Thesis Writing Help: 5 Tips to Ensure You Get Your Degree
A senior thesis is the capstone to your college education: it’s the one thing that stands between you and your diploma. As if that’s not daunting enough, it’s also a long, time-consuming, and highly scrutinized paper that really puts everything you’ve learned in your education to the test in a big way. Before you panic, read these five tips to help you write the best thesis paper you can!
- Find a topic that speaks to you. Your topic should come in the form of a question; usually, for college papers, the more precise the topic the better. But, for a senior thesis, you’re allowed to pose a more general question, since it’s a much longer and more in-depth paper. Your question should be something that you’re genuinely curious about and interested in exploring; it’s a big paper with a lot of research and writing involved, so don’t choose a topic you’ll lose interest in halfway through.
- Break your topic down into sub-topics. Or, break your questions down into sub-questions. These will all become part of your paper, either in large sections or in individual paragraphs. You can do this in outline form or not, depending on your preference. The main thing is to know where you want your paper to go, what you want to be able to say, and how you want it to be structured. Don’t be afraid if some of your sub-topics change as you write; it’s all a part of the writing process and means you’re doing your job correctly!
- Start by freewriting. Freewriting is a little like brainstorming: begin writing anything that comes into your mind about a certain subject. Feel free to break the rules, skip around between different topics, and just “go with the flow”. The most important thing is to start getting your creative juices flowing and get words down on the page. Probably, most of what you write when freewriting won’t make it into the actual paper, but it’ll give you a great foundation and way to explore your ideas.
- When it’s time to do research, take lots and lots of notes. You’ll probably have a lot of sources, quotations, studies, and statistics to use in your paper and it can get overwhelming. Create a note-taking strategy that works for you; whether it’s index cards, post-it notes, or using different notebooks for different sources, you want to be able to find certain quotes or facts easily as you write. Always make note of the citation material, as well, so you don’t have to go digging through all your research to figure out where you read that important statistic!
- Edit as you write. Devote one day every week to editing what you’ve written previously. This will keep you on track, keep your goals in mind, and help avoid having a huge mess on your hands at the end of the writing process. Editing as you go along can also help you think about your argument and strengthen it as you write, making your thesis better!