One look at the outline will make your supervisor curious. Very good, he thinks, balanced, thoughtful. Although he wanted to take only a quick look, he continues turning the pages and starts to read... The clock says it’s shortly before 10. His office hours start at 10. There are already some young people outside the door... Just read the introduction... a soft knocking on the door interrupts him. Now the clock says way past 10:00. Come in, he calls.
Carefully a student sticks her head through the door and asks quietly if there are office hours today. Yes, yes, he said, a little testy, like someone who was interrupted in the middle of his favorite show...
The author of this bachelor’s thesis must have done quite a few things right... That she receives an A is clear. But how did she do it? Well, she's got "just" a great outline... Her thesis was a real story, with a storyline and a finale. No wonder the supervisor couldn't put it down...
YOU can do that too!
You don't have to start from scratch. You can work with an outline template. It shows you the appropriate content chapter by chapter and helps build all the chapters on each other. Take only 10 minutes of your time and make yourself familiar with it.
If you include these chapter headings in your text, the storyline is immediately visible and your thesis will end up "on the supervisor's bedside table".
Chapter 1 of the Outline: The Introduction chapter
Your introduction is like an apéritif before dinner to stimulate the appetite for the text. Your supervisor is curious which puts him or her in a good mood.
Your first sentences hit bulls eye and passes the nodding test. Almost everyone understands it, can agree with it and nods inwardly. Our patterns and examples in the Thesis Guide will help inspire you.
By the way, it is rumored that many supervisors only read the introduction and conclusion carefully then leaf through the rest. I can't really imagine that that’s true because they have to write a detailed report about it afterwards. But the rumor still persists.
Never mind how! Make sure that your introduction makes the best possible impression. Don't let it ruin your project. Stick to our examples, templates and formulations in the outline example. You will kill two birds with one stone: You have a plan for the entire thesis and you will have written the first pages, namely your introduction.
Chapter 2 of the outline: The theory chapter
The chapter that contains the theory is like the foundation of a house, everything depends on it. Describe all the important basics in the theory chapter. What should be in the theory chapter? All the important contents for your text. It is best to follow the pattern for the theory chapter in our Thesis Guide.
By the way, with our guide, you will be finished with the theory chapter after ONE week, including all the reading. Simply adopt our five pages per day writing technique.
Chapter 3 of the outline: The state of research chapter
The chapter for the "State of research" incorporates the collection of previous knowledge about the topic. The sources cannot be found in books like the theory, but scientific studies instead. You write down which authors found out what and how they did so. If you designate a proper chapter to it, a very good grade is almost guaranteed.
You have not many experiences with such scientific studies. Never mind. Simply fill out our review matrix from the Thesis Guide and follow our instructions. Then you'll be able to get a good grip on the chapter in a few days, even if your English isn't great.
Chapter 4 of the outline: The procedure or methodology chapter
Your supervisor wants to know how you proceeded, how you arrived at your results. That goes in this chapter. Describe the methods used and walk the reader through everything, step-by-step. Sounds simple... BUT: What is the method’s name? Where did you find it?
There is not only one method for the literature thesis but several that we have described in detail in our Thesis Guide. In addition, you will find examples and formulations so it’s easy to write the chapter in a few hours. It'll lift your spirits.
Chapter 5 of the Outline: The results chapter
Finally, it's getting exciting. So far you have only prayed for the best and copied from other sources. Finally, you are allowed to deliver your own findings. What kind of insight will this be? How will they make the world a better place?
If you have collected empirical data, the answer is clear. But what is the result of a pure literature thesis? What are the findings? The answer to this question is less obvious.
Searching for weeks or even months in sources for new findings does not lead to your personal findings. Because logically, your results must be findings that are NOT yet in the sources... Most of the old theses aren’t useful here because they are not YOUR findings.
What will help you immediately is a detailed guide to answer your research question and sub-questions, with examples and formulations. Get our Thesis Guide with enough time that you can follow it from the start. Stick to our examples, instructions, techniques and formulations and your individual contribution will be a success.
Chapter 6 of the Outline: The Conclusion chapter
Finally, you’ve made it to the end! Your conclusion will complete the circle. Remember the rumor that counselors only read the introduction and conclusion carefully... So they should go together very well. Do you want to look at an example of a great conclusion? You can find it in the Thesis Guide.
Of course, a great outline also requires writing a text without mistakes.
More tips for a great outline:
1. Do not write more than 6 subchapters for one chapter
Such a chapter is only a collection of short sentences, which can be safely summarized.
2. If there is a chapter 2.1, then chapter 2.2 is also necessary
Chapter 2.1 must always be followed by chapter 2.2. If you do not do so, the supervisor will see this mistake immediately and deduct points. But above all, it makes him or her doubt your seriousness and commitment because this beginner's mistake is evidence of negligence.
3. Do not have more than 6 chapters on 60 pages
There is no fixed rule as to how many chapters may be included in a bachelor’s or master’s thesis, but the more chapters there are per fixed page number, the more unbalanced the chapters are likely to be. Five to six chapters on 60 pages are fine. For dissertations, there should also be no more than 10 chapters for 200 pages. The typical bachelor or master’s thesis is composed of the 6 chapters described above.
IMPORTANT: As soon as your supervisor gives you guidelines for the outline of your bachelor’s or master’s thesis, you must follow these instructions. Obviously the chair’s requirements have priority!
These tips will help you captivate your supervisor with your work. And you have much less to do with your thesis.
Good luck writing your text!
Silvio and the Team Aristolo
PS: Check out the Thesis-ABC and the Thesis Guide for writing a bachelor or master thesis in 31 days.