A master’s thesis will generally come at the end of either a one or two year postgraduate education year. As such, it requires a more professional level of engagement than an undergraduate essay, and also carries more weight, and usually makes up a pretty substantial percentage of the overall grade for that course. It is, therefore, important that you avoid making any simple mistakes, which could reduce the impact, and grade, of your work. But, what are those mistakes?
The most obvious mistake that you can make in any extended piece of writing is not having a clear idea of what you want to say. Your thesis statement has to absolutely unambiguous, and it has to be manageable; choose a topic, and an argument, that you can clearly engage with, i.e., ‘I will demonstrate that Smith demonstrates that X is the case’.
The simpler the argument or the claim that you want to make, the better, so long as it still has academic interest and merit. In order to ensure that, you need to very carefully structure your argument to make certain that you prove your point.
A master’s thesis requires a lot more research than any undergraduate work. You need to demonstrate that you understand the material that is relevant to your wider field, and that you understand the place of your argument in that existing structure. Read, read, read before you even consider writing!
It is possible, when writing a long work, to occasionally let the level of your writing slip a little lower than you normally would. This will be catastrophic for your grade, because a very large part of your mark will come from your writing. Be very clear, very concise, and do not be overly complex and technical. Demonstrate your intelligence through clarity!
It is also possible, after writing an argument, to get lazy towards the end, to feel that your paper has done enough, and to not continue the concentration into the conclusion. This is again catastrophic, because the conclusion is where you make absolutely certain that your reader understands precisely where you want them to be. Keep hold of their hand until the very last word.
If you avoid these mistakes, and listen to the tips, then you can be certain of a great result. As long as you do the work!
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