A masters thesis, also called a master's thesis, is an extensive writing project that many master's degree programs require. The goal of most masters theses is to produce a work that adds a significant thought to or conducts a significant experiment for a given field. It usually takes a student a year to write a master's thesis.
Because the project lasts so long and delves extensively into its topic, the student should select a topic that is interesting and engaging. The creative student may, upon beginning research, discover that the chosen topic presents such a new idea to the field that no directly relevant research currently exists. In that case, the student must create the research from scratch. He or she should begin research by reading everything available that relates even indirectly to the field of study; for example, if the student is studying a Mesopotamian text upon which no one else has written, he or she may read journal articles and books that deal with other ancient texts from that location, language, or time period. This is called secondary research, and it aids the student in developing a voice of credibility. Secondary research provides an education in the terms, issues, history, and research authorities that belong specifically to that field of study, and the student who becomes conversant in all these areas can begin to write a masters thesis that can sway the opinions of experts in the field.
Then, the student may progress to conducting primary research, which is the act of studying the subject itself and claiming the authority to draw conclusions about it. In a scientific field, this primary research will involve running one's own experiments, and in a particularly innovative realm may even involve building one's own equipment upon which to run the experiments.
Students who perform a full range of primary and secondary research and who organize that research in a persuasive, original way will produce masters theses that are strong, competent, and worthwhile.