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Where Can I Get Help Writing My Thesis Online?

thesis writing skills

You’ve spent years preparing for your master’s degree or PhD. You’ve read, studied and spent hours of time and energy writing papers. Now you’ve arrived at the culmination of all this effort: writing your thesis. There are plenty of compelling stories about the time and energy that students have spent drafting their dissertations and theses.

The good news is that you’re not alone. While you certainly don’t want to hire someone to write your thesis for you, which goes against most institution policies and puts your academic integrity at risk, you can get plenty of help with certain aspects of your thesis online. Whether you’re looking for a little guidance or extensive assistance, various services can make writing or editing your thesis go smoothly.

Dissertation Editor

One of the greatest challenges of writing your thesis can be juggling your family or job responsibilities with your studies. The time that writing takes can add another layer of obligation to your already-packed schedule. Dissertation Editor is a company whose founder is a PhD-educated writer and professor, and it promises to help you complete your thesis or dissertation on time and in compliance with your university’s rules and regulations.

thesis writing skills

Dissertation Editor’s primary function is to guide you along in the writing process and provide a helping hand in understanding everything you need to take care of. It places you with a writer who specializes in your area of study, and this individual can help you organize and analyze your research while making sure that your thesis fits your writing style and personality. This company also specializes in helping with any statistical analysis that you use in your thesis.

Thesis Helpers

If you’re concerned about using a service to help you write your thesis because you think it’ll be obvious that you hired help, don’t worry. Thesis Helpers puts its team of experienced writers to work for you to help you craft a thesis that finishes your degree on a high note. No matter what level of help you need, from narrowing down a topic to advanced editing and proofreading, they’re available to help.

thesis writing skills

The writers have advanced degrees in their areas of expertise, and one of the best things about Thesis Helpers is that it gives you ultimate say in the final product of your thesis. This company can help you with revisions and additional research, and you can rest assured that your thesis will meet anti-plagiarism standards.

Best Dissertation

Sometimes when you’re writing a thesis or dissertation, you can get stuck on one section or chapter. You may not need assistance writing the whole thing, but getting some help with the exact portion you’re struggling with can come in handy. That’s one of the strengths of using Best Dissertation . You don’t have to rely on it for help with your entire thesis if it’s not what you need.

thesis writing skills

Like most of the top thesis-assistance services, Best Dissertation employs writers with advanced degrees who specialize in various fields of study. What truly sets this company apart is the live support that it offers any time of the day or night. It claims to take the stress and strain out of writing your dissertation or thesis.

While some companies place a premium on helping you get your thesis written, others emphasize the editing and proofreading process. If you don’t need help with writing but need a hand with proofreading and editing, Scribbr is a good option for you. Its editors can help you get a grasp on the grammar and tone that are appropriate for academic writing.

thesis writing skills

Scribbr doesn’t just provide boilerplate feedback that you can find anywhere. It offers personalized feedback aimed at helping you become a better writer in the long run. You can even see examples of how its editors work by looking at the company’s website.

My Assignment Help

Writing a thesis has its own challenges that other academic writing simply doesn’t, which is why the team at My Assignment Help offers its particular brand of expertise. If you need assistance with a dissertation or thesis at the PhD or master’s level, its writers have the level of education and experience to help you write an expertly crafted and edited thesis.

thesis writing skills

My Assignment Help prides itself on hiring subject matter experts, meaning you can pair up with a helper who already has an advanced degree in your field. They understand the nuances of academic writing that are specific to your area of study, and they can provide advice on everything from making your abstract more unique to crafting a thought-provoking conclusion.


thesis writing skills



Writing a Dissertation or Thesis

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The aim of the dissertation or thesis is to produce an original piece of research work on a clearly defined topic.

Usually a dissertation is the most substantial piece of independent work in the undergraduate programme, while a thesis is usually associated with master's degrees, although these terms can be interchangeable and may vary between countries and universities.

A dissertation or thesis is likely to be the longest and most difficult piece of work a student has ever completed. It can, however, also be a very rewarding piece of work since, unlike essays and other assignments, the student is able to pick a topic of special interest and work on their own initiative.

Writing a dissertation requires a range of planning and research skills that will be of great value in your future career and within organisations.

The dissertation topic and question should be sufficiently focused that you can collect all the necessary data within a relatively short time-frame, usually about six weeks for undergraduate programmes.

You should also choose a topic that you already know something about so that you already have a frame of reference for your literature search and some understanding and interest in the theory behind your topic.

There are many ways to write a dissertation or thesis.

Most universities and colleges provide very specific guidance to their students about their preferred approach.

This page, and those that follow, are designed to give you some ideas about how you might carry out your literature review , and then write each of the various sections of your dissertation in the absence of, or in addition to, any specific guidance from your university.

Organising your Time

However organised you are, writing your dissertation is likely to be one of the most challenging tasks you have ever undertaken.

Take a look at our pages on Organising your Study Time and Organisation Skills , as well as Project Management Skills and Project Planning , to give you some ideas about how to organise your time and energy for the task ahead.

General Structure

Like an academic paper for journal publication, dissertations generally follow a fairly standard structure. The following pages discuss each of these in turn, and give more detailed advice about how to prepare and write each one:

  • Research Proposal
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusions and Extra Sections

Particularly for master's programmes, your university may ask for your thesis to be submitted in separate sections, rather than as a single document. One breakdown that is often seen is three-fold:

Introduction and/or Research Proposal , which should set out the research question that you plan to explore and give some ideas about how you might go about it. If you are submitting it as a research proposal, it will be fairly sketchy as you won’t have had a chance to review the literature thoroughly, but it should contain at least some theoretical foundation, and a reasonable idea of why you want to study this issue;

Literature Review and Methodology , which are often combined because what you plan to do should emerge from and complement the previous literature; and

Results and Discussion , which should set out what you actually did, the results you obtained, and discuss these in the context of the literature.

