objectives of a master thesis

  • Aims and Objectives – A Guide for Academic Writing
  • Doing a PhD

One of the most important aspects of a thesis, dissertation or research paper is the correct formulation of the aims and objectives. This is because your aims and objectives will establish the scope, depth and direction that your research will ultimately take. An effective set of aims and objectives will give your research focus and your reader clarity, with your aims indicating what is to be achieved, and your objectives indicating how it will be achieved.


There is no getting away from the importance of the aims and objectives in determining the success of your research project. Unfortunately, however, it is an aspect that many students struggle with, and ultimately end up doing poorly. Given their importance, if you suspect that there is even the smallest possibility that you belong to this group of students, we strongly recommend you read this page in full.

This page describes what research aims and objectives are, how they differ from each other, how to write them correctly, and the common mistakes students make and how to avoid them. An example of a good aim and objectives from a past thesis has also been deconstructed to help your understanding.

What Are Aims and Objectives?

Research aims.

A research aim describes the main goal or the overarching purpose of your research project.

In doing so, it acts as a focal point for your research and provides your readers with clarity as to what your study is all about. Because of this, research aims are almost always located within its own subsection under the introduction section of a research document, regardless of whether it’s a thesis , a dissertation, or a research paper .

A research aim is usually formulated as a broad statement of the main goal of the research and can range in length from a single sentence to a short paragraph. Although the exact format may vary according to preference, they should all describe why your research is needed (i.e. the context), what it sets out to accomplish (the actual aim) and, briefly, how it intends to accomplish it (overview of your objectives).

To give an example, we have extracted the following research aim from a real PhD thesis:

Example of a Research Aim

The role of diametrical cup deformation as a factor to unsatisfactory implant performance has not been widely reported. The aim of this thesis was to gain an understanding of the diametrical deformation behaviour of acetabular cups and shells following impaction into the reamed acetabulum. The influence of a range of factors on deformation was investigated to ascertain if cup and shell deformation may be high enough to potentially contribute to early failure and high wear rates in metal-on-metal implants.

Note: Extracted with permission from thesis titled “T he Impact And Deformation Of Press-Fit Metal Acetabular Components ” produced by Dr H Hothi of previously Queen Mary University of London.

Research Objectives

Where a research aim specifies what your study will answer, research objectives specify how your study will answer it.

They divide your research aim into several smaller parts, each of which represents a key section of your research project. As a result, almost all research objectives take the form of a numbered list, with each item usually receiving its own chapter in a dissertation or thesis.

Following the example of the research aim shared above, here are it’s real research objectives as an example:

Example of a Research Objective

  • Develop finite element models using explicit dynamics to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion, initially using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum.
  • Investigate the number, velocity and position of impacts needed to insert a cup.
  • Determine the relationship between the size of interference between the cup and cavity and deformation for different cup types.
  • Investigate the influence of non-uniform cup support and varying the orientation of the component in the cavity on deformation.
  • Examine the influence of errors during reaming of the acetabulum which introduce ovality to the cavity.
  • Determine the relationship between changes in the geometry of the component and deformation for different cup designs.
  • Develop three dimensional pelvis models with non-uniform bone material properties from a range of patients with varying bone quality.
  • Use the key parameters that influence deformation, as identified in the foam models to determine the range of deformations that may occur clinically using the anatomic models and if these deformations are clinically significant.

It’s worth noting that researchers sometimes use research questions instead of research objectives, or in other cases both. From a high-level perspective, research questions and research objectives make the same statements, but just in different formats.

Taking the first three research objectives as an example, they can be restructured into research questions as follows:

Restructuring Research Objectives as Research Questions

  • Can finite element models using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum together with explicit dynamics be used to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion?
  • What is the number, velocity and position of impacts needed to insert a cup?
  • What is the relationship between the size of interference between the cup and cavity and deformation for different cup types?

Difference Between Aims and Objectives

Hopefully the above explanations make clear the differences between aims and objectives, but to clarify:

  • The research aim focus on what the research project is intended to achieve; research objectives focus on how the aim will be achieved.
  • Research aims are relatively broad; research objectives are specific.
  • Research aims focus on a project’s long-term outcomes; research objectives focus on its immediate, short-term outcomes.
  • A research aim can be written in a single sentence or short paragraph; research objectives should be written as a numbered list.

How to Write Aims and Objectives

Before we discuss how to write a clear set of research aims and objectives, we should make it clear that there is no single way they must be written. Each researcher will approach their aims and objectives slightly differently, and often your supervisor will influence the formulation of yours on the basis of their own preferences.

Regardless, there are some basic principles that you should observe for good practice; these principles are described below.

Your aim should be made up of three parts that answer the below questions:

  • Why is this research required?
  • What is this research about?
  • How are you going to do it?

The easiest way to achieve this would be to address each question in its own sentence, although it does not matter whether you combine them or write multiple sentences for each, the key is to address each one.

The first question, why , provides context to your research project, the second question, what , describes the aim of your research, and the last question, how , acts as an introduction to your objectives which will immediately follow.

Scroll through the image set below to see the ‘why, what and how’ associated with our research aim example.

Explaining aims vs objectives

Note: Your research aims need not be limited to one. Some individuals per to define one broad ‘overarching aim’ of a project and then adopt two or three specific research aims for their thesis or dissertation. Remember, however, that in order for your assessors to consider your research project complete, you will need to prove you have fulfilled all of the aims you set out to achieve. Therefore, while having more than one research aim is not necessarily disadvantageous, consider whether a single overarching one will do.

Research Objectives

Each of your research objectives should be SMART :

  • Specific – is there any ambiguity in the action you are going to undertake, or is it focused and well-defined?
  • Measurable – how will you measure progress and determine when you have achieved the action?
  • Achievable – do you have the support, resources and facilities required to carry out the action?
  • Relevant – is the action essential to the achievement of your research aim?
  • Timebound – can you realistically complete the action in the available time alongside your other research tasks?

In addition to being SMART, your research objectives should start with a verb that helps communicate your intent. Common research verbs include:

Table of Research Verbs to Use in Aims and Objectives

Last, format your objectives into a numbered list. This is because when you write your thesis or dissertation, you will at times need to make reference to a specific research objective; structuring your research objectives in a numbered list will provide a clear way of doing this.

To bring all this together, let’s compare the first research objective in the previous example with the above guidance:

Checking Research Objective Example Against Recommended Approach

Research Objective:

1. Develop finite element models using explicit dynamics to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion, initially using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum.

Checking Against Recommended Approach:

Q: Is it specific? A: Yes, it is clear what the student intends to do (produce a finite element model), why they intend to do it (mimic cup/shell blows) and their parameters have been well-defined ( using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum ).

Q: Is it measurable? A: Yes, it is clear that the research objective will be achieved once the finite element model is complete.

Q: Is it achievable? A: Yes, provided the student has access to a computer lab, modelling software and laboratory data.

Q: Is it relevant? A: Yes, mimicking impacts to a cup/shell is fundamental to the overall aim of understanding how they deform when impacted upon.

Q: Is it timebound? A: Yes, it is possible to create a limited-scope finite element model in a relatively short time, especially if you already have experience in modelling.

Q: Does it start with a verb? A: Yes, it starts with ‘develop’, which makes the intent of the objective immediately clear.

Q: Is it a numbered list? A: Yes, it is the first research objective in a list of eight.

Mistakes in Writing Research Aims and Objectives

1. making your research aim too broad.

Having a research aim too broad becomes very difficult to achieve. Normally, this occurs when a student develops their research aim before they have a good understanding of what they want to research. Remember that at the end of your project and during your viva defence , you will have to prove that you have achieved your research aims; if they are too broad, this will be an almost impossible task. In the early stages of your research project, your priority should be to narrow your study to a specific area. A good way to do this is to take the time to study existing literature, question their current approaches, findings and limitations, and consider whether there are any recurring gaps that could be investigated .

Note: Achieving a set of aims does not necessarily mean proving or disproving a theory or hypothesis, even if your research aim was to, but having done enough work to provide a useful and original insight into the principles that underlie your research aim.

2. Making Your Research Objectives Too Ambitious

Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have available. It is natural to want to set ambitious research objectives that require sophisticated data collection and analysis, but only completing this with six months before the end of your PhD registration period is not a worthwhile trade-off.

3. Formulating Repetitive Research Objectives

Each research objective should have its own purpose and distinct measurable outcome. To this effect, a common mistake is to form research objectives which have large amounts of overlap. This makes it difficult to determine when an objective is truly complete, and also presents challenges in estimating the duration of objectives when creating your project timeline. It also makes it difficult to structure your thesis into unique chapters, making it more challenging for you to write and for your audience to read.

Fortunately, this oversight can be easily avoided by using SMART objectives.

Hopefully, you now have a good idea of how to create an effective set of aims and objectives for your research project, whether it be a thesis, dissertation or research paper. While it may be tempting to dive directly into your research, spending time on getting your aims and objectives right will give your research clear direction. This won’t only reduce the likelihood of problems arising later down the line, but will also lead to a more thorough and coherent research project.

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How to Write the Dissertation Aims and Objectives – Guide & Examples

Published by Grace Graffin at January 27th, 2023 , Revised On October 9, 2023

Aims and objectives are among the essential aspects of a dissertation. If you write aims and objectives effectively, they can act as a foundation to give your research clarity and focus.

This article will provide you with all the necessary information regarding aims and objectives, their differences, writing tips , and the common mistakes you should avoid while writing them.

The aim is often a single sentence or a short paragraph that describes your dissertation’s main goal and intent. It tells what you hope to achieve at the end. You should write the aim so that it becomes identifiable when it is achieved with the completion of your dissertation .

The aim is written in a subsection of the introduction to clarify the overall purpose of the dissertation .

