Tips & Tricks

  1. Any thesis consists of five discrete parts, that is, introduction, theory, methods, results, and discussion. For each part, various rules and recommendations apply, however, to varying degree. Probably the most clearly defined parts are methods and results. Typically, the most difficult part to write is the introduction.
  2. For writing a thorough introduction, you do not need more than two pages. However, these two pages need to catch the reader’s interest and need to communicate the gaps in the literature. It needs not more than three (sometimes four) paragraphs to get there. First use one paragraph to describe the problem your thesis addresses. Here you want to convince the reader that the problem you address is important for organizational behavior. Second, state the gaps in the literature that the study is aiming to fill. This is probably the single most difficult paragraph of the whole thesis to write. Unfortunately, it may also be the single most important paragraph of the thesis. There is no easy way out; you need to conduct a thorough review of the literature to learn what may be missing in the literature. Third, describe how your study helps to address the research gap. You may want to add a fourth paragraph if the build-up of your thesis is unconventional. Otherwise, safe the space for more important things to say.
  3. When writing the theory, make sure that the hypotheses are nicely theoretically developed and clearly formulated. All arguments or generalizations should be well-reasoned and supported by relevant examples or empirical evidence.
  4. The thesis should be organized in a logical sequence. Use transitions to connect developmental paragraphs.
  5. Think in paragraphs not in sentences. Develop one core idea per paragraph. Do not overload your paragraph with ideas that are not directly related.
  6. Don’t mention issues that are not dealt with, that are not examined.
  7. Only use technical terms that are essential to your thesis. If you introduce terms (e.g., self-determination, conflict spiral), you need to explain them to such an extent that a novice to the field understands them.
  8. Avoid wordiness; write concisely.
  9. Make sure that the text is scientifically correct, clearly understandable and in grammatically sound language.
  10. Adhere to APA guidelines for references, tables and figures.
  11. The method (sample, procedure, measures, analyses) needs to be properly described. You will find that this part looks very similar across academic articles and scientific journals. Do not reinvent the (structural) wheel – adhere to the conventional build-up.
  12. The results section consists of two parts. First, present the descriptive statistics, that is, a table including mean values and standard deviations for each of your model variables (including control variables) and the bivariate correlations between model variables. This information fits within a single table. Summarize the main results as they relate to your hypotheses. Note however that you cannot test your hypotheses with correlation findings. For this, it needs the second part of the results section, that is, inferential statistics, such as, results of your hierarchical regression analysis. For learning how to present regression results, consult APA guidelines and top-tier journals. Indicate clearly whether the results support your hypotheses.
  13. In the discussion, provide a short summary of the overall research problem your thesis addresses. Then, present the main findings in condensed form (this should not take more than one paragraph). Include a comparison between your results and published data, place the results in a broader context, describe the theoretical contributions (what have we learned from this study?), and the practical implications.
  14. Make sure that your thesis ends with an appropriate conclusion.
  15. Practical recommendations and conclusions should follow logically from the study results (and not from those of previous studies).
  16. In the discussion, acknowledge the limitations of your study and make suggestions for future research.

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