the thesis as argument postgradenvironments

The Thesis as Argument

The thesis is the most common mode of knowledge presentation used at Postgraduate level. In this video, we suggest that the thesis is first and foremost an argument. The contribution it gives to the field is to add a particular argument – a position that is taken on the phenomenon being studied. There is a need for coherence across the thesis to ensure that this argument is built in ways that are credible, valid and aligned to the norms of knowledge construction demanded by the discipline. This demands a chain of smaller arguments, each substantiated by evidence, slowly building the thesis as a whole. This video discussed what forms of evidence these might take.

Developed by Sioux McKenna and Lynn Quinn, Rhodes University. Thanks to Sabela Cuba for filming and Dinah Arnott for production and editing.

Explore these additional resources

Thesis as argument worksheet 

You may also find these blogs useful in developing a strong argument in your writing:

Aitchison, C.  (2016) ‘Has this thesis got anything to say?’, Doctoral Writing SIG

Thomson, P. (2013) ‘Writing the thesis abstract’, Patter

Who might find this useful?

This video would be useful for supervisors and postgraduate scholars. It can also form part of a workshop on thesis structure or academic writing. There is a useful worksheet which can be used in conjunction with the video to help postgraduate scholars develop their thesis statement. You can download it here.