I want help with the structure of my thesis

The structure of your thesis will depend on the kind of the thesis you are writing. In some cases (particularly theses which are empirical, experimental, and/or qualitative in nature), there are conventional structures which are expected in the discipline. In these cases, thesis organisation has relatively few variations and is often based on the pattern: Introduction – Literature Review – Methodology – Results – Discussion – Conclusion.

In other cases (typically those dealing with ideas, concepts, theories and arguments), the structure will arise from the nature of the subject matter and your treatment of it. Thus, the organisation patterns of such theses are extremely varied, reflecting the research design or methodology, as well as such things as the individual stance of the writer. As a researcher in the Humanities, you have to make many decisions about the scope and focus of your thesis topic, and how best to present these aspects to your reader. You need to pay special attention so that your readers feel comfortable: they should always know which direction you are going in and why.

Since your thesis needs to show your own analysis of the literature and of any other evidence/data you might be using, you need to have a clear analytical framework (or set of analytical frameworks) to make your thinking clear to the reader. You may need to experiment with this framework in outline form several times before committing yourself to writing.

In certain stages of the development of your thesis argument, you may need to argue directly against other positions. It is important to introduce the argument and evidence backing up these other positions – this evidence will then be critiqued in order to argue against these positions. A sound critique will help to build a foundation for your own ideas.

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