Each tertiary education institution usually provides a guide when you begin your thesis journey. Every school’s guide is different, and some, while useful, may not cover all the topics you may have questions about. It is important to identify the limitations of your thesis guide. So, for example, your thesis may not mention the need to include approval letters for your survey in your appendix. Your options are to access previously done theses in your local library or online to identify the missing areas and question your school librarian and supervisor about them.
Keywords: thesis, dissertation, references, library, survey, research
Well, we are. We do not do the work for you but act as a companion on this journey. Your report sometimes requires a little help.
Key terms: report, thesis, dissertation
In the simplest of terms, primary research is research in which you collect your data from scratch. On the other hand, secondary research uses data and findings collected from other sources. In the Caribbean, countries usually have a Central Statistical Office that holds a variety of information. Interesting fact: your literature review is considered secondary research by some tertiary institutions.
Key terms: primary research, secondary research, central statistical office
A survey is a process by which a questionnaire is administered. The questionnaire, the tool, is sometimes used synonymously with the survey, but it is not the same thing. When you make a questionnaire, to conduct a survey, there are so many steps to determine, just for example,
-the target group
-the sample size
-covering confidentiality issues
To name a few.
Key terms: sample statistics, simple random sampling, survey
Quantitative research deals with facts, numbers, and statistics. Qualitative research, on the other hand, dives into experiences, opinions, and views. Does that mean there are no numbers in qualitative research? Not necessarily. In qualitative research, there is such a thing as text frequency (how many times a term shows up in an interview or document). The point is, research, qualitative or quantitative is not as straightforward in every case. It all depends on the topic, data available, experts available, and even your supervisor’s preference.
Key terms: thesis, dissertation, qualitative research, quantitative research
I have helped many students with their dissertations over my professional years. The issue that has always stuck with me is that of finding persistence. Even during my thesis many….many years ago, the concept of finding persistence has been a challenge.
Persistence is always assumed to be a trait that a person always walks with. It is expressed as a character that never fades and remains an unmovable wall in someone’s life. If someone is persistent, that is what they are always.
But the dissertation process challenges that concept. Among the late nights, the multiple reading materials, the unsupportive life partners (for the unlucky ones), and the supervisors who specialize in disappearing acts in the last days of a deadline, a student has to dig deep and find persistence.
You see, your thesis is not just a final requirement of your classes but a statement that all the work you did and all the classes you took could be applied to a question and reproduced in a thesis statement. It is through this statement and the application of research you can find a solution. The thesis is meant not only to prove to the school but to yourself that you can critically and realistically think through a problem. It is this skill that the workplace requires.
So when you lose persistence, find it. Find it in your pride, find it in your need to improve your future, find it in your children. You will not regret it!
Key terms: Persistence. Thesis, dissertation.
A thesis seeks to express your understanding of a topic. This is why plagiarism is such a hot topic. Your notetaking skills must be on point to prevent plagiarism from happening. (See our Blog on Notetaking). Also, referencing as efficiently as possible is the key to preventing plagiarism. Keep track of your references by starting your document with proper referencing habits. In other words, do not prioritize referencing as the last action, reference while you write. That way, even if you find yourself copying an article word for word, chances are that article will have its in-text reference, which you would have to end up referencing as well. (That’s how I usually catch poor referencing) . The best thing to do to avoid this circling is to “not plagiarize” and write in your own words.
A thesis or dissertation usually has a standard structure:
• Title page
• Contents page
• List of figures
• List of tables
• List of abbreviations (if any)
• Text (and conclusions)
Within the Text section, the following order usually is maintained:
Within each chapter, however, there can vary the approach of the write-up. It all depends on the topic and the school. Whether you go to the University of the West Indies, the University of the Southern Caribbean or the School of Business and Computer Science, it is important you understand your school’s expectations. See the upcoming blog all about “Your Thesis Guide” .
Key terms: Where to put everything in a thesis. Thesis statement, Dissertation Guide, THESIS FORMAT.
Imagine this, you simply collect literature reviews. You write up randomly, piecing together your favourite statements from each document. Finding some sort of alignment under each section, you put in-text citation but did not check the referencing style. After reaching more than 100 pages of writing, you come to certain realisations. You did not reference everything. You made some errors and have a whole list of referencing issues. You go back, trying to fix your blunders and you meet significant challenges.
Avoid all this. We at Data Minders Student Services suggest that you create three essential logs while you do your thesis. These are:
1.Search log. In the beginning stages, when you start to collect your articles, create a log that tracks what you are searching, what keywords were used, the corresponding articles found and the databases that were examined. This process has a couple of benefits. For example, you may need to redo a search. Once you have a record of what was done, this should be easily accomplished. To create a log, you can adapt the following headings into a table.
Make sure, in your Overall Results to state how successful you were in finding sources, how many articles appeared useful and the next necessary keyword search that you will need to undertake.
2.Reading log. After you have collected as many articles as you see necessary (this process is repetitive, so you may have to go back into the search process), you will want to, as you read, keep a Reading Log. It may be beneficial so that when write up is being prepared for, similar articles may be grouped or aligned. Such a log may take the following headings: Publication Date/ Year
Article Title/Book Title
Is it a scholarly writing?
3. Reference log. I have seen too many students lose track with referencing. From the first write-up and use of a text, you can create a reference database with online sites. Programmes such as Zotero, Refworks and https://www.readcube.com/papers/, all help you source, collect and cite references. These make Thesis Life so much easier.
Though it seems as if it will be a lot of additional work, keeping record allows you countless benefits in the cases of corrections and mistakes. Also, half the work of referencing is complete. It also allows you to focus on what is truly important in wrapping up your thesis; making sure your format and structure is clean.
For more on this topic, contact us: Get In Touch - Data Minders Student Services (dmss-dissertation-thesis.org)