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Thesis writing tips pdf free

May 18, 2018

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Academic Skills

Reading Skills

Effective Reading - University of New South Wales

Useful guidelines and suggestions on this ever difficult topic.

Critical Reading

The Fundamentals of Critical Reading and Effective Writing - Dan Kurland

We quote: "Everyone complains that students cannot read well… and yet most high schools and colleges offer no course in critical reading. This is the website for just such a course."

Evaluating information Found on the Internet - Gerogetown University

Good checklist to consider when considering whether an internet site is reliable.

How to Evaluate Website Content - University of Edinburgh

How do you tell when information you find on the internet is reliable? Advice is provided to help you evaluate web content and decide if it's suitable for your research and study purposes.

Internet Detective

Internet Detective is an interactive, online tutorial which provides an introduction to the issues of information quality on the Internet and teaches the skills required to evaluate critically the quality of an Internet resource.

Logical Fallacies

Fallacies are deceptive arguments or arguments that prove nothing.  Fallacies often seem superficially sound, and they far too often retain immense persuasive power even after being clearly exposed as false.  Fallacies are not always deliberate, but a good scholar’s purpose is always to identify and unmask fallacies in arguments.

Notetaking Skills

Taking Notes from Research Reading - Writing Support, University of Toronto

So many people assume that taking notes is something they don't need to learn. This page explains why good note taking is crucial to academic writing, and gives you tips on how to do it.

Revising & Editing

The Art of Editing - University of Leicester

This Study Guide addresses the process of editing an extended document such as a dissertation or a thesis. Related Study Guides are: Writing a dissertation; Using paragraphs; and Writing for science.

Editing and Proofreading Strategies for Revision - Purdue Writing Lab

Very detailed and precise suggestions for what to check as you edit. Rather more concerned with the micro level and somewhat prescriptive but still useful.

Career and Study

Statements of Purpose - Center for Academic Writing, CEU

Have a look at our own guidelines, based on our workshops on writing statements of purpose. This site also contains links to several other sites that deal with statements of purpose. For help with research proposals, look at our thesis proposals section in the academic writing section above.

Take a look at a video recorded at CEU Open House 2010 at How to write a successful personal statement workshop

Writing a Curriculum Vitae - Center for Academic Writing, CEU

A résumé or curriculum vitae is one of the most important documents in getting you a job or a study place, yet so many students write CVs that do not show them at their best. Our detailed website on how to write a CV gives you all the information you need. Recommended by the Careers Center!

Cover letters for job applications - Center for Academic Writing, CEU

A résumé on its own is not enough to get you a job. This page gives clear rules and examples for how to construct a good cover letter that will respond to the job advertisement and highlight the significant features of your CV.

Citation Styles & Using Sources

Avoiding Plagiarism - University of Techology Sydney

If you are in any doubt about the tecnicalities of avoiding accusations of plagiarism, even unintentional, do this tutorial!

Using Outside Sources Primary vs. Secondary Research - Aims Community College

The difference between primary and secondary sources is explained on this page.

Using Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism - Birmingham City University

A detailed gide on using sources and plagiarism, covering quoting, summarising, reporting verbs, etc.  

Evaluating Sources - John Hopkins University

Useful help on evaluating the validity and appropriateness of a source. Accessible and well organised.

Documentation Styles - University of Wisconsin

Precise guidelines regarding all issues of citation and referencing. There is also specific guidance on how to write a bibliography according to Chicago/Turabian

Research and Documentation - Diana Hacker, Bedford St. Martins

A great resource for how to cite in different styles, including useful example papers. Covers APA (social sciences), Chicago/Turabian (history) and MLA (humanities) as well as CBE (hard sciences).

Formatting in Sociology - Purdue OWL

Few websites deal with ASA, the standard style for sociology, which is why we've included this one. It covers all the main points very effectively.

Referencing and Citation Style Guides: MLA, APA, CSE, Chicago

This webpage pulls together style guide resources from all over into one convenient place and gives you the information you really need to know.

Research Writing in the Disciplines

Research Papers - University of Kansas

An extensive step-by-step guide. Very useful.

Writers' Handbook: Research Papers - University of Wisconsin

A series of quick-check bullet points. Less comprehensive than the Kansas page, but quicker to read and easier to get an overview of what's needed.

Political Science - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Another overview page that nicely combines writing and discipline specific concerns. This university has a range of useful pages for various disciplines, and also good links on other writing issues. Check out the menu bar on the right hand side of the page.

Postgraduate Research in Law - University of Wollongong

An extensive and well structured page for guidance with legal studies research.

Open Book Exams

Study Guides - Open Book Exams

A general, non-subject-specific page with basic advice.

Open book test - how to prepare and study

Another basic guide, slightly more detailed.

How to succeed on open book law exams

As the title suggests, specific to Legal Studies and Law.

Oral Presentations

Designing Effective Oral Presentations - Rice University OWL

Extensive planning guidelines on goals, audience expectations, organization, visual aids, etc. A good general resource for academic and other presentations.

Giving Oral Presentations - University of Canberra

A clear, well organised overview of most of the important issues to consider when giving a presentation.

Specific Genres

Policy Briefs

Some professors, especially but not only in Public Policy ask students to write policy briefs. If you are given an assignment like this, try this link.

The Policy Brief - OSI/IPF

Prepared by policy writing experts and former CAW staff Eoin Young and Lisa Quinn. Clear pdf handout.

Report Writing

Report Writing FAQ - University of New South Wales

A very well organised, readable site on university report writing.

Report writing - Academic Skills Programme - Canberra University

A detailed page with full guidelines. Information clearly laid out in lists and tables.

