Read a thesis

A good way to consolidate your knowledge about writing a thesis is to read a thesis. The Theses Library Guide provides information on locating and accessing theses produced by Monash University as well as other institutions. Have a look for recently completed theses in your discipline, or ask your supervisor to suggest some successful, well written theses for you to look at.

What should I look for in a thesis?

As you browse through a thesis, there are particular features that are worth taking note of. Refer to the Guide to analysing sample theses. The questions that make up the guide are designed to take you systematically through the sample thesis and to draw your attention to those features that can be generalised about the thesis genre.

Of course all theses, including your own, will have their own distinctive character, and this will be fashioned by the discipline you are working in and your research design, as well as your own personal style. For this reason, it is important not to treat your sample thesis as a model which is simply to be imitated. It is better to regard it as a resource from which you might generate ideas about the construction of your own work. We urge you to keep the following overarching questions uppermost in mind:

  • How is each relevant aspect done in the sample thesis? (e.g. the literature review)
  • Is it done well?
  • How is this section likely to differ in my thesis?

Guide to analysing sample theses

The following guide is based on the work of Swales (1990) and Hopkins and Dudley-Evans (1988).