Example: It is often observed that employees in culturally diverse workplaces struggle to work effectively in a team. A probable cause of this issue is bullying at the workplace. This research investigates the impact of bullying on employee job satisfaction at culturally diverse workplaces and the resulting loss of employee productivity. This research will use surveys and case study analysis to analyze the impact of bullying on employees.

The objectives in a dissertation describe the ways through which you intend to achieve the research aim. They are specific statements that break down the aim into several smaller key sections of the overall research. Suitable objectives can help you stay focused and conduct research in the direction of your aim.

The number of objectives should be realistic; usually, between three to six, and each one should be possible to achieve. The following example shows the objectives for the previously-mentioned dissertation aim.

1. identification of the behaviors that are considered as bullying 2. exploring the factors that cause bullying at a culturally diverse workplace 3. analyzing the relationship between bullying and job satisfaction of employees 4. providing suitable recommendations on minimizing the bullying at the workplace

The objectives of a dissertation should be SMART.

  • Specific: should be precise, focused, and well-defined
  • Measurable: the progress should be measurable, and you should be able to determine when you have achieved an objective.
  • Achievable: you should be able to carry out the required action within your available resources
  • Relevant: should be related to the dissertation aim
  • Time-bound: should be possible within the available time

Differences between aims and objectives

Aims and objectives are often mixed, but there are clear differences between them.

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How to write aims and objectives?

There is no particular way or standard to write the aims and objectives. Different researchers have different writing styles, and often it can be influenced by your research supervisor. However, you should follow certain basic principles while writing aims and objectives in a dissertation.

Writing the aim statement

The aim statement should cover the following essential elements.

  • Why is the research necessary? (covers the underlying problem on which the study is to be conducted)
  • What is the research about? (description of the research title)
  • How are you going to conduct it? (a brief statement of intended research methods)

An appropriate aim clearly defines the research purpose without confusing the reader. If you struggle to explain your research and its importance in simpler terms, you should consider refining your research to clarify it further.

Writing objectives

The objectives describe how you would achieve your research aim. You can do this through the following steps,

  • The first one to two objectives can be applied to the literature review . (Verbs to be used: investigate, examine, study)
  • One objective can be applied to the methodology portion. (Verbs to be used: collect, select, demonstrate, estimate)
  • Two to three objectives can cover the critical evaluation or discussion chapters (Verbs to be used: analyze, compare, evaluate)
  • The final objective will cover the conclusion or recommendation portion. (Verbs to be used: conclude, recommend)

Instead of writing like a paragraph, the objectives should be written as a numbered list to give them more clarity.

How many aims and objectives should be there?

It depends upon the topic of your research and mainly upon your supervisor’s requirements. Generally, a dissertation has a single broad statement as the research aim. However, it is acceptable to include a main aim along with two to three subsidiary aims.

Similarly, the number of objectives should be realistic and sufficient to measure the progress regarding the achievement of the research aim. Their number can generally vary from three to six depending upon the aim.

Common mistakes to avoid while writing research aims and objectives

  • Writing a broad research aim

Writing a broad research aim is a common mistake, and it often becomes difficult to achieve. It may create a problem when you are asked to prove how you have achieved your aims during your  viva defense . It would be best to narrow your study to a specific area in the early stages of the dissertation.

  • Formulating overlapping research objectives

The objectives should be written such that they are measurable and distinct from each other. If they overlap, it makes it difficult to structure your dissertation properly in specific chapters.

  • Setting unrealistic aims

Students often get over-ambitious while describing the research aim and face problems afterward in achieving those aims. You should avoid this mistake and be realistic about what you can achieve in the available time and resources.

Aims and objectives are the sections that require significant time and attention to avoid future hassles while conducting research and writing your dissertation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to set dissertation aims and objectives.

To set dissertation aims and objectives, define your research goals clearly. Aims state what you want to achieve, while objectives outline specific, measurable steps to reach those goals. Ensure they align with your research question and contribute to your study’s significance.

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Research Aims, Objectives & Questions

The “Golden Thread” Explained Simply (+ Examples)

By: David Phair (PhD) and Alexandra Shaeffer (PhD) | June 2022

The research aims , objectives and research questions (collectively called the “golden thread”) are arguably the most important thing you need to get right when you’re crafting a research proposal , dissertation or thesis . We receive questions almost every day about this “holy trinity” of research and there’s certainly a lot of confusion out there, so we’ve crafted this post to help you navigate your way through the fog.

Overview: The Golden Thread

  • What is the golden thread
  • What are research aims ( examples )
  • What are research objectives ( examples )
  • What are research questions ( examples )
  • The importance of alignment in the golden thread

What is the “golden thread”?  

The golden thread simply refers to the collective research aims , research objectives , and research questions for any given project (i.e., a dissertation, thesis, or research paper ). These three elements are bundled together because it’s extremely important that they align with each other, and that the entire research project aligns with them.

Importantly, the golden thread needs to weave its way through the entirety of any research project , from start to end. In other words, it needs to be very clearly defined right at the beginning of the project (the topic ideation and proposal stage) and it needs to inform almost every decision throughout the rest of the project. For example, your research design and methodology will be heavily influenced by the golden thread (we’ll explain this in more detail later), as well as your literature review.

The research aims, objectives and research questions (the golden thread) define the focus and scope ( the delimitations ) of your research project. In other words, they help ringfence your dissertation or thesis to a relatively narrow domain, so that you can “go deep” and really dig into a specific problem or opportunity. They also help keep you on track , as they act as a litmus test for relevance. In other words, if you’re ever unsure whether to include something in your document, simply ask yourself the question, “does this contribute toward my research aims, objectives or questions?”. If it doesn’t, chances are you can drop it.

Alright, enough of the fluffy, conceptual stuff. Let’s get down to business and look at what exactly the research aims, objectives and questions are and outline a few examples to bring these concepts to life.

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Research Aims: What are they?

Simply put, the research aim(s) is a statement that reflects the broad overarching goal (s) of the research project. Research aims are fairly high-level (low resolution) as they outline the general direction of the research and what it’s trying to achieve .

Research Aims: Examples  

True to the name, research aims usually start with the wording “this research aims to…”, “this research seeks to…”, and so on. For example:

“This research aims to explore employee experiences of digital transformation in retail HR.”   “This study sets out to assess the interaction between student support and self-care on well-being in engineering graduate students”  

As you can see, these research aims provide a high-level description of what the study is about and what it seeks to achieve. They’re not hyper-specific or action-oriented, but they’re clear about what the study’s focus is and what is being investigated.

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objectives of a master thesis

Research Objectives: What are they?

The research objectives take the research aims and make them more practical and actionable . In other words, the research objectives showcase the steps that the researcher will take to achieve the research aims.

The research objectives need to be far more specific (higher resolution) and actionable than the research aims. In fact, it’s always a good idea to craft your research objectives using the “SMART” criteria. In other words, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound”.

Research Objectives: Examples  

Let’s look at two examples of research objectives. We’ll stick with the topic and research aims we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic:

To observe the retail HR employees throughout the digital transformation. To assess employee perceptions of digital transformation in retail HR. To identify the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR.

And for the student wellness topic:

To determine whether student self-care predicts the well-being score of engineering graduate students. To determine whether student support predicts the well-being score of engineering students. To assess the interaction between student self-care and student support when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students.

  As you can see, these research objectives clearly align with the previously mentioned research aims and effectively translate the low-resolution aims into (comparatively) higher-resolution objectives and action points . They give the research project a clear focus and present something that resembles a research-based “to-do” list.

The research objectives detail the specific steps that you, as the researcher, will take to achieve the research aims you laid out.

Research Questions: What are they?

Finally, we arrive at the all-important research questions. The research questions are, as the name suggests, the key questions that your study will seek to answer . Simply put, they are the core purpose of your dissertation, thesis, or research project. You’ll present them at the beginning of your document (either in the introduction chapter or literature review chapter) and you’ll answer them at the end of your document (typically in the discussion and conclusion chapters).  

The research questions will be the driving force throughout the research process. For example, in the literature review chapter, you’ll assess the relevance of any given resource based on whether it helps you move towards answering your research questions. Similarly, your methodology and research design will be heavily influenced by the nature of your research questions. For instance, research questions that are exploratory in nature will usually make use of a qualitative approach, whereas questions that relate to measurement or relationship testing will make use of a quantitative approach.  

Let’s look at some examples of research questions to make this more tangible.

Research Questions: Examples  

Again, we’ll stick with the research aims and research objectives we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic (which would be qualitative in nature):

How do employees perceive digital transformation in retail HR? What are the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR?  

And for the student wellness topic (which would be quantitative in nature):

Does student self-care predict the well-being scores of engineering graduate students? Does student support predict the well-being scores of engineering students? Do student self-care and student support interact when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students?  

You’ll probably notice that there’s quite a formulaic approach to this. In other words, the research questions are basically the research objectives “converted” into question format. While that is true most of the time, it’s not always the case. For example, the first research objective for the digital transformation topic was more or less a step on the path toward the other objectives, and as such, it didn’t warrant its own research question.  

So, don’t rush your research questions and sloppily reword your objectives as questions. Carefully think about what exactly you’re trying to achieve (i.e. your research aim) and the objectives you’ve set out, then craft a set of well-aligned research questions . Also, keep in mind that this can be a somewhat iterative process , where you go back and tweak research objectives and aims to ensure tight alignment throughout the golden thread.

The importance of strong alignment 

Alignment is the keyword here and we have to stress its importance . Simply put, you need to make sure that there is a very tight alignment between all three pieces of the golden thread. If your research aims and research questions don’t align, for example, your project will be pulling in different directions and will lack focus . This is a common problem students face and can cause many headaches (and tears), so be warned.