You will probably have an overall word count for the total dissertation or thesis. If you are required to submit in sections, ensure that you have left yourself enough words for the Results and Discussion. It is easy to get carried away with the literature review.

As a general guide, use the marking scheme to show you the approximate split for the word count. For example, if the introduction is worth 20%, and each of the other two submissions 40%, for a total word count of 10,000 words, the introduction should be at most 2,000 words, and each of the other two around 4,000 words.

If you’re submitting your dissertation as a single piece of work, and not in separate submissions, you may find it easier not to write it in order.

It is often easier to start with the literature review and then write the methodology .

The introduction may be the last part you write, or you may wish to rewrite it once you’ve finished to reflect the flow of your arguments as they developed.

One of the best ways to write a dissertation is as you go along, especially the literature review.

As you read each reference, summarise it and group it by themes. Don’t forget to reference it as you go!

You should be used to referencing by the time you write your dissertation but if you need a refresher then see our page: Academic Referencing .

Writing Style

Dissertations and academic articles used always to be written in the third person, and in the passive voice; as an example, you might write ‘ An experiment was carried out to test… ’

However, many journals have now moved away from that convention and request first person and active voice, which would require you to write ‘ I carried out an experiment to test… ’

Check with your university about their requirements before you start to write.

If you cannot find any guidelines, then ask your supervisor and/or the person who will be marking your thesis about their preferences. Make sure that the voice and person are consistent throughout.

Whatever style is preferred, aim to keep your language simple and jargon-free. Use shorter, simpler words and phrases wherever possible. Short sentences are good as they are easier to follow. Any sentence that runs to more than three lines needs to be cut down or split.

Phrases to avoid include:

Remember the Golden Rule

K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple, Stupid

The Role of your Academic Supervisor

The role of your supervisor is to supervise your work. It is not to do it for you, nor to tell you how to do it.

However, their academic reputation is bound up in the results of the students that they supervise so they have a vested interest in helping you to get the best possible marks. You should therefore not feel shy or embarrassed about asking them for help if you get into difficulties, or if you need some advice.

Academics tend to take a highly personal approach to supervision. Some will be prepared to spend a lot of time with you, talking about what you are planning to do by way of research and your emerging findings. Others will have very little contact with you, apart from being prepared to read a draft of your dissertation.

It’s worth spending a bit of time building up your relationship with your supervisor (have a look at our page on Building Rapport for help). It’s also worth discussing and clarifying with them exactly what they are prepared to do to support you, and in particular practical details such as:

How often are they prepared to meet with you during your research?

How quickly will they respond to emails asking for advice and/or guidance?

How much time do they need to review drafts of work?

How many drafts of your work are they prepared to read? University guidelines usually say ‘a first draft’ but many academics are prepared to read a preliminary draft to check that you are on the right track, and then a more polished version.

Having reviewed a draft, will they send you comments by email, or would they prefer to meet to discuss it?

One final piece of advice about your supervisor: if you don’t get on, then change supervisor. But do so as early as possible. Nobody wants you or your supervisor to struggle with the relationship, but they won’t be very sympathetic if you’re asking for a change a month before your deadline.

Formatting and Templates

If your university has a required format for a dissertation, and particularly if they supply a template, then use it! Start your writing straight into the template, or format your work correctly from the start. There is very little worse than cutting and pasting your work frantically into a template 10 minutes before your submission deadline. Templates are designed to make your life easier, not harder.

You will also need to format the references in the university’s preferred style. It is easier to do this as you go along. If the format is MLA, APA or Chicago, you can use Google Scholar to format it for you: search for the article title, then click on ‘cite’. This will save you typing out all the names, and can also be used, with minor tweaks, for other formats. But beware: it’s not always right! If it looks odd, check the original source.


You’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to proof-read your work, to make sure that you haven’t made any stupid errors, and that it all flows correctly. This is likely to take longer than you think. You’ll also need to do this when you’re fresh, not last thing at night when you’re tired.

If possible, try to find a friend or fellow-student in the same position with whom you can swap dissertations for proof-reading. Fresh eyes are likely to spot errors much more effectively than those who already know what it should say.

Language Editing

The international language of academic publishing is English and many universities require their students to publish their dissertations in English. If your first language is not English, this is going to be a problem because your English will almost certainly not be up to the task. You have two choices about how you approach this:

You find a native English speaker , perhaps a fellow student, who is prepared to read your thesis for you and help you improve the English (preferably for free, or at least for the price of not much more than a meal and a few drinks); or

You pay an editor to do the work for you. This will not be cheap; the going rate for high quality academic language editing is about $7 per 250 words. You can find professional language editors via the websites of publishers of academic journals such as Emerald and Springer.

You will need to ensure that you build in sufficient time to allow someone else to read over your work. Nobody, not even if you are paying them, is going to want to stay up all night to edit your work because you left it too late. Many will also prefer not to work at weekends. Allow at least two weeks for professional language editing.

A Note on Plagiarism


If you are found to have plagiarised you will be heavily penalised and will probably lose your degree.

Ways to avoid being caught out inadvertently include:

  • Never copy and paste from a journal article. Always summarise it in your own words, which also helps to make sure that you have understood it.
  • If, for the sake of time, you want to copy and paste specific sentences which sum up the argument particularly well, always put them in quotation marks in your summary, with the source, so that you will remember that they are direct quotes and need to be acknowledged as such.

See our page: Academic Referencing for more information.

