Thesis Paper Structure Guide: Learn the Basics Step by Step

The mention of a thesis is enough to stir anxiety among students. Where do I start? How long should my thesis paper be? These are a few questions that run on a student’s mind when faced with a thesis paper.

Among various worries, the key things to master are the thesis statement and the thesis structure. Once you’ve figured these out, you can quickly go about writing your paper and analyse the information to include in support of your claims.

This article will familiarize you with the structure of a thesis paper and share various tips for ensuring a good score in your thesis. 

How long is a thesis paper?

The length of a thesis paper varies depending on the level of study, your tutor’s instructions, and the complexity of your assignment. However, the standard thesis length for many institutions ranges between:

  • 50 to 60 pages for a bachelors’ dissertation
  • 100 -120 pages for master’s dissertation
  • 100-160 pages for a doctoral thesis

The bulk of the thesis paper length lies in the body where you organize various arguments to affirm your claim and relate your findings to the existing research. However, be keen to consult your thesis guide to determine the prescribed word count as each institution offers a limit that favours easy assessment by various faculties. 

How to structure a thesis paper

You must master the thesis paper structure before starting on your thesis. The thesis paper comprises the:

  1. Abstract

This chapter of a thesis paper is the most vital as it gives your reader a gist of your paper’s theme. The abstract often spans between one and two pages. 

This section highlights the reason behind your research, the thesis statement, your methodology, and the key findings of your research. When preparing a thesis for publishing, we recommend that you add the keywords to this section to ensure optimal ranking.

  1. The introduction

Like the former, the introduction may take up to two pages of your paper. This section should highlight the background information of your paper, the thesis, and the key arguments of your paper and show the relevance of your study.

The introduction should also highlight the methods used to study the issue at hand and indicate the implications of your key finding. We recommend that you add bits of information that will hook your reader, to ensure maximum engagement.

  1. Literature review

The literature review evaluates your sources, showing their strengths and weaknesses while drawing connections between your materials. Ideally, this chapter should show the literature gap, indicating the limitations of your research and helping you build on the problem your research aims to handle.

This section may take between three and five pages. However, be keen not to dive too deep into your research materials. Ideally, touch on the aspects of the sources that impact your work and discuss the efficiency of these sources in addressing various issues.

  1. Methods

The methods chapter shows the criteria used for gathering data and a justification for your methodology and sampling procedure. Also, indicate the challenges of your paper and various mitigations.

Doing this will help show the credibility of your research and highlight the limitations of your study. The methods section should not exceed four pages for a bachelor’s dissertation but may take almost ten pages in the doctoral thesis.

  1. Results

This chapter spans between 4 to 7 pages and includes the graphs and charts that help a reader compare and analyse the results yielded by your research. This section should show how your hypothesis relates to the results and offer a statement that helps a reader gauge the test parameters and your analysis of the results.

  1. Discussion

This section ranges between eight to sixteen pages and includes the interpretation of your results according to the research objectives and thesis statement. Also, the discussion should correlate your results with the previous study in your field and back various claims with relevant sources.

This section should also discuss the limitations of your research and analyse various unexpected research and what they mean for research within your field. Near the end, analyse various counterarguments to your argument and show how your results refute/ support them.

  1. Conclusion

The conclusion is the last part of your paper and takes between two and three pages of your paper. Here, you can discuss your key findings and show how they relate to the problems mentioned in the introduction.

Also, show the limitations of your study and suggest the research that could be conducted to further your investigation. You could also highlight various ways to mitigate the problems analysed in your paper.

Thesis vs research paper

Although these words are often thrown around interchangeably, there’s a huge difference between a thesis and a research paper. A thesis is often longer than a research paper and thus takes longer to prepare.

Also, a thesis is written for various academic qualifications while research papers aim to investigate various hypotheses to further the knowledge in a field. Finally, the thesis ends with a thesis defence whereas a research paper is considered to be finished after it has been published.

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