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University Thesis and Dissertation Templates
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Theses and dissertations are already intensive, long-term projects that require a lot of effort and time from their authors. Formatting for submission to the university is often the last thing that graduate students do, and may delay earning the relevant degree if done incorrectly.
Below are some strategies graduate students can use to deal with institutional formatting requirements to earn their degrees on time.
Disciplinary conventions are still paramount.
Scholars in your own discipline are the most common readers of your dissertation; your committee, too, will expect your work to match with their expectations as members of your field. The style guide your field uses most commonly is always the one you should follow, and if your field uses conventions such as including all figures and illustrations at the end of the document, you should do so. After these considerations are met, move on to university formatting. Almost always, university formatting only deals with things like margins, font, numbering of chapters and sections, and illustrations; disciplinary style conventions in content such as APA's directive to use only last names of authors in-text are not interfered with by university formatting at all.
Use your university's formatting guidelines and templates to your advantage.
If your institution has a template for formatting your thesis or dissertation that you can use, do so. Don't look at another student's document and try to replicate it yourself. These templates typically have the necessary section breaks and styles already in the document, and you can copy in your work from your existing draft using the style pane in MS Word to ensure you're using the correct formatting (similarly with software such as Overleaf when writing in LaTeX, templates do a lot of the work for you). It's also often easier for workers in the offices that deal with theses and dissertations to help you with your work if you're using their template — they are familiar with these templates and can often navigate them more proficiently.
These templates also include placeholders for all front matter you will need to include in your thesis or dissertation, and may include guidelines for how to write these. Front matter includes your table of contents, acknowledgements, abstract, abbreviation list, figure list, committee page, and (sometimes) academic history or CV; everything before your introduction is front matter. Since front matter pages such as the author's academic history and dissertation committee are usually for the graduate school and not for your department, your advisor might not remember to have you include them. Knowing about them well before your deposit date means you won't be scrambling to fill in placeholders at the last minute or getting your work returned for revision from the graduate school.
Consider institutional formatting early and often.
Many graduate students leave this aspect of submitting their projects until it's almost too late to work on it, causing delays in obtaining their degree. Simply being aware that this is a task you'll have to complete and making sure you know where templates are, who you can ask for help in your graduate office or your department, and what your institution's guidelines are can help alleviate this issue. Once you know what you'll be expected to do to convert to university formatting, you can set regular check-in times for yourself to do this work in pieces rather than all at once (for instance, when you've completed a chapter and had it approved by your chair).
Consider fair use for images and other third-party content.
Most theses and dissertations are published through ProQuest or another publisher (Harvard, for instance, uses their own open publishing service). For this reason, it may be the case that your institution requires all images or other content obtained from other sources to fall under fair use rules or, if an image is not considered under fair use, you'll have to obtain permission to print it in your dissertation. Your institution should have more guidance on their specific expectations for fair use content; knowing what these guidelines are well in advance of your deposit date means you won't have to make last-minute changes or removals to deposit your work.
Find the best tips and advice to improve your writing. Or, have a top expert write your paper.
Master’s Thesis Outline: Example And Tips For Writers
A thesis outline is a detailed description of the major parts of your thesis – from introduction, literature overview, thesis problem and methodology to the results, discussion, and conclusion sections.
Thesis Outline Template
- Introduction : Describe the large problem to be solved.
Introduction answers the question: Which problem area this thesis is about to address?
- Literature Overview : Review the existing research in this problem area.
Answers the question: How did the previous researchers deal with this problem?
- Thesis Problem : Define your intended contribution to solving this problem and make the promise of the thesis.
Answers the question: What will be your contribution to the current work on solving this issue?
- Method Section : Describe the protocol you’ve followed to obtain the results.
Answers the question: What methods have you chosen for the research and why are they suitable for this study?
- Results : Present your findings.
Answers the question: What are the outcomes of this research?
- Discussion : Question your findings from the different perspectives, discuss their significance.
Answers the question: How can the research results be interpreted? (it is advisable to use such expressions as “ on one hand/on the other hand, instead, nonetheless, however , etc.”)
- Conclusion : Summarize your findings and answer the research question.
The thesis statement outline or main outline is an important blueprint used to guide the process of organizing and writing your thesis or dissertation. These works are usually required in pursuit of a master’s or Ph.D. degree in many academic fields. What you choose to do depends on your school’s requirements as well as the type of degree you are seeking to earn.
When students ask “what is a thesis?” or “do I have to create an outline?” we respond by explaining that the thesis a study that can range anywhere between 100 to 300 pages that address a specific problem or answers a question in a specific area of study. It is considered an authoritative work that other researchers and academics will build upon and use in their own studies. Something of this depth and scope can get pretty messy without the aid of a well-crafted outline. So, while an outline is not a prerequisite to completing the assignment, it most certainly helps to create one before attempting to write.
In this article, we provide a standard template for you to use as well as detailed instructions on how to write a thesis outline. There are a number of resources available on the web, but this no-nonsense approach is a great start and provides you with all the information you need.
A Thesis and Outline Should Be Mirror Images
Your thesis proposal outline is something you need to do before you start your research in earnest. It needs to be approved by your graduate advisor as it will guide your study for the next several months. However, the paradox about creating a proposal outline is that you likely don’t have a well-developed plan and should actually conduct a little background research before trying to put one together. After you receive this approval, you can get to work, and after you’ve accumulated tons of notes including quotations, paraphrases, questions, responses, data, and more, you will be ready to create the thesis outline.
