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The Scope of Thesis Writing - Lesson Summary

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The key points from this module are:

The Essentials of Thesis Writing Lesson Summary

What constitutes a thesis/dissertation?
Key structures of a dissertation
Abstract
Introduction
Literature review
Methodology
Results/discussion
Conclusion/recommendation
References/bibliography
Appendices
What should be the sequence of a research study?
Thesis sequence:
1. Chapter one – Introduction
2. Chapter two – Literature review
3. Chapter three – Methodology
4. Chapter four – Results and Discussion
5. Chapter five – Conclusion and Recommendation
Writing sequence
1. Chapter two – Literature review
2. Chapter three – Methodology
3. Chapter four – Results and Discussion
4. Chapter five – Conclusion and Recommendation
5. Chapter one – Introduction
Content of the Introduction Chapter:
1. Introduction
- Background - Theoretical & conceptual frameworks - Problem statement
Theoretical framework: A theory in the form of a model or paradigm that serves as a basis of the study.
Conceptual framework: It is the researcher’s own method/model specifying the problem; variables to be studied.
2. Purpose of the study
3. Research objectives, questions and hypotheses
4. Significance of the study
5. Definition of terms, assumptions, limitations, delimitations
6. Summary
7. Organization of the remainder of the study
What is literature review?
It is a survey and discussion of the literature in a given area of study. It is a concise overview of what has been studied, argued and established about a topic.
The focus of the literature review therefore is to review:
i Previous studies ii. Technology iii Theories iv Equations, etc.
The literature review flow chart – Is the process you will use to write a compelling literature review chapter.

Topic – It is a short phrase that shows/tells the audience/public the contents of your thesis.
The key characteristics of a topic:
- Access to the data - Achievability/time/scope - Relevance/value (solving real problems)
– Student strength
The search: This process depends on three key elements – (a) key sources (b) material to use (c) criteria for selecting content
The extraction process: Taking the key information from a paper/article that will form part of your literature review report. It involves three steps:
Step 1 – Read each paper thoroughly
Step 2 – Extract summaries of each paper
Step 3 – Start the bibliography/reference

Report tracking and Packaging – Keep track of your work by using:
1. Microsoft Excel
2. Using literature review software or apps e.g. Mendeley
3. Tracking citation (reference)
Writing the literature review report (Packaging) - Involves 6 steps:
Step 1: Select the writing style (the writing styles can be thematic or chronological).
Step 2: Order summaries into logical bins
Step 3: Divide summaries into body paragraphs
Step 4: Perfect the paragraphs
Step 5: Add introductory and concluding paragraphs
Step 6: Read through/ repeat process for all sections
What goes into the methodology chapter?
Purpose of the methodology chapter: It is the section of the thesis (dissertation) or research paper that describes the methods used to collect and analyse the data.
1. Introduction
- Summary of literature (methods)
2. Research question/hypotheses
3. Research design: Explains why & how the selected design was used to collect and analyse the data used in the study (examples descriptive, correctional, experimental, quasi-experiment, historical, case study, phenomenology, etc.).
- Justify methods & instrument used – Justify sample/participants/subjects
- Describe variables/functions introduced
4. Data collection details
- Population/sampling: Describes the target population & sampling approach and reasons for that approach.
- Instrumentation/piloting: Identifies the specific sources used to collect your data & the pilot test performed to endure reliability of instrument/question.
- Procedure:
5. Data analysis methods: Describes in detail the relevant data collected for each stated research question and/or each variable within each hypothesis (if applicable).
6. Assumptions
7. Limitations & delimitations: Explains why the existing limitations are unavoidable and how the study results were affected, and the specific approaches on how validity will be addressed for qualitative data collection procedure.
8. Ethical assurances: Provides a discussion of ethical issues related to the study and the sample population of interest.
- IRB – Institutional Review Board - Consent Issues and how they were addressed
9. Quality Assurance
- Validity - Reliability
10. Methodology summary: Restates what was written in the chapter and provides supporting citations for key points (with an in-depth understanding of the overall research design and analysis techniques). It ends with a discussion that transitions the reader to the results/findings chapter.
Conclusion and Recommendations
What goes in this chapter?
1. Introduction & summary of the study
2. Summary of findings
3. Relationship to prior research
4. Implications:
- Theoretical implications
- Practical implication
- Policy implication
5. Recommendations:
- Recommendations for future research
- Recommendations for future practice
Defending the thesis/dissertation – This topic covers:
• Selecting the committee
• The need for presentation
• What to present
• How and when to present
Role expectations – The three key roles of the project supervisor:
1. Development of the project
2. Writing the project
3. Defending the project