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Thesis Checklist
Prepared by Mr. Maamar MISSOUM
Lecturer, Department of English, University of Blida 2, Algeria
1. Format “”
1 Balance chapters & sections in length – no chapter/section longer than half of the whole document
2 Better avoid unnecessary colours and frames as they distract readers from the text itself
3 Font Type & Size: Use Times New Roman in one size (13) to the whole document
4 Lines: space between the lines: 1.5
5 Margins: leave 2.5 centimetres on each side + another 1 centimetres for binding (left side)
6 Title Numbering must be consistent; Use Arabic numerals
7 Title Numbering: Number only titles between introduction and conclusion
8 Page Numbering (for the English Department at U. Blida 02) from cover to last page: 1, 2, 3.
9 Quotes longer than 3 lines should be set off in a separate indented paragraph without “” “”
10 Quotes: For direct quotes, page number must be given
11 Quotes: If you omit some text put …; if you add text, put it inside [ ]
12 Titles: must be exactly the same everywhere (word for word)
13 Cover Page: Full information provided in the required format
14 Declaration: Please use the following text: We hereby declare that the substance of this dissertation
is entirely the result of our investigation, and that due reference or acknowledgement is made,
whenever necessary, to the work of other researchers
15 Lists of Tables/Figures: make sure this list corresponds 100% to your text
16 In your text, write numbers in letters and numerals

2. Research Goals
1 Make your objectives clearly relevant to the topic
2 Make your objectives clearly interesting (worth researching)
3 Make your thesis/Research purpose clear (no ambiguity)
Make your objectives verifiable (examiners should be able to judge whether you have achieved
your goals or not only by reading your paper/dissertation)
5 If there is more than one objective, they must be coherently related
6 Title: Clear, self-explanatory, and descriptive and as concise as possible

3. Research Rationale
1 Give a convincing justification for the research must be given

4. Review of the Literature

1 Provide a meaningful and relevant summary of quality literature
Relevance: Does the literature review correspond to the aims of the research? RL devotes at least a
third of its length to develop your main issue. Everything included must be explicitly linked to the
central issue of the research. Avoid a too broad beginning of the RL. Your key terms should appear
in the titles of those sources.
3 Are major studies and their significant findings cited?
4 Are sources referenced accurately in-text and under References?
5 The review reads like a coherent/logical presentation
Is there evidence of critical review (Comparison, contrast, synthesis and assessment of various
arguments, theories, methodologies)?
Try to start paragraphs by your own words and always finish by a comment, synthesis, and
assessment in your own words.
8 Objectivity: Include different perspectives not just the one(s) that suit your hypothesis or opinion.
9 Sources: Put at least 2 references in each paragraph)
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5. Research Method
Must contain The Research Objectives and Questions; The Participants; The Research Design
(Tools of Data Collection); Procedure of Data Collection
The chosen research methodology / tools must be clearly described / justified / appropriate to the
aims of the research
The sampling of the participants must be clearly described / justified / appropriate to the aims of
the research
Participants – Sampling: When there is no reason to specify level or gender, etc., do not specify
4 them. When selecting the participants (Sampling), do not select a specific level or gender, etc.,
unless there is a clear reason to do so. Use those reasons to justify your selection.
5 The procedure (how you used your tools) of data collection must be clearly described / appropriate
6 Pilot (try out) the tools with your 1-2 participants to identify issues (e.g. an ambiguous question)
7 Make sure you collect only data that will be used to answer your RQs
8 When possible, include a direct measure (test, observation) of the phenomenon under investigation.
While reviewing the literature, looking for information, study how the authors designed and
described their tools (you may adopt or adapt a tool used by a study you read)
If you use only self-report tools (questionnaire/interviews), adjust titles ‘Investigation of attitudes,
perceptions, beliefs, etc.

6. Data Analysis and Presentation

Don not mention a piece of data you collected unless it supports your argument and/or you want to
1 comment it. If you present all the data you collect, your text becomes monotonous and lengthy;
present key data only. Full data can be presented in table form and appended to your thesis.
2 When the number of participants is smaller than 20, no need to calculate %
3 Figure & Tables should contain enough information to be self-explanatory/clear to readers
4 Tables and figures are used to present simply complex sets of data. Do not use them for simple data.
5 In the text presentation of data, do not repeat every piece of information presented in a table.
In the text presentation of data, combine similar data (like ‘agree’ with ‘strongly agree’ and
‘disagree’ with ‘strongly disagree’).
7 Do not compare or interpret data in the data presentation section
Data should not be presented twice (table + figure). Pick one format. Otherwise, the use of the 2
formats must be justified
NB: For a sample on how to describe tools, present data and discuss, you can check