This page sets out general advice on issues connected with writing a dissertation, also known as a thesis.

The following pages set out in more detail how to approach each section of your dissertation, including the Literature Review , Methodology , Results and Discussion .

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See also: Research Methods Dissertation Conclusions and Extra Sections Printing and Binding a Thesis: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide

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Writing a thesis is a substantial undertaking : it takes discipline, organisation and most of all, time, to produce a high-quality thesis. You may worry about many aspects of it, like whether you have done enough reading or gathered enough data, but as with most PhD students in your position, you’re most likely overthinking it. You have worked on this research for years, so you can be sure that you do have enough data and you have read enough. The final worry is how to actually write it. Let’s discuss three of the best practices to help you prepare for this.

Read more – and better

A thesis is, in essence, an enormous journal paper . Usually split into Introduction , Methodology, Results and Analysis/ Discussion chapters, the overall structure of a thesis follows a similar formula to that of a paper. It therefore follows that you can take inspiration from academic papers in your field to help you structure the flow and language of your thesis. 

The next time you read a paper, don’t think only about the content, but also how it is written, structured and presented. You want your thesis to have a certain narrative , to be easy to read and to follow similar stylistic and linguistic conventions to what academics in your field will be used to. Already existing publications are a valuable resource for you to tap into.

Write more frequently

The single best way to get better at anything is to practise frequently and consistently, and writing is no different. Find ways to can get involved in any writing, whether it is a paper your lab is working on, a personal or professional blog post or an article on online platforms like LinkedIn. You will become more familiar with your writing habits , your own voice as a writer and any weaknesses you might identify along the way, so you can focus on addressing them and refining your writing skills. 

Seek (relevant) feedback

Finally, do not be afraid to ask for feedback from your supervisor, colleagues, friends and family. Your writing will probably require a high level of technical detail, but should still be readable for diverse audiences . A great way to gain an understanding of how you’re doing in this regard is to ask as varied a group of people for as much feedback as you can, so as to identify areas that may require refinement.

Writing comes easily to some, and less easily to others. The key to improving your writing is understanding the level you are currently at, and identifying what needs improvement. Compare your own writing to published papers, and learn from feedback. Practise as much as you can, and you’ll no doubt be successful in writing your thesis.

Read next in series:  PhD Writing 3: How to write the introduction chapter of a thesis

Read previous in series: PhD Writing 1: Things you should do in preparation for writing your thesis

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What Are the Skills Needed for Writing a Dissertation or Thesis?

Dissertation Writing Skills


From Research to Writing: Essential skills for academic writers

thesis writing skills

Academic writing is a unique form of writing that requires a set of skills and abilities that not every writer possesses. From research and critical thinking to writing, editing , and communication, an academic writer must be proficient in various areas to produce quality academic work. But what skills make an excellent academic writer? Let’s explore the critical skills necessary to become an outstanding academic writer and how they can be developed and enhanced.

Intellectual Curiosity and Research Skills: The foundation of academic writing

Intellectual curiosity drives an academic writer to explore, question and seek answers to complex problems. It is the foundation of academic writing, and without it, the writing becomes dull and uninteresting. 

Research skills are equally crucial in academic writing. They enable an academic writer to gather and analyze information from various sources, making the writing comprehensive and evidence-based. To be an excellent academic writer, it is essential to develop and hone intellectual curiosity and research skills continually.

Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills: Evaluating and judging based on evidence

Academic writing requires an in-depth analysis of complex problems and ideas. Therefore, critical thinking is necessary to evaluate and make judgments based on evidence. 

Analytical skills also play a critical role in academic writing. They enable an academic writer to break down complex information into smaller parts, making it easier to understand and evaluate. An excellent academic writer must develop and enhance these skills continually.

Writing and Communication Skills: Expressing ideas and arguments clearly

Academic writing requires a specific style and tone, which must be engaging and informative. An excellent academic writer must be able to express ideas and arguments concisely and clearly.

Communication skills are equally crucial in academic writing. They enable an academic writer to articulate ideas and arguments to a broad audience. To become an excellent academic writer, it is essential to improve writing and communication skills continually.

Time Management and Organization Skills: Ensuring efficiency and productivity

Academic writing requires a significant amount of time and effort. Therefore, time management is essential to ensure that deadlines are met, and the writing process is efficient and productive.

Organization skills are also necessary to keep track of research, notes, and drafts, making the writing process more manageable. Techniques such as creating a writing schedule and prioritizing tasks can help an academic writer manage time and stay organized.

Subject Matter Expertise: Knowing the topic inside and out

Subject matter expertise is essential to have a deep understanding of the topic being written about to produce quality academic work. An excellent academic writer must be well-read and up-to-date on the latest developments in their field. 

Techniques such as attending conferences, reading academic journals, and collaborating with colleagues can help an academic writer develop and enhance their subject matter expertise.

Editing: The importance of reviewing and polishing academic writing

Editing academic work involves reviewing and polishing the writing to ensure that it is clear, concise, and error-free. It is an essential step in the writing process that helps an academic writer produce quality work. Techniques such as taking a break between writing and editing, reading the writing out loud, and seeking feedback from colleagues can help an academic writer effectively edit their work.

Becoming an excellent academic writer requires a unique set of skills and abilities. Intellectual curiosity and research skills are necessary to explore complex problems and gather evidence. Critical thinking and analytical skills are necessary to evaluate and make judgments based on evidence. Writing and communication skills are necessary to express ideas and arguments clearly, while time management and organization skills ensure efficiency and productivity in the writing process. Subject matter expertise is necessary to have a deep understanding of the topic being written about. And, lastly, editing is a crucial step in the writing process that helps an academic writer produce quality work.

