A thesis should be a coherent exposition of a research study. It should follow an ordered sequence in which the research objectives, relationship to other scholarly work, methodology and strategies employed, and the results obtained are identified, analysed and evaluated. The main text should include a discussion of the findings or outcomes, analysis, results and conclusions. The thesis will be assessed by experts in the field who will have an expectation that the thesis meet the commonly accepted standards for a piece of academic research in their field.
The following stages are identifiable in the work leading to the submission of a thesis:
- definition or location of a problem, topic or theme
- identification of a theoretical framework and/or methodology
- resolution of issues relating to intellectual property and ethical clearance for research conducted in the course of the candidature
- literature review, to establish the relationship of the problem, topic or theme to the scholarly context
- conduct of fieldwork, experimentation or other accumulation of relevant data or creative work
- analysis of information or material obtained
- arrival at conclusions in light of material analysed
- writing the thesis.
Students may benefit from giving early consideration, in consultation with their supervisors, to matters such as the development and presentation of their material. Many students find that the task of writing the thesis is part of the research process and is best tackled progressively by building on reports and 'in progress' papers produced for their supervisors, rather than by "writing-up" the results in a final discrete stage.
It may be useful for students to consult publications dealing with the preparation of theses relevant to their field prior to the commencement of thesis writing. Students should seek advice from their supervisors regarding relevant references. Looking at some previously examined theses in the relevant field of research may also be helpful. These may be accessed in the Griffith University Library, or through digital copies available through the Griffith University Research Theses Repository.