While each research project is different, the basic structure should be essentially the same for every write-up. Reports should generally include the following sections (although the headings on these sections can bear different names, and some research questions might require a different format):

The following is a list of some of the things you might want to check before submitting your thesis to ensure a good result.


 I clearly define my research question (question, not topic!) and spell out what it is that I want to study

 I discuss how my thesis relates to existing research

 I summarize my main arguments and findings


 I discuss how the existing literature applies to my research question (literature review, not summary!)

 I discuss the assumptions and concepts used in the theory

 I formulate one or several hypotheses which specify the theoretically expected causal relationship between my dependent and independent variables

Research Design and Measurement

 I provide sufficient information for a reader to critically evaluate or replicate my study

 I discuss my choice of research design

 I discuss my case selection

 I discuss how the theoretical concepts are measured

 I discuss possible limits of my measurement

 I use diagrams and tables where appropriate

Data and Analysis

 I describe the data to give my reader a good overview of the empirical content of my study

 I provide sufficient information for a reader to critically evaluate or replicate my study

 I explain how I interpret my findings

 I state whether or not my hypotheses have been corroborated

 I discuss the limits of my findings (e.g., threats to validity)

 I use tables and graphs where appropriate


 I give an answer to the research question posed at the beginning.

 I summarize what I did and how I did it.

 I relate my findings to the wider literature in my subfield and (where appropriate) discuss policy implications

 I discuss the limits of my study and (possibly) future research directions

Use examples of published articles in academic journals as a guide to writing and presenting your report. Follow the APA style guide when writing your report and referencing your paper. A study help in Dutch for writing clear theses can be found here.


Basic readings

Babbie, Earl (2004). The Practice of Social Research (12th edition). Belmont: Wadsworth/Thomson. Chapter 17.