While some of these skills are inherent, others can be developed and enhanced through practice and dedication. Academic writers must continually improve and hone these skills to produce quality academic work that contributes to the advancement of knowledge in their respective fields. By mastering these skills, academic writers can produce work that is informative, engaging, and well-researched, making a significant impact in their fields of study.

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Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.


A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. 


A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. 


If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Learning Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis,  ask yourself the following:

  • Do I answer the question?  Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that has missed the focus of the question.
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose?  If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough?  Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific:  why  is something “good”;  what specifically  makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test?  If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering?  If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test?  If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.
  • Source:  http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/

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What skills are required for academic writing?

At some point in your academic career, you’ll need to write an academic paper , whether it’s a report, an essay, a dissertation or a thesis. when it’s time to write that paper, you may feel stress about writing it properly or on time, particularly if you haven’t written a paper in a long time or if you’ve struggled with writing papers in the past. in this article, we’ll share how to improve your academic writing skills so you can focus on building your strengths in those areas, which will help reduce your stress the next time you need to write a paper., time management.

Whether your deadline is in one week, one month or one year, time management when you’re writing an academic paper is vital. Academic writing involves many steps, and you must ensure that you leave enough time for each of those steps so you don’t have to rush through the end of the process. Make sure you allocate sufficient time for your research, outlining, writing and editing to avoid late nights or sloppy work.

For some types of academic writing, such as academic reports, dissertations and theses, it’s impossible to write the final product without doing research first. Unless your task is, for example, to write a personal reflection on something from your childhood or a sample business email, learning to research will be critical when looking to improve your academic writing skills. That means you’ll need to know what kinds of sources are trustworthy, how to access those sources and what kinds of information to save from those sources so you can cite them correctly. If you’re not sure where to go to find trustworthy information, start at your library’s reference desk. To know what kind of information you’ll need to cite your sources, talk to your instructor or the journal you’re submitting your paper to and determine which style guide (e.g. APA, Chicago, MLA) they prefer, then search online for information about that guide.

Developing an argument

When you write an academic paper, you’ll need to have a clear idea of your thesis statement, which is the main idea or argument you’re trying to convey. To write a compelling paper, it’s important that you spend some time thinking about the points you want to make and how you’ll go about convincing your audience that your argument is valid. Usually, you’ll do so by relying on the research you’ve conducted to back up your statements and making sure you can form a rebuttal to any counterarguments.

Knowing your audience

Academic papers are generally read by your professors or classmates or, if you’re writing for a journal, those in the wider academic community or field. Individuals with strong academic writing skills always consider who they are writing for. As you write, think about who’ll read your paper and tailor your argument and writing style to those readers. If you’re writing a paper that’ll be read by your classmates, who may not have a high-level understanding of the topic, make sure you include information that will help them understand the topic you’re covering. If you’re writing a journal article that will be read by researchers, you can probably use higher-level terms and information.


Organizing the information in your paper is vital to crafting a compelling, well-written document. Most types of academic papers follow similar formats (e.g. dissertations and papers describing studies include an introduction, background information, materials and methods, results, a discussion and a conclusion). Keep your paper well-organized in sections while you write will help you ensure that you’re making your argument and avoid repeating information. In addition, keeping your notes organized while you’re conducting your research will help you enormously when it’s time to start writing and compiling your reference list. By taking the time to make sure you stay organized throughout the writing process, you can significantly reduce the amount of stress you feel.

Writing clearly and consistently

Even if you have conducted your research, developed a winning argument, organized your time well and determined who your audience is, you must make sure you write clearly and directly looking to improve your academic writing skills. Academic writing requires a formal tone and proper grammar, but that doesn’t mean you should use five words when one will do. Keep your writing straightforward and clear, and don’t include any information that isn’t absolutely necessary to support your argument.

Using correct grammar, punctuation and spelling

Finally, the importance of using correct punctuation, grammar and spelling can’t be overstated. Although you might have a perfectly good, scientifically sound argument, if your audience can’t read your paper because the grammar is atrocious, they won’t pay any attention to it. Check out our guides to English grammar for a refresher and some tips, and consider having someone check your document before you submit it to check for any lingering mistakes.

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Guided Learning: Thesis writing

thesis writing skills

First determine your level for your thesis writing skills

Complete the self-assessment rubric Thesis writing to find out what your level is and to assess your progress. This self-assessment has been developed by the TU/e and serves as a guide for you as you work through the process of writing your thesis.

The first set of questions is intended to get you thinking about your thesis and what you have done so far or what you might still consider doing.

Now you can continue with the self-assessment rubric, which can be used in various ways: Use it as a guide to plan the structure of your overall thesis before you even start writing, as a checklist while writing, or it could serve as a tool/ checklist when you do the final edit of your writing. Take the assessment here.  

Use these resources that accompany the self-assessment to view an example of each section in which structure and language is highlighted.   

Example of an Abstract

Example of an Introduction

Example of a Method section

Example of a Results section

Example of a Discussion section

Verb tenses  

Read Becoming a Better Academic Writer for tips on how to get started and become a better writer

Use the content in the SkillsLab library to find other resources that you need.

Both the guided learning section as well as the Skills library can lead you to a vast range of resources for general academic writing as well as thesis writing at all levels. Search with these tabs: thesis writing, introduction section, methods (or any of the sections of a thesis) , tenses, use of sources, punctuation etc.

An example of an excellent resource to use while writing your thesis is The academic phrasebank . This website is organized according to the main sections of a research paper. The sections and the detail provided can be used simply to assist you in thinking about the content and organization of your own writing, while the phrases can easily be incorporated into your writing where appropriate.

