Starting Your Thesis – Professor Thomas M. Cooney (B.Comm, MBA, PhD, MMII, MCIM, FIMCA)

Starting Your Thesis
Professor Thomas M. Cooney (B.Comm, MBA, PhD, MMII, MCIM, FIMCA)

Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology

Academic Director of the DIT Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship

Chair of the ICSB 2014 World Entrepreneurship Conference

Council Member of Irish Research Council

1. Start your thesis with a Working Title in the form of a question (the question cannot be answered with a Yes or No). This Working Title will ensure that you will stay focused with your reading, research and writing.

2. Once you have decided your Working Title, create a detailed Table of Contents which should be very close to your final TOC. This takes some time to do properly but once completed it will mean that you will now know exactly what your thesis is about and how you are going to structure. The rest is simply filling in the content.

3. Each Chapter must seek to help answer the question in the Working Title, each Section must help the Chapter, each Sub-Section must help the Section. If you are not doing this then there will be a breakdown of coherency in your work. Chapters are not written as silos but should form a ‘river of words’.

4. Each paragraph must address a single issue / point and should be discussed in a meaningful fashion. This cannot be done in short paragraphs and so I recommend that paragraphs should be at least 10 lines minimum.

5. No paragraph should start or finish with a quote, table, diagram or list as they make no sense without an introduction before it and a discussion afterwards. For example, finishing a paragraph with a list is just leaving the discussion in mid-air and is saying to reader that they have to work the matter out for themselves.

6. And the end of each paragraph, section and chapter, ask the question ‘So What?’ Your final sentence in a sub-section, paragraph in a section, and section in a chapter should answer this question for the reader.

7. Write in the third person as the work is meant to be an objective, scientific piece of research. Ensure that your work is discursive, not descriptive.

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