Writing a thesis or dissertation

Ensures that your work will endure in spite of shifting paradigms. Discussion Start with a few sentences that summarize the most important results. Refer to spatial and temporal variations.

Thesis VS Dissertation 7 Differences and Similarities

What are the relationships, trends and generalizations among the results? What are the exceptions to these patterns or generalizations? What are the likely causes mechanisms underlying these patterns resulting predictions? Is there agreement or disagreement with previous work?


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Interpret results in terms of background laid out in the introduction - what is the relationship of the present results to the original question? What is the implication of the present results for other unanswered questions in earth sciences, ecology, environmental policy, etc? Multiple hypotheses: There are usually several possible explanations for results. Be careful to consider all of these rather than simply pushing your favorite one.

How to Write a Doctoral Dissertation

If you can eliminate all but one, that is great, but often that is not possible with the data in hand. In that case you should give even treatment to the remaining possibilities, and try to indicate ways in which future work may lead to their discrimination. Avoid bandwagons: A special case of the above. Avoid jumping a currently fashionable point of view unless your results really do strongly support them. What are the things we now know or understand that we didn't know or understand before the present work?

Include the evidence or line of reasoning supporting each interpretation. What is the significance of the present results: why should we care?

How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide

This section should be rich in references to similar work and background needed to interpret results. Is there material that does not contribute to one of the elements listed above? If so, this may be material that you will want to consider deleting or moving. Break up the section into logical segments by using subheads.

Conclusions What is the strongest and most important statement that you can make from your observations? If you met the reader at a meeting six months from now, what do you want them to remember about your paper? Refer back to problem posed, and describe the conclusions that you reached from carrying out this investigation, summarize new observations, new interpretations, and new insights that have resulted from the present work.

Include the broader implications of your results. Do not repeat word for word the abstract, introduction or discussion. Recommendations Include when appropriate most of the time Remedial action to solve the problem. Further research to fill in gaps in our understanding. Directions for future investigations on this or related topics.

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Simpson and Hays cite more than double-author references by the surname of the first author followed by et al. Pfirman, Simpson and Hays would be: Pfirman et al. Nature , , National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commonly asked questions about ozone. Pfirman, S. Stute, H. Simpson, and J.

Chapter 4 and 5 of a Dissertation

Pechenik, J. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, pp. Pitelka, D. Child Review of ciliary structure and function. In: Biochemistry and Physiology of Protozoa , Vol. Hutner, editor , Academic Press, New York, Sambrotto, R. Stute, M. Clark, P. Schlosser, W. Broecker, and G. Bonani A high altitude continental paleotemperature record derived from noble gases dissolved in groundwater from the San Juan Basin, New Mexico.

Tables where more than pages.

Sample Dissertation / Thesis Example

Calculations where more than pages. You may include a key article as appendix. If you consulted a large number of references but did not cite all of them, you might want to include a list of additional resource material, etc. List of equipment used for an experiment or details of complicated procedures. Note: Figures and tables, including captions, should be embedded in the text and not in an appendix, unless they are more than pages and are not critical to your argument.

Order of Writing Your thesis is not written in the same order as it is presented in. The following gives you one idea how to proceed.

Similar Things Between the Dissertation and Thesis

Here is another approach. Write up a preliminary version of the background section first.

This will serve as the basis for the introduction in your final paper. As you collect data, write up the methods section. It is much easier to do this right after you have collected the data. Be sure to include a description of the research equipment and relevant calibration plots. When you have some data, start making plots and tables of the data. These will help you to visualize the data and to see gaps in your data collection.

If time permits, you should go back and fill in the gaps. You are finished when you have a set of plots that show a definite trend or lack of a trend. Be sure to make adequate statistical tests of your results. Once you have a complete set of plots and statistical tests, arrange the plots and tables in a logical order.


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Write figure captions for the plots and tables. As much as possible, the captions should stand alone in explaining the plots and tables. Many scientists read only the abstract, figures, figure captions, tables, table captions, and conclusions of a paper. Be sure that your figures, tables and captions are well labeled and well documented. Once your plots and tables are complete, write the results section.

Writing this section requires extreme discipline. You must describe your results, but you must NOT interpret them. If good ideas occur to you at this time, save them at the bottom of the page for the discussion section. Be factual and orderly in this section, but try not to be too dry.