2. Writing your Thesis

2.1 Introductions

2.2 More effective writing

2.3 Conclusions

Your thesis is probably your most important piece of academic writing to date. So look after it. Follow these basic guidelines to keep your structure tight and your argument strong all the way through your thesis.

 

2.1 Writing your thesis introduction

 

Organise your introduction into a 'V'. Like a funnel, your outlining thoughts should start more broadly and then narrow down to your own personal assertion about the topic in question. Move from general point of interest to specific point of argument.

 

Starting more broadly does not mean making grand, sweeping statements about the meaning of life, or providing a mini-biography of the person and his or her surroundings. 

To take one specific example, if the figure you're writing about is recognisable by surname alone, don't waste your time filling in their other names for someone who most likely knows more about them than you ever will. Opening with 'William Makepeace Thackeray' instead of just 'Thackeray' isn't going to get you extra marks; in fact they're just two words delaying you from getting to the good stuff.

 

It’s tempting to launch head-first into your detailed analysis. But limit yourself, and stay away from using overly specific examples in your introduction. These should be left for the main body of the essay, where they can be examined and developed in full.

 

Remember: you're writing an introduction, not an abstract or summary. Briefly survey your major claims, then set up your thesis statement, then get going with paragraph one.

Next: More effective writing