Thesis Advice


Today it’s Thesis Thursday (for me at least). I spent close to an hour searching for the right notebook for my thesis. The reason why it took so long, is to be blamed on my  50 shades of pink fetich. But as I have to work on my thesis from now on and until October, I figured it should be a nice-looking notebook (pink positive, you know). In this pink wonder, I will develop my ideas, take notes during interviews and meetings with supervisors. I will try to carry it on me at all times, being sure not to miss an idea or a genius thought. As I still have to polish off my research question, I will break it in today.

Earlier this morning I had my bi-weekly research colloquium – a genius series of lectures prepping me for writing the thesis. As some of you might also be working on your theses, I will share my notes from today’s class. Here you are:

  • The most important thing is to reflect on the research question. Some subquestions might not be useful at all. Other questions might come up. Make sure that the research question you mention in the introduction fits to what you find in the end. Reflect on the research question throughout the thesis.
  • A title can be very open.
  • No results in the introduction! It is a teaser.
  • The theory is to be used in the analysis, not only for a theory chapter. Don’t let the theory chapter take up too much space.
  • The structure of the thesis is graded. Think consistency! Whatever works for you. At the end of each chapter (of theory) explain in two paragraphs, what you are going to do next with the theory.
  • No sufficient explanation of the methods is not acceptable. Explain everything that you are going to do. Why is it a good method to explore your question? Present an argument on how the method relates to the research question. Make sure that you choose the right method for the research question.
  • You need to have an analysis of the findings, not only just state the numbers. Present the findings and analyze them. Present the findings in themes and analyze, present the next theme and analyze, then a final conclusion.
  • Representative sample: if you don’t have it, don’t pretend that you have a general conclusion.
  • Final conclusion: summary. Put in the RQ and ask if it is answered, or you could also have a more general conclusion.
  • Think about consistency. Consider possible flaws.
  • Every research ends with: what could I have done differently? There are always flaws in social research.

At last, some general advice, which I find very useful:

Have a reader for your thesis. Make sure to have someone reading through your thesis, preferably a person who doesn’t study the same as you.

And remember – don’t be resistant to consultancy!


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