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Descriptive Method on a Thesis

by Kristyn Hammond, Demand Media Google

    A descriptive thesis examines a phenomena, group of people, idea or theory with a particular focus on facts and conditions of the subject. A descriptive thesis should be unbiased. Your goal is to collect factual evidence and information that give your reader a comprehensive perception of your subject. Writing a descriptive thesis can be one of the most challenging types of thesis papers because of its reliance on unbiased perception. Descriptive thesis are commonly used in analyzing people, though they may be used in other sciences as well.

    Purpose

    The purpose of a descriptive thesis is to provide an accurate account of a subject at the time of your research. If your subject changes after your research, your thesis remains an image of your subject during the time of your observation. Also, your goal is to provide evidence and observations that test your hypothesis. This may entail gathering enough evidence to support or deny your hypothesis statement, or providing evidence that answers multiple questions about the nature of your subject. Within your thesis, you will establish a test to determine how you can answer your hypothesis. For instance, your test may require that you demonstrate a number of particular psychological symptoms to prove a test diagnosis.

    Technique

    A descriptive thesis focuses on your use of senses. This includes describing the physical sensations you experience while observing your subject. Unlike other thesis types, you should avoid any early analysis of your sense information. As an example, you should avoid suggesting that your subject is depressed, as this is a diagnosis. Instead, note that your subject is withdrawn, quiet, showing sad emotions or prone to emotional outbursts. You can use the sense information for your diagnosis and analysis later in your research, or possibly arrive at a diagnosis that is entirely different than depression.

    Elements

    A descriptive thesis requires a declarative style, stating a series of facts and descriptions. Your reader should be able to read your thesis, examine your facts and devise her own diagnosis based on your observations, which may or may not coincide with your later analysis. Your description should be clear enough for your reader to make her own assertions as she reads. Your reader should be able to question your later analysis, conclusions and the test you use to generate your conclusion, but you should present your facts and descriptions clearly enough that your reader cannot dispute them.

    Things to Avoid

    Avoid any sense of bias in your descriptive thesis. You can observe and record sensory facts without providing any internal analysis about their meaning. For instance, if you observe your subject demonstrating a quiet, reserved manner, avoid phrasing your description as “pitiful"—words like “pitiful” are analytical in nature and create a bias against your subject. Emotional phrases, or words that relate your feelings about what you see, are irrelevant in a descriptive thesis. If you describe the scene as you see it, your reader should experience the same emotional feelings you witnessed in yourself.

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    About the Author

    Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.

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