Discussion: How to Write A Thesis

Discussion: How to Write A Thesis

Discussion: How to Write A Thesis


4.1 The Thesis/dissertation/capstone Contents

The thesis for postgraduate student should be between 15,000 to 25,000 words .The full document should include essential parts arranged as follows:

  1. Title page
  2. Approval sheet (not required)
  3. Acknowledgements (not required)
  4. Abstract
  5. Table of Contents
  6. List of Figures
  7. List of Tables
  8. List of Appendices (optional)
  9. List of Abbreviation and Symbols (optional)
  10. Main Body (Chapter-1 to 5)
  11. Bibliography/References
  12. Appendices
  13. Biographical Sketch


Detailed information about the above parts of thesis/dissertation/capstone:


  1. Title Page


The first page should be the title page comprising:


v The University name:

v The approved title of the thesis/dissertation/capstone.


v The student full name.


v The qualification for which the thesis is submitted and year of study.


v The college in which the work was operated, e.g. College of Administration and Financial Studies.

v The month and year of submission.


  1. Approval sheet (not required)


This page bears the name of the proponent/s and title of the thesis, together with the signature of the adviser, college dean and members of the oral defense panel. This page certifies that the thesis has been duly approved, and must bear the date of approval.


  1. Acknowledgements (not required)


Here is the opportunity for the student to express his/her thanks for any support, help, supervise and


assistance received during the production of the thesis/dissertation.





  1. Abstract


Abstract is a one page paragraph comprising a brief aims, methods, results, conclusions and if appropriate, key recommendations. There should be no citations in the paragraph. The abstract should be 300 to 500 words in length.


  1. Table of Contents


A sequential listing of all major parts of a thesis with corresponding page numbers should be done. Included in the table of contents are the titles of chapters, sections and subsections, bibliography and appendices. Also included are the titles of the preliminary pages as well as the required forms.



  1. List of Figures


List of charts, graphs, maps and other illustrations used in the thesis should be listed. The table number and its heading should also be listed on the appropriate contents page. Figures should also be numbered in sequence, using Arabic numerals. For example, the first figure in the third chapter is labelled Figure 3.1 [8].


  1. List of Tables


A comprehensive listing of titles of all tables found in the body of the thesis with indication of the corresponding page numbers should be done. Tables should be numbered in sequence, using Arabic numerals. For example, the third table appearing in chapter two should be labeled Table 2.3 [8].


  1. List of Appendices (optional)


An appendix or appendices, if any, should be after the bibliography. Appendices include original data, preliminary tests, tabulations, tables that contain data of lesser importance, very lengthy quotations, forms and documents, computer printouts and other pertinent documents. It must Appendices should be arranged chronologically as they are cited in the main text. Use capital letters of the English alphabet to track appendices, and always begin with the letter A [8].



  1. List of Abbreviation and Symbols (optional)


List separately and in numerical order, the list of abbreviations used in the main body of the text. It is


an optional section.







  1. Main Body


The main body of a thesis is divided into five (5) chapters, which may be further subdivided into


sections [6].



Chapter 1 – Introduction


This chapter serves as a backgrounder for readers to have an overview of the study even without prior reference to other publications on the topic. The introduction is the first chapter of the thesis and must include the objective/s and justification of the study as well as the limitations set by the proponent. The introduction is the proper place to define any specialized terms and concepts used in the thesis.


1.1 Statement of the Problem


The statement of the problem is the backbone of the research proposal. This is the main idea of the entire research project. This is a statement that you can prove with evidence/s. Well -constructed problem statements will convince your audience that the problem is real and worth having you investigates. Well-constructed problem statement defines the problem and helps identify the variables that will be investigated in the study.


1.2 Purpose/Objective of the Study


This section summarizes what is to be achieved by the study. This usually contains general and specific objectives. Research objectives are closely related to research problem.

1.3 Significance of the Study


This section describes or explains the potential value of the study and findings. It should be clear in here, the target audience for the study and how the results will be beneficial for them. It answer the questions – Why is it important? To whom it will be beneficial?


1.4 Scope and Limitation


This section sets parameters of the study. Limitations are the inherent problems encountered by the researcher, thus, stating the limitations of the study can be very useful for readers in interpreting the results of the study.


1.5 Hypothesis


Research hypotheses are the possible answer to the research problems or sub-problems. Good hypotheses are based on well-constructed research questions. It guides or supports the research to find an answer to the research problems. However, this is not a requirement for social science research instead a conceptual framework or theoretical framework is needed.


Chapter 2 – Literature Review


The review of related literature showcases previous studies and publications relevant to the research. This chapter gives light as to what motivated the proponent/s in pursuing the specific field of study. So, it is very important to know how to write the literature review, you have to:


  • Go through the relevant reference material in detail.


  • Write down some information from the selected reference, such as research methodology, tools of analysis, and also the main findings of the research with discussion.


  • Write the reference properly in the text, such as, numbering [1]……[2],…[3],..etc. Write down the reference information, which you will use in your text, and list under the list of references, such as: the name (s) of the author (s), year of publication, research title, name of the book, journal, etc, Volume x, No. x, P. x.