Take the time to carefully craft your research aims, objectives and research questions before you run off down the research path. Ideally, get your research supervisor/advisor to review and comment on your golden thread before you invest significant time into your project, and certainly before you start collecting data .  

Recap: The golden thread

In this post, we unpacked the golden thread of research, consisting of the research aims , research objectives and research questions . You can jump back to any section using the links below.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below – we always love to hear from you. Also, if you’re interested in 1-on-1 support, take a look at our private coaching service here.

objectives of a master thesis

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

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Isaac Levi

Thank you very much for your great effort put. As an Undergraduate taking Demographic Research & Methodology, I’ve been trying so hard to understand clearly what is a Research Question, Research Aim and the Objectives in a research and the relationship between them etc. But as for now I’m thankful that you’ve solved my problem.

Hatimu Bah

Well appreciated. This has helped me greatly in doing my dissertation.

Dr. Abdallah Kheri

An so delighted with this wonderful information thank you a lot.

so impressive i have benefited a lot looking forward to learn more on research.

Ekwunife, Chukwunonso Onyeka Steve

I am very happy to have carefully gone through this well researched article.

Infact,I used to be phobia about anything research, because of my poor understanding of the concepts.

Now,I get to know that my research question is the same as my research objective(s) rephrased in question format.

I please I would need a follow up on the subject,as I intends to join the team of researchers. Thanks once again.


Thanks so much. This was really helpful.


I know you pepole have tried to break things into more understandable and easy format. And God bless you. Keep it up


i found this document so useful towards my study in research methods. thanks so much.

Michael L. Andrion

This is my 2nd read topic in your course and I should commend the simplified explanations of each part. I’m beginning to understand and absorb the use of each part of a dissertation/thesis. I’ll keep on reading your free course and might be able to avail the training course! Kudos!


Thank you! Better put that my lecture and helped to easily understand the basics which I feel often get brushed over when beginning dissertation work.

Enoch Tindiwegi

This is quite helpful. I like how the Golden thread has been explained and the needed alignment.

Sora Dido Boru

This is quite helpful. I really appreciate!


The article made it simple for researcher students to differentiate between three concepts.

Afowosire Wasiu Adekunle

Very innovative and educational in approach to conducting research.

Sàlihu Abubakar Dayyabu

I am very impressed with all these terminology, as I am a fresh student for post graduate, I am highly guided and I promised to continue making consultation when the need arise. Thanks a lot.

Mohammed Shamsudeen

A very helpful piece. thanks, I really appreciate it .

Sonam Jyrwa

Very well explained, and it might be helpful to many people like me.


Wish i had found this (and other) resource(s) at the beginning of my PhD journey… not in my writing up year… 😩 Anyways… just a quick question as i’m having some issues ordering my “golden thread”…. does it matter in what order you mention them? i.e., is it always first aims, then objectives, and finally the questions? or can you first mention the research questions and then the aims and objectives?


Thank you for a very simple explanation that builds upon the concepts in a very logical manner. Just prior to this, I read the research hypothesis article, which was equally very good. This met my primary objective.

My secondary objective was to understand the difference between research questions and research hypothesis, and in which context to use which one. However, I am still not clear on this. Can you kindly please guide?

Derek Jansen

In research, a research question is a clear and specific inquiry that the researcher wants to answer, while a research hypothesis is a tentative statement or prediction about the relationship between variables or the expected outcome of the study. Research questions are broader and guide the overall study, while hypotheses are specific and testable statements used in quantitative research. Research questions identify the problem, while hypotheses provide a focus for testing in the study.

Saen Fanai

Exactly what I need in this research journey, I look forward to more of your coaching videos.

Abubakar Rofiat Opeyemi

This helped a lot. Thanks so much for the effort put into explaining it.

Lamin Tarawally

What data source in writing dissertation/Thesis requires?

What is data source covers when writing dessertation/thesis

Latifat Muhammed

This is quite useful thanks


I’m excited and thankful. I got so much value which will help me progress in my thesis.

Amer Al-Rashid

where are the locations of the reserch statement, research objective and research question in a reserach paper? Can you write an ouline that defines their places in the researh paper?


Very helpful and important tips on Aims, Objectives and Questions.

Refiloe Raselane

Thank you so much for making research aim, research objectives and research question so clear. This will be helpful to me as i continue with my thesis.

Annabelle Roda-Dafielmoto

Thanks much for this content. I learned a lot. And I am inspired to learn more. I am still struggling with my preparation for dissertation outline/proposal. But I consistently follow contents and tutorials and the new FB of GRAD Coach. Hope to really become confident in writing my dissertation and successfully defend it.


As a researcher and lecturer, I find splitting research goals into research aims, objectives, and questions is unnecessarily bureaucratic and confusing for students. For most biomedical research projects, including ‘real research’, 1-3 research questions will suffice (numbers may differ by discipline).


Awesome! Very important resources and presented in an informative way to easily understand the golden thread. Indeed, thank you so much.


Well explained

New Growth Care Group

The blog article on research aims, objectives, and questions by Grad Coach is a clear and insightful guide that aligns with my experiences in academic research. The article effectively breaks down the often complex concepts of research aims and objectives, providing a straightforward and accessible explanation. Drawing from my own research endeavors, I appreciate the practical tips offered, such as the need for specificity and clarity when formulating research questions. The article serves as a valuable resource for students and researchers, offering a concise roadmap for crafting well-defined research goals and objectives. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced researcher, this article provides practical insights that contribute to the foundational aspects of a successful research endeavor.


A great thanks for you. it is really amazing explanation. I grasp a lot and one step up to research knowledge.


I really found these tips helpful. Thank you very much Grad Coach.

Rahma D.

I found this article helpful. Thanks for sharing this.

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How to Write Master Thesis: Strategies for Effective Writing

Writing a master’s thesis shouldn’t be daunting. Learn the essentials with our guide on how to write master thesis and achieve your goals!

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Knowing how to write a master’s thesis is a significant undertaking that requires meticulous planning, rigorous research, and effective communication skills. It can be both an exciting and daunting endeavor, but with the right approach and guidance, you can successfully navigate the process. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to write a master’s thesis. From how to choose a topic to conduct thorough research, organizing your ideas, and presenting coherent arguments. By following our tips and strategies, you can confidently embark on your master’s thesis journey and produce a high-quality piece of academic work that showcases your expertise and scholarly growth.

What Is A Master Thesis?

A master thesis is a comprehensive research project undertaken by graduate students to demonstrate their mastery of a specific subject area within their field of study. It serves as a culmination of their academic journey and is a requirement for completing a master’s degree.

Purpose Of A Master Thesis

The primary purpose of a master’s thesis is to provide students with an opportunity to engage in in-depth research, critical analysis, and original contribution to their chosen field. It allows students to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout their academic program, showcasing their ability to conduct independent research, think critically, and present findings in a scholarly manner.

Types Of Master Thesis

There are different types of master theses, depending on the field of study and program requirements. Some common include two types: qualitative and quantitative.

A qualitative or creative thesis involves conducting research that explores topics in a descriptive, exploratory, analytical, or creative manner. This type of thesis is commonly pursued by graduate students in departments that encompass the arts and humanities. It allows students to delve into their subjects of interest through methods such as literature reviews, case studies, interviews, observations, or artistic creations. The focus is on gaining a deeper understanding of the subject matter by examining its nuances, context, and subjective interpretations. Qualitative theses often emphasize the subjective experiences, perspectives, and narratives of individuals or communities. The findings are typically presented through detailed descriptions, narratives, quotes, and artistic representations, providing a rich and contextualized understanding of the research topic.

A quantitative thesis involves the collection and analysis of numerical data obtained through scientific devices or instruments. This type of thesis relies on objective measurements recorded on a scale. The findings of a quantitative master’s thesis are typically presented through quantitative data representations, such as graphs, tables, and statistical measures, allowing for objective interpretations and generalizations. Examples of quantitative master’s theses can include studies on the effects of interventions on outcomes, analyzing relationships between variables, investigating patterns or trends in data, or examining the impact of factors on a particular phenomenon.

It is important to note that the specific types and requirements of a master’s thesis may vary across institutions and academic programs, so students should consult their program guidelines for more detailed information.

Choosing A Topic For The Master Thesis

Choosing a topic for a master’s thesis involves a deliberate process that revolves around finding a research gap and developing relevant research questions. Firstly, it is crucial to explore the existing literature in your field of study to identify areas where knowledge is lacking or conflicting. This helps you pinpoint research gaps that can be addressed in your thesis. Next, consult with advisors and professors who can offer guidance and insights based on their expertise. Brainstorm and formulate focused research questions that contribute to advancing knowledge in your field. Ensure that the chosen topic is feasible in terms of available resources and time constraints, and consider the practical implications and relevance of the topic to assess its potential impact on the field. 

Finding A Research Gap

Identifying a research gap is essential when the student is choosing the topic for the master thesis to ensure the thesis contributes to the existing body of knowledge. Students need to conduct a thorough literature review to identify areas where research is lacking or where further investigation is needed. This ensures that the master’s thesis adds value and fills a void in the current understanding of the subject matter.

Developing Research Questions

Formulating clear and focused research questions is crucial for guiding the master thesis. Research questions should be specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant. They should address the research gap identified and guide the entire research process. Students can refine and develop their research questions in consultation with their advisors and by considering the research objectives and scope of their master thesis.

Research Methodology For Master Thesis

The research methodology section of a master thesis outlines the strategies, approaches, and techniques employed to gather and analyze data. It provides a framework for conducting the research study, ensuring its validity and reliability. The research methodology encompasses various components, such as the research design, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, and ethical considerations.

