corresponding health indices of marine species studied. Use tables, figures, or graphs to help visualise the data and make it more accessible.

  • Laying out Quantitative Findings : If your research is quantitative, use statistical measures to present your results. Clearly state the metrics you’ve considered, such as means, variances, p-values, etc., and what they imply about your research question.
  • Laying out Qualitative Findings : In case of qualitative research, such as ethnographic studies or interviews, narrate the trends, patterns, or themes that have emerged. Use representative quotes or observations as illustrative examples.
  • Mixed-Methods Approach : If you’ve used both quantitative and qualitative methods, start by outlining how these different types of data will be integrated in your discussion. This could involve presenting the qualitative findings as a contextual backdrop for quantitative data or vice versa.

Remember, your objective at this initial stage is not to overwhelm the reader with complexity but to build a transparent, easily-followable narrative of what you’ve found. By starting with a clear presentation of your findings, you’re laying the groundwork for a powerful, credible discussion chapter that can tackle sophisticated analyses and weighty implications, underpinned by a comprehensible and compelling dataset.

There will be a necessary degree of overlap and repetition between this section (and the discussion chapter in general) and the findings chapter. However, there’s a subtle difference in the way in which the data is introduced in the findings and discussion chapters .

In the findings chapter, you’re generally presenting raw data or observations without interpreting what they mean. In the Discussion chapter, you take those same findings and begin to explore their implications, relate them to existing theories, and evaluate their significance. The danger, however, lies in creating excessive repetition between the two chapters, which can fatigue the reader and dilute the impact of your arguments.

To mitigate this, consider employing the following strategies:

  • Selective Highlighting : Choose only the most critical findings to revisit in the Discussion chapter. You don’t need to regurgitate every data point, only those central to the questions you aim to answer in this chapter.
  • Narrative Framing : When you bring up a finding in the Discussion chapter, introduce it as a stepping stone to a broader point or argument, rather than an isolated fact. This technique helps the reader understand why you’re revisiting this information and what new aspects you’ll be unveiling.
  • Use Different Presentation Formats : If the Findings chapter is heavy on tables and figures, consider summarising key points in a narrative form in the Discussion chapter or vice versa.

By thoughtfully selecting what to revisit and framing it within a new context, you can transform what might appear as repetition into a coherent and evolving narrative that adds value to your thesis. Read more about the difference between the findings and discussion chapters here .

Interpreting and Contextualising Results 

It’s in the discussion chapter that you offer the interpretation and context for your research findings.

Here, you transition from being a data ‘gatherer’ to a data ‘interpreter’, weaving together the threads of research questions, data, methods, literature and theory to tell a complex story. While the Results chapter may offer the “what,” the PhD discussion chapter sheds light on the “why” and “how.” 

For example, if you’re a social scientist studying the effects of social media on mental health, your results chapter might show statistical data indicating a correlation between social media use and anxiety. However, it’s in your discussion chapter that you would compare these findings to existing literature, perhaps linking them to existing theories or debates. This adds a layer of depth and context that transcends the numerical data, inviting academic dialogue and potential future research avenues.

There are three ways in which you can synthesise your findings:

  • Interpretation : Begin by interpreting your findings. Use comparisons, contrasts, and correlations to explain the significance of the results. This is where you should also address any unexpected outcomes and explain them.
  • Contextualisation : After interpretation, provide a context to situate your findings within the existing body of knowledge. Link back to your Literature Review and Theoretical Framework to show how your research aligns with or diverges from previous work. More on this below.
  • Evaluation : Finally, critically evaluate your own research. Discuss its limitations, the implications of your findings, and offer recommendations for future research.

Whether you’re in natural sciences exploring a new chemical compound or in humanities dissecting a piece of classical literature, the discussion chapter is your opportunity to show that your research not only answers specific questions but also contributes to a wider understanding of your field. It’s not enough to say, for instance, that a new drug successfully reduced symptoms of depression in 60% of study participants. You must explore what that 60% means.

  • Is it a statistically significant improvement over existing treatments?
  • What might be the physiological or psychological mechanisms at work?
  • Could your research method have influenced these outcomes?

There’s an art to explaining and synthesising your findings [Link to “How to Explain Your Findings”], but think of it this way: this is where you shine a light on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of your findings, delving into the nuances that raw data can’t express.

Evaluating Existing Theories and Models  

Beyond explaining your findings, the PhD discussion chapter allows you to evaluate the existing theories and models that you’ve cited in your literature review  and/or theory framework chapter (not sure of the difference? Click here) . Your results could either reinforce established theories or challenge them, both of which significantly contribute to your field.

