Topic outline

  • General

  • General Guidelines and reference resources

  • PART 1: Introduction chapter

    The introduction  may  include  an  explanation of  author’s own background  and motivation  to undertake this particular piece of research. The introduction should end with the general question which the thesis sets out to answer.

    The introduction can include the following:

    −  Background to the study

    −  Statement of purpose/ Rationale of the study

    −  Research questions

    −  Significance of the study

    −  Overview of thesis chapters

  • PART 2: Literature review

    The role of the literature review in thesis is to provide a critical review and analysis of the literature relevant to your particular topic. The purpose of a literature review can be to:

    −  Summarize and evaluate past research

    −  Show similarities and differences in previous research

    −  Give an overview of controversies in past research

    −  Place your own research into context

    −  Show a gap in research

    −  Generate new research hypotheses

    The literature review should meet certain requirements:

    −  Most of the citations should be recent (preferable in the last five to even years). Earlier studies should only be cited if they appear to be classic, landmark studies.

    −  Literature reviews should cite works from journals, books or government document.

  • PART 3: Research methodology chapter

    The Methodology Chapter tells your reader ‘how’ you carried out the research that was needed to answer your research questions. It may have sections that explain:

    −  WHEN the study was carried out

    −  WHERE the study was carried out

    −  WHAT  materials,  techniques,  samples,  data,  approaches, theoretical  frameworks  were  used  in  the study, and

    −  HOW the study was carried out/ WHAT procedures were used. (will be used in your proposal first)

  • PART 4: Data analysis and Discussion

    You may also have mini results, discussion and conclusion sections occurring within chapters if there  is no separate  results  section  or  chapter.  However,  it  is more  usual  for  results  and  discussion  to  be  combined showing you have interpreted your findings.

    The results are normally written up using complete paragraphs but are often supported by tables and/or graphs.

    The function of a discussion section is to:

    −  interpret the results presented in the results section; and

    −  discuss them in relation to your research question and to the results of previous research in the field.

    Of course, to present any discussion about results  from previous research, you must already have introduced this research in your literature review.

    • PART 5: Conclusion and Implications

      It is here where you wrap up the thesis by providing:

      −  A summary of the main findings of the thesis

      −  A list of the contributions of the work

      −  The implications of the research

      −  Recommendations for further research