How to start a thesis for graduate school

It is a wise graduate student who starts to think about potential topics for their research during the first term of their graduate studies. It’s never too early to start developing your ideas.

Depending on the program you are in, the research supervisor may assign a general research topic to you, and you would have the opportunity to narrow it down to a specific project that lies within the general topic. Other programs leave it entirely up to the student to determine the research topic they will use, consulting with the research supervisor of course. Tips to get started on your graduate school thesis

  • Start thinking about topics of interest that could be used for your research topic as soon as possible, even right at the beginning of your graduate studies.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of frequent discussions with your supervisor about research topics, how to get started, how to conduct the research, and how to start your thesis.
  • Ask your supervisor to view recently completed dissertations and theses of previous students so you get a good solid idea of what is expected and what you are capable of doing. These are a valuable source of examples and guidance because they have been completed within and approved by the same program you are entered in.
  • Create a timeline for yourself to complete all the steps of the thesis, including allowing plenty of extra time for unforeseen difficulties or other things that may interfere with your work. Allow plenty of time for proofreading and editing at the end of writing. Schedule in time for preparing the proposal, conducting the research, writing the entire thesis document, sharing the outcomes of the research with others and revising and editing the thesis.
  • Before you write and submit your proposal, conduct a comprehensive search of the literature. You must be certain there are plenty of resources out there for you to utilize for your research. You should be able to demonstrate a strong understanding of what is currently known about your topic and what is yet unknown. You must be able to justify this understanding by providing proof of your research.
  • Keep on track exactly with the guidelines of your program in regards to timelines, procedures, and presenting your proposal. There are usually stringent formatting procedures that must be followed as well as a graduate student handbook which identifies all the deadlines and what is involved with getting the thesis approved.