2.1 Conceptual Framework/Theoretical Framework


The conceptual framework is the outline or a diagram of preferred approach to the concepts (an idea or thought) used in the study. It shows all the variables included in the study. The theoretical framework, on the other hand, consists of theories, principles, and research findings -interrelated concepts – which are related to the study. This is the framework on how the study is organized or developed.


Chapter 3 – Research Methodology


  • Design if any


  • Data Gathering


  • Data Analysis


  • System Design and Development (if any)


  • Feasibility Study and Constraints


  • Design Trade-offs (if any)


  • You have to write in details the research procedures, which you have used during your research. (a)In physical sciences, the researcher should identify what experimental procedures and equipments that will be used in research to achieve the aim of research.(b)In social sciences, the researcher should collect data to test hypotheses and achieve the objectives.


Chapter 4 -Results and Discussion


The data should be well organized in the thesis. The logic sequence of the data reflects the understanding of the research idea and aim. Research requires some analysis and discussion of results. In scientific research, there is always some kind of connection between data and why you think that the data looks as it does. Often the researcher looks at the data gathered, and then comes to a conclusion of why the data looks like it does. It is important to use references during discussion to support your findings. Citation of the reference in the text and in the list of references is crucial matter. The citation procedures have been stated clearly in the literature review chapter.


Chapter 5- Conclusion and Recommendations


The conclusion is an important part of the thesis because it reflects the outcomes of the research and the key findings of the research, providing an explanation of their significance. The conclusions should be expressed logically from the results and discussion of thesis. Whilst a definite view should be put forward,













limitations of the study and any further work considered necessary should be identified if appropriate. Clear recommendations for application and future research should be addressed.


  1. Bibliography/References


List of all sources cited in the text, books, journals, and websites. The proper listing of references indicates and assures the ethics of the researcher. If the student fails to include any source, used in his/her research, in the references list, this will risk him/her being accused of plagiarism. Details about how to write the cited references are shown below.


References are the backbone of the thesis. All sources that have been used in the research must be referenced. It is important to identify the contributions of others and this will avoid the risk of plagiarism. The uses APA format.


The APA format


  • List of works cited should begin at the end of the paper on a new page with the centred title, Bibliography
  • Alphabetize the entries in your list by the author’s last name, using the letter-by-letter system (ignore spaces and other punctuation.) Only the initials of the first and middle names are given. If the author’s name is unknown, alphabetize by the title, ignoring any A, An, or The.


  • For dates, spell out the names of months in the text of your paper, but abbreviate them in the list of works cited, except for May, June, and July. Use either the day-month-year style (22 July 1999) or the month-day-year style (July 22, 1999) and be consistent. With the month-day-year style, be sure to add a comma after the year unless another punctuation mark goes there.


  • All APA citations should use hanging indents, that is, the first line of an entry should be flush left, and the second and subsequent lines should be indented 1/2″.
  • The APA guidelines specify using sentence-style capitalization for the titles of books or articles, so you should capitalize only the first word of a title and subtitle. The exceptions to this rule would be periodical titles and proper names in a title which should still be capitalized. The periodical title is run in title case, and is followed by the volume number which, with the title, is also italicized.


  • If there is more than one author, use an ampersand (&) before the name of the last author. If there are more than six authors, list only the first six authors and use et al. for the rest.












  • Place the date of publication in parentheses immediately after the name of the author. Place a period after the closing parenthesis. Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of

shorter works within longer works.




Books: Author’s last name, first initial. (Publication date).Book title. Additional information. City of publication:


Publishing company.


Allen, T. (1974). Vanishing wildlife of North America. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.


Boorst in, D. (1992). The creators: A history of the heroes of the imagination. New York: Random House.


Nicol, A. M., & Pexman, P. M. (1999). Presenting your findings: A practical guide for creating tables.


Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.



Encyclopedia& Dictionary: Author’s last name, first initial. (Date).Title of Article. Title of Encyclopaedia


(Volume, pages). City of publication: Publishing company.


Bergmann, P. G. (1993). Relativity. In The new encyclopaedia Britannica (Vol. 26, pp. 501-508). Chicago:


Encyclopaedia Britannica.


Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). (1993). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.


Pettingill, O. S., Jr. (1980). Falcon and Falconry. World book encyclopaedia. (pp. 150-155). Chicago: World Book.


Tobias, R. (1991). Thurber, James. Encyclopaedia Americana. (p. 600). New York: Scholastic Library Publishing.



Journal, Magazine & Newspaper Articles: Author’s last name, first initial. (Publication date). Article title.


Periodical title, volume number(issue number if available), inclusive pages.


Note: Do not enclose the title in quotation marks. Put a period after the title. If a periodical includes a volume number, italicize it and then give the page range (in regular type) without “pp.” If the periodical does not use volume numbers, as in newspapers, use p. or pp. for page numbers.


Note: Unlike other periodicals, p. or pp. precedes page numbers for a newspaper reference in APA style.





