After countless hours studying, hundreds of exams and tests, millions of words written in essays and projects, here you are at the final boss of your PhD or MBA program; your thesis. This is what stands between you and your degree and nothing may be more daunting a task than this one. Luckily for you, there are several ways of attacking this, and one of the major steps in doing so is writing a clear and effective synopsis for your thesis.
For those of you unfamiliar or wanting to know more, a thesis is a scholarly essay based upon your own personal research on a topic you have discovered or learned about during your time at school. In order to receive a Master’s degree or a PhD, a thesis is required, as it proves that you have critical thinking skills about your area of expertise and can prove your thesis through the research you have done. This is what separates you from the rest, your professors will see all the work you have done and the knowledge you have acquired throughout your journey to this point.
What is a Synopsis?
Generally speaking, a synopsis is a general discussion or survey of a piece of work, explaining only the essential information in an easy, readable way. The function is to explain the main idea before a reader begins to read the thesis. Beyond that, a synopsis for a thesis has more function and importance than just a brief summary.
The synopsis first of all, is not so brief. It gives a detailed description of your thesis, including the purpose of your research and methods you used as well as the process you used to explore the topic in depth. It introduces your thesis in a way that your readers know what to expect, but still surprised at the amount of work and detail presented within.
This helps your supervisor see the possible strengths and weaknesses of your thesis and can give you helpful ideas on how to fill in those gaps. It’s a protocol used by your supervisor to ensure that you are on the right track to completing your thesis and you’ll finish on time. This is an essential step before writing your actual thesis. Make sure you complete your synopsis before you begin your research, as you may not need all the information you think you need.
So, what makes a good Synopsis?
A good synopsis details everything related to your topic, but a great synopsis ensures that not only is the content there, but it is presented in a logical manner and easy to follow. Your outlined thesis should include the following:
- The title of the topic
- The abstract
- The necessity of the topic – the background
- All related literature concerning the topic
- Methods and Materials of your research
Once these headings are established, it helps you to go through each stage, making sure that no information is left off or missed. The scope of your thesis is broad, but has a direction. As you progress through your synopsis, the details fall into place and allows you to start doing your research and collecting your data.
Establish your background
Your loose thoughts should be filtered and sorted and should be organized based on how they are all linked together. The aims and goals of your topic should be apparent, so make sure to ask yourself these questions:
“Why should someone research this topic”
“What are my expectations of this topic”
“What have others contributed to the research of this topic”
“How will I reach the goals and objectives of my topic”
Once the background is established, you can start thinking about the actual content.
Identify your Objectives
The background can help you decide the main reasons why you are undergoing this research into this topic. What good will this do for the world? What good will this do for professionals in this field? What good will it do for the communities surrounding this field? Having a measurable objective will pave the way to a better thesis.
Consider your Methods
The aim of the thesis is to provide novel information about your topic, something original or groundbreaking. This is important as it gives the reader something to analyze and think about. The way you deliver your information should provoke thoughts, or leave a trail to be followed into a thought process. Your approach should be able to answer any and all questions regarding your thesis, whether or not your ideas hold validity and some substance. Explaining your decisions and thought processes are much easier if you set your boundaries and barriers that you can address in your synopsis.
Present your Experiments and Analysis
This is an important step once everything else has been established. Detail the research you will do and the experiments you will be observing and analyze them in detail. You should link the results to your findings and your knowledge about the topic. This is where you earn your money, the way you can tie in numbers and facts to the knowledge you already know to solidify your thesis. The better your analysis is, the more your reader will understand.
Conclude and Summarize
Your supervisor should have already read your synopsis up to this point and understood the concept and scope of your thesis. But you should reiterate your main idea in case your supervisor got lost or that you had a different idea than they had. Once you’ve summed it up, your supervisor can give you helpful hints and tips to solidify the rest of your thesis and smooth out the potential problems or holes in your thesis.
So, what now?
Begin writing your synopsis with these key facts in mind. Know that your synopsis is a tool for you to organize your thoughts and for your supervisor to advise you on your direction and objectives. Be concise and be knowledgeable, so that you may get the best possible feedback on your synopsis.