How to write a thesis? It’s not much different from writing a long research study – but will likely require a lot more of your time and dedication. When writing an outline you can draw from the dissertation proposal outline so that it is basically a mirror image of the work you were granted approval to do. Of course, the revised outline at this stage will have far more detail but it should follow the same chapter or section order as well as meet any of the specific department requirements.
Thesis Outline Template for Free Use
This thesis paper outline lays the foundation for the entire assignment. While you may find very slight differences and may even need to adhere to specific departmental guidelines, the thesis outline example we provide here should help to organize your capstone project in most disciplines.
Unlike the research or term papers, you are experienced with, an academic work of this scope requires a lot more. You shouldn’t be intimidated by this statement, but you should take the time to become familiar with all that is expected that you include and reference. The best place to start is to create a thesis chapters outline touching on all of the major sections. These include a title page, an abstract , an introduction, methods and discussion, conclusions, and a bibliography. Here’s a thesis outline sample you can use for free:
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- General Introduction of the Research Study
- Research Problem or Questions with Sub-Questions
- Reasons or Needs for the Research Study
- Definition and Explanation of Key Terminology
- Context of Research Study within the Greater Discipline (Area of Study)
- Chapter 2: Hypothesis (Theory)
- Brief Overview of Theoretical Foundations Utilized in the Study
- Brief Overview of Literature Reviewed, Discussed and Applied
- Study Model and Process Aligning with Literature Reviewed
- Hypotheses and Justifications Tied to Prior Sections or Statements
- The Scope of Your Study with Theoretical Assumptions and Limitations
- Chapter 3: Methods
- Introduction and General Description Study Method and Study Design
- In-Depth Description of the Study Design (Study Materials to Be Used)
- Explanation of Sample to Be Used in the Study
- Explanation of Measurements, Definitions, Indexes, etc. and Reliability and Validity of Study Method and Study Design
- Description of Analytical Techniques to Be Applied and Justification for Them
- Reliability and Validity of Internal/External Design and Related Subtypes
- Assumptions of Study Method and Study Design with Implied Limitations
- Chapter 4: Findings
- Brief Overview of Material
- Findings (Results) of the Method of Study and Any Unplanned or Unexpected Situations that Occurred
- Brief Descriptive Analysis
- Reliability and Validity of the Analysis
- Explanation of the Hypothesis and Precise and Exact Data (Do Not Give Your Opinion)
- Chapter 5: Discussion
- Full Discussion of Findings (Results) and Implications
- Full Discussion of Research Analysis of Findings
- Full Discussion of Hypothesis and of Findings
- Post Analysis and Implications of Hypothesis and of Findings
- Chapter 6: Conclusion
- Summary of Academic Study
- Reference to Literature Review
- Implications of Academic Study
- Limitations of the Theory or Method of Research
- Recommendations or Suggestions of Future Academic Study
- Chapter 7: Bibliography
- Complete List of all Sources Used Regardless of Citation or Inclusion
How to Make a Thesis Outline
You can use the template above to save time – but we thought a simple process on how to write a thesis outline and getting started with organizing your material before applying the information to the appropriate section would be equally beneficial.
- Start with your hypothesis . Place it right at the top of the page – all of the subsequent sections will need to relate or address this in some way. The page doesn’t have to be too detailed since you are the only one who will be looking at these notes. Just make sure you understand it.
- Work down the template in the order it is presented above . Fill in all top-level sections and add sub-sections as necessary (e.g., I.a, I.b. II.a, II.b., II.c., etc.). We recommend you use a combination alpha-numerical dissertation outline because you will have a lot of information to organize, but this is a matter of personal preference. Use whatever format with which you are most comfortable.
- You might consider using a master outline for the entire work and working outlines for each chapter . The latter will help you focus on just one section at a time, a strategy which can help you stay organized and productive throughout the months-long writing process.
- Review each of your outlines and make adjustments prior to filling it in with all the remaining research content notes you have. It’s easier to do this now before you have to rethink and reorganize large pieces of text. The outline for thesis is a tool to facilitate your writing – but it won’t be of much help if you don’t structure it in a logical manner before getting to work.
- Now, you can flush out all of the details with key terms, phrases, and sentences to guide you through your first draft. Most students should look towards revising the outline(s) after completing the first draft. This may seem a little tedious but it really does help (as we’re certain you will see after completing the draft).
Professional Services to Help with Writing Outline
Creating a thesis outline is difficult, but it’s a challenge you can overcome when you seek out professional assistance . We can provide you with a custom template for your thesis statement and outline. We can also help you to write, revise, edit, and proofread your work anytime throughout the year. We know that the importance of earning a master’s degree and we ensure that our experts are always ready to go the extra mile to give the highest-quality support that you will find anywhere on the internet. Give us a call to discuss your project and unique needs, we’re glad to work within your budget and will always exceed expectations.
Tired of writing thesis on your own? Great news! Enter promo “ thesis20 ” and get a unique outline with 20% discount!
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How to Write a Master's Thesis
Last Updated: June 1, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 604,787 times.
Students learning how to write a Master's Thesis will first learn that a central thesis question must be presented and subsequently answered. A Master's Thesis will be the most prominent piece of your graduate work up to this point, and a pertinent thesis question that forms the spine of this work elevates it from the prosaic to the significant.
Choosing a Topic
- To get a degree - topic should be difficult enough, but manageable too.
- To enjoy the work - topic that you are truly interested in, something that you will not grow bored of after a short period of time.
- To get a job afterward - if you know what specifically you want to do after your studies and/or for which company, it might be useful to choose a topic, that will help with this goal.
