How to get your thesis topic started
Students often struggle to get their thesis topic started, simply because nobody gave them a proper explanation on how to do something as complex as this in an efficient way. Questions I get asked frequently about this go from how to effectively obtain, read, and structure literature for a thesis, over how to effectively cite literature in an English computer science thesis, to how to effectively do things like referring figures/tables or final typesetting effectively. The following guide is aimed at helping students in getting their thesis topic started properly. Sticking to the tips and tricks in this guide will save you a huge amount of work and time, though it might require a little additional effort in the beginning.
The guide is available as pdf slide deck. Its contents basic guidelines for:
- How to effectively search for literature.
- How to effectively skim through publications.
- How to keep literature structured, organized, and easily accessible - for real.
- How to cite effectively and nicely in grammatically correct sentences.
- How to distinguish real related work from other literature that is just used “as a tool” in the thesis, and how to cite the latter.
- How to write about the own work in the first person and how to cite own previous work anonymously.
- How to effectively refer to figures, tables, etc in the text.
- Many writing style tips and tricks: emphasizing, text structure and paragraphs, abbreviations, text size, casing.
- How to do typesetting and layouting before submission.
- How to avoid plagiarism.
The “how to get your thesis topic started” guide above is based on my original blog post from 2013.