Theses and Dissertations. Structure : How to jam in all that information. Organization of Theses. Standard Structure Abstract Introduction Literature Review sometimes, part of Introduction Methods Results and Discussion Conclusions. Standard Structure Abstract Introduction
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Theses and Dissertations Structure : How to jam in all that information
Organization of Theses Standard Structure • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • sometimes, part of Introduction • Methods • Results and Discussion • Conclusions
Standard Structure Abstract Introduction Literature Review Methods Results and Discussion Conclusions Variations Literature Review is part of Introduction Two Methodology chapters Two Results chapters Recommendations included Organization of Theses
Organization of Journal Papers Similar to organization of theses, but usually no Literature Review. Two main schemes: • Abstract • Introduction • Methods • Results • Discussion and Conclusions • Abstract • Introduction • Methods • Results and Discussion • Conclusions
Journal Papers: Idiosyncrasies • Check journal’s “Information for Contributors” for requirements (e.g., figures, organization, equations, etc.). • Each journal/professional society has its own system, e.g.,ASCE. • Introduction: • Include preview of content (and structure) of paper.
How is a Summary different from an Abstract? • Summary • more than one paragraph • management audience • semi-technical language • 5-10% of whole document • double-spaced • may use sub-headings • Abstract • one paragraph • technical audience • technical keywords • strict word limit (100-300 words) • single-spaced • one solid paragraph
How are Summaries and Abstracts alike? • Miniature versions of paper • No citations, figures, or references to any • No references to parts of report (separate document) • Contain: • Statement of problem • Approach to solving problem • Results and conclusions
Introduction • Be brief – 3 pages for thesis • Construct a funnel of information, from overview of problem/situation in the larger world to specific aspect of problem your work addresses.
Introduction • Introduce your question or curiosity. What do you want to know or understand? • Present motivation for work and need for study: cite relevant literature. • State objectives of work. • Describe intended audience. • Preview content and structure of your thesis.
Literature Review section has three purposes. • Justifies research project as worthwhile because filling a gap in knowledge. • Proves you understand context of your work. • Introducers newcomers to the field and the problem.
In your review of relevant literature . . . • Include all work truly relevant to yours. • Demonstrate continuity. • Show gaps. The literature review is a big part of the conceptual justification for your work.
Methods • Give full details of methodological approach. • What is the epistemological or conceptual foundation of your work? Cite literature as relevant. • Describe each research method, along with authors who have described each method. • What did you do? • How did you collect data? • How did you analyze your data?
Methods (Con.) • Assume audience knows about as much as you do. • Tell what you did, how and why, but not necessarily in chronological order. • Write mostly in past tense.
Results and Discussion • Prepare any figures first. • Present principles, generalizations and relationships shown by results. • Point out any exceptions or any lack of correlation. • If results have more than one possible interpretation, state them all and give judgment about which is right.
Results and Discussion • Present results in past tense. • Write to connect figures and tables. • Present representative data (not necessarily everything). • Don’t reproduce in the text all data from the graphics – select out main points.
Discussion (con.) • Compare your interpretations and data with previous work. • Justify your interpretations. • Discuss practical applications as well as theory.
Conclusions • Begin with brief synopsis of objectives and research design. • Skim off the “cream” of your findings – state relevance for the field or for the specific problem investigated. • Add no new information • Present conclusions in present tense. • Point out directions for future work.
Appendices • Include raw data, calculations, etc. that are not critical for understanding and would interrupt flow. • Give every appendix a letter and title – list that way in Table of Contents. • Refer to every appendix in the text.