The undergraduate thesis is one of the more daunting – and dreaded – requirements for high school seniors, unless you simply love to write. However, there are four vital suggestions that I can give you that make the project not just an assignment, and not just a learning experience, but a vital work that you may get published online or in print, and which can act as research for your later scholastic writings such as your master’s thesis and dissertation.
Pick a topic that you are obsessed about already. Pick your absolute favorite author and analyze some of their works. Pick an area of psychology or a case of a subject, say a young child with multiple personalities that absolutely fascinates you. Pick that fascinating but mysterious topic in chemistry that you would like to learn more about. Why? Because, when the research is fun, the writing is fun, and the reading is fun—the thesis will be a fun write and a fun read for your committee and your reader at large. In fact, you might want to try to get it published in a local university’s journal, an academic library, or as an eBook—what an accomplishment that would be at such a young age, right?
At the graduate level and often before, we often learn that there is no ultimate answer—right? Even in math, there are still unsolveable equations and mysteries. Every book written with a literary thesis about a text is simply an opinion piece. Knowing this, craft a position about your theories and insights into a particular topic backed up by the informed, respected opinions—this is all an undergraduate thesis is.
I cannot give you better advice than this. Every book is written page by page, but use of chapters, headers, and sub-headers never hurts anyone—and, it will help the reader of the longer work cognizant of where they are in the text. Headers provide the reader with textual markers of where they are in the larger argument you’re constructing, while giving you smaller, more doable sections to work with. Of course, you’ll want to construct an outline first.
Overall, an undergraduate thesis is an extended research paper presenting an analytic argument that follows specific formulae for you to succeed:
Your Assertion/Insight/Thesis + Informed, Respected Research + Correct Formatting of Text and Sources = an A+ Undergraduate Thesis.
The most important thing you must do while writing this last paper is take the time to construct a working works cited as you go. With every quote you use, pull up your document where your works cited in progress is and ADD THAT WORK now. I have spent weeks looking for an obscure quote from an older book I could not find online and very much needed that quote for my assertions. Don’t do that to yourself. Take five seconds and write down, most importantly (since page numbers won’t be found online) the page number, author, and title of the text and publisher so you don’t have to find it later. You can put it into correct format later, but make it easy on yourself to do so.
When you get stuck or burned out while writing, a great busy job that will give you a feeling of accomplishments is to cycle back to the works cited and begin putting it into the right order in the format specified by your director or in the master instructions.
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