So you have finished the draft of your application essay and you have revised your thoughts and arguments at least thrice, but is it the end of the project? You still need to do a final run on editing and proofreading. But if you don’t…
A lot of posts in this blog deal with what thesis writing is. They offer good advice on how to write everything from an art thesis to your thesis statement. There’s tons of advice on creating a good thesis This is fantastic, but misses one key explanation: what a good thesis is not.
What is not a good thesis?
A lot of things.
This is a list of things that no good term paper includes. Most of the items on this list are just common sense, but they still appear in lots of theses. Run a quick check to make sure your paper doesn’t have any of these fatal components.
Grammar and spelling errors. No paper should have grammar or spelling errors. This is never okay. Unless you are quoting a very poorly written book and using [sic] a lot, grammar and spelling errors are unacceptable.
Use of the second person pronoun. Do not use “you” or “your” unless you are directly addressing the reader of your paper. This is often frowned upon by instructors and should not be included in any kind of formal thesis. If you’re not sure how formal this thesis is, consult this guide to thesis style to evaluate the tone you are using.
Improper formatting. Your paper must be formatted to the needs of your instructor. A good thesis fits the most basic requirements first and foremost, so make sure that you use the right kind of title page/heading and citation. Any other requirements and guidelines set by your professor must also be followed. It’s disheartening to be marked off on a silly formatting error. Don’t let it happen.
Isolation. Don’t let your work become isolated within itself. A good thesis incorporates viewpoints of all sorts to create a well-rounded conversation. All parts of a thesis are influenced by other works in the same subject. Without this conversation, there would need to be no rebuttal of other opinions. As every good thesis writer knows, no thesis can exist without the rebuttal of previous opinions and “truths” that do not serve the thesis’ central argument.
Logical fallacies. A logical fallacy is any argument that employs illogical debate tactics like false dilemmas or personal, emotional attacks on either party. While there is not enough space in this post to address every sort of logical fallacy (google can be very helpful in this respect), it is important to know that they are unacceptable. Learn them, and avoid using them.
The passive voice. It sounds bad. Don’t use it.
Use with Caution
Here are a list of things you should use only if you are a very accomplished writer.
The first person pronoun
Obscure literary references
References to anything besides literature
References to popular culture
A good thesis is not an opportunity to soap box or promote an agenda. A good thesis is a paper with careful thought and attention to details.
But you knew that already.
In thesis writing there are a lot of ways to come up with a strong thesis idea. While many of them run relatively conventional and include helpful pieces of advice like “ask your adviser!” or “talk to other students in similar programs!” this blog post talks about more interesting ways to get in touch with your inspiration.
First, consider this short bullet list of places to look for inspiration:
Driving in the car, listening to the radio
But no, you cry. This is counter-productive! This is distracting! These activities will eat away at your brain until there is nothing left of it except media-saturated grey matter. Where is the thesis idea in the intricate madness that is the modern world.
It’s not so much that you’re filling your head with distractions, it’s that you’re approaching your work in a different manner from a different direction.
It’s not like you have anything to lose anyway.
Activities like watching television (especially the Discovery Channel, which is a really intriguing source of new ideas) allow you to relax and focus your attention on something other than your paper.
In addition to this, you will inevitably push yourself close to the deadline. While at first this might be deemed “useless procrastination,” this pressure will encourage you to focus your attention in order to complete your assignments.
Also, these diversions offer opportunities for your work to be influenced by the modern media forces (fantastic for a film, media, sociology, psychology, or postmodern art thesis). That would be a thesis idea on its own: the effect of media white noise on the creation of academic literature.
However, taking a non-academic approach to finding a thesis idea is not for everyone. Some people thrive in structured environments. Just because you’re in a dedicated state of mind doesn’t mean you’re not capable of being creative.
Everyone can bring a really unique, interesting perspective to the table when it comes to academic writing, especially when you’re dealing with humanities theses or literary analysis.
Another good way to find inspiration for your work is to look at things you have written previously. Try working backwards: look through other writings, cannibalize liberally, and work backwards to figure out your thesis idea.
Asking the people around you, especially the people who work in your field, is among the best ways to jump start creativity. If you don’t surround yourself with interesting people, you can’t come up with interesting ideas. Should you be at a loss for ideas for your next paper, get yourself into a circle of people who will have a discussion about these issues. You’re sure to get tons of thesis ideas from them.
It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, there is always a way to get your creativity in gear. Whether that means talking to your friends or watching Planet Earth, the world around you is a great source for a new, unique thesis idea.
Thesis writing, especially a literature thesis is not as difficult as it looks. In fact, it’s fairly simple, especially if you take a deconstructionist approach to the writing. There are only a few base components to keep in mind, and they apply to almost any…
Usually when you write or buy thesis papers, the topic is very straight forward. If you are writing a science thesis, then your work will consist of research, analysis, and argument; if you are writing a literature thesis, your work will also consist of research, analysis and argument. When working with something as emotionally charged as a cancer thesis, you will want to approach the same basic principles in a very different manner.
This post will include breakdowns of these elements and how they could be applied to a topic as emotionally heavy as cancer.
When doing a regular thesis, this might be comparing works of literature or collecting lab data. This is considered the most straight forward part of the paper, as facts are usually indisputable.
When doing a thesis on cancer, however, you are dealing with two very different, sometimes opposing truths. On the one hand, there is the scientific research conducted on cancer, cancer cures, and cancer treatment. It makes sense that no cancer thesis would be complete without touching on these subjects.
This is not the only kind of research that needs to be done, however. When writing a cancer thesis, you must also take into account the emotions that surround something like this. It all comes back to the human beings whose lives are affected by this disease.
Here are some ways to approach this:
If your paper is mostly scientific, then you should focus mostly on the facts regarding medicine. However, you must also touch on what motivates cancer research. Ask yourself important questions: Who funds it? Which countries are making the most progress? Compare/contrast this against your own country. You can discuss the economics of cancer research and treatment.
If your paper is mostly emotion based, try to work in the way cancer affects the people dying and the people who lose loved ones to it. This is often accompanied by an argument (which will be discussed below) that compels the reader to support cancer research or cancer-based causes.
Analysis is an integral part of any thesis. You will be expected to process all the things that you have learned about any given topic and apply them to your paper. Without this part, your argument will be completely useless.
Remember these tips:
Facts alone do not support an argument. In fact, facts don’t really have a bias either way. You can take any fact and use it to support either side of the argument. This is why analysis is so vital.
Try to balance emotional and medical to fit your needs.
Don’t be afraid to talk about death. Cancer kills people. Your cancer thesis should talk about people who are dead.
Every paper makes an argument. Maybe your argument is that cancer research should be treated more seriously than it is, or given more funding. Maybe it has to do with insurance, and the conversation that you open about cancer is merely an aside.
No matter what though, remember to keep your arguments strong. If you need help outlining your argument, check out the posts on writing an argumentative thesis statement and thesis outline.
Thesis writing is complicated no matter what the subject. An art thesis, like a literature thesis, is far more subjective than some of its scientific and economical counterparts. This subjectivity often makes the liberal arts more difficult to write thesis for than subjects like economics…