Writing and submitting a thesis without the help of your PhD supervisors is quite a risky task; however, circumstances may arise when you can’t get any help and have to write the thesis on your own. Your supervisor may be negligent towards you or too controlling; in either case, you’ll need to write your thesis independently. Below are some guidelines you should follow while writing a thesis without the help of our supervisor.

What Are Some Guidelines To Follow When Writing A Thesis On Your Own?

First, you will need to familiarise yourself with the general requirements of your thesis. You should know about the sections of your thesis, your university’s formatting requirements, and general instructions to be followed during the thesis writing process. Apart from it, it would help if you considered the following guidelines when writing a thesis without the assistance of any advisor.

Thesis Structure

The thesis structure mentioned here is what you should follow while writing a thesis per the guidelines of your institutes. Most institutes provide the students with a generalised set of instructions on writing a thesis; you should familiarise yourself with them. Apart from them, you can follow the thesis structure mentioned here in this article.

  1. Title Page

The title page of your thesis should contain the title (subtitle included), author, institution and department name, date of delivery and your email address. You can include any other thing per the instructions of your university.

  1. Abstract

A good abstract should be able to explain in one line why your paper is important. It will provide the reader with a summary of your major results and explain the implications of your work on future research. A good abstract is always readable, concise and quantitative. Writing a PhD thesis will become easier for you if your abstract has the following properties:

  • It should be 1-2 paragraphs long (approximately 400 words)
  • It should not have any citations.
  • It shouldn’t be repetitive
  • It should be explicit and present all the information.
  • It should have numbers (at appropriate places)

Apart from this, an abstract should answer several questions, such as:

  1. What is the subject of your research?
  2. What was the purpose of your research? Which questions were you trying to answer?
  3. How did you perform your research? What methods were employed?
  4. What did you learn from your research? State the results of your research here.
  5. What is the significance of your research? Narrate the significant implications of your research in this section.

Then, you will move to the next step of writing a thesis: a table of contents.

  1. Table of Contents

While writing a table of contents, add the following things to it:

  • All the headings and subheadings with their respective page numbers
  • Indent all the subheadings

Your table of contents will give your reader a list of all the headings in your document.

  1. List of Figures

In a list of figures, you need to include the following information:

  • The page numbers of all the figures included during writing a thesis
  • The list must include a short description of the figure used in the thesis

Then you will need to insert a list of tables (in case you have added tables in your thesis).

  1. List of Tables

In a list of tables, you will need to include the following information:

  • The page numbers of all the tables included in your thesis
  • The list must include a short description of each table (don’t include the whole caption in this section)

After it, you will move to the relatively complex parts of writing a thesis.

  1. Introduction

You can’t write a good introduction until you know what your thesis encapsulates. Ideally, it would be best if you wrote the introduction section at the end of your thesis since, in the end, you will have a complete know-how of the purpose of your research and the data you collected and presented in your thesis.

You should include the following information in the introduction section while writing a thesis without the aid of a supervisor:

  • Mention the study’s goals: why was the research performed, and why was the thesis written? (Be careful that you don’t have to repeat the abstract)
  • You should include sufficient background information so the reader can understand the significance and context of your research problem.
  • You will need to explain the scope of the research you performed and what’s included and won’t be included in your thesis.

While writing a thesis, remember that it’s not like a review paper. You are presenting the original work and analyses performed by you. Use subheads to break the introduction into small and logical sections.

Read: How To Write Thesis Introduction?

  1. Methods

What should you include in the methods section of your thesis? Well, it should be the following information:

  • It should have the information necessary for another researcher to replicate your work.
  • Describe the materials, theories and procedures you employed during the research process.
  • Calculations, procedure, equipment, techniques and calibration plots
  • Assumptions, limitations and the range of validity
  • A description of the analytical methods and a reference to any specialised statistical software.

Remember that all the citations you include in this section should be pertinent to data sources and the references of where you can find the complete descriptions of procedures. It should not include a description of the results.

  1. Results

The results of a thesis are the statements of observations and judgements you made while conducting your research process. It includes all the tables, graphs and statistics. You should include the following contents of the information in the results section:

  • Narrate all the information on the range of variation.
  • Mention the positive and negative results in this section. You should not interpret the results (that’s done in the discussion section)
  • Use SI units throughout the papers while writing a thesis.
  • Use subheadings to divide the results into logical statements.
  • Describe the nature of the results to your readers (instead of just stating that your results are significant)

You should include all the relevant information in this section. Present the results, don’t discuss them; the reader should draw inferences and construct their explanations based on the results section.

  1. Discussion

While writing a thesis, the most comprehensive section you will need to write will be the discussion section. In this section, you should start by writing a few sentences that summarise the major results briefly. Include the following things in this section:

  • You will need to interpret the results in terms of the background information presented in the introduction section.
  • You will explain the relationship between the research question and the current results.
  • You will explain the results and narrate the difference your research has made, i.e. you’ll need to explain what the readers now know but didn’t know before your work.
  • You should also include supporting evidence of the results you derive.

This section should be rich in references to background research and links to similar works needed to interpret the results. Again, break this section into logical segments using subheads to turn your thesis writing into a masterpiece of paper.

  1. Conclusions

The conclusions sections will present the following things:

  • It will present the strongest statements that you can make from your observations.
  • It will also have broader implications for your results.
  • You should not repeat the information presented in your thesis’s abstract, introduction or discussion section.
  • The conclusion should refer to the research problem, describe the results, and summarise the new observations, interpretations and insights from the current work.

In simple terms, the conclusion is the crux of your research in brief segments.

  1. Recommendations

You should include the remedial actions needed to solve your research problem in recommendations. It can also hint at further research options to fill the existing literature gaps. It shall also include directions for further investigations on related topics.

  1. References

References include all the citations, including the ideas, concepts, text and data of other people you’ve used in your research. Take care of the following points while writing a thesis reference:

  • Make sure that all the references cited in the papers are listed.
  • Do not use footnotes in the references section.
  • Include the surnames of all the authors you cite in your work.

You should keep track of all the sources used in your PhD thesis so that you face no difficulty writing the references.

  1. Appendices

You should include the reference data and materials not easily available in this section. Add tables and calculations (more than 1-2 pages), a list of equipment used, and additional resources in this section. You may also include a key article as an appendix.


Writing a thesis isn’t easy without the supervision of a PhD tutor; however, it can be made pretty simple and easy using these guidelines. If you follow the thesis structure and guidelines we have mentioned in this article, you will write an impeccable thesis per the requirements of your institute!


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