7. Discussion
1 Include two sub-sections 1. Limitations to the Study and 2. Discussion & Key Findings
Limitations: Never depreciate your work while you are trying to sell it to others. Acknowledge
shortcomings honestly yet with dignity; justify why you could not do things as you hoped to.
Readers, especially professional researchers, should be understanding of those difficulties. If you
have done something to alleviate a limitation make sure you describe it.
3 Use title Discussion & Key Findings (You cannot deal with all the possible findings)
4 Discussing/interpreting every piece of info you collected is neither advisable nor necessary.
As much as you can refer to the other studies (in your Literature Review) and say how your findings
relate to theirs (compare and contrast)
Discussion should be structured around your RQs not research tools - Combine your data from
different tools to answer your research questions
7 Try to interpret the data (explain data, draw conclusion based on them)
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8. Implications (Some)
1 Implications should be in a separate chapter/section
Implications should follow logically and clearly from your data and findings. Occasionally refer to
your findings to justify what you are suggesting.
Your findings will suggest what needs to be done in terms of syllabi, teaching and learning to
3 overcome issues or achieve requirements/goals that you found. Use your references to cite some
suggestions provided by the authors.
For every suggestion, explain it clearly, give its goals / benefits to justify it and convince
examiners / readers

9. Language
1 Language Check correctness (Grammar, cohesion, coherence, etc.)
Nuance your statements by avoiding strong claims (like ‘our data prove’, it is obvious’, etc.). Use
2 instead terms like (‘suggest’, ‘seem to indicate’, ‘may’, ‘probably’ (not certain), etc.). Be careful
with the use of the present simple tense as it denotes facts.
3 Contracted speech should not be used in academic writing
4 Writings may be criticized for overuse of direct quotes; paraphrase & synthesize
5 He or she? This can be avoided by simply using plural (they, them)

10. Writing
1 Coherence: make sure movement from one idea to the next is logical
2 Briefly summarise every section to reiterate the main points discussed before you move to the next
3 Sentences: Write full, simple and short sentences for better clarity.
4 Capital letters: 1. be systematic; 2. only the title on the title page is fully capitalised
5 Add an introduction and a conclusion to every chapter and section
6 Punctuation: Use periods (.) to separate different sentences and (; ) to separate clauses
7 Repetition: Check your writing to avoid unnecessary repetition

11. Abstract
Must be clear; Include a sentence or two about background, problem, purpose, rationale, method,
findings, and implications

12. Table of Contents

1 Include all the titles that appear in your text
2 Add page number next to each title

13. Referencing Sources

1 If no year of publication is indicated in the source, put “n.d.” (For ‘no date’) instead
2 Sources must be acknowledged both in your text and after The General Conclusion (‘References’)
3 Mark clearly the beginning and the end of the borrowed text (author, year and page number)
4 Writings may be criticized for overuse of secondary sources (cited in …)
5 Ensure sufficient, relevant and quality sources are cited.
6 Necessary information for each source must be provided consistently in one academic style.
7 For all secondary sources, add (Cited in Author’s family name, year) to allow readers to check.
Please check that
8 1. All the documents listed under References are mentioned at least once in your text
2. All the documents mentioned at least once in your text are listed under References
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14. Introduction (s)

1 Introduce topic, give outline and briefly state why it is important
The key terms and concepts must be defined here or in a list before the text (Title: Definition of
Key Terms)
3 Adequate description of the background to the problem (preferably before stating the problem)
4 Introductions should contain fewer references as you are planning what to write.

15. Conclusion (s)

General Conclusion: to write a good conclusion to your thesis, include all important information
especially key findings from Introduction to the last section
General Conclusion: Summarizes well the whole document. Reiterates research purpose/questions,
significance, design, findings and implications.
If your section and chapter conclusions are good enough, they will help you here. Copy them;
paraphrase and link up for cohesion and coherence

16. Viva
1 Summarise your theses for a presentation 3-5 minutes shorter than the time allowed.
You can keep the same outline of the thesis; but add 1-2 brief illustration(s) for each section.
2 Do not mention details unless they are needed as examples to support your main ideas.
Always smile and take a few notes of examiners' comments/criticism; select 1 remark/question for
each candidate to answer; choose the ones you can answer satisfactorily. If you wish a visual hint to
what you should take into consideration and what you can leave aside for the moment, look at your
supervisor’s reaction.
4 Ask examiners to lend you their copy of your thesis to copy and use all their annotations.
If an examiner criticizes something your supervisor told you to do, tell him/her kindly that you
followed your supervisor’s instruction.
6 In binomials, divide the presentation in 4 or 6 parts to get some rest when your partner is talking.
7 If you wish, your supervisor can give you feedback on your slides.

NB: Make sure you take your supervisor’s feedback into careful consideration. Ask if you are
not sure what it means or what you are expected to do

17. Additional Annotations