A very important element of research, particularly for students, is the thesis which constitutes a report of the work performed. A thesis allows the organization of thoughts and results, and also serves to fulfill institutional requirements. Judgments about how good is the work are based on the quality of the thesis, among other things. It is therefore essential to plan the thesis writing well in advance. Some of the essential steps in this process are summarized below.
- The first phase of the process involves locating a suitable research advisor and institution, determining overlap of interest, and then formulating the research plan.
- Attempt to anticipate all the tasks which will be involved and potential problems that you may encounter in consultation with your research advisor.
- Devise a thesis proposal, which is a short description of why and how the research is expected to be completed, and define the eventual goal.
- Before you embark on the actual work, perform a thorough search of existing literature which will help you put the proposed research in better perspective.
- Construct or learn to use suitable apparatus and acquire a working knowledge of experimental and/or theoretical frameworks before you attack the research problem.
- Once you begin the research, maintain detailed and clear notes at every stage so that these can be consulted when you begin writing the thesis.
- On completion of the work, appropriate conclusions should be drawn from the work which can be put in the discussions section of the thesis.
- The layout and format of the thesis should be decided before commencing writing. An outline of the front matter, body and concluding portions should be first prepared.
- Once the details are written up, the thesis should be reviewed by not just the research advisor, but also peers and other experts in the field. The quality of the writing can be improved using professional help.
- The final and critical part is the thesis defense: thoroughly revise every detail in the thesis and be prepared to field queries related to any aspect.
A well-planned and written thesis can be crucial to recognition by peers and also career advancement.