- To be useful - thesis might actually be useful to help to make the world a little better place.
- Try thinking about your favorite subject of study - it may be a particular author, theory, time period, etc. Imagine how you might further the study of that subject.
- You might consider skimming through papers you wrote for your graduate courses and see if there is any apparent topic that you tend to gravitate towards.
- Consult with faculty members, favorite professors. They might have some good suggestions to write about. Generally, you'll be required to meet with your thesis advisor at least once before you start working.
- Consider consulting with industry partners. Your favorite company might have some work to do which might be done as a master's thesis. This might also help you get a job within the company afterward and maybe even some money for the thesis.
- If you want to help the world to be a better place, you might want to consult with your local non-profits and charities or check the Internet for possible thesis topics to write about.
- 3 Choose the right topic. From the possible topics generated in the previous step, find the one which best fits the objectives from the first step, especially the objectives most important to you. Make sure that you have a clear, specific, and organized plan on how to write a master's thesis which you will be able to then defend.
- Make sure that your question and the answers provided will provide original content to the body of research in existence. A judicious question will also keep research focused, organized, and interesting.
- Once you've formulated your topic and direction of inquiry, try formulating 5-10 different questions around your intended research. This forces you to think flexibly about your topic and visualize how small changes in wording can change the trajectory of your research.
- Usually, your committee chair will be in place before you formally start your thesis. They can help guide you and provide input into your project, so the earlier you can get their commitment, the better.
- Nothing is more frustrating than your thesis progress being held up by a professor who has too many obligations to make time to meet with you.
Selecting Your Texts
- For example, a novel written by Ernest Hemingway or a scientific journal article in which new results are documented for the first time would both be considered primary sources.
- For example, a book written about Ernest Hemingway's novel or a scientific journal article examining the findings of someone else's experiment would both be considered secondary sources.
- Use the in-text citation format appropriate to your discipline.  X Research source The most common formats are MLA, APA, and Chicago.
- Create a coordinating works cited or reference entry for each source you cite in the text of your document or in a footnote.
- Consider using a citation management software such as EndNote, Mendeley, or Zotero. These will enable you to insert and move citations within your word processor program and will automatically populate a works cited or reference page for you.
Planning an Outline
- Qualitative. This type of thesis involves completing a project that is exploratory, analytical, or creative in some way. Usually, students in the humanities will complete this kind of thesis.
- Quantitative. This type of thesis involves conducting experiments, measuring data, and recording results. Students in the sciences usually complete this kind of thesis.
- Signature page (with the completed signatures of your advising committee - usually attained at the defense, or after the project is deemed complete )
- Abstract - this is a short (one paragraph or so) description/summary of the work completed in your thesis
- Table of Contents (with page numbers)
- Body of paper
- Works Cited or Bibliography
- Any necessary appendices or endnotes
Moving through the Writing Process
- If you do not already have a review of literature written, it’s time to do your research! The review of literature is essentially a summary of all of the existing scholarship about your topic with plenty of direct quotations from the primary and secondary sources that you’re referencing.
Finalizing Your Thesis
- Many departments or programs provide a document template for theses and dissertations. If you have one of these, it may be easiest to use such a template from the beginning of your work (rather than copying and pasting your writing into it).
- Alternatively, ask a trusted colleague or friend to read over your thesis to help you catch any minor grammar/spelling/punctuation errors and typos.
- Some institutions require you to submit your thesis for a formatting check prior to uploading the document to ProQuest. Be sure to check with your department’s Director of Graduate Studies for specific instructions.
- Be aware of thesis submission deadlines, which are often well in advance of your graduation date. Late submission of your thesis may force you to push back your graduation date, which may affect your employment or continuing graduate studies.
Masters Thesis Outline
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- Remember why you are writing a Master's thesis and who will want to read and use the material. You write a Master's thesis for members of your community, so keep in mind that they will have extensive knowledge and experience before reading your work. Don't bore them with unnecessary material. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Choosing the perfect question before starting research will prevent frustration and save time. Rigorous effort on finding the perfect question is probably the most important task when learning how to write a Master's thesis. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Consult other people who have completed a Master's thesis and obtained a Master's degree. It can be a long, grueling process, and having the support and advice of someone who has already done it can be very valuable. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://umb.libguides.com/PrimarySources/secondary
- ↑ https://www.scribbr.com/citing-sources/in-text-citation-styles/
- ↑ https://www.unk.edu/academics/gradstudies/admissions/grad-files/Grad%20Files/ThesisGdlnsFinal08.pdf
- ↑ https://u.osu.edu/hackingthethesis/managing-stuff/your-content/outline/
- ↑ http://www.imm.dtu.dk/~janba/MastersThesisAdvice.pdf
About This Article
To write a master's thesis, make it a goal to write 500 words every day, which will help you meet your deadline without having to rush at the last minute. It's also helpful if you work in 25-minute increments and take a 5-minute break in between, which will make your work sessions less overwhelming. Also, figure out a writing time that works best for you, whether it's in the morning or at night, and stick with it so you're more productive. For more help writing your master's thesis, like how to make an outline, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Creating an Outline for Your Master’s Thesis
Your master’s thesis serves to explain the research that you have done during your time as a masters student. For many students, the master’s thesis is the longest document that they’ve ever written, and the length of the document can feel intimidating. The purpose of this CommKit is to cover a key element of writing your thesis: the outline.
2. Criteria for Success
The most important criterion for success is that you’ve shown an outline with your chapter breakdown to your advisor. Your advisor is the one that formally signs off on your thesis as completed, so their feedback is the most important.
