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Start your thesis

As a student, you will have to do assignments, write papers and a final thesis. A good understanding of the research process is essential in order for you to have a idea of what you have to do and how to do it best. During the research process you will follow a number of steps in which you locate the information you need, evaluate and cite it. The first step: choosing your topic, research question and making a realistic planning.

Which steps should you take?

First of all, do you understand the assignment and the criteria? What kind of sources do you have to use and when is the deadline? Look for directive words, rewrite the assignment in your own words and ask for clarification if necessary. Are you able to choose a topic?

  • If you can choose a topic, pick a topic that you are interested in (discipline, era or method) and that is not too narrow or too broad.
  • Take inspiration from your required readings, newspapers, or theses by former students. Make a mindmap to see the bigger picture. 
  • You can find backgroundinformation on Google, Wikipedia, bibliographies and encyclopedia. Ask yourself: what can you add to the discussion.

The tutorial Topic development helps you with choosing a topic.

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Your research question needs to be understandable for your audience, focused and requires research.

  • Avoid questions that can be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’, formulate a ‘problem’ that you need to answer.
  • Choose an open-ended question by starting the question with ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘who’.
  • Write down what you know and still want to know about your topic. 
  • Sharpening your question is always possible.

It's important to make a realistic, concrete plan. This will help you to set goals and motivate yourself. The tutorial Time Management Skills helps you with your planning. 

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This tutorial helps you with the start of your thesis.

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Did you know that you can get help with doing research?

  • Ask your question online or call us.
  • Make an appointment to meet with a subjectlibrarian and get help with choosing a topic, finding information, developing effective search strategies, searching the library catalogs and databases and evaluate information sources.
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