Preparing and Writing your Thesis

Research Proposals

Have a look at a video taken at the CEU Open House 2010 at the Writing a compelling research proposal lecture 

Thesis Proposals - University of New South Wales

A well-designed, very readable site that draws a distinction between MA and PhD research. Generally useful.

Dissertation Proposal Workshop - UC Berkeley

Specifically for PhD proposals, but provides useful and detailed information about getting your proposal accepted.


How to write an Outline - University at Albany, New York

A basic set of guidelines and a sample outline for a thesis. Short and simple.

Developing an Outline - Purdue Online Writing Lab

A detailed page from the number one online writing lab. Covers most issues.

Annotated Bibliographies

How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography - Cornell University Library

A clear, concise introduction to preparing an annotated bibliography. An excellent place to start.

Writing Annotated Bibliographies - U. Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center

A very detailed and extensive site, covering all sorts of aspects of writing an annotated bibliography. A wide range of options, approaches and possibilities. Complete with examples.

Annotated Bibliography - LEO, St. Cloud State University

Useful general basic guidelines. Not as extensive as the Wisconsin-Madison site, but more manageable in size. Also a little more prescriptive, which can be good if you are confused or annoying if you are more confident.

Literature Reviews

Writing a Literature Review - University of Toronto

These clear and succinct guidelines are the best overview we have found. Don't be put off by the fact that the page is for students of Health Sciences; the information is just as relevant for any subject. This site is now available by subscription only, but the Toronto HS Writing Center has given us temporary permission to include this pdf file on our page.

Writers' Handbook: Review of Literature - University of Wisconsin

Some useful basic guidelines which provide a quick overview to help you structure your review of the literature.

Writing the Literature Review - University of Queensland

More detailed than the University of Wisconsin page, complete with text extracts for exemplification and a frequently asked questions section at the end. Very useful.

Literature Reviews and Bibliographic Searches - edited by Vandana Desai and Robert B. Potter

When you’re looking through the literature, what are you searching for? Where and how do you find appropriate sources? How do you
analyse the literature once you have found it? How should the literature
review be written up? How does the literature review link up with
the rest of your project?

Other Thesis Resources

CEU Thesis Guidelines

The standard requirements for a master's thesis at CEU in the area of organisation, layout and writing. For information on departmental requirements and deadlines for submission you should consult your departmental coordinator.

How to Organize your Thesis - John Chinneck, Carleton University

A useful general overview - deals with the nature of research and offers a skeleton structure. As the author is a computer scientist, however, you may well want to adapt this.

Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation - by Joseph Levine

Full details of how to approach writing a Ph.D. thesis, including tips for planning and for the defense as well as a link to a page dealing with funding proposals. A very useful document whether you stay at CEU for your Ph.D. or go elsewhere - an address to take with you! Includes loads of links to other sites.

How to Write Your Thesis - The Earth Institute At Columbia University

Extensive details and guidance, especially for students of Environmental Science, but useful for any subject. Section II: Crosscutting Issues is particularly helpful.


The Abstract - Asian Institute of Technology

More detailed with 'common problems' section and examples to look at.

Language Resources


Collection of English Corpora

This collection compiled by the University of Leeds, provides you easy access to several corpora (collections of texts) including the British National Corpus, British newspapers and others. It is easy to use and does not require registration.

Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA)

The largest publicly available corpus of English, available since 2008. It has a database of 400 million words including newspapers, fiction, spoken language and academic writing. You can also search surrounding words to see if a particular word is typically used together with other words (collocation). After using it a couple of times you will be prompted to register, however, registration is free.

Grammar and Punctuation

Guide to Grammar and Writing - Capital Community College Foundation

A very useful site for grammar problems connected with advanced writing, including punctuation, sequence of tenses, compound nouns and lots more. Also has a selection of links on paragraph level issues, and a link to a related site on essay writing.

Punctuation Made Simple - Gary A. Olson

Worried about whether you need a comma or a semicolon? This site has it all and, as the name suggests, it's clearly and simply explained. It doesn't deal with defining and non-defining clauses, but then you can't have everything.

Grammarly,  Comma—Grammar Rules

Ah, the comma. Of all the punctuation marks in English, this one is perhaps the most abused and misused. And it’s no wonder. There are lots of rules about comma usage, and often the factors that determine whether you should use one are quite subtle. But fear not! Below, you’ll find guidance for the trickiest comma questions.

Use of Articles

Should I use A, AN or THE? Even after years of studying English, students may find themselves asking that question over and over again. English articles can be quite a challenge. To help every English learner become an articles expert, has put together the most comprehensive English articles tutorial on the web.


The Academic Phrasebank

Provided by Manchester University, this resource contains lots of typical phrases you can use in different parts of your papers (without plagiarising). Of course, you can also adapt the phrases you find here to make them your own.

iTools Language Tools

A collection of eight dictionaries and numerous word finding tools, including legal dictionary, computer dictionary, synonyms, related words, homophones and lots more.

The Free Dictionary

Another wide-ranging collection of specialist dictionaries.

 Visual Thesaurus

This rather interesting resource used to be free - now you can still have a free trial all the time under hard sell.


R. J. Sternberg's 21 Tips

Sternbergs famous article on ways to increase your chances of getting published.

Jane Friedman: Start Here: How to Write a Book Proposal

If you think of having your MA thesis or PhD dissertation published, here are some useful tips on how to start. In addition to describing the process from book proposal to the final product, Jane Friedman also gives us good and bad examples of marketing our work.

Print Resources

The Writing Center's extensive collection of books on academic writing is available in the CEU library and searchable in the library catalogue with the keyword "CAW."

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