Harlow, H. F. (1983). Fundamentals for preparing psychology journal articles. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55, 893-896.



Henry, W. A., III. (1990, April 9). Making the grade in today’s schools. Time, 135, 28-31.











Kalette, D. (1986, July 21). California town counts town to big quake. USA Today, 9, p. A1.


Kanfer, S. (1986, July 21). Heard any good books lately? Time, 113, 71-72.


Trillin, C. (1993, February 15). Culture shopping. New Yorker, pp. 48-51.





Website or Webpage:


Online periodical:


Author’s name. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number, Retrieved month day, year, from full URL

Online document:


Author’s name. (Date of publication). Title of work. Retrieved month day, year, from full URL



Note: When citing Internet sources, refer to the specific website document. If a document is undated, use “n.d.” (for no date) immediately after the document title. Break a lengthy URL that goes to another line after a slash or before a period. Continually check your references to online documents. There is no period following a URL.


Note: If you cannot find some of this information, cite what is available.


Devitt, T. (2001, August 2). Lightning injures four at music festival. The Why? Files. Retrieved January 23, 2002, from http://whyfiles.org/137lightning/index.html


Dove, R. (1998).Lady freedom among us. The Electronic Text Center. Retrieved June 19, 1998, from Alderman Library, University of Virginia website: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/subjects/afam.html


Note: If a document is contained within a large and complex website (such as that for a university or a government agency), identify the host organization and the relevant program or department before giving the URL for the document itself. Precede the URL with a colon.


Fredrickson, B. L. (2000, March 7). Cultivating positive emotions to optimize health and well-being. Prevention & Treatment, 3, Article 0001a. Retrieved November 20, 2000, from http://journals.apa.org/prevention/volume3/pre0030001a.html


GVU’s 8th WWW user survey. (n.d.). Retrieved August 8, 2000, from http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/usersurveys/survey1997-10/



Health Canada.(2002, February).The safety of genetically modified food crops. Retrieved March 22, 2005, from http://www.hc- ilts, P. J. (1999, February 16). In forecasting their emotions, most people flunk out. New York Times. Retrieved November 21, 2000, from http://www.nytimes.com


  1. Appendices


All supported documents and forms should be included. Each appendix should be on a separate page, designated in sequence as Appendix A, Appendix B etc., listed in the table of contents and referenced within the main text. References should be provided for some appendices, which include data and published information.

  1. Anti-plagiarism and academic dishonesty

Runs plagiarism checking of the research thesis to avoid violation of the university rules for plagiarism .The threshold for similarity index for all submitted manuscript is 20%. Violation of these anti-plagiarism guidelines will be met with corresponding sanctions based on established penalties in the student handbook and faculty manual.

Assignment Policies



Please read all of the information about the assignments below:


The assignments are to be done in Microsoft Word with Times New Roman 12- point font. Each assignment should use the modified APA 6th edition format. The assignment templates are set up in this modified format. The reference page should be in the APA format for every reference. The word requirement for the assignments are specifically stated in the guidelines of the assignment. The word count is from the first word of the introductory paragraph to the last word of the conclusion paragraph. FYI.


1- There should be a cited reference for each section of a paper as there are conclusion statements in each section (to meet the grading criteria) so the conclusion should be supported by a reference as the assignments are evidence-based research, clinical papers.

2- Word Count- The word count is done from the first word of the introductory paragraph to the last word of the conclusion. The word count must be within the minimum and maximum word limit stated in the assignment instructions. A 10% – point reduction will be made in the total points for the assignment.

Week 1 and 5 assignments should have SIX studies. Week 5 assignment is a compilation of sections from the week 1, 2 & 3 assignments.

Weeks 2 and 3 need to have at least THREE studies in the form of research studies. Please make sure that you look at the instructions for the assignment as well as the grading rubric. I have also provided templates for ALL assignments. It is in your best interest to use these as it will guide you so that you do not make common formatting errors.


Please utilize the resources in the STUDENT SUCCESS CENTER if you have difficulty with APA 6th Edition format, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation or tense structure.


Always submit the assignment in the drop box for that assignment. I cannot accept any assignment as an attachment to an email sent to my college email. Attaching it to a posting to the Questions to Instructor Forum or the Individual Forum is also not accepted.

I cannot grade any assignment unless it is placed into the drop box by the student per university policy.

Turn-It-In / Lopes Write

This is to be used for the assignments for these three weeks (2, 3 & 5) and it is NOT required for Week 1. All assignments will be placed through Turn It In first and then submitted in the drop box on the course shell. No assignments will be accepted as attachments to emails as this is not the university policy.

Grading Rubric-

The rubric for each assignment is found in the upper right- hand corner of the assignment page under the Forum Tab. Compare the requirements of the rubric with your paper prior to submission into the drop box so you will receive full credit for all graded criteria of the paper.

Late Assignment-

Any assignment that is late will have 10% deducted each day it is late. This is a 5- week class. It is imperative that you ask for help if you are having difficulty with an assignment.

You need to contact me as soon as possible if an assignment will be late prior to the submission deadline.