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Structure and Layout of Research Theses at the Open Source Research Group

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This blog post is about research theses only; please see this blog post category for information on other types of theses.


Imprecise and long-winded documents, including final theses, are the bane of any reader. At university, such documents ensure bad grades. Contrary to popular belief, lengthy theses do not document hard work; they only document that the student was not willing or able to be brief and precise. Credit should be given for achievement and insight, not for text production. In this document we describe how students should structure their final thesis. At a thesis’ core is the research chapter, as taught in Nailing your Thesis, our research lab course. The research chapter is about 6000 words long and contains all essential information. Anything that does not fit into this chapter should go into a secondary elaboration chapter (or appendix), which extends the research chapter. These constraints force students to think hard about what is important and what is not. It also allows the guiding supervisor to turn the thesis into a research paper quickly, if possible and reasonable.

More information: Explanation [ODT, PDF], Template [ODT, PDF]

There is also a LaTeX template and more thesis writing information available.

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