Ask for guided peer review

Use the guided peer review tasks in the SkillsLab library to ask fellow students to review a piece of your writing. For feedback to be helpful, there are a couple of things to consider: Your writing improves when feedback is limited to only a few aspects per draft. Furthermore, your writing improves more quickly when you apply the feedback straight away, rather than waiting until the end of the writing process.

Remember, peer review is not only beneficial to receive but it is also beneficial to give; it teaches you to become a critical reader and ultimately, a better writer.

Finally, if you still can’t find the answer to your question, don’t hesitate to ask by contacting the Guild Leader for Academic Writing Skills.

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Thesis writing is a skill that every PhD candidate must acquire to convey his or her research findings clearly. The main objective of this paper is to facilitate the thesis writing pro cess  so that PhD candidates understand what a PhD  thesis  is and  can  write their thesis correctly and scientifically. The methodology used in this research was descriptive as it discusses and describes the various parts of thesis writing process and explains how to do it in a very simple and understanding language. As thus, this article outlines the various steps of thesis writing to guide the PhD candidate so that the task of PhD thesis writing becomes manageable and less daunting. This research is a useful roadmap especially for students of the social sciences studies. Further, in this paper, research procedure and thesis writing strategies are explained in a simple manner. This paper adopts a how-to approach when discussing a variety of relevant topics ,  such as thesis introduction, types of introductions, introduction statements, problem statement, research questions, hypothesis and contributions of the study. This paper has 5 parts :  Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results and Conclusion. The introduction chapter is discussed in this paper. I will discuss the rest as a series in the future.

Thesis Writing Process , Learning and Teaching , PhD , Social Science , Research Methodology , Introduction

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1. Introduction

Before you write your introduction, you must know what a research is first. It makes every stage of writing easier. Research is defined as a premeditated investigation using scientific methodology (quantitative, qualitative, experimental, observation and so on) to solve a serious problem (not ordinary problem), thus creating additional (new) knowledge. Research is also regarded as an inquiry of reality about something by testing a hypothesis, answering questions, generating new queries, finding solutions, and creating new knowledge. The new knowledge must be applicable/defensible and challengeable by other researchers, besides lending itself to generalization. For a piece of exploration to qualify as a research, it must pass through a set of rigorous examinations, such as validity (logical procedure to answer a question), reliability (quality of measurement), and unbiased conclusion (adequate measures are taken to make sure that it is free from individual interest). As such, a PhD thesis must meet the above conditions of a scientific research procedure (Mincu, 2015) .

2. Problem Statement

Thesis writing is a skill that every PhD candidate must acquire to convey his or her research findings clearly. Unfortunately majority of PhD candidates find it difficult to finish their thesis on time because of confusion and lake of expertise. Most of them in deed do not know how to write the PhD thesis correctly and scientifically.

3. Objectives

1) To help PhD candidates in writing scientifically correct PhD thesis.

2) To describe PhD thesis writing process.

3) To assist PhD candidates to understand what PhD means.

4. Methodology

The methodology applied in this research was descriptive as it discusses and describes the various parts of PhD thesis and explains the how to do of them in a very simple and understanding language. Descriptive analysis is applied to explain the basic features of thesis writing process (García & Fombona, 2015) . Descriptive method is very useful in providing basic summaries of the chapters (Al-Raqqad et al., 2017) . The following are the process of PhD thesis writing process.

4.1. Introduction Writing Process

An introduction is the most difficult parts of a PhD thesis. The introduction opens a dialogue with your examiner or reader. As such, a good introduction is critical to capturing the attention of your readers and engaging their interest in your research. Your introduction must convince your reader that you are the right person among thousands of researchers. You must also show your reader how you going to fulfil their needs and what exceptional benefits they can get from you as a researcher. You should convince your readers that you are an authority on the subject of investigation (Faryadi, 2017) . Consult your supervisors or your department about the format of your thesis before starting to write. Institutions may vary in their requirements with regard to thesis-writing. Nevertheless, the following checklist provides some general guidelines:

1) Consult your supervisors.

2) Familiarize yourself with the style or format of thesis writing.

3) Decide on the word length. How many words your thesis should be.

4) Learn more about referencing styles.

5) Make sure you have all the necessary information for the reference section.

6) Learn about indexing of your thesis.

4.2. Tips for Writing the Introduction

1) State the problem or phenomenon to be investigated.

2) Identify the party affected by the problem.

3) Explain how you plan to solve the problem.

4) Convince the reader that you are qualified and equipped with the right methods of solving that problem.

5) Highlight the benefits of solving the problem.

6) Tell the reader what results you anticipate.

a) As evident from the above, in your introduction, you should communicate the rationale of your research. Explain the importance of your research. Even though your research introduction chapter has no word limit, being concise helps your readers to comprehend quickly the major issues in your research. When you eventually start writing the introduction, start with some relevant general statements before gradually narrowing it down to focus on the crucial issues such as your research problem, questions, objectives and hypothesis. Here, you explain briefly your research problem and how you plan to solve it. Your introduction must be motivating and captivating enough so that the reader will want to read on to find out more.

b) It is assumed that your introduction is prepared for readers who have adequate knowledge of your discipline. Your introduction includes many crucial aspects of your thesis. Readers may want to know whether it is your own discovery, or you are continuing a previous study. If it is your own scientific discovery, then you must make it clear how the findings will add to the existing knowledge (Kafes, 2018) . Your reader would also want to know more about the concepts used in your research, the objectives of the research, and the methodology employed. You could also discuss the obstacles encountered, if any, and the limitation of your research.

4.3. Roadmap for Developing Your Introduction

1) Write clearly.

2) Be precise and concise in your introduction.

3) State your problem statement clearly and explain why the problem is worthy of investigation.

