Share

How to Write a Thesis Good

1.       Don't waste time worrying about grammar and such, your advisor will take care of all that.

 

2.       Use a reference and bibliographic style of your own devising - ASR and RS are passe' - and vary it from item to item: Be creative.

 

3.       Take your references from sombody else's bibliography; why check them out, if somebody else has already done it?

 

4.       Write the first draft leaving blanks for the numbers; you can insert them later when you do the research.

 

5.       Forget about double checking the numbers; a little error shouldn't affect your conclusions.

 

6.       Run the percents one way in some tables and the other way in others.

 

7.       Scatter little jokes through the manuscript to show your wit and style.

 

8.       Do not read the Chicago style manual.

 

9.       Don't burden your committee with the bibliography and appendicies until they have reacted to the text.

 

10.   Tell what the thesis is about for the first time on page 42.

 

11.   Include some items in the bibliography that are not cited in the text; and, for excitement, put a few citations in the text that are not in the bibliography.

 

12.   Cite lecture notes and private conversations.

 

13.   Expect your advisor to edit, proofread, arrange for typing and keep up with Graduate School deadlines and regulations.

 

14.   Get it typed by a friend of your brother-in-law who works for a feedmill in Tulsa.

 

15.   Make frequent use of words such as re, etc., vice versa, very, impact, cause, approximately, probably, certainly; and use lots of foreign phrases.

 

16.   Use abbreviations where possible, especially the kind you get from computer printouts.

 

17.   Introduce each theoretical point with "as Durkheim, Weber, Sorokin, Parsons and Wilkinson have observed," and each finding with "it is interesting to note that."

 

18.   Give credit in the "Acknowledgements" to your mother for bearing you, your father for whatever his role was in it, your little brothers and sisters for stealing the money to send you to college and your spouse for not kicking you out; also don't forget to mention all the good times at the Post House.

 

19.   Have the whole things ghosted by the Brittanica research service.

 

20.   Give the final copy to your committee the morning of the defense, which of course should be scheduled for the day before you leave for your new job -- in the Tulsa feedmill.

 

21.   Change all table numbers after you complete the first draft, but do not change references to the table numbers in the text.

 

22.   Use several fold-out tables.

 

23.   Make frequent reference in Chapter IV to the seventh column of the third table in Chapter II.

 

24.   Include a footnote on the title page disclaiming all responsibility for the contents.

 

25.   Include in the bibliography references to all of your papers in progress, forthcoming, under review and in press. (This advice can also apply to the resume which you send to prospective employers -- be sure to include in the resume all of you letters to the editors of Rolling Stone and the CDT [Centre Daily Times, the local newspaper].)

 

26.   Of greatest importance: Give the thesis your full attention during commericals and station breaks.

 

27.   Give up cigarettes and coffee the day you begin writing.

 

28.   The first 42 pages (before you mention the topic) should be a turgid essay on how sociologists have been screwing up all these years.

 

29.   The last chapter (before the poetry and line drawings) should consist of your personal reactions to the atrocities revealed in the findings.

 

30.   In the section on weakness of the study, comment on the incompetency of the people who designed the research, acknowledge all of your spelling errors, describe your cosmic anxieties about the role of science in human affairs and attribute all shortcomings to the conditions of your early childhood: Conclude this section with a one-sentence statement that your's is still the best work ever on the subject, noting that even though your hypotheses were not supported and your measures and data are suspect you have genereated fruitful ideas to guide further research (always call for future research!) and policy deliberations.

 

31.   Take a non-thesis option; or do a joint thesis with your best friend; or ask the Graduate School to accept a one-page equation in lieu of a thesis; or replicate your advisor's dissertation (thus requiring only one reference).

 

32.   The title should have at least four lines, two colons, one semicolon and eight Latin words; the first sentence of the text should cover at least two pages and end with the word "the;" as an option have a one-word title, something like "truth," and a text with six-inch margins.

 

33.   Write an anti-thesis of length equal to that of the thesis and present it as a footnote beginning on the first page and running over to all subsequent pages; use path analysis in the thesis and ethnomethodology in the footnote.

 

34.   Have footnotes to footnotes.

 

35.   Define everything; beginning with your name.

 

36.   Place literature citations so as to regularly (see Wilkinson, 1975) split infinitives.

 

37.   Write it in abstentia while teaching twelve hours with four preparations, advising 50 majors, coaching a Little League team, and fighting for your employer's tenure policy.

 

38.   In the defense, question your committee's right to question you on the thesis.

 

39.   Arrange for duplicating two days before the exam, and ask your committee to help you asemble the copies; better still, make photocopies on the machine in the lobby of Kern and have them commercially bound before the defense; and ask the department to pay for 200 copies to send to your respondents and friends.

 

40.   Use a variety of verb tenses; or use the present or future tenses only; avoid the past tense, it's gone.