Monday 23 May 2022

What should be included in the theoretical part of the project?

You have chosen a relevant and interesting topic, discussed the content of your thesis with your supervisor, and decided on an approximate structure. So what to do next? Writing a thesis always begins with the theoretical part.

What's it?

The theoretical part of the thesis is most often its first chapter. It is on this part of the diploma that the supervisor and the diploma commission can understand whether the student has mastered the ability to search and systematize information, as well as comprehend and compose it. In the theoretical part, it is necessary to include as much information as possible on the chosen topic. The theoretical chapter is a systematic review of the main approaches and scientific thought as a whole on the chosen topic.

Why is the theoretical chapter being written?

The first chapter of the thesis is necessary to solve one of the most important tasks: the creation of a clear, logically justified and understandable theoretical basis for the correct and high-quality conduct of further practical research. For this, it is necessary:

  • carefully study the research topic,
  • reflect the ambiguity of the topic,
  • analyze a variety of points of view,
  • form your own understanding of the concept and opinion about it,
  • it is logical to explain the need for empirical research and smoothly move to it.

What is the right way to work on a theoretical chapter?

To write a theoretical chapter of a high-quality thesis, it is necessary to solve three important tasks:

  • systematize all the studied and selected material,
  • to rethink it deeply and form your own opinion on the issue,
  • consistently present theoretical developments.
  • Based on this sequence, first of all, you need to choose the theoretical material. To do this, it is necessary to study a huge number of textbooks, teaching aids, scientific books, magazines, newspapers and websites. In such a quantity of material, it is very easy to get confused. 

To prevent this from happening, you can follow simple rules:

  • when searching for material, rely on the list of references that you used when writing term papers,
  • textbooks, reference books and encyclopedias always give a list of used literature - there you can find a lot of useful things,
  • use specialized Internet resources (the most popular and effective is Google Academy),
  • use the lists of references found in the works from the abstract banks,
  • sign up for the Electronic Dissertation Hall - there you can find works that are not publicly available on the Internet,
  • do not neglect the opportunity to order the selection of literature on your subject in a scientific library (of course, it costs money),
  • often contact the supervisor, he will definitely outline the area of search for materials and cut off the excess.

Next, you need to identify several "main" sources, on which you will rely more when writing a work. It is important not to forget that the supervisor and teacher who will write a review of your work is probably familiar with the main scientific works on the topic. So don't try to rewrite entire chapters of books. Even if you do high-quality rewriting and bypass the "anti-plagiarism" system, teachers will know where the information comes from and are unlikely to give you a high rating. All information needs to be completely passed through yourself and rethought. It is better to put links to sources immediately in the process of writing, otherwise later you will spend too much time to remember where exactly this or that information was taken from.

In the process of searching for sources, do not forget to make small notes, writing out the main thing. This will greatly simplify the direct writing of the diploma. It's important to make a list of the main terms you'll use. They need to be taken from the literature used, your own term papers and lectures given during your studies.

When the collection and systematization is complete, you can finally start writing. There are two main approaches to writing the theoretical part.

The first approach can be conditionally called simple. You take the selected fragments of materials and combine them into a single text using sentences-bundles. Then it remains only to achieve the necessary unique and theoretical chapter is ready. Writing a theory in this way usually takes no more than 3-4 days. But there is a catch: very often with work written in this way, it is difficult to bypass anti-plagiarism. This can take 5 times more time than the writing itself. In addition, the supervisor can understand how your work is written, and endlessly send it for revision.

The second approach is considered difficult, but reliable. You deeply analyze the selected materials, rethink them and completely independently write the work. This method is very time-consuming, but you will easily pass the anti-plagiarism and most likely receive high praise and approval of the commission. We advise you to use this method if in the future you plan to connect your life with scientific activity (for example, to enter graduate school), as this way of writing a diploma develops logical and scientific thinking.

What are the requirements for the content of the theoretical chapter?

As mentioned above, the theoretical chapter of the diploma should be a logical basis for further scientific research.

It is believed that the theoretical part must necessarily contain:

  • multifaceted and versatile consideration of the concept under study, as well as a description of the essence of the object of study (it is important to highlight the concept from the standpoint of the main scientific approaches),
  • terminological apparatus based on the analysis of dozens of definitions (sometimes you have to formulate your own definition),
  • detailed study of the parts and elements of the object of research, their various classifications according to several criteria,
  • analysis of scientific approaches and theories on the topic of the thesis, historical aspects, analysis of scientific works of researchers,
  • own conclusions of the author of the thesis, practical developments that will prove to the commission that you are ready to become a full-fledged specialist.
  • Often, students are faced with such a situation: he seems to follow the plan agreed with the supervisor, using relevant and approved sources, and the supervisor is constantly dissatisfied and sends the diploma for revision. This is due to the fact that the student lacks consistency in the disclosure of the topic, because you always want to show yourself from the best side, to show how much you know. But this only leads to a significant deviation from the chosen topic. In the process of writing a work, you should regularly ask yourself the question: "Does the content of the chapter correspond to the main topic, the idea?"

Make sure that the content of the theoretical chapter corresponds to the content of the practical part, because it is written precisely to prepare for the study. If the theoretical part is weakly related to practice, you should not count on a good assessment: your work will cause bewilderment to the commission.

How to draw conclusions?

Your own conclusions are an important criterion when evaluating a thesis, because it is their logic and depth that show the commission how well you have learned to think analytically and process information over the years of study at the university.

The scientific supervisor and members of the commission will pay attention to two main types of conclusions:

  • intermediate (located at the end of the logical parts and represent the comprehension of theoretical information),
  • the final ones (located directly at the end of the chapter and summarize the intermediate ones).
  • The most advantageous way to complete the theoretical chapter is to inform the reader of the work that the chosen topic is poorly studied, since it is this motive that is the most compelling for practical research.

What should be the volume?

When writing a theoretical chapter, it is important to maintain a balance: its volume should be two-thirds of the practical part, which is equal to about 30 pages. A theoretical chapter should not be shorter than 20 pages and longer than 50 pages.

Usually, the theoretical part consists of three points, which should be approximately equal in volume.

How to design the theoretical part?

Universities have different requirements for registration. You can always find them by asking the supervisor for methodological recommendations on writing a final qualification work and methodological recommendations for the preparation of documents. There you will find what should be:

  • margin sizes,
  • font (name and size),
  • page numbers,
  • intervals.

Writing the theoretical part of a thesis is not an easy task. But if you approach it thoroughly and follow the simple recommendations indicated in this article, you can solve it as effectively as possible in the shortest possible time and get a positive assessment on defense, as well as acquire useful analysis skills and develop thinking.

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