How to overcome from Crosscutting Issues while writing a Thesis or a Research Paper

What Are You Looking For?

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You are looking for a critical analysis. You have to gather evidence from various sources to make interpretations and judgments. Your approach or methods should be carefully designed to come to closure. Your results should be clearly defined also discussed in the context of your topic. Relevant literature should be mentioned. You should place your analysis in a broader context and highlight the implications i.e. regional, global etc. of your work. You are looking for a well reasoned line of argument from your compilation of relevant evidence, initial question, setting data in a general or universal context and finally making a judgment based on your analysis. Your thesis should be clearly written in the format described below. Planning Ahead for Your Thesis

If possible start your thesis research during the summer between your junior as well as senior year or even earlier with an internship etc. after that work on filling in background material and lab work during the fall so that you are prepared to write and present your research during the spring. The best strategy to pick a project in which you are interested also a faculty member or other professional is working on. Professionals will make your research mentor and this gives you someone to talk with and get background material from.

Writing for an Audience:

Who is your audience?

1) Researchers working in analogous field areas anywhere in the world like other strike-slip faults, other deep sea fans.
2) Researchers working in your field area but with different technology.
3) Researchers working on the same interval of geologic time elsewhere in the world.
4) All other researchers using the same technique you have used .
5) If your study encompasses an active process, researchers working on the same process in the ancient record.
6) Conversely, if your study is based on the rock record people studying modem analogy.
7) People writing a synthesis paper on important new developments in your field.
8) People applying earth science to societal problems who will try to understand your paper.
9) Potential reviews yours of your manuscript or your thesis committee.

Skimming vs. Reading:

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Because of the literature explosion papers more skimmed compared with reading. Skimming engrosses reading the abstract also looking at the figures and its captions. Hence, you should construct your paper so that it can be understood by skimming like conclusions, as written in your abstract, can be understood by study of the figures and caption. The text fills the details for more interested reader.

Figures and Tables:

  • The actual figures and tables should be embedded or inserted in the text usually on the page following the page where the figure/table is first cited in the text.

  • All figures and tables should be numbered and cited consecutively in the text as figure 1, 2.... and table 1, 2.... etc.

  • Include a caption for each figure and table, citing how it was constructed like reference data sources, citations etc. Also highlights the key findings. Include an index figure (map) showing and naming all locations discussed in paper.

  • You are encouraged to make your own figures including schematics, cartoons or sketches that exemplify the processes that you discuss.

  • Figures should be oriented perpendicularly in portrait mode anywhere possible. You have to orient them horizontally in landscape mode also orient them so that you can read them from the right not from the left where the binding will be.

Tying the Text to the Data:

"Show them, don't just tell them..." idyllically all result claimed in the text should be documented with data usually data presented in figures or tables. If there are no data provided to support a given statement of result or consider adding more data also deleting the unsupported "observation."

Examine figures or tables pertaining to the results.

Assess whether:

1. Facts support the textual statement
2. Facts contradict the textual statement
3. Facts are insufficient to prove or refute the textual statement
4. Facts may support the textual statement but are not accessible in such a way that you can be sure you are seeing the same phenomenon in the data that the author claims to have seen.

Giving Credit:

How does anyone fairly as well as accurately indicate who has make contributions towards the results also interpretations presented in your paper by authorship, referencing also acknowledgements?

Different types of errors:

1. Direct quotes or illustrations without quotation marks without attribution
2. Direct quotes without quotation marks with attribution
3. Concepts or ideas without attribution
4. Concepts or ideas with sloppy attribution
5. Omitting or fabricating data or results
Check references carefully and reread reference works prior to publication. The 1st time you read something you will consciously remember things but may subconsciously take in different aspects. It is important to cross check your conscious memory against your citations.

Final Thesis:

  • Prepare 3 final copies i.e. 1 for mentor and 2 for department so that you can have 2 readers.

  • Final thesis should be bound.

  • Neatly printed on white paper.

  • Double spaced using 12 point font.

  • Margins are of 1-inch.

  • Double sided saves paper.

  • Mention page numbers.

  • Resources

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