Every master’s thesis will have the following elements.
- Introduction – Familiarize the reader with the topic and what gap exists in the field.
- Literature Review – Provide a detailed analysis of similar work in the field and how your work is unique. Master’s thesis literature reviews typically have at least 60 citations throughout the entire document
- Methods – Explain how you produced your results
- Results – Show your results and comment on their significance and implications.
- Conclusion – Summarize the methodology you used to generate results, your key findings, and any future areas of work.
Having an outline for your master’s thesis will help you explain the motivation behind your work, and also connect the different experiments or results that you completed. Furthermore, an outline for your master’s thesis can help break down the larger task of writing the entire thesis into smaller, more manageable chapter-sized subtasks.
4. Analyze Your Audience
The most important audience member for your master’s thesis is your advisor, as they are ultimately the person that signs off on whether or not your thesis is sufficient enough to graduate. The needs of any other audience members are secondary.
Ideally, a good master’s thesis is accessible to people that work in your field. In some cases, master’s theses are passed on to newer students so that that research can continue. In these cases, the thesis is used as a guide to introduce newer students to the research area. If you intend for your thesis to be used as a guide for new students, you may spend more time explaining the state of the field in your introduction and literature review. Additionally, your thesis will be posted publicly on DSpace , MIT’s digital repository for all theses.
5. Best Practices
5.1. identify your claims.
A key element to figuring out the unique structure to your master’s thesis is identifying the claims of your work. A claim is an answer to a research question or gap. Your thesis can have both a higher level claim and also lower level claims that motivate the research projects that you worked on. Identifying your claims will help you spot the key objectives which you want to highlight in the thesis. This will keep your writing on topic.
Some examples are shown below:
Gap/Question : There are no field-portable microplastic sensing technologies to measure their distribution in the environment.
→ Claim : Impedance spectroscopy can be used in a microfluidic device to rapidly distinguish organic matter from polymers.
Gap/Question: How effective are convolutional neural networks for pose estimation during in-space assembly?
→ Claim : Convolutional neural networks can be used to estimate the pose of satellites, but struggle with oversaturated images and images with multiple satellites.
5.2. Support Your Claims
Once you have identified your claim, the next step is to identify evidence that will support it. The structure of your paper will be very dependent on the claim that you make. Figure 1 and 2 demonstrate two different structures to support a claim. In one outline, the claim is best supported by a linear structure that describes the building, testing, and validation of a model. In another outline, the claim is best supported by a trifold structure, where three independent methods are discussed. Depending on the extent of the evidence, you could break this trifold structure into 3 separate chapters, or they could all be discussed in a singular chapter. The value of identifying claims and evidence is that it helps you organize your paper coherently at a high level. The number of chapters that are output as a result of your claim identification is up to you and what you think would be sufficient discussion for a chapter within your thesis.
5.3. Connect the Evidence to Your Claims with Reasoning
One common mistake that students make when writing their thesis is treating each chapter as an isolated piece of writing. While it is helpful to break down the actual task of thesis writing into chapter-size pieces, these chapters should have some connection to one another. For your outline, it is ideal to identify what these connections were. Perhaps what made you start on one project was that you realized the weaknesses in your prior work and you wanted to make improvements. For readers who were not doing the research with you, describing the connections between your work in different chapters can help them understand the motivation and value of why you pursued each component.
5.4. Combine Your Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning to Produce Your Outline
Once you have identified your claims, the evidence you have surrounding each claim, and the reasoning that connects each piece of your work, you can now create your full outline, putting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. An example outline is provided as an annotated example.
There are no requirements for minimum or maximum number of chapters that your master’s thesis can have. Therefore, when translating your outline to a literal chapter breakdown, you should feel free to use as many chapters as needed. If your methods section for a claim is extremely long, it may make more sense to have it be a standalone chapter, as shown in the attached annotated pdf.
6. Additional Resources
Every IAP, the Comm Lab hosts a workshop on how to write your master’s thesis. This workshop provides tips for writing each of these sections, and steps you through the process of creating an outline.
Resources and Annotated Examples
Example 1. structure diagram and table of contents, example 2. table of contents.
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- Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates
Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates
Published on 8 June 2022 by Tegan George .
A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical early 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.)
In the final product, you can also provide a chapter outline for your readers. This is a short paragraph at the end of your introduction to inform readers about the organisational structure of your thesis or dissertation . This chapter outline is also known as a reading guide or summary outline.
Table of contents
How to outline your thesis or dissertation, dissertation and thesis outline templates, chapter outline example, sample sentences for your chapter outline, sample verbs for variation in your chapter outline, frequently asked questions about outlines.
While there are some inter-institutional differences, many outlines proceed in a fairly similar fashion.
- Working Title
- ‘Elevator pitch’ of your work (often written last).
- Introduce your area of study, sharing details about your research question, problem statement , and hypotheses . Situate your research within an existing paradigm or conceptual or theoretical framework .
- Subdivide as you see fit into main topics and sub-topics.
- Describe your research methods (e.g., your scope, population , and data collection ).
- Present your research findings and share about your data analysis methods.
- Answer the research question in a concise way.
- Interpret your findings, discuss potential limitations of your own research and speculate about future implications or related opportunities.
To help you get started, we’ve created a full thesis or dissertation template in Word or Google Docs format. It’s easy adapt it to your own requirements.
Download Word template Download Google Docs template
It can be easy to fall into a pattern of overusing the same words or sentence constructions, which can make your work monotonous and repetitive for your readers. Consider utilising some of the alternative constructions presented below.