  • For instance, did your research on renewable energy technologies confirm the economic theories suggesting that green energy can be cost-effective?
  • Or did your social research provide empirical evidence that contradicts widely held beliefs in your field?

The PhD discussion chapter therefore serves as the space where the theories, concepts, ideas and hypotheses that make up and informed your theory framework and which you touched upon in your literature review intersect with the empirical data you’ve presented.

You’re not just mapping your findings onto the theories and models; you’re dissecting them, affirming or challenging them, and potentially even extending or refining them based on what you’ve discovered.

For instance, if you’re working on a thesis in psychology concerning cognitive development in early childhood, your Literature Review may have discussed Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. However, let’s say your findings indicate some nuances or exceptions to Piaget’s theories, or perhaps children in a certain demographic don’t follow the stages as previously thought.

Your discussion chapter is where you can make the argument that perhaps Piaget’s model, while generally accurate, might require some modification to account for these cases.

  • Affirming Theories : If your data aligns closely with the existing theories and models, the PhD discussion chapter serves to strengthen their credibility. Here, you’re lending empirical support to theoretical frameworks.
  • Challenging Theories : Alternatively, your findings might contradict or challenge the prevailing theories. This is not a shortcoming; instead, it opens the door for re-evaluation and progress in the field, which is just as valuable.
  • Extending or Refining Theories : Perhaps your research uncovers additional variables or conditions that existing models have not accounted for. In such cases, you’re pushing the envelope, extending the current boundaries of understanding.

As you evaluate existing theories and models, be comprehensive yet nuanced. Draw on varied disciplines if relevant. For example, if your thesis is at the intersection of public health and social policy, integrate models from both fields to offer a multi-faceted discussion. Being interdisciplinary can make your discussion richer and more impactful.

Ultimately, the discussion chapter offers you a platform to voice your scholarly interpretation and judgment. You’re participating in a broader academic dialogue, not just narrating your findings but positioning them in a web of knowledge that spans across time, disciplines, and viewpoints.

Discuss Unexpected Results

The discussion chapter is where you also discuss things that didn’t quite work out as planned. In particular, results that were unexpected.

Sometimes the most perplexing data offers the most valuable insights. Don’t shy away from discussing unexpected results; these could be the starting points for future research or even paradigm shifts in your field.

When your research yields findings that diverge from established theories or commonly held beliefs, you’re offered a unique opportunity to challenge and extend existing knowledge.

Take the field of primary education as an illustrative example. Assume you’re researching the efficacy of a specific teaching methodology that prior studies have lauded. However, your data reveals that while the method works wonders for one subgroup of students, it fails to benefit another subgroup. Far from diminishing the value of your research, this unexpected outcome presents an exciting opening. It beckons further inquiry into why the teaching methodology yielded disparate impacts, which could eventually result in more tailored and effective educational strategies.

In the realm of scientific discoveries, the significance of unexpected results cannot be overstated. Alexander Fleming’s accidental discovery of penicillin originated from what appeared to be a ‘failed’ experiment, but it revolutionised medicine. Similarly, the unintended discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation provided pivotal support for the Big Bang theory. In both instances, what seemed like anomalies paved the way for transformative understanding.

The first task when you encounter unexpected findings is to set them apart from the expected outcomes clearly. Delineate a specific section in your discussion chapter to delve into these anomalies, affording them the attention they merit.

Next, engage in hypothesising why these peculiarities emerged. This could be the point where your years of study and your depth of understanding of your subject really shine. Are there confounding variables that weren’t initially apparent? Could there be an entirely unexplored underlying mechanism at play? Take your reader on this exploration with you, and offer educated guesses based on your literature review and study design.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider and discuss the wider implications of these findings. Could they potentially refute longstanding theories or present the need for a shift in the prevailing school of thought? Or perhaps they hint at previously unthought-of applications or solutions to existing problems? Reflect on how these unexpected results might fit into the broader academic conversation and where future research might take these findings.

By earnestly and transparently tackling unexpected results, you exhibit a commitment to rigorous academic research. The willingness to entertain complexity and to follow the research—even when it leads in unpredictable directions—is a mark of scholarly integrity and courage. This holds true irrespective of your academic discipline, from the humanities and social sciences to STEM fields.

Answering the “so what?” Question

 In your findings chapter you would have presented the data. In the discussion chapter, you answer the ‘so what’ question. Make sure to address it explicitly. Why does your research matter? Who benefits from it? How does it advance the scholarly discourse?

 As a PhD student, you’ve already invested a substantial amount of time and effort into your research. Therefore, it’s crucial to articulate its importance not only to validate your own work but also to contribute meaningfully to your field and, in some cases, to society at large.