4) State your objectives clearly.

5) State your hypothesis and explain briefly how you would test it.

6) Keep the best for the last. Your introduction is one of the best parts of your thesis. If it is possible, write it once everything is finished. In this manner, you will not miss anything important and significant.

As you can see from the above guidelines, the introduction is crucial in conveying your ideas, thoughts and your message to the world. A good introduction paves the way to showcasing your thesis. As such, while it is important to convey your message loud and clear, your introduction must be well-organized, convincing, and be engaging. Prepare your introduction as a preview to your readers so that they can judge the rest of your work and its significance at a glance (BCCC Tutoring Centre).

4.4. Type of Introductions

1) Illusion Introduction: Start your introduction with an illusion style statement so that your reader cannot resist reading on.

2) Analogue Introduction: Start your introduction with a comparison so that your reader is eager to know the differences.

3) Narrative Introduction: Start your introduction with an eye-catching story to capture your reader’s attention.

4) Descriptive introduction: Start your introduction with a descriptive statement about your title. Once you start describing something, readers become eager to continue reading.

5) Definition Introduction: You may begin your introduction by defining a part of your topic, thus creating a knowledge transferring environment for your reader.

6) Example Introduction: Begin your introduction with an interesting example so that your reader takes it as personal motivation for writing his/her own thesis introduction.

7) Question Introduction: Start your introduction by posing a question; it will keep your reader thinking and yearning to know the answer.

8) Statistic Introduction: You can start your introduction with statistics concerning the parties affected by the problem that you will investigate.

9) Quotation Introduction: Start your introduction with a quotation that is relevant to PhD thesis writing so that your reader takes it as a personal motivation.

4.5. What Is an Introduction Statement?

Your thesis statement is a declaration of your topic and a claim of how you are going to prove or disprove your problem. It is found in the first paragraph of the introduction where you declare that you have an important subject to present. Your argument should be persuasive or informative. In any of these two methods of presentation, you show your assertion and view point about your entire thesis to your readers (Koçyigit & Erdem, 2018) . Here is how you write a good thesis statement:

1) Make an assertion about your style of interpretation.

2) Capture the attention of your reader.

3) Know what your readers anticipate and provide them with answers.

4) Challenge your peers about the severity of the research problem and put forward your proposal for a solution.

5) Finally, organize existing evidence relevant to the problem and interpret it clearly and logically.

As apparent from the above roadmap, develop your thesis statement (introduction) starting from a general argument and narrowing it to focus your rationale on how the research should proceed. The rest of your paragraphs in your introduction should support your claims. Don’t argue on facts, but use them to prove or disprove your claims. Always give evidence from scholarly documents. In short, your statement is a fundamental part of your introduction. So, write your statement carefully and thoughtfully. After all, the main purpose of your introduction is to introduce your topic to the readers (Banus & Dauda, 2015) . Take note that readers may not read your introduction until the end if you fail to capture their attention and interest. Your introduction can only stand out if you relate it to everyday life and convince readers of its practical importance. Hence, your introduction must be motivating, current, and be based on a strong methodological and theoretical certainty.

4.6. How to Write Your Problem Statement

The problem statement states a specific condition (issue) that needs urgent attention and a possible solution. As a researcher, show your readers how your investigation will fill or narrow the gap in existing literature. An excellent problem statement is just a line or two. The rest of the paragraph(s) is its elaboration, discussing a possible solution and most importantly, why it is a problem that needs urgent attention (cite scholarly references). The problem must generate questions for the researcher to answer (Faryadi, 2012) .

A PhD thesis problem statement must seek to answer the following questions:

1) What is the problem?

2) Where is the problem?

3) How can the problem be solved?

4) Why do you want to solve the problem?

5) Is the problem a current issue?

6) Will the problem persist if it is not solved?

7) Who are affected adversely by the problem?

8) Will this problem prove or disprove existing knowledge?

In short, the problem statement describes an existing issue which is so grave that it must be addressed. Generate questions about your problem statement and try to answer those questions to prove or disprove your research problem. Hence, the research problem is the main part of any scientific enquiry (Jacobs, 2013) .

4.7. Importance of the Problem Statement

1) It highlights the importance of your thesis topic.

2) It creates interest among researchers.

3) It adds new knowledge.

4) It identifies a gap in the literature.

5) It indicates a need for future research.

6) It stimulates thinking about what else is required to solve future related problems.

4.8. Some Don’ts When Writing a Problem Statement

1) Is it researchable? If your problem is so difficult or complex that it is beyond the ability of the researcher, then it will lead to a wastage of time and resources.

2) Do you have relevant scholarly documents? If nothing has been written about your research problem, perhaps the problem is not worthy of investigation.

3) Are you a suitable person to do this research? Are you qualified? Do you have the necessary skills to carry out this study? If your answer is no, then time and resources will go to waste if you proceed.

4) Will solving the problem bring practical benefits? Do you think this research contributes to society? Will it bridge the knowledge gap? Is your research challengeable? Which category of society will benefit from this research?

4.9. Selection of a Research Problem

1) Interest: Pose a problem that you find it fascinating so that you will be motivated to investigate it further.

2) Knowledge: Do a background study of your research problem so that you can discuss it with conviction and authority.

3) Conceptual frame work: Your research problem must be theoretically and conceptually sound.

4) Data availability: Investigate a problem that you can find materials and sources to support your investigation.

5. How to Write Your Research Questions

The research question is one of the essential parts of a thesis. It focuses on the study, regulates the methodology, and guides all the stages of investigation, analysis, and finally answers the problem statement. There is a difference between your topic and your research question. The topic is meaningless without a good research question. Your research question should reflect and elaborate a deeper understanding of your topic (Demir Kaçan, 2015) . Your research question should also seek to erase all ambiguity about your research problem.

