How You Should Start Your University Thesis (A Guide From A Surviving Amateur)

1. Finding Your Topic

Understand The Issues

More than something you like, choose something that you understand (or you think you can understand with some effort). It’s a good idea to already have the basic understanding about something so you can just explore the topic, rather than learning from zero. And Yes! Do read a lot about your issues and the related concept that you think you will use on the issues.

Have Accessible Data

Make sure you choose a topic that have sufficient supply of accessible data. Having a lot of data that you can find online or at your library will save you from the dread of waiting an interview arrangement/released materials by certain institutions (as they make take weeks and you may not receive enough material in time to complete your research). If you have access to related institutions, great! However, make sure you can still complete your thesis even without them. So, remember that exciting topic about space law that depends on data from NASA and NSS? Yeah, maybe you shouldn’t choose it as your thesis topic for this short undergraduate research.

Learn From Others

It will be better to have an undergraduate thesis that have many similar topic published online. That way, you can have a comparison about what you write and another perspective upon your issues. It could also provide you with handy inspiration when you experience writer’s block.

Works In Doable Timelines

I can not emphasize it more but do NOT choose a topic that ONLY “sounds great” for your undergraduate thesis. Choose something that is doable within your timeline instead. Remember folks, the best thesis is a finished thesis.

Drafting Your Thesis

Designing Your Research Question

Create a research question that is specific and measurable. You can work your way around: How can A be explained from the perspective of B? What are the causes (or consequences) of C and D? How do R’s (political/social/economic/whatever) motivation/policy affect the outcome of T? You should avoid question with obvious answer like, “will high activities of piracy in country S disturb its development?” Duh.

Also, avoid ambiguity or misuse of words. Vague words such as development above should be avoided because in that instance; do you really want to analyse the whole level of development of a country?

Based on my experience, be extra careful when using the words WHY, “the ROLE,” “the EFFECTIVENESS / How EFFECTIVE,” because using them carelessly will lead you into a whole different framework AND a slaughterhouse-like defense. Consult with your advisor.

Determining Your Theory

Most of the cases can be analyzed using various theories, so just choose one that you are attracted to. Like in determining your case, the key here is to read, read, and read. Know what are the basic concepts and the logical flow of your theory will earn you better understanding and the ability to explain.

There are no foolproof way to do this. Just try to understand the logical flow of your theory; use your imagination a bit until you find one that works for you.

Conceptual Framework

After choosing and understanding your theory, incorporate that into the issue and define how it could answer your question.

Try to understand you whole process of thinking when you write your thesis and visualize it. It can be process, diagram, chart, pyramid, whatever basically; you may have something entirely different in form and that’s okay.

These thing were meant to ease our writing process, not complicate them. Just make sure the arrow and the lines were correct and the logical order, well, logical.

Scope And Limitation

Mention clearly about your scope; your dimension of research, your level of analysis, and if necessary your source of explanation in the scope and limitation. Dimension of research are those related to the field of your thesis such as economy, military, politics, etc. Level of analysis are those related to the perspective you are seeing this case from: systemic, regional, states, sub-states/interests group, individual.

Define who are the actors in your issues (the one that you want to discuss, that is), what events that might influence your issue and whether or not the event be part of discussion in this research. You might want to also limit your time frame and some definition or discussion that you want to put out of context. Just remember to give a fair and logical reason for this limitation and you should be doing fine.

Lastly, explain in your research about what is it that you talked about and what is not. The benchmark from previous similar research could be very useful here as you can see which part of the issue are you discussing and which part you don’t by comparing your approach with different thesis. TC mark

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