 Answering the “so what?” question means connecting the dots between your isolated research findings and the larger intellectual landscape. It requires you to extend your analysis beyond the specifics of your study, considering how it advances the scholarly discourse in your field. For instance, if your research closes a significant gap in the literature, makes a theoretical breakthrough,

Example in Public Health : If your research finds that community-led sanitation programs are far more effective than government-implemented ones, then the “So What?” is clear: policy-makers need to see this data. But that doesn’t mean you don’t still need to discuss it.

Example in Literature : If your research uncovers previously unnoticed patterns of symbolism in 19th-century Russian literature, the “So What?” could be a deeper understanding of how literature reflects societal anxieties of the time.

In order to make your discussion chapter compelling and relevant, it’s imperative to always highlight why your research matters. This goes beyond simply reiterating your findings; you need to connect the dots and show how your research fits into the broader academic landscape. Are you challenging existing theories, confirming previous studies, or offering a new perspective? Establishing the academic importance of your work provides a solid footing for its wider application.

Further to establishing academic relevance, also aim to illuminate the real-world implications of your findings. What are the practical outcomes that could arise from your research? Are there specific scenarios or applications where your research could be a game-changer? For instance, if your study uncovers a more effective method of teaching reading to children with dyslexia, explicitly mention how this could revolutionise educational approaches and improve quality of life for those affected. Providing concrete scenarios enhances the applicability of your research, proving that it doesn’t merely exist in the realm of academic abstraction, but has tangible impacts that can affect change.

Limitations and Future Research

 The quest for perfection is more a journey than a destination. This especially holds true in the context of a PhD thesis. Therefore, a well-crafted Discussion chapter should include a section devoted to the limitations of your research, as it establishes the scope, reliability, and validity of your work. Acknowledging limitations is not an act of undermining your research; instead, it embodies scholarly integrity and rigorous academic thinking.

Being upfront about limitations is essentially about being honest, not only with your readers but also with yourself as a researcher. For instance, if you’ve conducted a survey-based study in psychology but only managed to collect a small number of responses, admitting this limitation provides context for your findings. Perhaps the conclusions drawn from such a sample size are not universally applicable but could still offer significant insights into a particular demographic or condition

  • Do not shy away from discussing limitations in fear that it might weaken your arguments.
  • Clearly delineate the scope of your research, specifying what it does and doesn’t address.

For example, in a medical research study, if your sample size predominantly consists of individuals from a particular age group, admitting this limitation helps frame your research within that context. Or, if you’re a literature student, if your analysis focuses solely on the works of a single author, your findings might not be generalisable to broader literary trends.

Discussing limitations openly doesn’t devalue your work; it adds a layer of trustworthiness. It assures the reader—and the academic community at large—that you have a nuanced understanding of your research context. It demonstrates that you can critically evaluate your own work, a skill that is paramount.

thesis phd means

Your PhD Thesis. On one page.

Example outline for a discussion chapter:.

I’ve included a suggested outline for a PhD discussion chapter. It’s important to note that no two PhDs are alike, and yours may well (probably will) diverge from this. The purpose here is to show how all the various factors we’ve discussed above fit together.

Introduction

  • Brief Overview of Research Objectives and Key Findings
  • Purpose of the Discussion Chapter

Summary of Key Findings

  • Brief Restatement of Research Findings
  • Comparison with Initial Hypotheses or Research Questions

Interpretation of Findings

  • Contextualisation of Results
  • Significance and Implications of the Findings

Evaluation of Existing Theories and Models

  • How Your Findings Support or Challenge Previous Work
  • Conceptual Contributions of Your Study
  • Acknowledgment of Study Limitations
  • Suggestions for Future Research
  • Summation of Key Points
  • Broader Implications and Contributions of the Research
  • Final Thoughts and Future Directions

Once you’ve navigated through the complexities of your PhD research, you’re now faced with the challenge of bringing it all together in your discussion chapter. While you’ve already considered various facets like summarising findings, evaluating existing theories, and acknowledging limitations, there are some “easy wins”—small, yet impactful steps—that can help strengthen this critical chapter.

The Power of a Well-Structured Narrative

Begin with a well-structured narrative that clearly outlines your arguments. Tell the reader what the destination is at the outset of the chapter, and then make sure each paragraph is a stepping stone to that destination.

Each paragraph should serve a purpose and should logically follow the previous one. This helps in making your discussion coherent and easy to follow.

  • Use transition sentences between paragraphs to guide the reader through your argument.
  • Make sure each paragraph adds a new dimension to your discussion.

