Thesis/paper structure

Always structure your thesis or research paper according to the general convention. This ensures your reader knows where to look for certain information. 

Intended for: BSc, MSc, PhD

A thesis or research paper needs to contain the following sections, which we discuss in more detail below: 


Length: 10-15 sentences.

Content: Your abstract should be short (e.g. 10-15 sentences), and summarize the entire thesis/paper. Cover (1-3 sentences per item): 



Content: The introduction should explain to the reader whether or not this is a paper/report/thesis to further read (it is essentially a long version of the abstract). Cover:  

Related Work


Content: Related work is an important aspect of a scientific report. This page describes how to find related work.

Background/Preliminaries (optional)


Content: This section is optional. It should establish common ground for the rest of your report to build upon, and thereby keep the report self-contained (notation wise). Consider: 


Length: ~2-4 pages.

Content: Write a methodology section, in which you 1) describe the algorithm/method you studied, and 2) detail the experimental set-up.  


Length: ~2-4 pages

Content: When generating results, simply keep asking yourself: what do I want to learn next about this problem and the possible solutions. Afterwards, you summarize the outcomes of this process to the reader. Think about: 

Afterwards, write a results section: 


Length: ~1 page. 

Content: In the Discussion you reflect on you work, primarily discussing: 


Length: ~1 paragraph. 

Content: In the Conclusion you summarize the overall story of your report. Describe in one paragraph:  

Note: You may also merge the Discussion and Conclusion together into a single section (which you either call “Discussion” or “Conclusion”). 


Length: ~1-... pages.

Content: References connect your work to other literature, and assign credit. Visit this page for a detailed discussion of references. In short: 

Note: The reference section is not numbered. Latex automatically handles this when you generate the appendix from a bib file with the \bibliography{...} command.   


Length: ~1-20 pages (technically as  many as you need). 

Content: You use the appendix for elements of your text that take much space, and would thereby intervene in the flow of the report, but are nevertheless interesting for readers that want to dig deeper. Consider

Note: Appendix sections are usually numbered from A-Z. Enter the command \appendix in your Latex document after your references, and the next section will start at 'A'.