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How to Write a Master's Thesis

How to Write a Master's Thesis

Third Edition

336 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
“This is the best textbook about writing an M.A. thesis available in the market.”  
–Hsin-I Liu, University of the Incarnate Word  
The Third Edition of How to Write a Master's Thesis is a comprehensive manual on how to plan and write a five-chapter master’s thesis, and a great resource for graduate students looking for concrete, applied guidance on how to successfully complete their master's degrees. While research methods and statistics courses may teach students the basic information on how to conduct research, putting it all together into a single project and document can be a challenge. Author Yvonne Bui demystifies this process by integrating the language learned in prerequisite methods and statistics courses into a step-by-step guide for developing a student's own thesis or project.

Chapter 1: Overview of the Master's Degree and Thesis
What Is a Master's Thesis?  
Selecting a Thesis Chairperson and Committee  
How to Read and Use this Book  
Components of a Master's Thesis  
Quantitative, Qualitative, or Mixed Methods Research  
Style Form  
Chapter 2: Selecting a Research Topic
Important Factors to Consider When Selecting a Topic  
How to Narrow and Refocus Your Topic  
Developing Answerable Research Questions  
Creating a Realistic Timeline  
Time Management  
Chapter 3: Using the Literature to Research Your Problem
Benefits of Conducting a Literature Review  
Meeting with a Reference Librarian  
Sources of Data: Primary Versus Secondary  
Selecting Keywords  
Conducting Searches in Electronic Databases  
Conducting Searches on the Internet  
Different Types of Articles  
Staying Organized  
Chapter 4: Conducting Ethical Research
Legal Regulations and Ethical Standards  
Institutional Review Board (IRB)  
Ethical Behavior  
Chapter 5: How to Write Chapter One, Introduction
Writing Style  
Chapter One Sections  
Chapter 6: How to Write Chapter Two, Literature Review
Preparation and Organization  
Chapter Two Sections  
Chapter 7: How to Write Chapter Three, Methods
Research Designs and Research Methods  
Preparation and Organization  
Chapter Three Sections  
Chapter 8: How to Write Chapter Four, Results
Preparation and Organization  
Chapter Four Sections  
Quantitative Data  
Qualitative Data  
Chapter 9: How to Write Chapter Five, Discussion
Preparation and Organization  
Chapter Five Sections  
Chapter 10: Wrapping it All Up
Preparation and Organization  
APA Style  
Final Formatting  
Next Steps: Presenting at Conferences and Getting Published  

“Yvonne Bui’s How to Write a Master’s Thesis should be mandatory for all thesis track master’s students.  It steers students away from the shortcuts students may be tempted to use that would be costly in the long run. The step by step intentional approach is what I like best about this book.”

Joel M. Cox
Liberty University

“This is the best textbook about writing an M.A. thesis available in the market.” 

Hsin-I Liu
University of the Incarnate Word

“This is the type of textbook that students keep and refer to after the class.”

Elizabeth Tolman
South Dakota State University
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:            

  • Concrete instruction and guides for conceptualizing the literature review help students navigate through the most challenging topics.        
  • Step-by-step instructions and more screenshots give students the guidance they need to write the foundational chapter, along with the latest online resources and general library information.          
  • Additional coverage of single case designs and mixed methods help students gain a more comprehensive understanding of research methods.           
  • Expanded explanation of unintentional plagiarism within the ethics chapter shows students the path to successful and professional writing.       
  • Detailed information on conference presentation as a way to disseminate research, in addition to getting published, help students understand all of the tools needed to write a master’s thesis.    


  • An advanced chapter organizer provides an up-front checklist of what to expect in the chapter and serves as a project planner, so that students can immediately prepare and work alongside the chapter as they begin to develop their thesis.
  • Full guidance on conducting successful literature reviews includes up-to-date information on electronic databases and Internet tools complete with numerous figures and captured screen shots from relevant web sites, electronic databases, and SPSS software, all integrated with the text.
  • Excerpts from research articles and samples from exemplary students' master's theses relate specifically to the content of each chapter and provide the reader with a real-world context.
  • Detailed explanations of the various components of the master's thesis and concrete strategies on how to conduct a literature review help students write each chapter of the master's thesis, and apply the American Psychological Association (APA) editorial style.
  • A comprehensive Resources section features "Try It!" boxes which lead students through a sample problem or writing exercise based on a piece of the thesis to reinforce prior course learning and the writing objectives at hand. Reflection/discussion questions in the same section are designed to help students work through the thesis process.

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