Data Visualisation Tools

Visual aids aren’t just for presentations; they can provide tremendous value in a discussion chapter. Diagrams, charts, or graphs can provide a visual break and help to emphasise your points effectively.

  • Use graphs or charts to represent trends that support your argument.
  • Always caption your visuals and reference them in the text.

Integrate Feedback Actively

It’s often beneficial to have colleagues, advisors, or other experts review your discussion section before finalising it. They can offer fresh perspectives and may catch gaps or ambiguities that you’ve missed.

  • Seek feedback but also know when to filter it, sticking to advice that genuinely enhances your work.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute for feedback; give reviewers ample time.

Highlight the Broader Implications

While you’ll delve into this more in your conclusion, don’t shy away from previewing the broader implications of your work in your discussion. Make it clear why your research matters in a wider context.

  • State the broader implications but keep them tightly related to your research findings.
  • Avoid making grand claims that your research can’t support

In the journey toward a PhD, learning ‘how to write like a doctor’ is more than mastering grammar or honing your prose; it’s about flexing your academic muscles with confidence and authority. It is in the discussion chapter that you really start flexing, and which you really can and need to speak like a doctor.

For many, this is the first instance of challenging the hegemony of existing literature, refuting established theories, or proposing innovative frameworks. It’s an intimidating task; after all, these are the ideas and research paradigms you’ve been learning about throughout your educational journey. Suddenly, you’re not just absorbing knowledge; you’re contributing to it, critiquing it, and perhaps even changing its trajectory. If it feels challenging, remember that’s because it’s new, and that’s why it’s hard. However, you’ve made it this far, and that alone testifies to your academic rigour and capability. You’ve earned the right to be heard; now it’s time to speak with the academic authority that has been years in the making. So, don’t hold back—flex those academic muscles and carve your niche in the scholarly conversation.

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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

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Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

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The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

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Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

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  1. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation, it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete.

  2. What Is a PhD Thesis?

    A PhD thesis is a concentrated piece of original research which must be carried out by all PhD students in order to successfully earn their doctoral degree. The fundamental purpose of a thesis is to explain the conclusion that has been reached as a result of undertaking the research project. The typical PhD thesis structure will contain four ...

  3. A Guide to Writing a PhD Thesis

    A PhD thesis is a work of original research all students are requiured to submit in order to succesfully complete their PhD. The thesis details the research that you carried out during the course of your doctoral degree and highlights the outcomes and conclusions reached. The PhD thesis is the most important part of a doctoral research degree ...

  4. What is a thesis

    Thesis. Thesis Statement. Definition. An extensive document presenting the author's research and findings, typically for a degree or professional qualification. ... A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements. ...

  5. Dissertation vs Thesis: Your 2024 Guide

    What Is a Thesis? A thesis is an academic paper or project that's completed towards the end of a master's degree program.It is typically completed as the capstone project, meaning it's the final project required for a student to graduate.. Students need to select a narrow, specific topic within - or relating to - their field of study.

  6. Doctor of Philosophy

    A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin: philosophiae doctor or doctor philosophiae) is the most common degree at the highest academic level, awarded following a course of study and research. The degree is abbreviated PhD and sometimes, especially in the U.S., as Ph.D. It is derived from the Latin Philosophiae Doctor, pronounced as three separate letters (/ p iː eɪ tʃ ˈ d iː ...

  7. Writing a Postgraduate or Doctoral Thesis: A Step-by-Step ...

    It means breaking up the most important ideas or aspects of your research aim into several smaller parts that together represent the whole. ... Faryadi Q (2019) PhD thesis writing process: a systematic approach—how to write your methodology, results and conclusion. Creat Educ 10:766-783.

  8. What is a PhD?

    Definition of a PhD - A Doctor of Philosophy (commonly abbreviated to PhD, Ph.D or a DPhil) is a university research degree awarded from across a broad range of academic disciplines; in most countries, it is a terminal degree, i.e. the highest academic degree possible. PhDs differ from undergraduate and master's degrees in that PhDs are ...

  9. Know How to Structure Your PhD Thesis

    Work with your thesis supervisor to plan the structure and format of your PhD thesis. Be prepared to rewrite each section, as you work out rough drafts. Don't get discouraged by this process. It's typical. Make your writing interesting. Academic writing has a reputation of being very dry.

  10. Writing Your Doctoral Thesis with Style

    A PhD thesis is similar to writing a book. While you can take your published papers and turn them into the core of your thesis, the thesis as a whole should be able to stand alone and is coherent in presentation and scope. ... Spell-checkers do help, but they have limited use for a document such as a thesis that by definition will contain ...