Data Collection Methods

Data collection methods involve the systematic gathering of relevant information to address the research questions. Common data collection methods include surveys, interviews, observations, experiments, archival research, and document analysis. Students should select appropriate methods based on their research objectives, sample size, resources available, and the nature of the research topic. It is important to ensure data collection methods are reliable, valid, and ethical.

Data Analysis Techniques

Data analysis techniques in a master’s thesis refer to the methods and procedures used to analyze and interpret the data collected during the research process. These techniques help researchers make sense of the data, uncover patterns, draw conclusions, and address their research questions or hypotheses. The choice of data analysis techniques will depend on the nature of the research questions, the type of data collected, and the objectives of the study. Researchers need to select the appropriate techniques that align with their research goals and ensure the accuracy and validity of their findings.

Writing The Master Thesis

Writing a master thesis requires careful planning, organization, and effective communication of research findings. It involves synthesizing research data, analyzing results, and presenting arguments coherently and logically. Writing the master thesis is an opportunity to showcase academic writing skills and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter.

Structure Of A Master Thesis

The structure of a master thesis typically includes several key sections. While the specific organization may vary by discipline, empirical dissertations typically follow a common format. Here’s a breakdown of the key sections:

Abstract: A concise summary of the thesis, providing an overview of the research question, methods, findings, and conclusions.

Table of Contents: A list of the main sections and subsections in the thesis, enabling easy navigation.

List of Tables/Figures: A compilation of tables and figures used in the thesis, with corresponding page numbers.

Introduction : An introductory section that sets the context, states the research problem or objective and outlines the scope and significance of the study.

Literature Review : A comprehensive review of existing research and scholarly works related to the thesis topic, demonstrating the gap or need for further investigation.

Methodology : A detailed explanation of the research design, methods, data collection procedures, and any statistical or analytical techniques employed.

Findings: Presentation and analysis of the research findings, often supported by tables, charts, or graphs.

Discussion : Interpretation and evaluation of the findings, comparing them to previous research, addressing limitations, and offering insights and implications.

Conclusion: A concise summary of the research, restating the main findings and their significance, along with suggestions for future research. For more details about the thesis conclusion, read our content “ Thesis Conclusion: Making Your Research Paper Outstanding “.

References: A list of all the sources cited in the thesis, following a specific citation style.

Appendices: Additional materials such as raw data, interview transcripts, or questionnaires that provide supplementary information to support the thesis.

Writing Style And Formatting Requirements

When writing a master’s thesis, it is important to adhere to the specific writing style and formatting requirements set by the academic institution or program. This may include guidelines on font type and size, margins, line spacing, citation style (such as APA , MLA, or Harvard), and referencing conventions. Following these requirements ensures consistency and professionalism in the presentation of the thesis. Maintaining a clear, concise, and formal writing style is essential to effectively convey ideas and arguments in a scholarly manner.

Proofreading And Editing The Master Thesis

Proofreading and editing a master thesis is a crucial step to ensure its quality and coherence. Start by scheduling a meeting with your advisor to discuss the revision and editing process. Check for consistency in formatting, citation style, and numbering. Review grammar, punctuation, and spelling manually, while also using automated tools. Improve sentence structure and logical flow, ensuring arguments connect smoothly. Verify citations and references for accuracy and proper formatting. Seek feedback from trusted peers or advisors and incorporate their suggestions. Make necessary revisions and conduct a final proofread, paying attention to details.

Submitting The Master Thesis

Submitting the master thesis is the final step in the process, marking the culmination of extensive research and writing. Before submission, ensure that the thesis adheres to the prescribed guidelines and formatting requirements set by the academic institution or program. Review the document for any errors, inconsistencies, or formatting issues, ensuring that all sections, citations, and references are accurate and properly cited. Include any required supporting materials or appendices as specified. Create a comprehensive checklist to verify that all necessary components, such as the title page, abstract, acknowledgments, and table of contents, are present and correctly formatted. Finally, submit the master thesis by the designated deadline, following the specific submission instructions provided by the institution or program.

Defending The Master Thesis

Defending the thesis is an essential step in the completion of a master’s degree. Here are some tips to help prepare a successful thesis defense:

Preparation: Thoroughly review and understand the thesis, including the research question, methodology, findings, and conclusions. Familiarize with the relevant literature and anticipate potential questions or criticisms.

Structure the presentation: Create a clear and logical structure for the presentation. Include an introduction, background information, research objectives, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. Use visual aids such as slides to illustrate key points effectively.

Explain methodology: Describe the research methodology, including data collection techniques, tools, and analysis methods. Justify choices and explain how they align with the research objectives. 

Present results: Present the research findings and highlight the key outcomes. Clearly explain any statistical analyses or experiments conducted and discuss the implications of the results. 

Discuss limitations: Acknowledge the limitations of the research. Explain any constraints or factors that may have influenced the outcomes or impacted the validity of the results. Demonstrate awareness of these limitations and discuss potential areas for future research.

Be open to feedback: View the defense as an opportunity to receive valuable feedback. Show receptiveness to suggestions for improvement and engage in constructive discussions. 

Remember that these steps are general guidelines, and the specific requirements and expectations for defending a master’s thesis may vary among institutions. It is advisable to consult the advisor or program guidelines for additional information and recommendations tailored to this particular situation.

Learn more about how to Approach Thesis Defense Questions: https://mindthegraph.com/blog/thesis-defense-questions/

Common Mistakes To Avoid In Writing A Master Thesis

When writing a master’s thesis, it is important to be aware of common mistakes and take steps to avoid them. Some common mistakes to avoid include:

Lack of clarity in research objectives: Clearly define the research objectives and ensure they are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant. Unclear objectives can lead to a lack of focus and coherence in the thesis.

Poor organization and structure: Plan thesis structure carefully, ensuring a logical flow of ideas and smooth transitions between sections. Poor organization can make it difficult for readers to follow the arguments and understand the research.

Insufficient literature review: Conduct a comprehensive literature review to provide context and establish the theoretical framework for the research. Failing to adequately review existing research can result in a weak foundation for the thesis and overlook essential contributions to the field.

Inadequate data analysis: Ensure that the data analysis is robust and appropriate for the research questions. Use suitable data analysis techniques and provide clear interpretations of findings. 

Inconsistent referencing and citation: Follow the required citation style consistently throughout the thesis. Accurately cite all sources and provide a comprehensive reference list or bibliography. Inconsistent referencing can lead to accusations of plagiarism and undermine the academic integrity of your work.

Lack of proofreading and editing: Thoroughly proofread and edit the thesis to correct grammatical errors, improve sentence structure, and ensure clarity. Neglecting this step can result in a lack of professionalism and diminish the overall quality of your work.

Tips For Writing An Effective Master Thesis

Here are some tips for writing an effective master thesis:

Start early: Begin the thesis writing process as early as possible to allow ample time for research, analysis, and writing. Procrastination can lead to unnecessary stress and compromise the work’s quality.

Develop a clear research question: Define a focused and well-defined research question that aligns with the interests and contributes to the existing body of knowledge in the specific field. A clear research question will guide the research and provide a strong foundation for the thesis.

Plan and outline: Create a detailed outline or a roadmap for the thesis, including the main sections, subtopics, and key arguments. This will help to stay organized and maintain a logical flow throughout the writing.

Conduct thorough research: Invest time in conducting comprehensive research, including literature reviews, data collection, and analysis. Use credible sources and critically evaluate the information to support the arguments effectively.

Maintain academic writing style: Write in a formal, concise, and clear style appropriate for academic writing. Avoid excessive jargon and ensure that ideas are communicated effectively to the target audience.

Structure the thesis effectively: Follow a logical structure with well-defined sections, such as an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. Each section should contribute to the overall coherence and flow of the thesis.

Seek feedback and revisions: Share the work with the advisor, peers, or mentors to get feedback and constructive criticism. Incorporate their suggestions and revise the thesis accordingly to strengthen the arguments and improve the overall quality.

Stay organized and manage time effectively: Create a realistic timeline, set deadlines, and manage time effectively throughout the writing process. Break down the tasks into smaller manageable parts to avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure steady progress.

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What is a thesis | A Complete Guide with Examples


Table of Contents

A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It’s typically submitted at the end of your master’s degree or as a capstone of your bachelor’s degree.

However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners. From the initial challenge of pinpointing a compelling research topic to organizing and presenting findings, the process is filled with potential pitfalls.

Therefore, to help you, this guide talks about what is a thesis. Additionally, it offers revelations and methodologies to transform it from an overwhelming task to a manageable and rewarding academic milestone.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic.

Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research, which not only fortifies your propositions but also confers credibility to your entire study.

Furthermore, there's another phenomenon you might often confuse with the thesis: the ' working thesis .' However, they aren't similar and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages.

As you research more and gather more evidence, your initial thesis (aka working thesis) might change. It's like a starting point that can be adjusted as you learn more. It's normal for your main topic to change a few times before you finalize it.

While a thesis identifies and provides an overarching argument, the key to clearly communicating the central point of that argument lies in writing a strong thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A strong thesis statement (aka thesis sentence) is a concise summary of the main argument or claim of the paper. It serves as a critical anchor in any academic work, succinctly encapsulating the primary argument or main idea of the entire paper.

Typically found within the introductory section, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap of your thesis, directing readers through your arguments and findings. By delineating the core focus of your investigation, it offers readers an immediate understanding of the context and the gravity of your study.

Furthermore, an effectively crafted thesis statement can set forth the boundaries of your research, helping readers anticipate the specific areas of inquiry you are addressing.

Different types of thesis statements

A good thesis statement is clear, specific, and arguable. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right type of thesis statement for your academic papers.

Thesis statements can be classified based on their purpose and structure. Here are the primary types of thesis statements:

Argumentative (or Persuasive) thesis statement

Purpose : To convince the reader of a particular stance or point of view by presenting evidence and formulating a compelling argument.

