It’s much easier to cope with a task when there is a specific example of getting the result you need. Especially, if you are doing something for the first time and don’t have any experience. When you need to write a dissertation but don’t know what to begin with, you need a decent sample. Looking at it and analyzing it, you can get a clear understanding of what your own paper should look like.
It’s a pity but looking for a suitable sample can take a lot of time. There is a lack of properly written papers you can find online. And that is obvious as no one wants his intellectual property to have an open access without any profits coming. But there are some dissertations you can use as a nice sample for your masterpiece. We’ve tried to find the best dissertation database for you.
Search through almost 4 million papers to find the one that will inspire you. Here you’ll find the papers not only from the North America but the ones around the globe. You can explore some of the narrow topics with the help of this resource as there is a massive collection of dissertations and theses to discover.
These four letters stand for “Open Access Theses and Dissertations”. Sounds great, doesn’t it? The resource can boast to have more than 3 million works for you to enjoy. You can use the search tool to find the paper you need with the appropriate keywords.
Here you’ll find an impressive collection of academic papers. The site’s navigation is very convenient and allows you to narrow down your search and save time. You can filter the results by language, topic, author, etc.
You can find the paper you need using keywords, author’s name, subject area, university, etc. The advanced search gives you additional options of ranking the results by dates or relevance.
Get a dissertation sample from the institutions around the globe. The search tool gives you the choice of checking the worldwide libraries and UCLA libraries.
The resource grants access to 5 million academic works. There is a high chance you’ll find something you need here.
It’s a British Library’s collection of the masterpieces of the UK higher education. Treat yourself with over 400,000 doctoral theses. You can download the one you need or order a scanned copy.
This is the collection of all Cambridge theses since 1970. A tremendous variety to find a source for your paper even if there is a shortage of information elsewhere.
Ph.D. theses from the London School of Economics. The best part is that you get to read the full texts.
An easy-to-use database from the University of Oxford. You can search by subject or type of work which is very helpful.
Remember about plagiarism. If you come across a nice thought you’d like to use in your paper, make sure you give its author a credit. Also, check if all the references you make are listed in your bibliography page. These papers have open access and everyone can use them as a source of information and inspiration. But you should value the hard work of others and mention them in your dissertation.
Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to a lawyer who is presenting an opening argument. You'll want to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to convince you. Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. After reading your thesis statement, the reader should think, "This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm interested to see how I might be."
An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." A thesis is not a topic; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. "Reasons for the fall of communism" is a topic. "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" is a fact known by educated people. "The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe" is an opinion. (Superlatives like "the best" almost always lead to trouble. It's impossible to weigh every "thing" that ever happened in Europe. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn't that be "the best thing"?)
A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.
Steps in Constructing a Thesis
First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author's argument? Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis.)
Once you have a working thesis, write it down. There is nothing as frustrating as hitting on a great idea for a thesis, then forgetting it when you lose concentration. And by writing down your thesis you will be forced to think of it clearly, logically, and concisely. You probably will not be able to write out a final-draft version of your thesis the first time you try, but you'll get yourself on the right track by writing down what you have.
Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction. A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb.
Anticipate the counterarguments. Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you'll need to refute later on in your essay. (Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn't, then it's not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument.)
|Michael Dukakis lost the 1988 presidential election because he failed to campaign vigorously after the Democratic National Convention.|
This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.
|While Dukakis' "soft-on-crime" image hurt his chances in the 1988 election, his failure to campaign vigorously after the Democratic National Convention bore a greater responsibility for his defeat.|
Some Caveats and Some Examples
A thesis is never a question. Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question ("Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?") is not an argument, and without an argument, a thesis is dead in the water.
A thesis is never a list. "For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" does a good job of "telegraphing" the reader what to expect in the essay—a section about political reasons, a section about economic reasons, a section about social reasons, and a section about cultural reasons. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn't advance an argument. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important.
A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational. An ineffective thesis would be, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil." This is hard to argue (evil from whose perspective? what does evil mean?) and it is likely to mark you as moralistic and judgmental rather than rational and thorough. It also may spark a defensive reaction from readers sympathetic to communism. If readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat, they may stop reading.
An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim. "While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline" is an effective thesis sentence that "telegraphs," so that the reader expects the essay to have a section about cultural forces and another about the disintegration of economies. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim."
A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible. Avoid overused, general terms and abstractions. For example, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because of the ruling elite's inability to address the economic concerns of the people" is more powerful than "Communism collapsed due to societal discontent."
Copyright 1999, Maxine Rodburg and The Tutors of the Writing Center at Harvard University