  11. Know the Difference: PhD Dissertation vs. Thesis

    Both the thesis and the dissertation demonstrate the ability of a doctoral candidate to effectively communicate their process of resolving a problem statement. The thesis and dissertation both test a candidate's ability toward analytical reasoning and critical thinking, while showcasing his/her expertise in a particular subject area. Both the ...

  12. What is a Dissertation? Everything You Need to Know

    Keep reading to learn the academic definition and take a more in depth look at what a dissertation is and how to navigate writing one. So, let's go! Related: Top fully funded PhD programs. Dissertation vs. thesis . While dissertation and thesis are sometimes used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different pieces of writing.

  13. What is the difference between a dissertation and a thesis?

    The words ' dissertation ' and 'thesis' both refer to a large written research project undertaken to complete a degree, but they are used differently depending on the country: In the UK, you write a dissertation at the end of a bachelor's or master's degree, and you write a thesis to complete a PhD.

  14. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction

    Overview of the structure. To help guide your reader, end your introduction with an outline of the structure of the thesis or dissertation to follow. Share a brief summary of each chapter, clearly showing how each contributes to your central aims. However, be careful to keep this overview concise: 1-2 sentences should be enough.

  15. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a PhD program in the UK. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Indeed, alongside a dissertation, it is the longest piece of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to ...

  16. Thesis Title: Examples and Suggestions from a PhD Grad

    PhD thesis title examples. Spatio-temporal analysis of three-dimensional real-time ultrasound for quantification of ventricular function. Esla Angelini - Medicine - Imperial Senior Data Scientist - direct link to Elsa's medicine academic CV. The role and maintenance of diversity in a multi-partner mutualism: Trees and Ectomycorrhizal Fungi.

  17. PhD Thesis: Definition, Models, and Differences in Disciplines

    A PhD thesis is a form of examination used for advanced degrees. For example, individuals in pursuit of doctorate degrees have to develop a thesis subjected to scrutiny by a committee of professors that judge its merit. In this case, students draft a thesis proposal that they present and defend to a select panel.

  18. PhD Thesis Statements: How To Use Them In Your Writing

    Step 2: Find Supporting Ideas. What to do: List two or three supporting points that reinforce your main argument. Each point should offer a different facet of support. These will typically form the basis of the various paragraphs or sections in the writing to come.

  19. Thesis

    Etymology. The term thesis comes from the Greek word θέσις, meaning "something put forth", and refers to an intellectual proposition. Dissertation comes from the Latin dissertātiō, meaning "discussion". Aristotle was the first philosopher to define the term thesis.. A 'thesis' is a supposition of some eminent philosopher that conflicts with the general opinion...for to take notice when ...

  20. PhD Discussion Chapter: What It Is And How To Write It

    The PhD Discussion Chapter: What It Is & How To Write It. Sep 11, 2023. Your PhD discussion chapter is your thesis's intellectual epicenter. Think of it as the scholarly equivalent of a courtroom closing argument, where you summarise the evidence and make your case. Perhaps that's why it's so tricky - the skills you need in your ...

  21. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Step 2: Write your initial answer. After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process. The internet has had more of a positive than a negative effect on education.

  22. What Is A Thesis Defense?

    Defending a thesis largely serves as a formality because the paper will already have been evaluated. During a defense, a student will be asked questions by members of the thesis committee. Questions are usually open-ended and require that the student think critically about his or her work. A defense might take only 20 minutes, or it might take ...

  23. How can we make PhD training fit for the modern world? Broaden its

    You have highlighted how PhD training assessment has stagnated, despite evolving educational methodologies (see Nature 613, 414 (2023) and Nature 627, 244; 2024). In particular, you note the ...

  24. Ph.D. Dissertation Defense in Physics: Aaron Hutchins 4/5

    04/02/2024. By Aaron Hutchins. The Kennedy College of Sciences, Department of Physics and Applied Physics, invites you to attend a doctoral dissertation defense by Aaron Hutchins on "Electronic and Photonic Packaging Solutions for Emerging Applications.". Candidate Name: Aaron Hutchins. Degree: Doctoral. Defense Date: April 5, 2024. Time: 9 ...

  25. Congratulations to Weihan for successfully defending his PhD thesis

    Congratulations to Weihan for successfully defending his PhD thesis! Matt named a travel award recipient and Tanner selected for the platform presentation at the annual AAP/ASCI/APSA meeting; Tanner was invited to attend the 2024 St. Jude National Graduate Student Symposium; Tanner was named an ASH Abstract Achievement Award winner!