It may even guide you in the type of investigation you should conduct, identify the type of data you should collect, and lead you to a proper analytical approach of your data. In short, a good research question helps you to focus on finishing your investigation without wasting much time and resources. Moreover, good research questions create a corridor to your research. They act even like the spine of your proposal and later, your thesis. Good questions are the ones that can be answered by researchers as they are supported by evidence. In short, good research questions that lead to investigations help eliminate serious problems from our society (Tenenberg, 2014) .

5.1. Writing Research Questions

1) Choose a topic that interests you and your readers. It must be thought-provoking. Make an investigation of your topic by going through scholarly journals to see what questions are raised by your peers. Take note of what questions are not raised so that you can add them to your list. Your research question should not be answered just by simple facts; it should require critical analysis and field-tested research. Your research question should not cover an area that is too broad or too narrow. If it is too narrow, you will have difficulty finding relevant information.

2) Do not forget to show your research questions to your supervisor before going into details.

When formulating research questions, we ask how the research problem originated and subsequently progressed to a serious state. Researchers ask questions and put their hypotheses in context. The hypothesis indicates the researcher’s line of thinking as he/she predicts specific relationships or situations. It may turn out to be true or false. As such, in order to hypothesize or make predictions, researchers need relevant knowledge and skills. To prove or disprove a hypothesis, researchers are compelled to ask questions about the problem to be studied.

They test the questions in the field by gathering relevant information and data to test their hypotheses, and by conceptual knowledge and thorough analytical investigation. When researchers carry out an investigation about a specific problem, they ask questions that require either a description or explanation. E.g. Does a skillful and knowledgeable person perform well in the field? Questions may also indicate what, where, and when a problem occurs. With explanatory questions, researchers always start with why. For instance: Why did the wall of that building collapse? What was the cause of it? Research questions can also indicate future events. What will be the final grade of your students once they use the new information system in their classroom? This type of question is a hypothetical or predicted question. It is all about state of the mind and understanding of the researcher. Prediction is not real knowledge. It becomes knowledge once it is investigated and proven. Beside descriptive or explanatory questions, researchers may also ask open-ended and closed-ended questions to solve research problems. A closed-ended question is just the opposite of an open-ended question.

A closed-ended question requires an answer that is either Yes or No. Did you attend your History class this evening? Answer: Yes/No. For an open-ended question, there is no specific response. It is open to discussion. For example: What do you think about my class performance this morning? You can see that the answer is not Yes or No, but it requires an opinion. Hence, as a researcher, you are required to ask various types of questions in order to obtain the necessary information for your study.

5.2. Why Do Researchers Ask Question?

1) Questions guide the researcher to find suitable answers to solve the research problem.

2) Asking questions helps the researcher focus on the topic under investigation.

3) It helps the researcher focus on the important issues in his/her thesis.

4) It helps the researcher find answers for his/her research hypotheses.

6. What Is a Hypothesis?

A hypothesis is an unproven reasoning. It enables an educated guess or a prediction of a result or relationship under specific conditions. It requires rigorous testing to determine its validity and reliability. Once it is proven after serious testing, it becomes a scientific theory. “A hypothesis is an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved.” “A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon.” “Hypothesis is an assumption or concession made for the sake of argument , an interpretation of a practical situation or condition taken as the ground for action, a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences”. Cambridge English Dictionary, Wikipedia, Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Please take note that although a hypothesis helps the researcher to see the problem more clearly, it is not necessarily a part of an investigation. If you have no hypothesis, you still have a valid research. But if you like to have hypotheses, you can construct as many as you wish. They are all just assumptions, right or wrong; you don’t know until the end of your study. Your hypothesis is just an educated guess, declaration, an idea, assumption and feeling that you are not sure of. And that becomes a reason for your enquiry. As we have discussed above, a hypothesis is a reasoning that enables an educated prediction. To validate a research claim, we must test the hypothesis to determine whether it supports our claim or otherwise. Hypothesis testing is a very crucial procedure in research. When tested in the field, it will indicate whether our prediction is statistically significant or otherwise.

6.1. Why Do We Need a Hypothesis?

1) It helps to validate research activity.

2) The researcher can find out whether his assumption is true or false.

3) It directs the researcher in his quest for new knowledge.

4) A hypothesis helps save time and resources.

5) It helps you collect and apply relevant data.

6) A carefully formulated hypothesis leads to a meaningful conclusion.

7) It helps you focus on specific issues and leads you to investigate what you are supposed to investigate.

8) It also assists you in the collection of relevant data.

9) A well supported hypothesis contributes to the validation of a theory and may even strengthen it.

6.2. Common Types of Hypothesis

Null Hypothesis (H0): This type of hypothesis indicates that whatever we hypothesize is believed to be correct or true. Example: There is no difference between students who use Facebook to learn English compared to students who do not use Facebook. So, there is no difference between the two groups of students.

Alternative Hypothesis (H1): This type of hypothesis indicates that whatever we hypothesize is believed to be not correct or not true. Example: There is a difference between students who use Facebook to learn English compared to students who do not use Facebook. So, there is a difference between the two groups of students.

6.3. How Do You Test Your Hypothesis?

1) Choose the type of hypothesis you want to test.

2) Determine the sample size of the selected population to test.

3) Collect your data.

4) Determine the significance level.

5) Compare your P-value to see the significance level.

6) Make a decision whether to accept or reject your hypothesis.

