Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Guide to Thesis Writing

     Writing a thesis is different from writing a regular research paper.  It is in fact much longer, you need lots of outside resources, and you have to make a profound analysis.  When I needed to start my thesis papers I didn't really have any direction, no topics, no ideas, and no knowledge of how to go about writing a thesis.  So I've decided to make a mini-guide of the method and process I've created to writing them. 

1.  Topic: this depends on the professor.  For French we could write about anything, but for Spanish we had to use the books we read in class in our analysis.  I recommend googling ideas and doing broad research to get a starting point.  Once you have a direction it is easier to go to your professor and pose an idea to him/her, then they can help and guide you.

2.  Research:  start early!  And read sources as you get them!! It's much harder to read your sources when you have a stack of 10 articles and 6 books sitting in front of you.  It's better to spread things out and take things little by little.  Also an important note, the interlibrary loan system is AWESOME! That means that you can request a book from ANYWHERE (literally from anywhere from all over the world) and within a pretty short time you can get anything you need.  Articles are also so easy to get via ILL because the research librarian requests it for you and emails it to you in a couple days.   

Some of the books for my French thesis, I had about 4 or 5 more!

Again, some of the books for my Spanish thesis!

My articles for my French thesis

3.  Writing:  Actually getting down to writing is not as difficult as you might think.  First off you have to realize that what you first start to write is probably not what you'll keep.  The main goal at first is to write what you can!  When you start to write the ideas get flowing and it gets easier to keep going.  And always remember that you will definitely be revising and revising and REVISING! It seems like it never ends!!

4.  Revising:  Simply said, just keep reading, correcting, and rewriting.  It can only get better!  Here are some images of my French thesis and all the corrections and suggestions that I have received: 

It can be scary and daunting at times, but these corrections are only there to help me write a better essay!  So you have to relax and remember that it is not a personal attack on your writing skills or ideas, most times the corrections are exactly what your thesis needs. 

Good luck with exams and essays during Finals Week!


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