Tips for thesis writing

Working with ideas

Before starting the actual writing job, you need to be aware of the final goals and the methods by which to reach them. An overview and the creation of a work plan can facilitate the business! Try to gather, even on the basis of bibliographic sources, scattered notes and conceptual maps, the results of your brainstorming. Then, he creates a ladder that reflects the overall structure of the thesis, organizing the concepts hierarchically.

The structure of the thesis

The standard structure of a thesis has the following structure:

  • frontispiece
  • Index, or Summary
  • Introduction
  • Body of the text
  • Conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Any appendices
  • frontispiece
  • This is a page that includes the main information about the name of the University and the Degree Course, the title of the thesis, the names of the speaker and the candidate and the academic year of the graduation session. The format can generally be downloaded from the website of your Faculty and may contain, if necessary, the University logo.


The index proposes a list of all the chapters, paragraphs and sub-sections; for each subdivision the page number must be indicated. It is functional that the titles corresponding to the articulation of the text clearly express the contents of the respective sections: the reader of the index must in fact receive a relevant preliminary information. Finally, it is often advisable to create the summary before starting the writing work, in order to highlight what will be the final structure of the text.


The introduction must contain the fundamental elements about the topic (and the state of the studies related to it), the objectives and the structure of the thesis, the method and the tools – concrete and / or conceptual – that have been used. The inclusion of motivations is also fundamental because they underline the importance of the work done.

Body of the text
This is the main part of the thesis, in which your work must be exposed, argued with clarity

and precision. It is advisable to create a subdivision into chapters and paragraphs, without compromising the fluidity of the contents. As you write, try to stick to the subject of your thesis and always document the statements so that they are verifiable.
Quotations can be inserted: if they are short quotations, they are delimited by low quotation marks («») while if we report longer portions from a text, it is instead necessary to isolate them from the main body, inserting before and after a white space, generally one line. The long quotations must also be composed in a reduced font compared to that of the body of the text and with a reentry with respect to the right and left margin. Always remember to indicate in a footnote the bibliographic information relating to the citation, including the page number.


In general, the last chapter of a thesis includes the conclusions. This is not a “summary” of the previous pages, but a space dedicated to the final discussion of one’s work. It will therefore be necessary to ascertain whether, and in what way, the envisaged objectives have been achieved.


The bibliography must be written with precision and organized according to the alphabetical order of the authors’ surname. There are several standards among which you can choose; the important thing is, however, to proceed with consistency, following the main rules common to all bibliographies:

  • for each bibliographic item the surname is indicated first and then, generally separated by a comma, the initial episode of the name (eg Surname, N.); followed by data regarding the title of the volume, edition number (if subsequent to the first), place of publication, publishing house, year in which the printing took place;
  • in the presence of several works by the same author, these are ordered following a chronological criterion of publication;
  • when it comes to collective works, the name of the curator is indicated, followed by the words “edited by”, inserted between round brackets;
  • when some of the requested information cannot be found, the following abbreviations are used: s.l. (without place); S.D. (undated); self. (without editor).