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What you need to know about the thesis plan

What you need to know about the thesis plan


The plan of your thesis is the route that allows you to guide you through an unknown country: without it, you will get lost. A route, with its stages, is prepared in advance; and above all, to decide it, you still need to have planned a starting point and an ending point and Buy Persuasive Essay Online.


Many doctoral students feel that the relevance of their plan will determine the quality of their thesis. This is why it is not uncommon to spend weeks, even months, thinking about your thesis plan. However, at some point, you have to make up your mind and trust your plan.

In this article, I decided to answer some of your most frequently asked questions here.

Question 1: What is a good thesis plan?

The plan indicates which parts and sub-parts your thesis will be made up of; it gives the titles of these parts and if possible a synthesis in a few lines of what will be treated there. The plan is essentially useful to the doctoral student, it is a “work plan”; it must also, in general, be presented to the thesis supervisor. It will gradually become a real table of contents, completed when you have finished writing.

A good plan is a plan that guides the editor well… but also the reader! Above all, it must be readable, otherwise, there is a problem. What does readable mean? That you can’t settle for vague, overly general or jargon titles. Your thesis argument (what you have to say) must appear in your outline. To achieve this, do the exercise of writing a short sentence for each part or sub-part. Beginning with “here I would like to demonstrate that – or verify whether…”. The words you will use in this sentence must appear in the title.

In short, a good plan requires a considerable effort of argumentation and synthesis. We cannot do it in a hurry, because it requires drawing a real argumentative path that will lead you to the conclusion of your thesis.

Question 2: When should the plan be made?

Some work the plan gradually, according to the hypotheses they draw during their fieldwork; these assumptions eventually form a thought pattern. When they have finished collecting their data, their plan is firmly in their minds.

It seems ideal, but not everyone works like that: every doctoral student is different. You may find yourself after two years of research with lots of more or less messy data, full of ideas, full of hypotheses, without knowing how to prioritize them, in what order to process them, etc.

I think that the plan is very correlated to the data. That is to say that it is by sorting out your data (interviews, documents, archives etc.) that you will be able to make your plan. Indeed, if you do not yet know what you should conclude from your research, how to analyze your readings or your interviews, for example, it will be difficult to make a good plan.

The plan is therefore carried out after the data has been collected, even if for some doctoral students who analyze their data as they go along, it can begin to be thought out even before the data has all been collected: but it is, in any case, finalized when the fieldwork is completed and the results sorted.

Question 3: Where do I start to make my plan?

By defining my research question! I have no doubt about it, the research question is Ariadne’s thread, it puts order in the disorder: the plan must be thought of as an articulated and argued answer to this question. 

Question 4: Should the plan be very detailed?

It depends on two things: the requirements of your director, possibly (some require a lot of details, others not at all!) . And especially your own character and your way of doing things.

Some doctoral students can accurately represent an idea before writing it down; they even need it. They will “spontaneously” make a very detailed plan, listing, prioritizing, ordering their ideas a priori.

Other doctoral students have to write to bring out their ideas. A very detailed plan before writing is therefore impossible for them.

While writing, they begin to follow unexpected leads. They may be interesting, but they should be saved for later. If they do not correspond to the main theme to be treated.

Do you recognize yourself in this portrait? You must therefore do some sorting work “on the job” by re-reading to classify the concepts that appeared in the writing. Hunt for digressions, choose to incorporate the most relevant ideas. In short, the plan is constantly reworked, in painstaking work.

If you work like that, assume it (you’re not alone!) but make sure at least to stabilize major themes. And see in what order to deal with them. If you fix the main parts of your thesis before writing (not the sub-parts) it will not be bad.  it will guide you to a minimum. Your plan will therefore not be very detailed: that will not prevent it from being relevant if you do it carefully and do not constantly question its main axes and Premium Essay Writing Samples.


Question 5: Are there plan templates?

I see that you can find “standard plans” on the internet (I’ll let you look it up, thank you Google). I will never suggest it to you. Because it can lead you straight into the wall without thinking about your research argument.

No one will ever be able to give you a “good” pre-made plan. If you think you can get out of it by applying a recipe. (such as: part 1: theoretical framework, part 2: problem, country 3: method, etc.), you risk unpleasant surprises because even such a plan requires solid reflection. There is no model but recurring patterns. There are thematic plans, dialectical plans (on the famous thesis, antithesis, synthesis model), deductive plans.

Some disciplines favour thematic plans (each part corresponds to a major theme, a major hypothesis of your work, the theoretical framework is built as the thesis progresses) and others favour very classic plans following a reasoning model from the hard sciences, where the theory is exposed before explaining the experiment that tests a hypothesis (in this case the theoretical framework comes at the beginning of the thesis).

In either case, know your research question. And how you are going to attempt to answer it BEFORE making the plan is necessary to work that you cannot save yourself.