Example : Reducing plastic use in daily life is essential for environmental health.

Analytical thesis statement

Purpose : To break down an idea or issue into its components and evaluate it.

Example : By examining the long-term effects, social implications, and economic impact of climate change, it becomes evident that immediate global action is necessary.

Expository (or Descriptive) thesis statement

Purpose : To explain a topic or subject to the reader.

Example : The Great Depression, spanning the 1930s, was a severe worldwide economic downturn triggered by a stock market crash, bank failures, and reduced consumer spending.

Cause and effect thesis statement

Purpose : To demonstrate a cause and its resulting effect.

Example : Overuse of smartphones can lead to impaired sleep patterns, reduced face-to-face social interactions, and increased levels of anxiety.

Compare and contrast thesis statement

Purpose : To highlight similarities and differences between two subjects.

Example : "While both novels '1984' and 'Brave New World' delve into dystopian futures, they differ in their portrayal of individual freedom, societal control, and the role of technology."

When you write a thesis statement , it's important to ensure clarity and precision, so the reader immediately understands the central focus of your work.

What is the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement?

While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

A thesis refers to the entire research document, encompassing all its chapters and sections. In contrast, a thesis statement is a brief assertion that encapsulates the central argument of the research.

Here’s an in-depth differentiation table of a thesis and a thesis statement.

Now, to craft a compelling thesis, it's crucial to adhere to a specific structure. Let’s break down these essential components that make up a thesis structure

15 components of a thesis structure

Navigating a thesis can be daunting. However, understanding its structure can make the process more manageable.

Here are the key components or different sections of a thesis structure:

Your thesis begins with the title page. It's not just a formality but the gateway to your research.


Here, you'll prominently display the necessary information about you (the author) and your institutional details.

  • Title of your thesis
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date
  • Your Supervisor's name (in some cases)
  • Your Department or faculty (in some cases)
  • Your University's logo (in some cases)
  • Your Student ID (in some cases)

In a concise manner, you'll have to summarize the critical aspects of your research in typically no more than 200-300 words.


This includes the problem statement, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. For many, the abstract will determine if they delve deeper into your work, so ensure it's clear and compelling.


Research is rarely a solitary endeavor. In the acknowledgments section, you have the chance to express gratitude to those who've supported your journey.


This might include advisors, peers, institutions, or even personal sources of inspiration and support. It's a personal touch, reflecting the humanity behind the academic rigor.

Table of contents

A roadmap for your readers, the table of contents lists the chapters, sections, and subsections of your thesis.


By providing page numbers, you allow readers to navigate your work easily, jumping to sections that pique their interest.

List of figures and tables

Research often involves data, and presenting this data visually can enhance understanding. This section provides an organized listing of all figures and tables in your thesis.


It's a visual index, ensuring that readers can quickly locate and reference your graphical data.


Here's where you introduce your research topic, articulate the research question or objective, and outline the significance of your study.


  • Present the research topic : Clearly articulate the central theme or subject of your research.
  • Background information : Ground your research topic, providing any necessary context or background information your readers might need to understand the significance of your study.
  • Define the scope : Clearly delineate the boundaries of your research, indicating what will and won't be covered.
  • Literature review : Introduce any relevant existing research on your topic, situating your work within the broader academic conversation and highlighting where your research fits in.
  • State the research Question(s) or objective(s) : Clearly articulate the primary questions or objectives your research aims to address.
  • Outline the study's structure : Give a brief overview of how the subsequent sections of your work will unfold, guiding your readers through the journey ahead.

The introduction should captivate your readers, making them eager to delve deeper into your research journey.

Literature review section

Your study correlates with existing research. Therefore, in the literature review section, you'll engage in a dialogue with existing knowledge, highlighting relevant studies, theories, and findings.


It's here that you identify gaps in the current knowledge, positioning your research as a bridge to new insights.

To streamline this process, consider leveraging AI tools. For example, the SciSpace literature review tool enables you to efficiently explore and delve into research papers, simplifying your literature review journey.


In the research methodology section, you’ll detail the tools, techniques, and processes you employed to gather and analyze data. This section will inform the readers about how you approached your research questions and ensures the reproducibility of your study.


Here's a breakdown of what it should encompass:

  • Research Design : Describe the overall structure and approach of your research. Are you conducting a qualitative study with in-depth interviews? Or is it a quantitative study using statistical analysis? Perhaps it's a mixed-methods approach?
  • Data Collection : Detail the methods you used to gather data. This could include surveys, experiments, observations, interviews, archival research, etc. Mention where you sourced your data, the duration of data collection, and any tools or instruments used.
  • Sampling : If applicable, explain how you selected participants or data sources for your study. Discuss the size of your sample and the rationale behind choosing it.
  • Data Analysis : Describe the techniques and tools you used to process and analyze the data. This could range from statistical tests in quantitative research to thematic analysis in qualitative research.
  • Validity and Reliability : Address the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your findings to ensure that your results are both accurate and consistent.
  • Ethical Considerations : Highlight any ethical issues related to your research and the measures you took to address them, including — informed consent, confidentiality, and data storage and protection measures.

Moreover, different research questions necessitate different types of methodologies. For instance:

  • Experimental methodology : Often used in sciences, this involves a controlled experiment to discern causality.
  • Qualitative methodology : Employed when exploring patterns or phenomena without numerical data. Methods can include interviews, focus groups, or content analysis.
  • Quantitative methodology : Concerned with measurable data and often involves statistical analysis. Surveys and structured observations are common tools here.
  • Mixed methods : As the name implies, this combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Methodology section isn’t just about detailing the methods but also justifying why they were chosen. The appropriateness of the methods in addressing your research question can significantly impact the credibility of your findings.

Results (or Findings)

This section presents the outcomes of your research. It's crucial to note that the nature of your results may vary; they could be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both.


Quantitative results often present statistical data, showcasing measurable outcomes, and they benefit from tables, graphs, and figures to depict these data points.

Qualitative results , on the other hand, might delve into patterns, themes, or narratives derived from non-numerical data, such as interviews or observations.

Regardless of the nature of your results, clarity is essential. This section is purely about presenting the data without offering interpretations — that comes later in the discussion.

In the discussion section, the raw data transforms into valuable insights.

Start by revisiting your research question and contrast it with the findings. How do your results expand, constrict, or challenge current academic conversations?

Dive into the intricacies of the data, guiding the reader through its implications. Detail potential limitations transparently, signaling your awareness of the research's boundaries. This is where your academic voice should be resonant and confident.

Practical implications (Recommendation) section

Based on the insights derived from your research, this section provides actionable suggestions or proposed solutions.

Whether aimed at industry professionals or the general public, recommendations translate your academic findings into potential real-world actions. They help readers understand the practical implications of your work and how it can be applied to effect change or improvement in a given field.

When crafting recommendations, it's essential to ensure they're feasible and rooted in the evidence provided by your research. They shouldn't merely be aspirational but should offer a clear path forward, grounded in your findings.

The conclusion provides closure to your research narrative.

It's not merely a recap but a synthesis of your main findings and their broader implications. Reconnect with the research questions or hypotheses posited at the beginning, offering clear answers based on your findings.


Reflect on the broader contributions of your study, considering its impact on the academic community and potential real-world applications.

Lastly, the conclusion should leave your readers with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your study.

References (or Bibliography)

Every theory you've expounded upon, every data point you've cited, and every methodological precedent you've followed finds its acknowledgment here.


In references, it's crucial to ensure meticulous consistency in formatting, mirroring the specific guidelines of the chosen citation style .

Proper referencing helps to avoid plagiarism , gives credit to original ideas, and allows readers to explore topics of interest. Moreover, it situates your work within the continuum of academic knowledge.

To properly cite the sources used in the study, you can rely on online citation generator tools  to generate accurate citations!

Here’s more on how you can cite your sources.

Often, the depth of research produces a wealth of material that, while crucial, can make the core content of the thesis cumbersome. The appendix is where you mention extra information that supports your research but isn't central to the main text.


Whether it's raw datasets, detailed procedural methodologies, extended case studies, or any other ancillary material, the appendices ensure that these elements are archived for reference without breaking the main narrative's flow.

For thorough researchers and readers keen on meticulous details, the appendices provide a treasure trove of insights.

Glossary (optional)

In academics, specialized terminologies, and jargon are inevitable. However, not every reader is versed in every term.

The glossary, while optional, is a critical tool for accessibility. It's a bridge ensuring that even readers from outside the discipline can access, understand, and appreciate your work.


By defining complex terms and providing context, you're inviting a wider audience to engage with your research, enhancing its reach and impact.

Remember, while these components provide a structured framework, the essence of your thesis lies in the originality of your ideas, the rigor of your research, and the clarity of your presentation.

As you craft each section, keep your readers in mind, ensuring that your passion and dedication shine through every page.

Thesis examples

To further elucidate the concept of a thesis, here are illustrative examples from various fields:

Example 1 (History): Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807 by Suchait Kahlon.
Example 2 (Climate Dynamics): Influence of external forcings on abrupt millennial-scale climate changes: a statistical modelling study by Takahito Mitsui · Michel Crucifix

Checklist for your thesis evaluation

Evaluating your thesis ensures that your research meets the standards of academia. Here's an elaborate checklist to guide you through this critical process.

Content and structure

  • Is the thesis statement clear, concise, and debatable?
  • Does the introduction provide sufficient background and context?
  • Is the literature review comprehensive, relevant, and well-organized?
  • Does the methodology section clearly describe and justify the research methods?
  • Are the results/findings presented clearly and logically?
  • Does the discussion interpret the results in light of the research question and existing literature?
  • Is the conclusion summarizing the research and suggesting future directions or implications?

