Disciplinary differences

There are disciplinary differences in theses, as there are in articles, in how they are written. Parry (1998) examined twenty-four Australian theses, eight in the arts, eight in the social sciences, and eight in the sciences. She showed that the language of theses (like that of articles) varied subtly within different disciplines. Parry argued that students had to learn to master these subject variations without being taught them explicitly. She found that, in the arts theses, there was a strong emphasis on argument in the writing, with writers arguing for new perspectives on the phenomena they were discussing. Arts theses were thus highly personalised and subjective. In the social science theses, Parry also found a strong emphasis on argument, but the arguments here were more likely to be based upon using and creating evidence, often in order to change the status quo. Parry found less argument in the science theses. Here, a series of studies was often reported, leading to statements and conclusions based upon the findings.

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