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Define your purpose

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In order to successfully communicate a message through your thesis, it is essential to be clear about its purpose.

When we think and read about our research, we often become absorbed in the material, and at times allow ourselves to pursue an interesting path of inquiry that is not directly related to the thesis topic. While this may be fun and enlightening exploration, it may take a lot of time and attention away from the main thesis question, and may even blur the research question as we become more interested in this tangential path escalates.

Here are helpful hints to clarify your purpose and keep focussed at all times:

  • Have your thesis topic written on a card sitting on your desk in front of you. In this way you will keep focussed on the central research question while you read, write, and think.
  • What is your primary message, the main idea that you would like to convey through your thesis? Write a brief explanatory statement on the card. This is your purpose, which will determine what you include in your writing and how you choose to present your work.

Here are some examples from different students:

  • Student A
  • Student B
  • Student C

Topic:

Identifying and managing international student security needs in Australia: The case of Monash University

Purpose:

The study is concerned with what makes a Monash international student feel secure and whether or not Monash is able to provide that security. Security may be related to academic, economic and social elements of being in a foreign country.

The purpose of the research is to improve the security of international students during their stay in Australia. It is expected that this purpose will have a beneficial flow-on effect in relation to the standing of Monash University in the international education market.

Topic:

The development of Chinese private enterprises

Purpose:

The thesis aims to identify the different roles played by the government and the family in Chinese provate enterprises. It presents policy implications for the future development of private firms.

Topic:

Charles Wright's Poetry

Purpose:

To provide a comprehensive analysis of Wright's poetry and poetics...

To answer the following questions re. Wright's poetics:

Who is speaking in his poems?

Who is he speaking to?

Why? (what for?)

How does he begin?

How does he continue?

Where, if at all, does it end?

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