Writing a thesis?

Get it right with these 7 tips!

Whether you're looking forward to it or dreading it, the time has come: you are going to write your thesis. This is a big project that will take a lot of time! How do you go about writing a thesis? What do you do if you get stuck during the process? With these seven practical tips, the process of writing your thesis will certainly go smoothly.

Writing a thesis versus doing research

Before we give you useful tips for writing your thesis, first a small side note. Writing a thesis consists of two parts: doing the research and writing your thesis. The latter means that you bring together all the results from your literature search and/or field research in a report. A lot of reading and research is therefore required.

Keep the latter in mind when you hear someone say “I was able to write my thesis in two weeks”. More time was probably spent on the research itself. We wouldn't recommend doing all the work in two weeks ;)

1. Always start with a plan

Starting your thesis starts with a good plan of action, signed by your thesis supervisor. For example, this plan briefly describes your research question and thesis topic, and which method you use. Your thesis supervisor can already provide feedback on your research design to prevent you from tackling things the wrong way at the start.

2. Draw up a schedule

Agree to a feasible schedule with your thesis supervisor. If necessary, make arrangements for interim feedback meetings. This incentivizes you to work on your thesis. Additionally, it gives you a better overview of the entire project. This helps avoid stress when the deadline comes closer!

When it comes to writing your thesis, it is easier if you consistently work on it over a longer period of time than if you have to lock yourself up for days at the last minute to get it done.

3. Work per chapter

A thesis is almost always structured more or less the same. The only difference is that your approach to writing a thesis for higher professional education is often more practical. In university, your goal is more science-oriented.

Whatever your topic, your thesis will always be structured as follows:

Are you starting to write your thesis? See each chapter as a separate project. For example, work out the complete theoretical framework first, your method in another week, and the chapter on your results at another time.

Of course, you can refine earlier texts afterwards, but it often works better if you write per chapter.

4. View an example of thesis-writing

This is not meant for you to copy-paste. However, it can help if you want to get an idea of what a thesis looks like. Via the internet, you can find a good thesis example. Try to choose an example from your field of expertise. Or, you can ask your thesis supervisor for a previously written thesis.

It will be easier to write your thesis using an example of a good master thesis. Please keep in mind that every research topic is different. Your inquiry will be always different from the example in the thesis.

5. Work in time blocks with no distractions

We understand that writing a thesis may not be one of your biggest passions. Watching your favorite Netflix series sounds much more appealing. But do you truly want to be structured in your thesis writing? If so, teach yourself to write in time blocks.

Work for 30-45 minutes uninterrupted on your thesis, disable your internet access, or even turn off your phone. After 30-45 minutes, take a short five-minute break from writing. After three blocks of work and two breaks, take a longer break.

This way you will stay focused. Did you know that a single glance at your inbox may already cost you a minute of your much-needed attention? That would be a pity!

6. Check in regularly with your thesis supervisor

You may think that you are on the right track with writing your thesis, but what if you aren’t? It would be much better to discover this early on in the process. That is why it is a smart idea to regularly have your thesis supervisor read parts of your thesis. This way, you can be sure that you are going in the right direction, and if necessary, you can still make adjustments in time.

7. Start writing your thesis on time

No matter how much you would like to, writing a thesis in 1 day is not feasible. A lot of time is spent on doing research for your thesis. You also need to fully work out your research method. Therefore, account for at least three to six months of work.

Is writing a thesis in 2 months realistic? Sometimes, but only if you are prepared to put all your available time into your thesis in those 2 months. Keep in mind that conducting the research itself also takes time. If you want to write a thesis in 2 months, it is mostly a matter of proper planning, and sticking to that planning too.

However, in general, our advice is to start on time. It saves you deadline stress and is usually better for the quality of your work.

Psst, it's better to write your thesis yourself!

We are regularly asked, “Can you also have your thesis written for you?” Well, it's not forbidden but if your educational institution catches you doing it, you could be suspended. Of course, you wouldn’t want that.

Moreover, you cannot be sure about the quality of the thesis if someone else has written it. You also run the risk that you will fail if you cannot answer substantive questions about it later during the defense. Thus, it is better to write your thesis yourself.

You can, however, have your thesis checked. This is allowed, and helps you to avoid blind spots and language errors.

Don't forget your final language check

While you are writing your thesis, an error can always make its way into your final draft, from spelling mistakes to sentences that don't read over too well. Don't worry: our editors will correct these errors for you. They are happy to check your thesis for language errors, proper structure and content. This way you can submit your thesis without errors and worry-free!

Curious what such a check entails? We are happy to give you more information.