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Business: Theses

General Business subject databases



ScholarBank@NUS is the institutional repository of National University of Singapore. This repository collects and preserves the scholarly output of NUS and makes it accessible worldwide. Also included in the search is the Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) which includes Master’s (by Research) and Ph.D students deposited with the Registrar’s Office

NUS Theses (print)

Foreign Theses

Six Steps to Your Thesis Statement

Start with a general topic in your area of research. E.g. Employment and retention of staff; SME accounting practices; or tourism in Asia.

The 6 steps are adapted from Chap 1 of :

Fisher, C. M. (2010). Researching and writing a dissertation : an essential guide for business students (3rd ed. ed.). Harlow, England ; New York :: Financial Times/Prentice Hall. [HSSML Books – LB2369 Fis 2010]


More tips on how to write a thesis statement here.

Narrow your scope to a level that is appropriate for your work. A poster will require much less depth and analysis than a Ph.D. thesis, for instance. Conversely, the Ph.D. thesis may have much less breadth than a poster, since collecting data for too broad a group can be a huge challenge. E.g. surveying consumers for a product locally is feasible, whereas it would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to interview similar consumers globally.

On a practical note, one way to determine the scope of your statement is to assess what kind of data you have access to. Check with your supervisor, the library and department administration staff for any free or subscribed resources that can give you access to the data you require, e.g., financial data for companies, statistical data, market research reports or industry reports.

Brainstorming is one way coming up with keywords and issues for your thesis statement. Try various online tools such as or guides on brainstorming techniques such as mind mapping, or lateral thinking.  

Now that you have your keywords and issues, it is time to organize them. You can use structures such as a relevance tree (see this example) to map out the issues on a hierarchy and work your way towards a topic that is sufficiently specific and in-depth for your thesis.

If you have not already done so, survey existing academic literature for works that are similar to your thesis statement. Speak with your supervisor, your peers and even researchers from other universities if you know any.

Try to frame your statement in plain English, without technical terms. If you are unable to do so, you may want to review your statement again to ensure that you really understand what you want to write about. You can refer to guides that help you simplify and/or clarify your writing, such as the Plain English Campaign online guides.

Attributes of a Good Thesis Statement

  • The thesis demonstrates authority in the candidate’s field and shows evidence of command of knowledge in relevant fields.
  • It shows that the candidate has a thorough grasp of the appropriate methodological techniques and an awareness of their limitations.
  • It makes a distinct contribution to knowledge.
  • Its contribution to knowledge rests on originality of approach and/or interpretation of the findings and, in some cases, the discovery of new facts.
  • It demonstrates an ability to communicate research findings effectively in the professional arena and in an international context.
  • It is a careful, rigorous and sustained piece of work demonstrating that a research ‘apprenticeship’ is complete and the holder is admitted to the community of scholars in the discipline.

At first glance these guidelines may appear to refer to the thesis, but they are really about the candidate. The first point makes this explicit: ‘The thesis demonstrates authority in the candidate’s field’. And consider the last point. The examiner has to consider whether the thesis ‘is a careful, rigorous and sustained piece of work’—but see how it goes on—‘demonstrating that a research “apprenticeship” is complete and the holder is admitted to the community of scholars in the discipline’.

[Y]our primary purpose in writing a thesis is to pass an examination. These examiners are not reading your work out of mere interest: from the above criteria, we see that examiners read your thesis to assess whether or not you have demonstrated your fitness to be admitted to a community of scholars. Because a written thesis is an examination paper, not simply a report of research findings, you need to understand what examiners are looking for when they read your work.

Extracted from Evans, D., author. (2014). How to write a better thesis (Third edition. ed.). Cham :: Springer. (Online)

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