Here it is, the question of the questions, to which all university students – sooner or later – arrive: how to write a thesis? Yes, because perhaps you have faced dozens of exams, you have participated in workshops, you have milled books on books, but how many times have you really faced writing? Perhaps too few.
And even if your university curriculum was underpinned by theses and written papers, could you say that you are ready to write your thesis?
Explaining in an exhaustive way how to write a thesis means dealing with many topics. On this site we have done so in various posts dedicated to individual aspects of the preparation of a thesis (bibliography, index, thanks). At the end of the post you will find the links to follow to read the practical guides with examples dedicated to the thesis. However, before moving on to the practical part, I think it is useful to explain what it generally means to write a thesis and what tools you will need to do it in the best way.
Question of method
Scientific activity thrives on moments of intuition, reflection and even – why not – creative leisure.
If you want to avoid going around in circles, choose your method and be true to it.
During the writing of your thesis – it is useless to deny it – you will experience moments of despair and you will taste the bitter feeling of fear of failure.
But rest assured: we all pass by, even the brightest students. If you follow your own study and writing method, however, you will be able to reach the goal even if on the way you will sometimes have the feeling of being bogged down.
What does thesis mean
Before starting, I want to shed light on an aspect that is often taken under the arm: the meaning of the word TESI.
The word “thesis” means argumentation in favor of a theory. This means that every thesis, however simple or brief, must make a small contribution to scientific research, providing more evidence for a previously known theory or, in more complex cases (eg doctoral theses), proposing a theory itself.
Writing a thesis you become an author.
It does not mean that you have to use the pages of your paper to stand on a pedestal and recite your beliefs.
It does not even mean that you have to limit yourself to stating your postulate.
It means that you have to start from an idea (your “hypothesis”) and study it thoroughly to arrive at a conclusion. In the thesis, you will reveal the evidence gathered using a logical-rational argument in written form.
Imagine yourself as a scientist and imagine that the thesis is the story of your experiment: what do you think interests readers the most, knowing that caged mice are alive or understanding why they are still alive?
Choose the topic
The regulations change, the rules for graduating change, the procedures vary from Faculty to Faculty, but whatever your curriculum of studies there will always be a task that you cannot avoid: the choice of the topic of the thesis.
Choosing the topic means choosing the theme that you will have to go into in your degree thesis, and in most cases it also means knocking on a professor’s door instead of another’s. The thesis takes place in fact under the wing of a supervisor, a professor who will help you (at least in theory) to complete the studies that will allow you to write a final paper. For this reason, the chosen theme goes hand in hand with the chair where the subject most closely related to the subject is taught.
I give an example: if you intend to dedicate the thesis to an unknown writer of the fourteenth century, you will need to contact the professor of Italian literature.
Attention: if you have no idea of the topic you want to deal with but you have a particular subject or teacher in mind, you can also do the reverse: ask the supervisor to welcome you as his student and to propose a theme. In this case, the teacher will suggest you a research field and direct you.
Finally, do not be offended if the professor does not approve your idea for the thesis: it may be that he wants to avoid having you deal with subjects that are too complex and impossible to deal with in a few months of work, or that he does not feel able to give you support on that particular theme. No professor is omniscient and there could be themes in which he is not at ease, or thanks to his experience he could understand in advance that the field in which you want to go is hidden.