Example 1: Passive construction
The passive voice is a common choice for outlines and overviews because the context makes it clear who is carrying out the action (e.g., you are conducting the research ). However, overuse of the passive voice can make your text vague and imprecise.
Example 2: IS-AV construction
You can also present your information using the ‘IS-AV’ (inanimate subject with an active verb) construction.
A chapter is an inanimate object, so it is not capable of taking an action itself (e.g., presenting or discussing). However, the meaning of the sentence is still easily understandable, so the IS-AV construction can be a good way to add variety to your text.
Example 3: The I construction
Another option is to use the ‘I’ construction, which is often recommended by style manuals (e.g., APA Style and Chicago style ). However, depending on your field of study, this construction is not always considered professional or academic. Ask your supervisor if you’re not sure.
Example 4: Mix-and-match
To truly make the most of these options, consider mixing and matching the passive voice , IS-AV construction , and ‘I’ construction .This can help the flow of your argument and improve the readability of your text.
As you draft the chapter outline, you may also find yourself frequently repeating the same words, such as ‘discuss’, ‘present’, ‘prove’, or ‘show’. Consider branching out to add richness and nuance to your writing. Here are some examples of synonyms you can use.
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.
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 .
All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.
The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .
Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.
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Writing a Top Thesis Outline – Your Comprehensive Guide
A thesis paper outline is a simple way of ensuring that each of your paragraphs serves a specific purpose in your paper. All students need to master this writing tool as it helps you organize your work.
What is a Thesis Outline?
A thesis outline is an organizational tool that writers use in their academic and professional thesis papers. Like a blueprint for your essay, it forms the foundation of the entire writing process. It is used to structure the main ideas into a list of easy and quick to follow contents.
Creating a thesis outline is vital in the following ways:
It gives a precise organization of the ideas Identifies parts of the paper that need special attention It singles out sections that need to be reduced or omitted Helps create connections and transitions where necessary It enables a student to fit the ideas systematically
Having a clearly defined thesis statement is better than a thousand thesis writers being dispatched at your disposal.
Thesis Outline Template
Now, what will make or break your master’s thesis outline or senior thesis outline is understanding its structure. It is not enough to have what to write but how to register it as well. That is why you need this template when writing a thesis outline.
Thesis Outline Format
A conventional thesis paper will have the following sections:
- Introduction (contains the background and thesis statement)
- The body paragraphs
- The conclusion
To attain this thesis structure’s best, you have to understand each part’s significance and how it contributes to the overall thesis paper. Let us look at how to write a thesis outline while delving deep into every section.
Thesis topic outline
A topic is described as the trigger button of your paper. It will determine whether your reader will have the interest to read your thesis or not. Therefore, when you are thinking about your thesis topic, consider the following:
- It should be brief and to the point (Do not explain or illustrate, just state)
- Use the keywords provided in the assignment for your topic
- AVOID using punctuations at the end
- It should be an eye-catcher and act as a bait
For you to have a good thesis topic, it should offer a solution. Nobody wants to spend his precious time on a paper that does not address a prevailing societal problem.
- How to do a thesis statement outline
The thesis statement is written in the introductory paragraph. Since this is the main idea for your paper, there is no room for error. Start with an attention-grabber that will lead the reader to your thesis statement.
Example of an attention grabber : Did you know that the average person who stays at home every day consumes over 10 tons of calories in a week?
Sample thesis statement : Excess calorie is a contributing factor to the high obesity rates patients witnessed in hospitals.
When creating a thesis statement outline, ensure that it relates to your introductory paragraph’s first two or three statements. Let it come out clearly so that the reader is prepared for what is coming next in the paper’s body.
They are made up of arguments in support of the thesis statement. This section carries a lot of weight as it either persuades or turns off the reader. Here is an outline for thesis paper body paragraphs:
Identify the main points Look for supporting ideas or evidence Have a list of transitional words from one section to another
The body of a thesis consists of the Literature Review, Research Methods, Results, and Discussion. It is recommended to begin with the literature review first before proceeding to the other two sections.
Since the Discussion is the longest part of the thesis, ensure that you gather all the necessary information needed to furnish it. In this part, you will need to identify the following aspects of your research process:
- Limitations of your study,
- Explanations for unexpected results, and
- Identify any questions that remain unanswered.
Every argument should be crystal clear to prevent any doubt or object on the part of the reader.
- The Conclusion
Though it appears last, it is one of the most critical sections of your thesis. It is the chapter that shows whether you achieved your research objectives or not. In this part, you can point out the following:
Point out the challenges you encountered in your study Your lessons from the research Make recommendations for future research
The conclusion should be a point where you identify whether every hypothesis was met or objective was achieved. It is vital to note that this chapter should short and clear to the end. Now that you have argued your case make this as your final nail to the coffin.
How To Make a Thesis Outline – Step By Step Guide
A superb outline can ease your research process and make your thesis writing process quick and easy. When you are thinking of creating a thesis paper outline, consider the following steps:
Read and understand the question first. If your tutor has given you a topic or question for your thesis, ensure that you digest it well to understand what is required of you. It will help to align your thesis outline correctly. Check for similar thesis outlines on the same topic. You can Google for any reliable thesis outline example that is similar to your topic of research. By doing this, you will get a rough idea of what is expected of you. Consult with your professor on the thesis outline format for your institution. Different institutions have varying structures, and thus, you need to use one that matches your institution’s house style. Do not rush into creating the outline. Before you draft your strategy, ensure that you have all the essentials at your fingertips first. Since this will be your guiding principle, it should be devoid of any errors or bogus steps.
