It should cite those who had the idea or ideas first, and should also cite those who have done the most recent and relevant work. You should then go on to explain why more work was necessary your work, of course. What else belongs in the introductory section s of your paper? A statement of the goal of the paper: why the study was undertaken, or why the paper was written. Do not repeat the abstract.
Sufficient background information to allow the reader to understand the context and significance of the question you are trying to address.
Proper acknowledgement of the previous work on which you are building. Sufficient references such that a reader could, by going to the library, achieve a sophisticated understanding of the context and significance of the question. The introduction should be focused on the thesis question s.
All cited work should be directly relevent to the goals of the thesis. This is not a place to summarize everything you have ever read on a subject.
Developing A Thesis |
Explain the scope of your work, what will and will not be included. A verbal "road map" or verbal "table of contents" guiding the reader to what lies ahead. Is it obvious where introductory material "old stuff" ends and your contribution "new stuff" begins? Remember that this is not a review paper. Break up the introduction section into logical segments by using subheads.
Step 2: Define the task and prepare a working thesis.
Methods What belongs in the "methods" section of a scientific paper? Information to allow the reader to assess the believability of your results. Information needed by another researcher to replicate your experiment. Description of your materials, procedure, theory. Calculations, technique, procedure, equipment, and calibration plots. Limitations, assumptions, and range of validity. Desciption of your analystical methods, including reference to any specialized statistical software. Could another researcher accurately find and reoccupy the sampling stations or track lines?
Is there enough information provided about any instruments used so that a functionally equivalent instrument could be used to repeat the experiment? If the data are in the public domain, could another researcher lay his or her hands on the identical data set? Could one replicate any laboratory analyses that were used? Could one replicate any statistical analyses?
Could another researcher approximately replicate the key algorithms of any computer software? Citations in this section should be limited to data sources and references of where to find more complete descriptions of procedures. Do not include descriptions of results. Results The results are actual statements of observations, including statistics, tables and graphs. Indicate information on range of variation. Mention negative results as well as positive. Do not interpret results - save that for the discussion.
Lay out the case as for a jury. Present sufficient details so that others can draw their own inferences and construct their own explanations. Use S. Break up your results into logical segments by using subheadings Key results should be stated in clear sentences at the beginning of paragraphs. Describe the nature of the findings; do not just tell the reader whether or not they are significant. Writing for an Audience Who is your audience?
Researchers working in analogous field areas elsewhere in the world i. Researchers working in your field area, but with different techniques. Researchers working on the same interval of geologic time elsewhere in the world.
All other researchers using the same technique you have used. If your study encompasses an active process, researchers working on the same process in the ancient record. Conversely, if your study is based on the rock record, people studying modem analogs. People writing a synthesis paper on important new developments in your field. People applying earth science to societal problems i.
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Potential reviewers of your manuscript or your thesis committee. Editing Your Thesis. Planning Ahead for Your Thesis. Writing for an Audience. Avoiding Ambiguity.
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Writing for an International Audience. Abstract A good abstract explains in one line why the paper is important. It then goes on to give a summary of your major results, preferably couched in numbers with error limits. The final sentences explain the major implications of your work. A good abstract is concise, readable, and quantitative. Absrtracts generally do not have citations. Information in title should not be repeated.
Be explicit. Use numbers where appropriate. Why did you do it? What question were you trying to answer? How did you do it? State methods. What did you learn? State major results. Why does it matter? Point out at least one significant implication. Table of Contents list all headings and subheadings with page numbers indent subheadings it will look something like this:. How do you do this? Physical separation into different sections or paragraphs. Don't overlay interpretation on top of data in figures. Careful use of phrases such as "We infer that ".
Don't worry if "results" seem short. Easier for your reader to absorb, frequent shifts of mental mode not required.
- How to Write a Thesis Statement in 5 Simple Steps.
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Ensures that your work will endure in spite of shifting paradigms. Discussion Start with a few sentences that summarize the most important results.
How to write a literature review
Refer to spatial and temporal variations. What are the relationships, trends and generalizations among the results? What are the exceptions to these patterns or generalizations? Virginia Kearney more. Thesis Statements Explain what you want the reader to think, do, believe or know. Are usually just one sentence. Most often come at the end of the first or second paragraph. May give a roadmap of the rest of the essay.
Make a Thesis Question Take your essay topic idea and turn it into a question.