It is clear, therefore, that the research question and the hypothesis are the spine of any thesis writing process. These two components will determine the success or failure of any research. Without research questions and hypothesis, the research aim, purpose, and problem cannot be established clearly. Hence it is vital that your hypothesis and research question are well-constructed. Your hypothesis must be simple, relevant to your study, testable in the field, verifiable, and most importantly realistic. If it lacks the above characteristics, the outcomes will not be desirable.

6.4. Errors in Hypothesis

Once you put your hypothesis to the test there will be two outcomes:

1) Correct.

2) Incorrect.

It is possible to make mistakes in our judgement when testing a hypothesis even though the result is correct. This happens due to the following:

1) Your research road map is not correctly designed.

2) Your population or sampling is not adequate or suitable.

3) Your data analysis and statistical approach are questionable.

4) Your conclusion is not correct.

There are two types of errors:

1) Type 1 Error: It happens when you reject a null hypothesis that is indeed true.

2) Type II Error: It happens when you accept a null hypothesis that is indeed false.

7. Contribution of Your Research

Since a PhD research is a scientific discovery of new knowledge, other researchers in the related field will benefit from your findings. Your thesis will narrow or bridge the gap in the literature with regard to the topic of your research. Others will be able to apply your findings in their attempt to solve a similar problem. As such, your investigation and findings must be genuine and original. Outline a list of contributions that you think your findings add to the literature. Your contributions must be specific and focused. Provide significant evidence indicating that your research is worthy of investigation. The following are some examples of how a PhD research can make useful contributions. Contribution to knowledge means creating new knowledge based on the previous available knowledge by doing extensive and innovative research in order to prove something right or wrong. The Most Important issue in research contribution is the “Significance.” The problem is: the word significance is subjective. It is significant to you but may be not significant to me. Here you are! So, the researcher has to measure the contribution not to claim only. There are seven ways to measure significance so that you present your contribution scientifically:

1) Explain the importance of your research problem.

2) Your findings.

3) Transformation of the existing theory.

4) Explain generalizability or lake of generalizability, your added values: Economic value? Cultural value? Societal value, scope and scale of your findings and its application. I am sure, all scholars agree that Size does not matter in research contribution … so show me the evidence where, how.

5) Experimental significance. You experimented it in the field not just talking theoretically. So, you confirmed a new knowledge scientifically. What is the new knowledge? You bridged the gap, you answered your problem statement, research questions and hypotheses. So, now based on your problem can specifically mention the new knowledge.

6) Your vital significance is Your Research Area.

7) Another vital significance is your research method. The ways you conducted your research and it worked. Your interviews, questionnaires, data collections, the way you analysed your data and your literature search, all of these methods are important contributions of your research. Your creativity in solving your problem and answering your hypothesis are significant contributions to future researchers. As thus your method of solving a problem creatively using different approach adds an important impact to the body of existing knowledge.

For example: my problem statement: “Magnesium chloride helps to reduce joint pain among Malaysian senior citizens.” So, you did your experimental on the Malaysian senior citizens and found that it really does. Magnesium chloride really reduced or eliminated their joint pains. Obviously, you invented, discovered a solution and bridged the gap. What is the gap? The joint pain among Malaysian senior citizens that we did not know previously and now we know. You see? This is how you measure significance with scientific evidence.

7.1. What Is So Called “Body of Knowledge?

It refers to a complete system whereby all professionals, scholars and scientists contribute collectively their expertise and skills. As such, it demands that any new professionals who would like to be part of this system must contribute new knowledge into the existing system in order to be recognized as a member of that professional system (body of knowledge). Have you heard about the contribution of a PhD thesis to the body of knowledge? The author of the PhD thesis must contribute a new skill, new knowledge into the existing system so that he/she can be recognized as a professional member of the body of knowledge. That’s why it is called “Body of Knowledge” or (B.O.K).

7.2. Examples That You Strive to Prove Contribution

There is not enough investigation and scientific research conducted about your topic of investigation. May be written but not empirically documented. Or even empirically documented but the findings are in dispute. So, you want to challenge the findings and would like to prove or disprove the original research. Remember, if your research to be scientifically valid, it must be verifiable, re-do-able and challengeable by other researchers. How original is your research? Is it Current? Only you did it? Is the whole idea yours? Or you are expanding an existing idea? What advancement you brought to our knowledge? Did you Prove or disprove a knowledge? What is the impact of your research? Where you did the impact? Did you confirm and Verified your research? If your research to be valid, it must be verifiable, re-do-able, challengeable and so on. Only then you have an impact and a contribution.

8. Conclusion and Implication

This paper discussed the PhD thesis writing process. As evident from the above discussion, your thesis should be a scientific and scholarly piece of work, having fulfilled all the above stipulated scientific conditions. Your PhD thesis is not a simple book, but a scientific document. It contains scholarly work, researched material, concepts, experimentations, contributions and findings that could solve or mitigate a problem. A PhD thesis has a pre-determined and globally standardized format and outline. It begins with a brief proposal indicating the What, Why, How, and When of your thesis. Your proposal is the first stage, and it is crucial to state it correctly.

Teachers, learners and researchers, even educational policy makers, will find this paper as a vital reference point and a useful guide. The prime objective of this paper is to outline a suitable road map for PhD candidates, researchers and scholars about the how, when and why of doing scientific research. This paper helps researchers to systematically design, plan and effectively implement a viable course of action in their investigation. As such, the time has come to replace the existing boring research methods with the one that is easy, step by step and scientifically sound. When a right methodology of research is used in the field, research investigation is facilitated. Hence, as researchers, we need to think critically as well as creatively so that we can identify effective and correct methodology of research.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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  6. What Are the Skills Needed for Writing a Dissertation or Thesis?

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  10. How Can You Improve Your Written English For Writing a Thesis?

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  11. What skills are required for academic writing?

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