After setting your house in order, writing your thesis paper is now time for the real task.
If you did not know how to create a thesis outline, we hope that this writing guide has served that purpose for you. Nevertheless, we also have a thesis writing service that offers students with online assistance.
Get help with thesis outline at affordable rates today. You can also find a master thesis outline example from gurus who have been in this business for decades. What is holding you now?
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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 .
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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 .
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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Home » Thesis Outline – Example, Template and Writing Guide
Thesis Outline – Example, Template and Writing Guide
Table of Contents
Thesis outline is a document that outlines the structure and content of a thesis , which is a long-form academic paper that presents an original argument or research on a particular topic. The outline serves as a roadmap for the thesis, providing an overview of the major sections, sub-sections, and the general flow of the argument.
Thesis outline typically follows a standard format and includes the following sections:
- Title page: This page includes the thesis title, author’s name, department, university, and the date of submission.
- Abstract : This section is a brief summary of the thesis, highlighting the main points and conclusions. It usually contains around 150-300 words.
- Table of contents: This page lists all the chapters, sections, and subsections of the thesis, along with their page numbers.
- Introduction: This section introduces the topic of the thesis, presents the research question or hypothesis, and provides an overview of the methodology and the scope of the study.
- Literature review: This chapter provides a critical analysis of the existing literature on the topic, highlighting the gaps, inconsistencies, and controversies.
- Methodology : This section explains the research design, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques used in the study.
- Results : This chapter presents the findings of the study, using tables, charts, and graphs to illustrate the data.
- Discussion : This section interprets the results and relates them to the research question or hypothesis. It also discusses the implications, limitations, and future directions of the study.
- Conclusion : This section summarizes the main points of the thesis, restates the research question or hypothesis, and provides a final conclusion.
- References : This page lists all the sources cited in the thesis, following a specific citation style (APA, MLA, etc.).
- Appendices : This section includes any additional materials, such as questionnaires, interview transcripts, or raw data, that are relevant to the study but not included in the main text.
Thesis Outline Example
Thesis Outline Example and Template Sample is as follows:
- Background and Context
- Problem Statement
- Research Questions
- Objectives and Scope
- Significance of the Study
- Chapter Overview
II. Literature Review
- Introduction to Literature Review
- Theoretical Framework
- Previous Research on the Topic
- Critical Analysis of the Literature
- Summary and Conclusion
- Introduction to Methodology
- Research Design and Approach
- Sampling Strategy
- Data Collection Methods
- Data Analysis Techniques
- Ethical Considerations
- Limitations and Delimitations
- Introduction to Results
- Presentation of Data
- Analysis of Findings
- Discussion of Results
- Introduction to Discussion
- Interpretation of Results
- Comparison with Previous Research
- Implications and Applications of the Findings
- Limitations and Future Directions
- Summary of Findings
- Conclusions and Recommendations
- Contribution to the Field
- Implications for Future Research
- Survey Instrument
- Data Tables and Figures
- Institutional Review Board Approval
- Informed Consent Form
How to Write Thesis Outline
Here are some steps to follow when writing a thesis outline:
- Identify the purpose and scope of your thesis: Before you start writing, you should have a clear understanding of the research questions , objectives, and hypotheses of your thesis, as well as the specific requirements and guidelines of your institution.
- Organize your ideas into sections: Divide your thesis into logical sections, such as introduction, literature review , methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. Think about the main points you want to make in each section and how they relate to the overall theme of your thesis.
- Write a brief summary for each section: Write a few sentences summarizing the main ideas and objectives of each section. This will help you stay focused and avoid including irrelevant or redundant information.
- Create a table of contents: List the main sections and subsections of your thesis, along with their page numbers, to create a clear and organized outline.
- Review and revise your outline: Make sure your outline follows a logical and coherent structure, and that each section flows smoothly into the next. Revise your outline as necessary to ensure that it accurately reflects the content and structure of your thesis.
- Seek feedback from your advisor or committee: Share your outline with your thesis advisor or committee members to get their feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Purpose of Thesis Outline
The purpose of a thesis outline is to provide a clear and organized structure for your thesis, which will help you to:
- Stay organized : An outline helps you to break down your thesis into manageable sections, making it easier to plan your research and writing process.
- Ensure logical flow: A well-structured outline ensures that your thesis has a logical and coherent flow, with each section building on the previous one.
- Avoid duplication and irrelevant information: An outline helps you to avoid including duplicate or irrelevant information, ensuring that your thesis is focused and to-the-point.
- Meet institutional requirements: Many institutions have specific guidelines for the structure and format of a thesis, and an outline can help you to ensure that your thesis meets these requirements.
- Get feedback and guidance: An outline can be shared with your thesis advisor or committee members for feedback and guidance, helping you to refine your research and writing approach.
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What are the chapters in the outline for the bachelor and master thesis?
One look at the outline will make your supervisor curious. Very good, he thinks, balanced, thoughtful. Although he wanted to take only a quick look, he continues turning the pages and starts to read... The clock says it’s shortly before 10. His office hours start at 10. There are already some young people outside the door... Just read the introduction... a soft knocking on the door interrupts him. Now the clock says way past 10:00. Come in, he calls.
Carefully a student sticks her head through the door and asks quietly if there are office hours today. Yes, yes, he said, a little testy, like someone who was interrupted in the middle of his favorite show...
The author of this bachelor’s thesis must have done quite a few things right... That she receives an A is clear. But how did she do it? Well, she's got "just" a great outline... Her thesis was a real story, with a storyline and a finale. No wonder the supervisor couldn't put it down...
