Thesis Seminar Weekly Roundup
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As we conclude week two of thesis seminar, we want to begin looking at aligning our thesis statement with our research questions. Some of you have already completed your literature review from last semester’s academic writing course; so for you, it’s a matter looking at the last sentence of your introduction paragraph, where your thesis statement should reside, and verifying if this one single sentence answers your research questions. Your research questions will be introduced in the final paragraph of your literature review, just before the Method section. For those of you who are starting your literature review from scratch, begin writing your thesis statement and research questions in the same way…the only difference is that you will not have a completed literature review to separate the two.
For those who have a completed lit. review, note the main idea from each paragraph that makes your completed lit. review. If you are developing your lit. review, simply write out the main idea that later will become a developed paragraph. For both, list these topic sentences in the order in which you plan to organize your premises/claims. Refer to my video tutorial from last week for details regarding premises and claims.
Once you are content with the order of your topics sentences, then begin either moving your completed paragraphs or begin developing each paragraph around the respective topic sentence. Typically the topic sentence, I have found, is the most difficult sentence of a fully-developed body paragraph. We’ll discuss body paragraph development in a subsequent tutorial.
This exercise does two things: it forces you to develop coherent topic sentences for each body paragraph and it also forces you to take a macro view of your work to take sure that your ideas follow a logical order. When you organize your topic sentences, also make sure to remove any headings that you might have. I have found that sometimes headings are not clearly representative of the content (text) it represents. If this is the case (or you are not sure), removing the headings when organizing your topic sentences can help.
For week three, follow the process as described above and contact me when you would like for me to review your work. Let’s review…
- Based on your annotated bibliography and a concise researchable problem, develop and align a clear thesis statement and set of research questions.
- Organize topic sentences in a logical fashion that creates an overall argument or position that directly and explicitly supports the thesis statement.
- Move or develop body paragraphs for each topic sentence.
- Add (back) headings as necessary, making sure that typically you have more than one paragraph for each heading.
Remember that the last paragraph of your literature review should transition from the theoretical framework to the specifics of the actual study. Your transitional paragraph might include the following…
Restate and reword your thesis statement within the context of the researchable problem.
State the purpose of your research.
Introduce your research questions.
Finish with a closing sentence.
Continue working this week on your literature review while you continue reflecting on the specifics of your own research. As you complete your literature review make sure the thesis statement aligns with your preliminary ideas that you currently have about your method section: participants, instruments, and procedure.
Make sure you contact me if you become frustrated or are not sure how to proceed and I look forward to seeing your work!