Writing your thesis • Tips & Tricks

Since most of us are stuck at home now, it’s the perfect opportunity to start writing on your thesis. Woohoo! Or… not. While some might enjoy the process, most will not look forward to it. We hope that these three tips and tricks will get you through.

Get the ball rolling

By now, you should have an idea of what you are going to research and how to do it. If not, then the most important advice you can get for that is to pick a topic that is of your interest. Writing and doing research is only going to be easy if you want to know more about it yourself.

Before you start writing, make sure you know exactly what is expected from you in terms of structure (introduction, theoretical framework, etc.). Find some basic graphical interpretations of your topic to look at from time to time during the process, and make sure you have a clear, personal interpretation of all of the necessary definitions.

When writing the introduction, keep in mind that you are someone within your target audience yourself. Reading your own introduction should make you feel like reading the rest of the paper. If you can’t spark interest in your own head, it’s hard to interest others. Once you get yourself interested, it’s easy to progress further.

Spelling, formatting and citing mistakes

Being aware of the most common mistakes made is a great way of preventing them. Don’t let these easily avoidable mistakes affect the quality of your paper. First of all, it’s important to double-check the formatting rules that are provided to you and that you consistently apply this throughout your paper. Make sure that you set your default settings in Word or the document software that you use to these exact instructions so that you will never be able to accidentally use any other font or line/letter spacing. Also, make sure that you put every citation in the correct style (which will probably be APA). There are a lot of websites that can help you with this, so make sure to use them.

What students are mostly unaware about, is that most scientific definitions, medicine, software and so on all have guidelines for how they should be formatted in your writing. Scientific definitions, for example, always need to be written in italic, and software always needs to have the used release version mentioned in your thesis.

While you are writing, make sure that you make your paragraphs concise. Don’t hide important information in the middle of your paragraphs, and take into account that good paragraphs are generally no longer than 4-5 lines. This greatly enhances the readability of your paper and encourages readers to read on.

The Pareto principle

The Pareto principle, also known as the 80-20-rule, is a very interesting economic concept that originates from the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. This principle has since then been tested and proven in a lot of different sectors, from politics to even bug-fixing in Microsoft’s software. Simply put, it stated that 80% of the results will come from 20% of the work and that this rule occurs in many aspects of life.

But why is this important for your thesis? Well, your thesis is going to cost you a lot of hours, so you can imagine how big that share of 80% is in the value of time. If you focus on the most important 20% of work, you already have 80% of the output done. You then have a lot of time left to put in the other work to raise your masterpiece to the next level. Changing small words, small sources, rewriting some not-so-important paragraphs, these are all things that consume a lot of time but can wait until you have finished your main framework. The faster you have the outlines of your paper done, the more motivated you will be to improve and finish it.

We hope this sets you off to a great start. Did you know that your thesis can be the beginning of something awesome? The first New York Pizza in The Netherlands opened because of Philippe Vorst’s thesis! You can read about this story in this blog. Enjoy and stay safe these days!