How to Write a MA Thesis
Many students do not know how to write a MA thesis. If you want to write a successful and convincing MA thesis, you should do the following things: define, research, plan, distribute, and quote. Remember, preparation is one of the critical stages of writing a MA thesis, so you have to do it very carefully.
How to write an MA thesis – 5 important things
1. What is an MA thesis?
Do you know what exactly you should write? Well, pick up a topic which you are very interested in or familiar with. Consult your supervisor and listen to their opinion. The topic should also have the following characteristics: be original (i.e. not to copy the title of another thesis, article, or book), be narrowly defined (for example, not “History of Berlin Wall”, but rather “The influence of Berlin Wall on the lives of people in Eastern Berlin during 1970s”), to correspond to your academic level and skills - so don’t underestimate yourself, choose a subject which requires efforts and comprehensive research.
This is another part of preparation. Your supervisor will give you a list of titles needed for carrying out effective research. Try to find all of them. Collect quotations, facts, and also statistical data (according to the field of your study). It is better to have electronic copies of the articles/books in question, because it would be easier for you to collect important information.
3. Plan and write an MA thesis outline
Now you can write a short outline of the MA thesis: write short sentences, including the main thesis, the arguments and the theories/conceptions which will support your thesis. A theoretical framework is needed, so you should interpret the facts/data according to a definite point of view. Don’t try to be too “innovative”, simply rely on someone else’s interpretation (without plagiarism, of course).
4. Divide and distribute
Now, you should divide the MA thesis into several sections or chapters. The first of them can be related to the context of your research; the second one can contain your thesis and its justification; if you are working in the field of Natural sciences, the third one may be related to your own research. The last chapter will show some practical consequences or predictions. The chapters must be equal in length, and the information to be distributed also equally.
5. Use quotes in your Master thesis
You can use the quotations collected during preparation. The ratio between quotes and original text (your analysis and comments) should be 1:7 or 1:8; i.e. the quotes cannot exceed 15% of the volume of your MA thesis.
Be very careful while citing: check your sources and don’t employ quotes simply found on the internet without a source. It is also not recommended to quote passages from textbooks - something which is rather typical of a school essay, and not of a Master thesis. The academic style of reference should be one of the most common styles (MLA, APA, or Turabian), or to be widely accepted by the academics in your field of study. Don’t forget to insert a full bibliography, including the titles which you have read but not quoted in the work.
Having finished your draft, consult your supervisor about it. Probably you will have to revise it, or even to rewrite it again. However, try to follow the initial plan, without changing the thesis, otherwise you must write your Master's thesis all over again.
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