Strategies for writing a successful thesis

Writing your undergraduate thesis can be the most rewarding and challenging year of your academic life. There will be many challenges along the way, but if you can persevere through these, your undergraduate thesis can open many doors. Your thesis is an invaluable opportunity to delve deeper into a topic of interest to you. It presents an excellent opportunity to develop skills in a unique field and can help to differentiate you from fellow graduates. 

  • A key piece of advice I could give you would be to choose a topic that you are interested in. Having a topic that holds your interest will help you stay engaged during the many hours you will invest in your project. 
  • The most important step of completing your thesis is planning your timeline and breaking up your project into manageable chunks (Desmond Tutu “eat the elephant one bite at a time”). Spend a good amount of time planning what you want to research, identify the current gaps in your knowledge and think of ways to fill them, locate writing guides online, and decide on key skills you need to develop. There are lot of great resources available to undergraduate students, so it is worth the time tracking them down. This probably means going to the library… it is the building with all the books. 
  • One of the most annoying parts of your thesis is going to be the bibliography. Unfortunately, the assessors will actually read your bibliography and therefore it needs to be completed correctly. If this is something you are not used to doing, look into whether your university library offers any training in formatting one correctly. It is also worth looking into tools like EndNote which will keep track of reference as you come across them and format your bibliography at the end for you. Do not leave it to the end when time is short, and stress is plentiful. 
  • It is not just the libraries that offer support for students completing their thesis, there are lots of people out there to support you. If you feel lost or confused about the work you should be doing, the sooner you ask for clarification the better. 
  • Regardless of your time management skills and planning your thesis will require a lot of time and effort. It is a big year so don’t forget to take care of yourself and have a break every now and then. 

– Lachlan (Undergraduate Engineer).

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