Thesis Definition: What It Is and How to Write One

Thesis definition

The end of the year is coming, the final day of classes is getting closer and closer while you’re nervously biting your nails and wiping your forehead just because you’re not ready to submit your thesis paper! Sounds like a nightmare of a bookish fellow who just didn’t have enough time to learn what a thesis paper is. But for most people, it is a real nightmare. “What is a thesis? What is my topic? How do I write it? What is wrong with the structure?” – these and hundreds of other questions arise immediately when you just start thinking about them.

Of course, paper writing services may come in handy. But our main objective here is to give you a general definition of a thesis paper and a few tips on how to write it, including the explanation of its sometimes confusing structure and intricate title pages. Stay tuned if you want to avoid this nightmare once and for all and finally start daydreaming about your diploma!

Thesis Meaning and Grammar

It is quite logical to begin the article with the definition of a thesis. Merriam Webster basically presents this definition as a dissertation with the results of original research and a certain view on the topic.

However, it begs another question: “Is a thesis different from a dissertation or are these terms interchangeable?” Well, in some cases, “thesis” refers to a Bachelor’s or Master’s paper, and “dissertation” is written by those striving to get a PhD. Curiously enough, in other cases these two terms mean the opposite. To further our confusion with the definition, here comes the term “graduate thesis” that is often used with a reference to both a thesis and a dissertation.

To dig deeper and to give a more concrete definition, let’s get back to the roots. The word “thesis” comes from Greek and means “something that is put forth”. The first man ever to give a definition of the term was Aristotle (he had a thing for definitions, you know). According to his point of view, the paper is called to present a contradictory statement that may be either true or false depending on the given proof. Thus, your task is to outline such proof that will convince the others that your main supposition is true.

The Plural of Thesis

Who knows, maybe, you are going to write more than one thesis in your college career? In this case, you should know how to form its plural form in order to put a proud “an experienced author of…” in your CV. It is confusing to put another “s” at the end of a word where there already is one, isn’t it? As it is a Greek word, the plural will accordingly be “theses”, as there is no English alternative for a Greek plural form.

To sum up, the aforementioned definition of thesis (or theses) instructs you to write on a controversial topic outlining sufficient proof so that it is accepted by the scientific community, and you obtain whichever degree you are aspiring for.

Thesis Structure

This hideous enemy of creativity meets you inevitably in the academia. Haruki Murakami, a Japanese author, wrote a book about running where he expressed the following opinion:“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”

Learning all the details of the structure and its definition is inevitable, complaining is optional. You will have to do it anyway, so why give up on your thesis? This structure is your guide on the individual path of research. So, what kind of structure promises success for your graduate paper?

You should certainly have such elements included:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • List of figures
  • List of tables
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Appendices
Elements of thesis structure

That’s how the major parts look like at a glance, but be sure to go to your graduate advisor or professor to check if all of them are correct in your case. Of course, all of these general headings also have subheadings. And we are going to give definition to some of them and cover their content in more detail below!

Thesis Title Page Secrets

Warning! Warning! People make these three common mistakes when writing their thesis title page! So, what should you absolutely NOT do? First of all, make sure to spell everything correctly. An initial spelling mistake is how you make the committee doubt the seriousness of your approach. Also, don’t write the title in a small sized font and forget what double-spacing even means – everyone should be able to read the name of your paper easily. Finally, make sure the date is correct for the paper’s submission. Voila, you are on your way to success!

To be serious, you should certainly make sure that the title is capitalized, the month written is the exact month of your graduation, and there are no spelling mishaps. It looks so easy and yet many students make such mistakes. The definition of “title”, in my point of view, is the following – it is the first thing ever that creates an impression, so make it a goal to get a good one!

Introduction and Thesis Proposal

Supposing you have some experience in writing abstracts (if you don’t, go here to find some tips), we have come right to the thesis introduction – practically, the most important part that determines whether or not your paper is well-formulated and easy to read. The introduction is the test of your originality, logic, and laconicism. So, what should it contain?

To begin with, it is necessary to place a hook that will capture your reader’s attention: a joke, a rhetorical question, a riddle, a provocative statement and so on. Professional thesis writers also advise to write the body section first and start with the introduction after everything else has already been done.

Then talk about ideas: who was the first to think about this very problem discussed in your thesis? Be sure to mention the vast amount of research concerning your particular topic, as it would be a win-win if you refer to those who raised the issue before you.

At the end you must state a thesis proposal. It would be hard to give a concrete definition of a thesis proposal in a few words, but a good synonym is “roadmap”. Yes, it’s your writing’s compass as it should clarify what is being researched, outline all the questions and describe the used resources and materials. Although we have already stated that the introduction should be written after the body part, a thesis proposal is the only thing that we recommend crafting in the beginning.

Be precise and specific in the introduction to your thesis, check whether or not it is logical and do your best to surprise the committee with your creativity.

As it would be an immensely long read if we were to describe all stages of writing a thesis, here’s a link to the university library where you can look at the examples and get some creative juices flowing.


Thesis papers with all those definitions are not a punishment to torment you. Surely, it is not pleasant to spend your time outlining lots of information but just try to look at it from another angle.

Perceive it as an adventure – a chance to discover something new, get acquainted with the works of researchers who were interested in those same definitions and concepts as you are, and simply prove to yourself that you can do it. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? All in all, the process of writing your thesis will not be torturous if you think about it as an opportunity for self-development. And you use our tips, of course!

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