YOU can do that too!
You don't have to start from scratch. You can work with an outline template. It shows you the appropriate content chapter by chapter and helps build all the chapters on each other. Takes only 10 minutes of your time and familiarise yourself with it.
If you include these chapter headings in your text, the storyline is immediately visible and your thesis will end up "on the supervisor's bedside table".
Chapter 1 of the Outline: The Introduction chapter
Your introduction is like an apéritif before dinner to stimulate the appetite for the text. Your supervisor is curious, which puts him or her in a good mood.
Your first sentences draws him into the topic. Almost everyone understands it, can agree with it. Our patterns and examples in the Thesis Guide will help inspire you.
By the way, it is rumored that many supervisors only read the introduction and conclusion carefully then leaf through the rest. I can't really imagine that that’s true because they have to write a detailed report about it afterwards. But the rumor still persists.
Never mind how! Make sure that your introduction makes the best possible impression. Don't let it ruin your project. Stick to our examples, templates and formulations in the outline example. You will kill two birds with one stone: You have a plan for the entire thesis and you will have written the first pages, namely your introduction.
Chapter 2 of the outline: The theory chapter
The chapter that contains the theory is like the foundation of a house, everything depends on it. Describe all the important basics in the theory chapter. What should be in the theory chapter? All the important content for your text. It is best to follow the pattern for the theory chapter in our Thesis Guide.
By the way, with our guide, you will be finished with the theory chapter after ONE week, including all the reading. Simply adopt our five pages per day writing technique.
Chapter 3 of the outline: The state of research chapter
The chapter for the "State of research" incorporates the collection of previous knowledge about the topic. These sources are usually found in scientific studies rather than books. Write down which authors found out what and how they did so. If you assign a proper chapter to it, a very good grade is almost guaranteed.
You are inexperience in using scientific studies. Never mind. Simply fill out our review matrix from the Thesis Guide and follow our instructions. Then you'll be able to get a good grip on the chapter in a few days, even if your English isn't great.
Chapter 4 of the outline: The procedure or methodology chapter
Your supervisor wants to know how you proceeded, how you arrived at your results. That goes in this chapter. Describe the methods used and walk the reader through everything, step-by-step. Sounds simple... BUT: What is the method’s name? Where did you find it?
There is not only one method for the literature thesis but several that we have described in detail in our Thesis Guide. In addition, you will find examples and formulations so it’s easy to write the chapter in a few hours. It'll lift your spirits.
Chapter 5 of the Outline: The results chapter
Finally, it's getting exciting. So far you have only prayed for the best and copied from other sources. Finally, you are allowed to deliver your own findings. What kind of insight will this be? How will they make the world a better place?
If you have collected empirical data, the answer is clear. But what is the result in a pure literature thesis? What are the findings? The answer to this question is less obvious.
Searching for weeks or even months in sources for new findings does not lead to your personal findings. Logically, your results must be findings that are NOT yet in the sources... Most of the old theses aren’t useful here because they are not YOUR findings.
What will help you immediately is a detailed guide to answer your research question and sub-questions, with examples and formulations. Get our Thesis Guide with enough time that you can follow it from the start. Stick to our examples, instructions, techniques and formulations and your individual contribution will be a success.
Chapter 6 of the Outline: The Conclusion chapter
Finally, you’ve made it to the end! Your conclusion will complete the circle. Remember the rumor that supervisors only read the introduction and conclusion carefully... So they should go together very well. Do you want to look at an example of a great conclusion? You can find it in the Thesis Guide.
Of course, a great outline also requires writing a text without mistakes.
More tips for a great outline:
1. do not write more than 6 subchapters for one chapter.
Such a chapter is only a collection of short sentences, which can be safely summarized.
2. If there is a chapter 2.1, then chapter 2.2 is also necessary
Chapter 2.1 must always be followed by chapter 2.2. If you do not do so, the supervisor will see this mistake immediately and deduct points. But above all, it makes him or her doubt your seriousness and commitment because this beginner's mistake is evidence of negligence.
3. Do write more than 6 chapters with 60 pages
There is no fixed rule as to how many chapters may be included in a bachelor’s or master’s thesis, but the more chapters there are per fixed page number, the more unbalanced the chapters are likely to be. Five to six chapters of 60 pages are fine. For dissertations, there should also be no more than 10 chapters for 200 pages. The typical bachelor or master’s thesis is composed of the 6 chapters described above.
IMPORTANT: As soon as your supervisor gives you guidelines for the outline of your bachelor’s or master’s thesis, you must follow these instructions. Obviously the department’s requirements have priority!
These tips will help you captivate your supervisor with your work. And you have much less to do with your thesis.
Good luck writing your text!
Silvio and the Aristolo Team
PS: Check out the Thesis-ABC and the Thesis Guide for writing a bachelor or master thesis in 31 days.
Theses & dissertations.
Review the thesis deadlines, including deadlines for the initial format check and required forms.
Read over the Thesis and Dissertation Manual for an overview of document and format guidelines and more.
View the checklist of required documents for thesis submission.
Access needed forms for the thesis and dissertation process.
Format your thesis or dissertation using our thesis format templates.
