Tips for thesis writers

Listen to his motivations constructively, without stopping or taking it personally and ask him for an alternative.

Read, read, read (and file)

Finally you have a topic, a starting hypothesis, a nucleus of ideas that you will have to develop during your studies.

Pure terror … Now what?

In reality, the writing only concerns the final phase of the thesis creation.

After all, how do you write about something you don’t know yet? The first objective is to master the chosen topic, at a later time (or in parallel) you can organize the part that will see you as protagonist. Some theses, in fact, also include an experimental part, to be conducted with different methods depending on the subject chosen. Sociologists and psychologists could for example have to administer a questionnaire to a sample, the doctors might need to attend particular surgical methods or to do the internship in a department, the literati could go in search of unpublished manuscripts in forgotten archives. Do you think that there are those who, to write the thesis, participate in work projects as an intern in a company, thus combining the study activity with that practice in the world of work!

But even if your thesis were only compilative, your original contribution would be to organize all the bibliographic material collected and give it a meaning.

I will not dwell here on the organization of the experimental activity, because every scientific field and every subject has its rules and its methodologies, moreover it is very often the teacher who directs these activities, asking for example the active participation in pre-existing research projects .

I want to talk about the study activity on the chosen topic. To be able to master an argument and to be able to elaborate a thesis starting from what for the moment is only an embryonic hypothesis, we need to know the contributions of other scientists on that topic.

What if you have chosen a completely unexplored theme on which there are no other studies? Also in this case there is need to deepen at least the scientific context in which it is placed. If I am studying from a sociological point of view a new phenomenon like Syrian immigration in Italy, a field still virgin, maybe I will not have similar studies available, but I will at least have to know the theories and methodologies of other sociologists on the subject of immigration in general.

Book the books

In the past, scholars struggling with bibliographic readings used paper files in which they cataloged all the basic information of their books. In practice they used something like this:

Each card contained roughly the same information:

  • bibliographical note: name and surname author, title, year of publication, city of publication, year of publication.
  • small abstract of the main themes covered by the book

The tabbed classification system was useful because it allowed to obtain the most important data in a book even years after reading it. When the use of the PC began to spread. scholars have continued to catalog the books as they had always done, but using the digital format, which had the advantage of being replicable everywhere thanks to a support (floppy, cd rom and then USB) and not to occupy physical space.

The revolution came with the spread of the internet, which made a lot of information available online and which saved scholars from the anxiety of not remembering exactly the title of a book or the year of publication.

But I believe that filing books is still necessary. personally I used both the PC and – think a little – normal paper notebooks, which I did not limit myself to with the essential information in the book, but I outlined hundreds of books.

Why did it help me? I’ll tell you right away:

once passed to the actual writing phase, I could go back to the information contained in the books I read without going back to the library to borrow the book

for each important step the exact page number was marked, therefore I was able to compile the notes at the foot of the page in real time and, also in this case, without having to reopen the book schematizing the books I internalized them and understood them thoroughly, so the writing phase was smooth and quite simple. It took me 2 months to write my bachelor’s thesis (150 pages), 4 months to write my thesis (300 pages) and 12 months to write my doctoral thesis (over 600 pages).