Thesis chapter

Writing the thesis chapters

A thesis is built up of a series of chapters that construct a substantiated and convincing response to the research question(s). Typically, a thesis contains the following chapters: an introduction; a literature review; a description of methodology; a report and discussion of results; and a conclusion. A thesis may have five to eight chapters depending on the nature of the study, the required word count and the requirements of the degree.

An introduction is crucial to setting the tone of your thesis – it is the first impression you’ll make on your readers (assessors). Briefly, it presents the purpose, context and scope of your research. Likewise, a conclusion is just as crucial – it is the lasting impression you’ll make on your readers (assessors). Not only does it give a summary of your thesis, but should provide a clear, convincing answer to your research question(s).

In the methods chapter, you describe and justify in detail how you undertook the research and why you chose such methods and/or theoretical position(s).

In the reporting and discussion chapter(s), you outline the important findings and how they answer your research question(s). You might also make comparisons with previous studies and discuss the relevance of your findings to the field of study as a whole.

These chapters fit and flow together to create a complete thesis document.