Writing your Thesis Outline

An outline breaks down the parts of your thesis in a clear, hierarchical manner. To start with, just make up a rough outline: several pages containing chapter headings, sub-headings, some figure titles (to indicate which results go where) and perhaps some other notes and comments.

Once you have a list of chapters and, under each chapter heading, a reasonably complete list of things to be reported or explained, you have struck a great blow against writer’s block. When you sit down to type, your aim is no longer a thesis—a daunting goal—but something simpler. Your new aim is just to write a paragraph or section about one of your subheadings.

A suggested list of chapters appears below. This is preliminary; you can change the chapter list as the thesis develops.

  • Abstract
  • Objectives
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Implementation
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendices

The basic format for an outline uses an alternating series of numbers and letters, indented accordingly, to indicate levels of importance.

Download Sample Thesis/Dissertation Outline

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