SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING A THESIS

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2.3  Body of Text

The most typical pattern used in journal writing worldwide today is the IMRAD model: Introduction, Methods/Methodology, Results, And Discussion followed by your Conclusions. Many theses also follow this or a similar pattern, but you should discuss the organizational structure with your advisor at a number of stages, always making sure that you understand what is expected of you and your thesis.

NOTE: The following suggestions for consideration should not be construed as “fixed”. Ideas are listed here merely to provide you with some guidance and direction. You must develop your own organizational structure and have this approved by your advisor … the earlier the better.

what readers should expect

 

2.3.1 INTRODUCTION generally should …

what readers should expect

  • present the nature and the scope of the problem you investigated
  • provide a concise rationale for your research
  • state your purpose briefly and clearly
  • review the relevant literature briefly to orient the reader
  • refer to the research of other specialists in the field to give you credibility
  • state your method of investigation
  • state main results of your investigation
  • state your main conclusions

avoid a long review of other sources …
this should be done in the Review of Cited Literature part.

Introduction and Discussion sections generally function as a pair.

2.3.2 METHODS generally should …

what you used
what you did
how you did it

  • describe how you will carry out your fact finding
  • be presented in chronological order (most cases)
  • be precise
  • determine a method that is reproducible: provide enough detail so that a competent researcher can repeat the experiment

Is enough detailed information provided so that another competent researcher can replicate the results?

Introduction and Discussion sections generally function as a pair.

2.3.3 RESULTS generally should …

what you found
what you observed

  • present representative data (not endlessly repetitive data)
  • be in chronological order or in order of importance
  • ensure that all results are meaningful
  • describe the new knowledge

Results and Methods sections generally function as a pair.

2.3.4 DISCUSSION generally should …

what you learned

  • answer the questions posed in the Introduction
  • present the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown by the
    results: avoid repeating previous statements
  • point out any exceptions or lack of correlation
  • define unsettled points
  • show how your results and interpretations agree or contrast with
    previously published work
  • discuss both theoretical and practical applications
  • indicate what the findings tell us in relation to proving your hypothesis
  • discuss the significance of the Results

Discussion and Introduction sections generally function as a pair.

2.3.5 CONCLUSIONS generally should …

why the results are important

  • state your conclusions clearly
  • summarize the evidence for each conclusion
  • mention what you believe to be crucial in this line of research

Broad conclusions are sometimes made
about the efficacy or effectiveness of a particular method

2.3.6 RECOMMENDATIONS generally should …

what to do next
  • explain what needs to be done next to take this research to a higher level
  • discuss what type of studies future research should conduct that would likely answer some major remaining questions

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