Clarity and coherence

  • Is the writing clear and free of jargon?
  • Are ideas and sections logically connected and flowing?
  • Is there a clear narrative or argument throughout the thesis?

Research quality

  • Is the research question significant and relevant?
  • Are the research methods appropriate for the question?
  • Is the sample size (if applicable) adequate?
  • Are the data analysis techniques appropriate and correctly applied?
  • Are potential biases or limitations addressed?

Originality and significance

  • Does the thesis contribute new knowledge or insights to the field?
  • Is the research grounded in existing literature while offering fresh perspectives?

Formatting and presentation

  • Is the thesis formatted according to institutional guidelines?
  • Are figures, tables, and charts clear, labeled, and referenced in the text?
  • Is the bibliography or reference list complete and consistently formatted?
  • Are appendices relevant and appropriately referenced in the main text?

Grammar and language

  • Is the thesis free of grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Is the language professional, consistent, and appropriate for an academic audience?
  • Are quotations and paraphrased material correctly cited?

Feedback and revision

  • Have you sought feedback from peers, advisors, or experts in the field?
  • Have you addressed the feedback and made the necessary revisions?

Overall assessment

  • Does the thesis as a whole feel cohesive and comprehensive?
  • Would the thesis be understandable and valuable to someone in your field?

Ensure to use this checklist to leave no ground for doubt or missed information in your thesis.

After writing your thesis, the next step is to discuss and defend your findings verbally in front of a knowledgeable panel. You’ve to be well prepared as your professors may grade your presentation abilities.

Preparing your thesis defense

A thesis defense, also known as "defending the thesis," is the culmination of a scholar's research journey. It's the final frontier, where you’ll present their findings and face scrutiny from a panel of experts.

Typically, the defense involves a public presentation where you’ll have to outline your study, followed by a question-and-answer session with a committee of experts. This committee assesses the validity, originality, and significance of the research.

The defense serves as a rite of passage for scholars. It's an opportunity to showcase expertise, address criticisms, and refine arguments. A successful defense not only validates the research but also establishes your authority as a researcher in your field.

Here’s how you can effectively prepare for your thesis defense .

Now, having touched upon the process of defending a thesis, it's worth noting that scholarly work can take various forms, depending on academic and regional practices.

One such form, often paralleled with the thesis, is the 'dissertation.' But what differentiates the two?

Dissertation vs. Thesis

Often used interchangeably in casual discourse, they refer to distinct research projects undertaken at different levels of higher education.

To the uninitiated, understanding their meaning might be elusive. So, let's demystify these terms and delve into their core differences.

Here's a table differentiating between the two.

Wrapping up

From understanding the foundational concept of a thesis to navigating its various components, differentiating it from a dissertation, and recognizing the importance of proper citation — this guide covers it all.

As scholars and readers, understanding these nuances not only aids in academic pursuits but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the relentless quest for knowledge that drives academia.

It’s important to remember that every thesis is a testament to curiosity, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of discovery.

Good luck with your thesis writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

A thesis typically ranges between 40-80 pages, but its length can vary based on the research topic, institution guidelines, and level of study.

A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements.

To identify a thesis topic, consider current trends in your field, gaps in existing literature, personal interests, and discussions with advisors or mentors. Additionally, reviewing related journals and conference proceedings can provide insights into potential areas of exploration.

The conceptual framework is often situated in the literature review or theoretical framework section of a thesis. It helps set the stage by providing the context, defining key concepts, and explaining the relationships between variables.

A thesis statement should be concise, clear, and specific. It should state the main argument or point of your research. Start by pinpointing the central question or issue your research addresses, then condense that into a single statement, ensuring it reflects the essence of your paper.

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Writing a Postgraduate or Doctoral Thesis: A Step-by-Step Approach

  • First Online: 01 October 2023

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A key characteristic looked after by postgraduate or doctoral students is how they communicate and defend their knowledge. Many candidates believe that there is insufficient instruction on constructing strong arguments. The thesis writing procedure must be meticulously followed to achieve outstanding results. It should be well organized, simple to read, and provide detailed explanations of the core research concepts. Each section in a thesis should be carefully written to make sure that it transitions logically from one to the next in a smooth way and is free of any unclear, cluttered, or redundant elements that make it difficult for the reader to understand what is being tried to convey. In this regard, students must acquire the information and skills to successfully create a strong and effective thesis. A step-by-step description of the thesis/dissertation writing process is provided in this chapter.

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Carter S, Guerin C, Aitchison C (2020) Doctoral writing: practices, processes and pleasures. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-1808-9

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Odena O, Burgess H (2017) How doctoral students and graduates describe facilitating experiences and strategies for their thesis writing learning process: a qualitative approach. Stud High Educ 42:572–590. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2015.1063598

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Nayak, U.Y., Hoogar, P., Mutalik, S., Udupa, N. (2023). Writing a Postgraduate or Doctoral Thesis: A Step-by-Step Approach. In: Jagadeesh, G., Balakumar, P., Senatore, F. (eds) The Quintessence of Basic and Clinical Research and Scientific Publishing. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-1284-1_48

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Aims and Objectives for Master’s Dissertations

Aims and Objectives

Aims and Objectives for Master’s Dissertations. This blog will look at writing an ‘Aim’ statement and ‘Objectives’ for a Master’s thesis. It should also be helpful for final year projects at undergraduate level.

I have done 2 previous blogs on ‘Topic Selection’ and ‘Dissertation Title Writing’ that may also be of interest.

Here is a short video clip on writing the Aims and Objectives.

Where should the Aims and Objectives be?

The Aims and Objectives for your  Master’s Dissertations need to be in chapter 1, the introduction to the research project. Chapter 1 should be an introduction to the project, and not an introduction to the topic. The topic is covered in the Literature Review, usually chapter 2. However, there needs to be a few pages of background introduction to set the scene and the reasons for the research. Therefore, the Aims and Objectives should be around page 2, 3, or 4.

Tips for Writing the AIM Statement

There will be one overall AIM statement as described here. Sometimes a research project may contain several distinct aims. However, they need to fit together to an overall research AIM.

The AIM is really just a longer and more explanatory version of the research title. The AIM can be an expansion of the title to 3 to 6 sentences. Make sure you cover these three elements:

  • Why is this research necessary – some background showing a problem.
  • What is this research about – an expansion of the title.
  • How is the research to be performed – a brief statement of the intended research methods.

Initially aim for 1 sentence for each item. Expanding to two sentences for each will be OK. The AIM statement should not exceed a paragraph or a quarter to a third of a page.

Example of an Aim Statement

Example: I will take a project title: “An investigation into Project Management Life-Cycles in the Automotive Industry: Honda as a case study.”

The AIM will need to include:

  • Why: Oversupply and unfilled manufacturing capacity, and increasing innovation in the industry are causing all automotive companies problems. This states the problem.
  • What: This project seeks to examine how Project Life Cycles are implemented in the Honda Motor Company.
  • How: By case study analysis and comparison with other automotive companies.

Put those three sentences together and the AIM statement becomes:

Aim Statement: Oversupply and unfilled manufacturing capacity is leading to increasing innovation in the automotive industry. This requires all automotive companies to reduce their project life cycles to remain competitive. This project seeks to examine how Project Life Cycles are implemented in the Honda Motor Company. The research will use case study analysis and comparison of Honda Project Life Cycles implementation with that of other automotive companies.

The first part of the aim statement – the problem – is what needs to be covered in the first 2 or 3 pages of the introduction chapter. Some researchers may then introduce a secondary aim statement to complement the first.  In this example there may be a secondary AIM to distribute or publish the research findings.

Writing Objectives for a Master’s Dissertation

Number Nine

Nine Objectives

I suggest that 6-9 Objectives is an initial target. There are often comments that 9 may be too many. However, as a Project Manager my natural inclination is to break a project into manageable chunks of work. Also, if there are 9 objectives and one objective is not met, then there are still 8 objectives that are met.

The objectives when read alone should tell a story through the dissertation. This can be done by ensuring:

  • 2 or 3 Objectives apply to the Literature Review – Demonstrating knowledge.  Verbs such as Research, Examine, Study, and Investigate are suitable.
  • 1 Objectives apply to the Research Methodology – How the research is performed. These might include: Collect data, Select interviewees, Analyse results as examples.
  • 2 or 3 Objectives focus on the Critical Evaluation or Discussion chapters. Verbs such as Analyse, Compare, Discuss, and Evaluate would be appropriate.
  • There may be one or two final objectives. To Conclude, and/or To Recommend.

I have already issued blogs about the requirements of a Master’s Dissertation from the QAA perspective and the three elements of a Master’s Dissertation . Using the above approach to write the objectives will demonstrate that these requirements have been met.

When writing objectives, keep to just one verb, and avoid the use of ‘and’. If you are using ‘and’ then perhaps this objective should be broken into two separate objectives.

Don’t forget that the objectives will need to be repeated and commented on in the conclusion chapter of the dissertation.

Examples of Research Objectives

For the example AIM from earlier, here are some suggested project objectives. Note how they start broad, and become more specific:

  • To examine the current status of the Automotive Industry
  • Study Project Management as it applies to the Automotive Industry
  • To research Project Life Cycles specifically as used within the Automotive Industry
  • Identify suitable case studies concerning Automotive Project Life Cycles for evaluation
  • To analyse the case studies
  • Compare Project Life Cycles as demonstrated b the case study companies
  • To critical evaluate the use of Project Life Cycles at Honda Motor Company
  • Recommend improvements to the Honda Motor Company in their use of Project Life Cycles

Just reading the verbs tells a story through the dissertation. To examine, to study, to research, to identify, to analyse, to compare, to evaluate and to recommend.

