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Computer Science Thesis


A computer science thesis is likely to take shape as a textual exposition of an external project; that is, unlike theses in fields such as literature in which the whole project revolves around a creative written argument, computer science theses often explain the results of a separate experiment, the development of a program, or the creation of a new or different piece of computer hardware.

Students who are writing computer science theses, then, should concern themselves first of all with idea development and research. They will probably do a large proportion of primary research, performing experiments or writing code and tracking the results. They may also use outside research that may support their findings or against which they may argue; for example, a thesis writer may choose to write a new program in order to refute a well-known scientific conclusion that a computer program calculated, and the thesis may explain the previously published research on the original conclusion as well as the writer's new conclusion. No matter the percentage of primary research, however, the student should ensure that all primary research is verifiable; he or she should take careful notes on any experiment or creative act and should draw conclusions only based on reproducible evidence.

The computer science thesis may have some special textual considerations as well. The student may have to use an abundance of graphs, charts, and other illustrations in order to convey a large quantity of data concisely; the text will need to explain how to read the illustration and what conclusions one should draw from it, but the text does not need to repeat the material that the illustration contains. Furthermore, the student who would like to present fully the data that the primary research stages drew forward may wish to include an appendix. In appendices, students may include any relevant information that does not fit entirely into the body of the thesis but that would be relatively inaccessible to the reader otherwise.


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