25 April 2023

As a part of the university education, writing your thesis is one of the last steps you need to do as you are approaching your graduation. Some might look forward to it, and others might feel a bit stressed thinking about it. Thesis writing can be a fun project when we prepare well and manage our time adequately to meet the deadlines. I hereby compile some useful tips that might help you with your thesis writing process!

Take a thorough look at the general requirements

When you are starting your thesis, you should receive the general requirements. This includes all the general rules such as your maximum word count, the important deadlines, and referencing options. Keeping this important information in mind will help you a long way with knowing how much time investment you will need to write and finish your thesis, as well as giving you a clearer overview of the overall process. Make sure you are mindful of the deadlines, as it helps you to divide your thesis into more manageable ‘chunks’ instead of something big. Thesis writing can feel scarier if you just dive head in without a clear outline! 

Choose what you love, and love what you choose

Different faculties and universities might implement different ways of choosing the theme or topics for your thesis. Generally, you should be given a certain amount of freedom to choose the topic that you prefer. Pay attention to all the options you are offered, and try to reflect on which of the topics will suit your interests best. Writing a thesis on a topic you enjoy or you feel passionate about is the most ideal. As an international student, it might also be interesting to consider your home country’s context. If you are completely clueless about what you actually like after all the years of studying, you can also take a look at your past courses and look back at the ones where you earned good grades. You can use it as a reference point to compare the available topics and make your choice.

Do a little bit, but do it consistently!

Doing a little bit every day will help a lot when working on your thesis. Besides occasional consultations with your thesis supervisor, you have the freedom to work on your thesis independently. Make sure you stay on top of your game by creating a weekly schedule that works for you. For example, you can dedicate one day of the week where you would work on your thesis: maybe doing some literature review, revising your draft, or analyzing your data.

Structure your ideas

When writing a thesis, it’s important to have all your thoughts and the bigger picture is written down beforehand. I dedicated a small notebook to write my thesis notes, where I kept all the ideas, notes, and interesting articles throughout my research. Whenever I felt stuck, I usually tried to look back at them to see if there were ideas that I might be able to incorporate into my writing. Furthermore, when developing your conceptual model, it is also crucial to keep it structured. This will help you with consistency throughout your thesis, especially with the variables you are studying.

Another thing to keep in mind is to have your list of references in one place. While it is often the last thing you will do before handing in your draft, keeping all your citations in one place will also help you later. There are various referencing applications to use, such as Mendeley or EndNote, that can help you to save all your scientific papers in one place.

Have friends involved!

Writing your thesis is a continuous process. It’s nice to have your friends around to support you. A good tip would be to have your friend proofread your draft. Sometimes, a friend can help you as they read your draft from a different perspective and maybe give some input that you would not have thought about otherwise. In addition, in the case of a survey or interview approach, friends can help you in spreading the word about your thesis survey, and it can help you tremendously in finding extra respondents! On the other hand, working together with friends who have chosen topics similar to yours, or are also in the process of doing their thesis, can be an extra motivation!

Lastly, thesis writing is an interesting process. As you look back to this part of your life, you will for sure cherish your challenge and struggles and it is a memorable learning curve. I wish you good luck with your thesis writing process!