In academic writing, a thesis is related to complex papers. Usually, it is called a Master’s or a Doctoral thesis and can be compared to a dissertation. The main differences between them are size and width of uncovered topic. How long should a thesis be?
Undeniably, it takes months to complete a well-researched work and it's easier to delegate this difficult task to professionals who will help write a thesis quickly and with quality in mind.
Let's look how long is a thesis paper and identify the length of each section:
- Students place abstract on 2 pages
- An introduction should be placed on 3-5 pages
- The Methods section can be up to 10 pages long
- Results take 10 pages
- Discussion can be placed on 15 pages
- The conclusion takes 2-3 pages
- Appendix and other auxiliary parts of work can take up to 30 pages
- Complete paper contains 60-70 pages
If we take the article length, a dissertation should be at least three articles long. Read our guide to identify how long is a dissertation. Thesis takes space of one article. When university students choose a thesis to work on instead of a bibliographic essay, they do it for leaving a possibility to evaluate a research in the future.
There are more questions related to thesis writing appearing. What to include into a good text? If people make theses longer, will they become better? This article is a universal answer to all specific questions concerning proper writing.
Thesis Outline Part 1 – Abstract, Contents, and Introduction
Every academic paper begins with title page. Its structure depends on the chosen formatting style. An abstract follows it. This is an important part that describes thesis utility. It must be short and take 1-2 paragraphs, about 400 words and contain short summary of results, methods, etc. Here are questions to answer in this part:
- What was the reason to write this paper?
- What thesis statement to prove or disprove?
- What were your instruments? (describe main methods of research)
- What did you find out?
- Why are the results important?
Avoid citations, try to use more numbers. An abstract for dissertation or thesis should be qualitative. After it, the table of contents follows. Group all headings and subheadings into one complex list. If figures and tables are used, enlist their names, point page number of each one.
The first big part is the introduction for thesis. It may seem similar to an abstract. It pursues different goals – reader hooking, providing background information and logical transition to your own research. Here is what you need to disclose in this chapter:
- Enough background information about previous researches should be presented to make readers understand place of text in science system.
- Give an explanation concerning contents – what will be included into thesis.
- Provide readers with verbal ‘road maps’.
- Cite previous works. The citations must be related to text’s goals. Do not list everything you have read about subject.
These sections must take three pages of paper, excluding contents and table lists.
Thesis Outline Part 2 – Methods, Results, Discussion
These are essential parts. They contain information concerning your own research. Answering main question of our post (how long should a thesis be?), these parts must take at least 30-40 pages. Let’s find out what Ph.D or Master’s thesis paper shoud present in these chapters.
The methods section is text’s explanatory part. There you have to provide readers with clear information and details that allow repeating the research and experiments. Traditionally, methods section is divided into three parts – materials, participants, ways of analysis. Materials imply full description of all instruments and quntitative and qualitative methods used for making research.
Participants part, just like a research paper discussion, describes people or subjects analyzed, including regulations of choice. Ways of analysis present all research approaches used to get results. This part describes area and circumstances of your experiments and helps to identify if they were legitimate and relevant.
Results part contains relevant statements of observations with statistical data, graphs, tables, etc. The section is divided into paragraphs, where key results are arranged into sentences at beginning. Do not forget about negative results, if possible. The main goal of section is data structuring to be helpful for readers to make own conclusions. Mention the nature of data found.
Discussion part is where you interpret results and adjust them to a thesis statement and goals. Disclose patterns and relationships between the observations found, find possible exceptions and discuss if the results correlate with previous researches. Each interpretation you make should be supplied with sufficient evidence. Define if materials are working for the future researches as well. This chapter is the richest in referencing to background material and other parts of your paper.
Thesis Outline Part 3 – Conclusions, Recommendations, and References
Here you make the strongest statement concerning observations. Highlight the information you want readers to remember. Explain how the results correlate with the problems you have indicated in the introduction. Describe all new things that are significant in finding a solution and provide limitations examples.
The recommendations part is for giving advice and indicating other actions that will help to solve particular problems. Sound your own opinion about the direction of future research. Most of the time you have to write it. Just like a research proposal.
Acknowledgment for thesis is a paragraph where you mention everyone who helped you with composition. Place all cited and used information resources into one list or form an annotated bibliography if needed.
All kinds of data used in writing, not cited and used resources directly go to the appendices part. This section is last. Along with conclusions they may take up to 10 pages.
What is the direct answer to our question? How long should a thesis be? Experts from a writing site assume, it takes about 60-70 pages. It depends on your research and subject. The length does not matter, actually. The most important thing you need to do is make a complete and complex paper. Provide everything from A to Z - no one will recall the thesis length.