6.5 Further Thesis Chapters
Having established your methodology in the introduction and first chapter, you are now building the argument more strongly in the second chapter of the main body.
Of course, you will have a specific aspect of your thesis that you intend to cover in this chapter and previously identified evidentiary support appropriate to the topic.
What you must endeavour to do now is to write to the standard you have established and be careful not to let your enthusiasm flag.
Continue to apply your methodology and always sustain the central thesis no matter how interesting you find a particular development to be.
This is an important chapter because you have reached the central point of your thesis, now and in many ways a peak in your argument. That does not mean, of course, that you can now free wheel easily home – far from it!
Indeed, you need, rather, to ‘up your game’ if anything, as you have to sustain the central thesis statement and continue to develop your theme and keep the interest of your reader/examiner!
Having said all that, the third chapter does give you more scope to be imaginative in your inferential development. This is because by now the methodology and theme are so well established that the reader comes to expect a certain approach.
In many ways, this depends to a great extent, though, on how well you have written your thesis up until now. It is a little like writing effective fiction, really, because if a character is well-established then the reader knows how they will behave in any given set of circumstances.
Your established methodology should function like that: if you have applied it well, the reader knows how the thesis is working and it gains a valid, controlled momentum of its own.
So, you have passed the middle stage of your thesis, now you are beginning to develop the ending of your work (yes, already). Having the end in sight must not, however, make you feel too secure or safe – after all, you have another chapter and the conclusion after this!
This chapter builds on what you began in chapter three, in other words it is an opportunity, if your topic will encompass it, for you to develop further discoveries made in your research, following up on ideas gleaned from your analysis.
In many ways, the early chapters of a thesis have to establish a very firm foundation for you to build upon, the methodology and thesis have to be firmly grounded and the argument set in place so the emphasis has to be very much on the more rigid aspects of your scheme of work.
However, although these must still be the prime motivation in your writing, as has been suggested in the comments on chapter three, you have now established your method of work and your central argument so that as well as keeping to this, you can afford to experiment more.
Of course, as with all aspects of the writing of your thesis, your decisions must ultimately be governed by the subject area of your Ph.D. and in consultation with your supervisor.
This is the final chapter of your thesis, so congratulate yourself, you are almost there! (The conclusion is a separate issue and will have a separate section in this guide.)
This chapter should be especially strong, covering the aspect of the topic that is most ‘progressive’ if possible.
This is because it is important that the thesis ends strongly and gives indication of future work which will be given further discussion in the conclusion.
Nevertheless, the final chapter must still address a different aspect of the topic, sustain the thesis methodology and continue the argument, whilst indicating that the thesis is drawing to a close.
The evidence in this chapter should also reflect the fact that the thesis is nearing its conclusion, having strength but also indicating that the writing is reaching its culmination. Conclude with a sentence or two leading into the conclusion.
"Following this basic structure should help you to write the main body of your thesis cohesively and to sustain and develop your argument throughout."
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