Honda Motor Car

Honda Motor Car

Higher Level Verbs

Don’t forget to use Blooms Higher level verbs when looking at the critical evaluation section. It is also important not to duplicate a verb. There are around 40-50 different verbs that you could use to write your objectives, and therefore it looks lazy to use the same verb more than once.

The Project Aim is an expansion of the title covering Why, What and How. The objectives should cover the whole dissertation from the Literature Review, through the Research Methodology, and to the Critical Evaluation and Conclusions.

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Creating an Outline for Your Master’s Thesis

1. introduction.

Your master’s thesis serves to explain the research that you have done during your time as a masters student. For many students, the master’s thesis is the longest document that they’ve ever written, and the length of the document can feel intimidating. The purpose of this CommKit is to cover a key element of writing your thesis: the outline.

2. Criteria for Success

The most important criterion for success is that you’ve shown an outline with your chapter breakdown to your advisor. Your advisor is the one that formally signs off on your thesis as completed, so their feedback is the most important. 

Every master’s thesis will have the following elements.

  • Introduction  –  Familiarize the reader with the topic and what gap exists in the field. 
  • Literature Review – Provide a detailed analysis of similar work in the field and how your work is unique. Master’s thesis literature reviews typically have at least 60 citations throughout the entire document 
  • Methods – Explain how you produced your results
  • Results –  Show your results and comment on their significance and implications. 
  • Conclusion – Summarize the methodology you used to generate results,  your key findings, and any future areas of work.

Having an outline for your master’s thesis will help you explain the motivation behind your work, and also connect the different experiments or results that you completed. Furthermore, an outline for your master’s thesis can help break down the larger task of writing the entire thesis into smaller, more manageable chapter-sized subtasks.

4. Analyze Your Audience

The most important audience member for your master’s thesis is your advisor, as they are ultimately the person that signs off on whether or not your thesis is sufficient enough to graduate. The needs of any other audience members are secondary. 

Ideally, a good master’s thesis is accessible to people that work in your field. In some cases, master’s theses are passed on to newer students so that that research can continue. In these cases, the thesis is used as a guide to introduce newer students to the research area. If you intend for your thesis to be used as a guide for new students, you may spend more time explaining the state of the field in your introduction and literature review. Additionally, your thesis will be posted publicly on DSpace , MIT’s digital repository for all theses. 

5. Best Practices

5.1. identify your claims.

A key element to figuring out the unique structure to your master’s thesis is identifying the claims of your work. A claim is an answer to a research question or gap. Your thesis can have both a higher level claim and also lower level claims that motivate the research projects that you worked on. Identifying your claims will help you spot the key objectives which you want to highlight in the thesis. This will keep your writing on topic. 

Some examples are shown below:

Gap/Question : There are no field-portable microplastic sensing technologies to measure their distribution in the environment.

→ Claim : Impedance spectroscopy can be used in a microfluidic device to rapidly distinguish organic matter from polymers.

Gap/Question: How effective are convolutional neural networks for pose estimation during in-space assembly? 

→ Claim : Convolutional neural networks can be used to estimate the pose of satellites, but struggle with oversaturated images and images with multiple satellites.

5.2. Support Your Claims

Once you have identified your claim, the next step is to identify evidence that will support it. The structure of your paper will be very dependent on the claim that you make.  Figure 1 and 2 demonstrate two different structures to support a claim. In one outline, the claim is best supported by a linear structure that describes the building, testing, and validation of a model. In another outline, the claim is best supported by a trifold structure, where three independent methods are discussed. Depending on the extent of the evidence, you could break this trifold structure into 3 separate chapters, or they could all be discussed in a singular chapter. The value of identifying claims and evidence is that it helps you organize your paper coherently at a high level. The number of chapters that are output as a result of your claim identification is up to you and what you think would be sufficient discussion for a chapter within your thesis. 

A block diagram that shows a sample claim-evidence structure. Text to the left says, "Just like a paper" and on the right there is a large purple box that says "I built a model that imporves X." Underneath that box, there are three boxes aligned in a column that say, "I built the model", "I tested the model and it improves X", and then "I applied the model to a new system"

5.3. Connect the Evidence to Your Claims with Reasoning

One common mistake that students make when writing their thesis is treating each chapter as an isolated piece of writing. While it is helpful to break down the actual task of thesis writing into chapter-size pieces, these chapters should have some connection to one another. For your outline, it is ideal to identify what these connections were. Perhaps what made you start on one project was that you realized the weaknesses in your prior work and you wanted to make improvements. For readers who were not doing the research with you, describing the connections between your work in different chapters can help them understand the motivation and value of why you pursued each component. 

5.4. Combine Your Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning to Produce Your Outline

Once you have identified your claims, the evidence you have surrounding each claim, and the reasoning that connects each piece of your work, you can now create your full outline, putting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. An example outline is provided as an annotated example.

There are no requirements for minimum or maximum number of chapters that your master’s thesis can have. Therefore, when translating your outline to a literal chapter breakdown, you should feel free to use as many chapters as needed. If your methods section for a claim is extremely long, it may make more sense to have it be a standalone chapter, as shown in the attached annotated pdf. 

6. Additional Resources

Every IAP, the Comm Lab hosts a workshop on how to write your master’s thesis. This workshop provides tips for writing each of these sections, and steps you through the process of creating an outline. 

Resources and Annotated Examples

Example 1. structure diagram and table of contents, example 2. table of contents.

How to prepare and write your Master's thesis?

18 Jan 2022


Etudiants & apprenants

At university, writing a dissertation and defending it at the end of the course is an unavoidable ritual of passage. Previously less accustomed to this exercise, more and more students in business or management schools are now required to submit this work at the end of their studies. Let's take a look together at the pedagogical interests of the Master's thesis, its construction and the principles to be respected in order to produce a quality work.

Why write a Master's thesis?

Fundamentally different from internship reports in their approach, but less demanding than PhD thesis, Master's thesis offer you the opportunity to carry out a research project at the end of your studies . This experience is an opportunity to take a step back and conduct in-depth reflection by adopting a scientific approach . Mentioned on your CV, the subject of a thesis is proof that you have acquired solid expertise on a specific subject. For the jury, this exercise enables them to assess the analytical capacity and critical thinking of future graduates .

The main steps to prepare your Master thesis

Defining your subject and problematic.

The first step, and perhaps the most delicate, is to choose a subject that is both relevant to your training and linked to your professional project. Next, you need to think about a problem that can be addressed in terms of issues and perspectives.

Drawing up a plan for your dissertation

If your problematic is sufficiently well-developed, you will not have too much difficulty in constructing a coherent plan . Generally, the first part of your dissertation is devoted to a review of the literature at your disposal, and the second to fieldwork: qualitative research, interviews with clients, consumers, experts, professionals, etc.

Conducting the field study

The field study is the empirical part of the dissertation and consists of collecting quantitative or qualitative data to be used. To carry it out, you must apply a scientific methodology and stick to it. This is probably the part of the exercise where you will have the least guidance, but if you are organised and diligent, you should be fine.

Moving on to writing the dissertation

The last stage before the defence is the writing. All you have to do is articulate your ideas in a coherent way that respects the initial plan , although a few adjustments are often essential. Be rigorous, precise and show that you have mastered the exercise by respecting the methodology, always justifying your statements with bibliographical references. Once this stage has been completed, all you have to do is prepare your defence.

Good practices for writing a Master thesis

Respect the methodology.

In the course of your higher education, there will be no exercise that really resembles the writing of a dissertation. You will need to learn a new methodology to produce a legitimate piece of work. Your thinking must be focused on a specific subject and contribute to the growth of knowledge by enrichment, confirmation or refutation. Don't be afraid if these terms are not yet familiar to you because most of the time, and this is the case at IPAG, you will first take courses in research methodology which will allow you to adopt the right approach.

Consult your supervisor/tutor at every stage

Generally, thesis directors or tutors are assigned to students at the beginning of the year. Their role is to help you at every stage, from the start of your research project to the final defence before the jury . Their experience will be particularly useful when choosing your topic, defining your problem and establishing your plan. Check in regularly throughout your course.

Organising your timetable

Between the last few weeks of your course, the end-of-study internship and the prospect of getting your first job, the end of your course promises to be busy. However, in some schools, such as IPAG, all students in the Programme Grande Ecole MSc or MBA programmes are required to write and defend a thesis. It is therefore essential to devote a significant part of your time to your dissertation and not to wait until the last month before the deadline to get serious about it.

Careful writing

There is no need to use figures of speech or to write too convolutedly, get straight to the point. Each sentence should serve your purpose and give strength to your demonstration . Remember to cite your sources, provide details at the bottom of the page and balance the different parts of your brief. Write your introduction at the very end of the exercise and, above all, proofread it!

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objectives of a master thesis

Master Thesis Training 2024

The Master Thesis Training (MTT) is an opportunity for master students at BUP participating universities to come together in an interdisciplinary and intercultural environment within the sphere of sustainability science. The event provides an opportunity for students to gain additional supervision from an expert on their thesis, develop connections with students from all around the Baltic Sea Region, and become better acquainted with academic perspectives. 

The event will accept participants from BUP participating universities who are studying towards a master's degree and are working on their thesis during the spring term. The content of the thesis should be within sustainability science and from a Baltic Sea Region perspective.

Both previous editions of the Master Thesis Training have been highly rated by those who participated, receiving a rating of 9/10 and 9.2/10 with students remarking that the event was helpful for them in improving their thesis. To read more about the past events you can view the event reports from 2022 and 2023 .

Objectives of the training

This event aims to give master students from BUP participating universities the possibility to meet and discuss scientific problems with a focus on sustainability in an interdisciplinary and regional context. In this way, students will also have the opportunity to become acquainted with other universities and their scientific traditions. The training program will be based on an interdisciplinary approach. Moreover, improving students’ capabilities in thesis writing and various general thesis facets are also important aspects. 

