Entering the final year of a high school, all the students face the necessity of writing the graduate thesis, which is a kind of an indicator of literacy, qualification and professionalism of a graduate, the result of one’s work over the entire period of study. Diploma paper is an independent research, a methodological or practical project of a student, therefore the paper must meet high requirements for scientific research or methodical publication: it must contain a logically composed theoretical survey and a properly carried out empirical part, as well as be correctly presented in accordance with the established norms. Further, we will focus precisely on the peculiar features of graduate writing, outline the elements of effective written communication, and elaborate on best time and stress management practices associated with graduate-level tasks.
Above all, it should be mentioned that in contrast to a term paper, which is the result of work over an academic year, a diploma thesis is a systematization of diverse knowledge that a student gained for the entire period of study at the university, a proof of the ability to use the techniques of research, diagnosis and design, as well as the degree of preparedness of the graduate to perform professional duties as a specialist in one’s area. A well-done paper must indicate a student’s ability to articulate the problem and assess the degree of its relevance, justify the selected methods for solving tasks, work with the literature, select the proper information, analyze and interpret it, as well as present it in a graphical or other illustrative form, make grounded conclusions and practical recommendations (Kim, Ablert, & Sihn, 2014).
To accomplish this, the paper should be devoted to any content area of science, where it is necessary not merely to use specific methods, but to make a rational choice of reliable methods in accordance with the topic of research, systematically collect the data, and provide a strictly demonstrative statement. In particular, it is unacceptable to substitute a scientific research with popular science, metaphysical or journalistic texts, as well plagiarize from other researchers and studies. Instead, a graduate-level paper writing should adequately reflect the state of the problem in question at the time of writing the work, contain a critical analysis of the existing approaches to its solution, indicate the features of existing approaches that do not allow solving the problem and require its further development (Bui, 2009). When conveying ideas of another author in one’s own words, the student must place a reference in the text that contains the author’s name and year of publication of the referred work; direct inn-text quotes must necessarily contain a reference to the source of the quotation indicating the page with the quoted text (Shanafelt, 2012). In addition, the summary of theoretical perspectives and empirical results of other authors should be accompanied by a substantial analysis of areas, trends, and issues emphasized by the author of the works in the described area of research; the student should show the gaps, contradictions in the positions and the results obtained, reveal the methodological problems of the researches, thus forming an author’s personal methodological and theoretical position.
In general, on the one hand, a paper should contain the student’s own proposals for the solution of the problem, and on the other hand, it should not have unsubstantiated provisions untested by scientific methods. Therefore, a significant part of a graduate-level writing is the experimental chapter, allowing to present a logical model of the evidence and make valid causal conclusions. In research papers, this chapter introduces the verification procedures of the experimental hypotheses designed to test the truth of the proposed theoretical constructs, and the results obtained, and also assesses the effectiveness of the proposed solutions and their possible limitations (Bui, 2009).
Indeed, when writing a graduate-level paper, as a rule, a student makes quite a lot of errors, omissions, excesses, inaccuracies, incorrectnesses etc., however, of all of these faults the most significant are logical errors, and they are able to destroy the whole concept and rationale of the results and thereby bring to naught the sense of all efforts (Kim, Ablert, & Sihn, 2014). To check the internal consistency of a work, it is essential to be able to correctly identify the paradigm of the research, its novelty, consistency with the object and subject of the study and its major problem, as well as the sequence of presentation of evidence and the compliance of the wording of the assumed result of research with the paper aim. In general, the work on the text, i.e., literary presentation of the results is an important, independent piece of research, where the logic of presentation is associated with the logic of the study, but does not copy or reproduce it (Shanafelt, 2012).
At the same time, the work on a graduate-level text involves strict observance of the structure and work plan, which not only allows presenting the results of academic achievement with clear logics, but is also helpful in the ordering of thoughts. Here it must be said that writing a diploma paper is a creative process, and its organization takes much time. Therefore, from our personal standpoint, one should not delay the process until the last moment, but start working on the degree thesis at the beginning of the last academic year, evenly distributing the writing and scheduling the time. In particular, before taking any serious study it is necessary to make its program that not only accurately describes what and how is to be done, but also explains every step and why it should be made that way, and not otherwise (Bui, 2009).
To sum up, a graduate-level paper is a manifestation of the ability of a graduate to collect and process information, analyze it, and draw conclusions. A graduate student is supposed to demonstrate that over the years of study one has gained a sufficient level of knowledge in one’s sphere to form an independent opinion, reveal the problems in particular aspects of the subject and contribute to their solution in one’s own way backed by theoretical analysis of existing solutions and empirical results of one’s own work. However, it is more than just an obligation to the university examination board, it is a student’s obligation to oneself, because in practice, both in life and in work, this skill helps to properly assess the situation, identify opportunities and make the right decisions. Therefore, before starting to work on the diploma thesis a graduate should take this process as a great opportunity to show oneself as a specialist, and then after receiving a degree, one will possess one of the key skills that will help take the best place in the sun in the professional field.
Bui, Y.N. (2009). How to Write a Master’s Thesis, SAGE Publications, Inc.
Kim, R., Ablert, L.R., & Sihn, H.G. (2014). Reading, Writing, and Discussing at the Graduate Level: A Guidebook for International Students, University Press of America.
Shanafelt, C. (2012). Literary Analysis & Essay Writing Guide, Gatsby’s Light Publications, LLC.