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How best to proceed when preparing the text of a thesis

Selecting a topic
The selection of a topic is the beginning of the process of preparing your own scientific (specialist) work and of writing the text. This is mainly a question of cooperating with you supervisor. Select a topic that is familiar to you, that has not yet been elaborated, that is easy to grasp, and that can be unambiguously defined. Then stay with the assigned topic, or explain what led you to diverge from it. You must request a change of topic in your department.

Preparing to write
First, you should define the issues that you wish to address, set out the aims of the work, select the methods you will use and identify what the contribution of your work will be. An important component of the preparation is to search the information sources from which you can draw. This step will enable you to get an overview of the availability of relevant literature, and you will have time to obtain and read it. Sketch out successive steps. Think of a suitable and apt title (see also below), and work out the structure of the future work. Carefully plan the time that you will need for the individual steps. This will make it easier for you to complete the work on time.

Research
Your research materials will consist of a list of literature on the topic on which you will write your work. To conduct research means to search through available information sources: library catalogues, specialist electronic databases, and other online sources, e.g. the websites of universities, scientific societies and companies with a specialist focus on your topic. Collecting and reading selected relevant literature is a prerequisite for creating an overview of the state of understanding in the given field and of the topic of your work. You will thus collect basic findings and points of departure, and in so doing you will find inspiration for your own work. Preparing for the research and carrying it out involves several steps:

The selection of specialist terminology on your topic assumes knowledge of the terminology of the field in Czech and English, because searching in foreign electronic databases is usually based on communication in English.

The formulation of the research question assumes knowledge of various types of search and research tools, e.g. Boolean and proximity operators, etc. If you have not undergone any training, it is necessary to at least read the instructions and contextual help (search tips, etc.) in the databases, as well as in library catalogues. Formulating the research question means combining keywords pertaining to the topic into logical wholes, possibly with the help of the above-mentioned operators.

Selecting an information source means identifying libraries with collections in the relevant field, accessible specialist databases and online sources (e.g. encyclopaedias, freely accessible specialist sources and major scientific institutions), and in them finding relevant literature (documents) or facts, data, parameters and other information.

Searching in catalogues and databases involves the use of forms composed of search fields, into which you must enter your research questions.

It is necessary to assess the results obtained, and to select only the relevant ones. If the results do not meet your requirements, you should adjust and further specify your search, use different specialist terms, or restrict the search to certain years, editions, languages or document types.

If you are searching in library catalogues or databases which do not contain the full text of sources or data and facts, the result of your search will be merely a list of literature, the full texts of which (books, articles) you must still obtain – ideally using library services.

Your faculty library will help you with your search.

Title of the work
The title of your work must be concise and apt. It should formulate your work’s topic clearly and briefly using specialist terminology. You should use formal style in your title, and certainly avoid using slang expressions or complicated formulations. Remember that the title should provide basic information on the topic of your work.

Structure of the work
In addition to the text itself, the structure of the work must contain specific formal appurtenances.

You can find the requirements for the structure and formal arrangement of the work in Decree of the Rector No. 4/2006, Instructions for the Creation and Preparation of University Theses at AMU. In the annexes, you will also find useful samples of how to correctly prepare the title page, the binding, etc.

Useful supplements:
The Acknowledgements, which can be inserted before the contents, are an expression of respect and thanks to those who helped the author to realise the work in any way: consultants, teachers, family members (but not the opponent, who will evaluate the completed work).

The Abstract is a text summarising the work’s substantive contents – its aims, methods, results and conclusions. Its purpose is to enable a prospective reader to determine whether or not it would be useful for him or her to read the entire work. The text of the abstract should be brief and comprehensible, normally consists of one paragraph, and is provided in the language of the work as well as in English. If the language of the work is English, then the abstract should also be provided in Czech.

Always use formal style and do not write in the first person. Remember that your abstract will always be publicly accessible, even in the library catalogue. Your faculty library can help you with writing your abstract.

A List of Abbreviations and Symbols should be complied if a larger number of abbreviations and symbols are used in your thesis. It should be placed before the actual text of the work, or at the end of the work.

Compile a List of Bibliographic Citations in a uniform format and always according to standard rules. You can find information on how to properly create citations HERE and HERE.

The List of Literature Used can be supplemented with additional recommended literature on the topic and links to interesting websites. The format of the List of Literature Used is governed by the rules for citations.

Annexes
are included at the end of the work. These are texts, pictures, graphs and tables that are too detailed to be part of the main text, but which should be available to the reader in order to further illustrate the work’s points of departure and conclusions. They are numbered and can be referred to in the main text. A List of Annexes should precede the first annex.

Explanatory Footnotes may be inserted at the bottom of the page of the main text which you are explaining.

What should I do if I find an error in my already-bound or already-submitted work?

If you have already completed the work, printed it out, bound it and possibly even submitted it, and you discover that you have made a significant error in it, prepare a correction of this error and label it Errata. It should be written on a separate sheet of paper, which is labelled Correction or Errata, and is inserted into the volume. It should clearly define the error, its location in the original text, and its corrected form.

You can find further information in the following publications:

ČMEJRKOVÁ, S.; DANEŠ, F.; SVĚTLÁ, D. Jak napsat odborný text. Praha: LEDA, 1999. 255 s.
ECO, Umberto. Jak napsat diplomovou práci. Olomouc: Votobia, 1997. 271 s.
FILKA, Jaroslav. Metodika tvorby diplomové práce. Brno: KNIHAŘ, 2002. 223 s.
HOLOUŠOVÁ, Drahomíra; KROBOTOVÁ, Milena. Diplomové a závěrečné práce. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, 2002. 117 s.
KAPOUNOVÁ, Jana. Formální úprava diplomové práce. Ostrava: Ostravská univerzita, 1998. 20 s.
KOŘÍNEK, J. ; STRNAD, V; POLSTER, V. Diplomová práce : (metodická pomůcka). Brno: MZLU, 1995. 170 s.
MICHALÍK, Petr; ROUB, Zdeněk; VRBÍK, Václav. Zpracování diplomové a bakalářské práce na počítači. Plzeň: Západočeská univerzita, 2002, 67 s.
PLACHETA, Zdeněk. Pokyny pro vypracování magisterské diplomové práce. Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 2000. 30 s.
SYNEK, Miloslav; SEDLÁČKOVÁ, Helena; VÁVROVÁ, Hana. Jak psát diplomové a jiné písemné práce. Praha: VŠE, 2002. 59 s.

References:

  1. SYNEK, M.; VÁVROVÁ, H.; SEDLÁČKOVÁ, H. Jak psát diplomové a jiné práce [online]. Praha : VŠE, 2002.
  2. TKAČÍKOVÁ, Daniela. Jak pracovat s informacemi [online]. 2003, aktualizováno 6.6.2003 [cit. 2003-10-03]. Available on <http://knihovna.vsb.cz/kurzy/index.html>.
  3. VIC ČVUT. Informační výchova [online]. c 2003, poslední revize 21.5.2003 [cit. 2003-10-02].
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