Resources to Help You Through the Process
Whether you need to make an appointment or need guidance about copyright rules, the following resources are available to support you:
Spring 2024 Thesis Info Session Resources
- Watch the Thesis Information Session presentation
- Access the Thesis Information Session presentation slide deck
Virtual Thesis & Dissertation Appointments
The Graduate Education Thesis and Dissertation coordinator is offering virtual appointments for questions related to:
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- Read about copyright information
- Attend Library classes and events
- Learn about citation tools
- Connect with subject expert librarians
- Access Library theses and dissertation resources
Conducting & Communicating Research
- Including Previously-Published Work in Dissertation
- Effective and Responsible Use of AI in Research (updated October 30, 2023)
- Connect with the Naugle CommLab
Pathways to Graduation
Have questions about graduation? Not sure where to begin? The Office of Graduate Education has developed Pathways to Graduation , a self-guided Canvas course which helps to equip graduate students with the tools to succeed and experience a smooth, stress-free road to graduation.
Many policies related to this process are listed in Georgia Tech’s Policy Library. For international students, there are Office of International Education policies on enrollment and optional practical training that you’ll want to become familiar with.
Graduate Thesis Faculty Submission Form
Effective for the summer 2023 term, the policy on advisement of graduate students has been updated in the Catalog . Tenure-track faculty are members of the Graduate Thesis Faculty by default. All other Georgia Tech faculty must be approved by the program and submitted to the Office of Graduate Education. Departments must submit those names, once approved, via our submission form below.
Electronic Submission and Disseminating Your Work
Tech requires all theses and dissertations to be submitted electronically. Once it is approved by your committee, here’s what happens next:
- Visit the Electronic Thesis and Dissertations (ETD) Submission System . Please follow the instructions, and upload your approved thesis or dissertation as a PDF.
- Graduate Education will check your uploaded PDF and will notify you if there are any corrections. You must make the corrections, and resubmit the corrected file.
- If Graduate Education has all the required pre-thesis and thesis-related (or dissertation) documents, we will approve your thesis/dissertation and notify the Office of the Registrar that you are eligible to graduate.
- You and your committee members will receive an approval notice via Vireo/ETD. Approximately a month after you graduate, your thesis/dissertation will be released for electronic circulation.
- You can request that your thesis/dissertation be withheld from release for one year for intellectual property reasons. The Graduate Thesis Office ( [email protected] ) must receive a written request from your advisor approving your request at the same time as you submit your other thesis documents. The Request for Withholding form is available via DocuSign.
When you’re ready to share your work with the public, check out the Georgia Tech Digital Repository on disseminating your thesis or dissertation.
Phd proposal by jiashen cao, phd proposal by egan lua, phd defense by mikhail isaev, phd defense by yumeng zhao, ph.d. dissertation defense - anni lu.
Check our frequently asked questions (FAQ) to see if your question has already been answered. Else, contact Graduate Education at [email protected] .
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Example MS Thesis Outline
- describe what you trying to do
- clearly state the question being addressed
- when appropriate formulate a testable hypothesis
- Describe the motivation; who is interested in the solution.
- Summarize the results and their significance.
- Describe current understanding of the problem, existing solutions, and the barriers to these solutions.
- Review of the pertinent literature.
- Methodology: Describe the approach to addressing the problem
- Presentation of Work (Could be more than one chapter)
- Summary of results
- Recommendations: generalize conclusions to appropriate design decisions, practices and/or procedures
- Implications to existing knowledge/theory
- Implications for further study
- Future Work
- 15+ Thesis Outline Templates – Sample, Example
A thesis outline template is made to ensure that the plans for the creation of a thesis is put together in such a way that all the variables necessary to the scope of the study are considered appropriately. A thesis outline is a great help in making a great research analysis paper as it organizes the data as well.
Thesis Proposal Outline Template
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Thesis Outline Templates
- The topic of your thesis and the target audience.
- Then comes the introduction of the thesis and the thesis sample statement . The introduction includes a brief introduction to your thesis, and it should conclude with your thesis statement . A thesis statement is generally the last sentence of the introduction part.
- The body is the most important part of your thesis. Your entire content of the thesis should be included in the body of your thesis.
- Finally, the conclusion is written at the end of your thesis.
Free Thesis Statement Outline Template
- Then comes the introduction of the thesis and the thesis personal statement . The introduction includes a brief introduction to your thesis, and it should conclude with your thesis sample statement . A thesis statement is generally the last sentence of the introduction part.
Free Outline for Thesis Proposal Template
How to Create a Thesis Outline Template
- Be aware of the kind of thesis study that you would like to create so you can decide on the outline format that you may use.
- Download any of the outline templates that we have provided in this post so you can be guided by formatting the layout and content of your thesis outline plan template.
- Enumerate all the items that are needed to be present in your research and plot them accordingly on the formal template that you will use.
What Should a Thesis Outline Look Like
- It must contain the introduction of the research study.
- A literature review is essential to ensure the need for the study to push through.
- The research questions that need to be answered should also be stated.
- A methodological design must be included in the discussion within a thesis outline.
- The assessment sheet to be followed by the research study once information has already been gathered must also be presented
- Properly incorporate the way that a conclusion and recommendation may be stated based on the relation of the hypothesis to the results of the study. You can also see more on Email Outline .
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Guidelines in Creating a Thesis Outline
- Assure that the outline template that you will use may it be in MS Word format , PDF format , or MS Excel format is appropriate to the thesis or research study that you will conduct.
- Be precise with the items that you will put in the thesis outline and make sure that they are relevant to the study that you want to immerse yourself into. You can also see more on Sign Outline .
- Properly present the topic area which will generally be discussed and researched.
- Identify the reasons why the research is important. You can specify how it can benefit a community and the other stakeholders of the research activity.
- Be specific with the group of people to whom the results of the thesis will be highly usable.
- Your thesis outline must present the scope and limitations of the research interest. You can also see more on Memo Outline .
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