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The following list of Ten Mistakes to Avoid in thesis writing comes from ten years of experience in teaching thesis writing to graduate students in science and engineering at Rice University. The list is certainly applicable to thesis writers at other schools, however, and would also be helpful to those writing in other fields. Author: Dr. Janice L. Hewitt, Rice University

Not clearly identifying the precise focus of your research.

Too often writers fail to identify the focus of their research until several pages into the Introduction. Readers need to know up front, in the Abstract and in the Introduction, precisely what problem you are addressing and why. You must state a claim that summarizes what you identified as needing to be done and what you did to fill that need.

Not telling us why your work is important.

Why should any reader care about your research contribution? You must answer the question,“So what?”

Not clearly identifying and defending your choice of method(s) to solve the question addressed in your research.

You almost always have a choice of methods. Why did you choose the one(s) you did? Why not other available ones? You must justify your choice.

Not situating your work within the context of other work in the field.

All research in science and engineering is incremental, growing out of the research of others. You need to show how your work fits into closely related research and into the wider field. How does your research grow out of, improve, generalize, test, or newly implement the work of others?

Not clearly differentiating your work from that of others.

I have read many Literature Reviews in which it was not clear what had been done by others and what the student had contributed. Writing“It has been discovered that…”does not indicate that you have moved from discussing others’work to reporting on your own research. As we read a Literature Review, it should always be clear how your work links with the work of others, but it should also always be clear exactly which portions refer to your own research findings.

Not defining and defending all assumptions.

Every time you write“I assume…”you must defend and explain the reason for the assumption. If your basic assumptions are incorrect, your research will not be valid. Similarly, if you write that you limit your work to one aspect of a problem (to 1D simulations, for example), you must explain why that limitation is valid.

Not providing a suitable level of detail and explanation.

As you write the body chapters, remember that you now know more about this area of research than anybody else. I have never had a student’s advisor complain that the explanations were too clear; I have had many who complained that the writer assumed too much expert knowledge on the part of the reader. Think carefully about what terms, procedures, and results need to be explained. Identify and include steps that you might have left out because you were so familiar with them. Give enough detail about experiments so that they could be replicated. Use bulleted lists for easy reading. Put non-essential data and computer code into an Appendix.

Not clearly identifying your unique contribution(s).

Your unique contribution must be clear in the Abstract, the Introduction, and the Discussion/Conclusions section. Work hard on this—many a Job Talk has failed because the speaker failed to identify clearly and precisely his or her contribution to the field. And don’t say“we.”Give your advisor credit, but present the thesis or dissertation as your work. Your advisor already has a degree and a job.

Not identifying possible applications, either theoretical or practical.

You need to show that you know how your work can be applied in wider circumstances. Otherwise it may look as if your knowledge is more limited than it is. Colleges, universities, and corporations hire those who bring broad skill sets to a job, not those who appear limited to one narrow application.

Not proofreading for consistent headings, missing citations, gaps in your logic, missing words, grammatical errors, and spelling errors.

Ask someone to help you with proofreading because we all tend to see what we think is there. Don’t try to proofread for everything at the same time. Read through looking just at headings, then for errors in citation, then for gaps between paragraphs and sentences. If you have a manuscript full of errors, readers will tend to think that your research has also been poorly done.

Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
AMJAD
what is system testing
AMJAD
what is the application of nanotechnology?
Stotaw
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
Azam
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
Prasenjit
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
Azam
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
Prasenjit
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
Damian
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
Damian
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
Azam
Hello
Uday
I'm interested in Nanotube
Uday
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
Prasenjit
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Becoming a professional scholar. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10871/1.2
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