This international training will enrich the students’ perspectives on sustainability with experiences and perspectives from other disciplines and other countries. There is also a wide possibility to learn more about other important topics within sustainability science. The training will thus serve as a platform for a common understanding of regional challenges and possibilities and open avenues for future cooperation on these issues.

Four people sitting on a bench looking at the camera

25 March – Arrival, opening workshop, icebreaker activities

26 March – Student presentations, thesis defences and oppositions, group consultations

27 March – Individual consultations

28 March – Departure

Preliminary schedule and info 

  • 25-28 March 2024 , Uppsala, Sweden
  • Open for master students at BUP participating universities
  • Free of charge
  • Application deadline 31 January 2024
  • Held in English
  • Hosted by The BUP Coordinating Secretariat in Uppsala

Application and practical information

Only students who are currently writing their master thesis related to sustainability in a Baltic Sea Region context and who are enrolled at a BUP participating university will be considered.  List of BUP participating universities .

The thesis topic should be related to at least one of the BUP themes.  More information about the BUP themes . 

If you are writing a thesis that is outside of these themes, but strongly linked with sustainability science then please do apply! Diversity is a strength of this event.

How to apply

Remember to include the following information- a summary of the master thesis including; 1) problem formation, 2) research topic and interests (your motivations and knowledge gap),  3) research question(s), purpose or aim (not all needed), 4) relation to sustainability science, 5) methodology (i.e. what you will do, why and how), 6) name of supervisor, 7) timetable of thesis (what have you done so far, what is still to do). Please observe that this information should be attached directly to the online application form.

Applications should be written in English.

The deadline to apply was  31 January 2024 .

Ukrainian Students

Due to the war in Ukraine we will invite students from our participating universities in Ukraine to take part in the Master Thesis Training online. Ukrainian students who participate online will be able to present their thesis to other students within the same field as well as receive feedback on their thesis from an expert from another BUP participating university.

Of course, if possible, Ukrainian students are welcome to join the event in-person in Uppsala, however, the BUP recognises that this may not be possible for all. If this is applicable to you, please complete the registration form as usual, and if accepted to the event, the organisers will be in touch with more information and to confirm details.

Practical Information

The conference is free of charge for master students from BUP participating universities and all costs of accommodation, food, and activities will be covered by the BUP. Students will be accommodated in shared hotel rooms.

All students must however cover their travel costs to and from Uppsala, Sweden.

Marketing material

If you wish to share information about the BUP Master Thesis Training we invite you to use our marketing material which can be found here:  Google Drive with marketing material for the BUP Master Thesis Training.

Contact information

Photo of Evan Goss

Evan Goss Project administrator The BUP Coordinating Secretariat [email protected] If you have any questions about the MTT, feel free to contact Evan.

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  • Dissertation

How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion

Published on September 6, 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes. Revised on November 20, 2023.

The conclusion is the very last part of your thesis or dissertation . It should be concise and engaging, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your main findings, as well as the answer to your research question .

In it, you should:

  • Clearly state the answer to your main research question
  • Summarize and reflect on your research process
  • Make recommendations for future work on your thesis or dissertation topic
  • Show what new knowledge you have contributed to your field
  • Wrap up your thesis or dissertation

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Table of contents

Discussion vs. conclusion, how long should your conclusion be, step 1: answer your research question, step 2: summarize and reflect on your research, step 3: make future recommendations, step 4: emphasize your contributions to your field, step 5: wrap up your thesis or dissertation, full conclusion example, conclusion checklist, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about conclusion sections.

While your conclusion contains similar elements to your discussion section , they are not the same thing.

Your conclusion should be shorter and more general than your discussion. Instead of repeating literature from your literature review , discussing specific research results , or interpreting your data in detail, concentrate on making broad statements that sum up the most important insights of your research.

As a rule of thumb, your conclusion should not introduce new data, interpretations, or arguments.

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objectives of a master thesis

Depending on whether you are writing a thesis or dissertation, your length will vary. Generally, a conclusion should make up around 5–7% of your overall word count.

An empirical scientific study will often have a short conclusion, concisely stating the main findings and recommendations for future research. A humanities dissertation topic or systematic review , on the other hand, might require more space to conclude its analysis, tying all the previous sections together in an overall argument.

Your conclusion should begin with the main question that your thesis or dissertation aimed to address. This is your final chance to show that you’ve done what you set out to do, so make sure to formulate a clear, concise answer.

  • Don’t repeat a list of all the results that you already discussed
  • Do synthesize them into a final takeaway that the reader will remember.

An empirical thesis or dissertation conclusion may begin like this:

A case study –based thesis or dissertation conclusion may begin like this:

In the second example, the research aim is not directly restated, but rather added implicitly to the statement. To avoid repeating yourself, it is helpful to reformulate your aims and questions into an overall statement of what you did and how you did it.

Your conclusion is an opportunity to remind your reader why you took the approach you did, what you expected to find, and how well the results matched your expectations.

To avoid repetition , consider writing more reflectively here, rather than just writing a summary of each preceding section. Consider mentioning the effectiveness of your methodology , or perhaps any new questions or unexpected insights that arose in the process.

You can also mention any limitations of your research, but only if you haven’t already included these in the discussion. Don’t dwell on them at length, though—focus on the positives of your work.

  • While x limits the generalizability of the results, this approach provides new insight into y .
  • This research clearly illustrates x , but it also raises the question of y .

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You may already have made a few recommendations for future research in your discussion section, but the conclusion is a good place to elaborate and look ahead, considering the implications of your findings in both theoretical and practical terms.

  • Based on these conclusions, practitioners should consider …
  • To better understand the implications of these results, future studies could address …
  • Further research is needed to determine the causes of/effects of/relationship between …

When making recommendations for further research, be sure not to undermine your own work. Relatedly, while future studies might confirm, build on, or enrich your conclusions, they shouldn’t be required for your argument to feel complete. Your work should stand alone on its own merits.

Just as you should avoid too much self-criticism, you should also avoid exaggerating the applicability of your research. If you’re making recommendations for policy, business, or other practical implementations, it’s generally best to frame them as “shoulds” rather than “musts.” All in all, the purpose of academic research is to inform, explain, and explore—not to demand.

Make sure your reader is left with a strong impression of what your research has contributed to the state of your field.

Some strategies to achieve this include:

  • Returning to your problem statement to explain how your research helps solve the problem
  • Referring back to the literature review and showing how you have addressed a gap in knowledge
  • Discussing how your findings confirm or challenge an existing theory or assumption

Again, avoid simply repeating what you’ve already covered in the discussion in your conclusion. Instead, pick out the most important points and sum them up succinctly, situating your project in a broader context.

The end is near! Once you’ve finished writing your conclusion, it’s time to wrap up your thesis or dissertation with a few final steps:

  • It’s a good idea to write your abstract next, while the research is still fresh in your mind.
  • Next, make sure your reference list is complete and correctly formatted. To speed up the process, you can use our free APA citation generator .
  • Once you’ve added any appendices , you can create a table of contents and title page .
  • Finally, read through the whole document again to make sure your thesis is clearly written and free from language errors. You can proofread it yourself , ask a friend, or consider Scribbr’s proofreading and editing service .

Here is an example of how you can write your conclusion section. Notice how it includes everything mentioned above:

V. Conclusion

The current research aimed to identify acoustic speech characteristics which mark the beginning of an exacerbation in COPD patients.

The central questions for this research were as follows: 1. Which acoustic measures extracted from read speech differ between COPD speakers in stable condition and healthy speakers? 2. In what ways does the speech of COPD patients during an exacerbation differ from speech of COPD patients during stable periods?

All recordings were aligned using a script. Subsequently, they were manually annotated to indicate respiratory actions such as inhaling and exhaling. The recordings of 9 stable COPD patients reading aloud were then compared with the recordings of 5 healthy control subjects reading aloud. The results showed a significant effect of condition on the number of in- and exhalations per syllable, the number of non-linguistic in- and exhalations per syllable, and the ratio of voiced and silence intervals. The number of in- and exhalations per syllable and the number of non-linguistic in- and exhalations per syllable were higher for COPD patients than for healthy controls, which confirmed both hypotheses.

However, the higher ratio of voiced and silence intervals for COPD patients compared to healthy controls was not in line with the hypotheses. This unpredicted result might have been caused by the different reading materials or recording procedures for both groups, or by a difference in reading skills. Moreover, there was a trend regarding the effect of condition on the number of syllables per breath group. The number of syllables per breath group was higher for healthy controls than for COPD patients, which was in line with the hypothesis. There was no effect of condition on pitch, intensity, center of gravity, pitch variability, speaking rate, or articulation rate.

This research has shown that the speech of COPD patients in exacerbation differs from the speech of COPD patients in stable condition. This might have potential for the detection of exacerbations. However, sustained vowels rarely occur in spontaneous speech. Therefore, the last two outcome measures might have greater potential for the detection of beginning exacerbations, but further research on the different outcome measures and their potential for the detection of exacerbations is needed due to the limitations of the current study.

Checklist: Conclusion

I have clearly and concisely answered the main research question .

I have summarized my overall argument or key takeaways.

I have mentioned any important limitations of the research.

I have given relevant recommendations .

I have clearly explained what my research has contributed to my field.

I have  not introduced any new data or arguments.

You've written a great conclusion! Use the other checklists to further improve your dissertation.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

Research bias

  • Survivorship bias
  • Self-serving bias
  • Availability heuristic
  • Halo effect
  • Hindsight bias
  • Deep learning
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  • Machine learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Supervised vs. unsupervised learning

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In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.

The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.

While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:

  • A restatement of your research question
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or results
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

George, T. & McCombes, S. (2023, November 20). How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion. Scribbr. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/write-conclusion/

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