10 Top Mistakes Every Student Makes When Writing a Master Thesis

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The master thesis writing process is riddled with pitfalls. Any one of these can make you lose sight of your goals and prevent you from finishing your master’s thesis. Among the numerous mistakes that students make when writing their master thesis, here are the top most.

10 mistakes

10 mistakes

1. Choosing a difficult topic or a title that sounds esoteric for wow factor
There’s nothing wrong with a thesis title/topic that laymen and people from other academic disciplines will find difficult to understand. However, master students should remember that their first priority should be to choose a topic that interests them – not a topic that will impress others in their discipline. Do not make the mistake of choosing an exceedingly esoteric topic and a very difficult-to-pronounce title just to impress others and sound truly “academic.” You’re probably going to regret going for such a topic if your interest lies elsewhere; you’ll find such a master thesis difficult to complete.

2. Rushing their proposals
Students fail to start writing their thesis proposal on time so they rush through the process to beat their deadlines. Although most students do manage to pass their proposals by the due date, they probably failed to choose a topic they truly like (they probably settle on whatever first comes to mind) or failed to produce the best possible write up and thus get a better reception from faculty members.

3. Slacking after their proposals have been approved
Students, after their thesis proposals have been approved, are so relived for successfully overcoming the first significant hurdle that they feel justified in slacking and relaxing for a while. Unfortunately, slacking and relaxing become a nasty habit in masteral students – and this can have a disastrous effect on their goal of finishing or completing their master thesis. As with any subject or requirement in graduate school, a master thesis has to be finished within a specific, predetermined time frame.

4. Failing to get organized
Master students think that their thesis proposal is specific enough as a guide, and thus they do not feel the need to create a definitive plan of action to follow in completing their thesis. While the thesis proposal is specific, you need to become yet more specific. Each specific task involved and each material needed in the process should be named and identified if you hope to finish writing your thesis on time and with considerable ease.

5. Not following their plan of action
Even if master students have a definite and specific plan of action, all would be for naught if said students fail to follow their plan. Unfortunately, this is a mistake that students writing their master thesis are prone to committing. You should not disregard your plan of action and its corresponding schedule. Your plan of action/schedule is your guide to a flawless thesis execution. It is also your guarantee to finishing your master thesis right on time and on target.

6. Failing to submit master thesis drafts in a timely manner
Graduate students worldwide are guilty of not passing their thesis drafts on time. Although some can perhaps claim that they have indeed passed every single draft on time – they’d probably not be able to claim that their drafts needed no major improvement or revisions. This just proves that a master thesis draft is either not passed on time or, when passed on time, is usually rushed.

7. Failure to evaluate progress periodically
Another common mistake of students writing their master thesis is failure to evaluate their progress. They only make a progress report whenever they are prompted by their thesis adviser.

8. Failing to consult with adviser and thesis panel members regularly
Although graduate students writing their thesis do consult with their thesis adviser, they do not do so often enough. Typically, they have career or family matters to think about, so they just consult with their advisers whenever convenient or whenever they are required to do so.

9. Failing to incorporate all thesis adviser’s and thesis panel’s suggestions
After consulting with the thesis adviser and the other members of their thesis panel, students writing their master thesis usually fail to incorporate all suggested revisions into their master thesis. One of the possible reasons for this is contradictory suggestions from the various master thesis panel members or a student’s conviction that the suggestions given are inappropriate. In any case, non-compliance with suggestions just results in unnecessary delays. If members of your thesis panel are in disagreement, you should meet with all of them to consolidate their suggestions. If you don’t agree with their suggestions, on the other hand, defend your position and listen to their rebuttals so you can reach a happy medium.

10. Leaving data consolidation and writing till the very end
Students writing their master thesis often collect all data first then commence with actual writing and data consolidation afterwards. It’s much better to start writing and consolidating while you’re still in the process of collecting data. This way, you will immediately become aware of deficiencies in your data collection techniques and thus initiate changes before you have expended a lot of effort.

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6 Responses to “10 Top Mistakes Every Student Makes When Writing a Master Thesis”

  1. NorNo Gravatar says:

    October 9th, 2008 at 8:50 am

    What you have said regarding the mistakes done by masters students is very true. All the 10 mistakes depicts my attitude at this moment. Tnx once again.

  2. ULBADNo Gravatar says:

    October 9th, 2008 at 8:57 am

    It was very interesting because it felt as if mistakes I was making. Thanks!

  3. Elias KambaNo Gravatar says:

    October 9th, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Thanks a lot for this post on ten mistakes when writing a master Thesis. It helped me realize that I was failing to follow my plan of action, collected too much data some of which was not relevant to my thesis proposal.


  4. VladimirChenNo Gravatar says:

    October 14th, 2008 at 10:11 am

    You’re welcome guys. Glad you liked the post!

  5. sifaizomNo Gravatar says:

    March 19th, 2009 at 3:12 am

    what a great article! thanks!

  6. No Gravatar says:

    March 20th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the feedback! Glad you liked it.

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