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Centria Guide for Thesis and Academic Writing

Guidance for the final thesis writing at Centria


This chapter discusses the instructions for writing and organizing the different structural parts of the thesis (title page, abstract, concept definitions, contents, references, appendices). It also explains how to write the introduction, results and conclusions clearly and logically. The writing of the thesis will be easier if using the ready-made Word template  where all document settings are correct.

The name of the thesis should be as informative and interesting as possible. A good title is short, clear and descriptive. This concerns both the name of the thesis and the titles of the different chapters. The title can be divided into two, if needed, so that the main title gives the subject matter and the subtitle defines the perspective of this specific thesis.

For example: DEVELOPING MANAGEMENT REPORTING (main title) Case City of Kokkola (subtitle).

The settings for the title page (if you use the Word template, these are already set):

The author’s name: 10 cm from the top of the page, font size 14 pt.
Between the author’s name and the thesis title one empty line (font size 14 pt).
The title of the thesis, font size 16 pt, all capitals, in bold.
Possible clarifying subtitle, font size 14 pt.
One empty line between the title and the subtitle.
All text written in bold on the title page.
Left margin 2.0 cm.
Top margin 2.5 cm.
Bottom margin 2.5 cm.
Right margin 1.5 cm.
The name of the month and the year on the final line.
Line spacing 1.

When using the ready-made Word template all settings are correct.


The abstract gives a comprehensive picture of the thesis. The abstract is written on its own page in the ready-made template. The text style is declarative, short and the passive voice is used. No abbreviations, symbols or typographical highlights are used in the abstract, neither are references to pictures or tables used. Key words are words describing the essential contents of the thesis and they are listed in alphabetical order.

The abstract is not only a list of sentences, but the text consists of complete, well-organized sentences. The abstract structure is the following:
• information on the commissioner (if the commissioner wants to be anonymous, the phrase “A certain company” or such is used)
• topic and objectives
• main elements of the theoretical framework
• methods
• results and conclusions


The abstract is best written in the past tense, if possible, especially when describing the author’s own research work. The abstract should give a full understanding of the thesis even without reading the whole thesis.

Below you can find the settings and parts of the abstract (if you use the Word template, these are already set):

Centria UAS logo in the header.
Line spacing 1.
Justified alignment.
Number of pages, eg. 30 + 3 if page number 30 is the last one and there are 3 appendices, even if the
appendices consist of several pages each.
Font size 12 pt.

When using the ready-made Word template all settings are correct.


If there are complex professional terms, jargon or acronyms that require definitions, a separate list with definitions in alphabetical order is added.. In the concept definitions line spacing 1.5 is used. Concept definitions are included after the abstract on a separate page. If you do not need a list of concept definitions, this page can be removed from the Word template.

Below you can find the settings for listing the concepts (if you use the Word template, these are already set):

The heading in bold: CONCEPT DEFINITIONS

No logo in the header.

This list is used only if the thesis includes difficult concepts or abbreviations.

Line spacing 1.5.

Two empty lines beneath the heading.

Font size 12 pt.

Justified alignment.

When using the ready-made Word template all settings are correct.

The table of contents is called CONTENTS and it should be concise, but also informative. A well-organized table of contents enables the reader to understand the structure of the whole thesis.

The contents can include headings on no more than three different levels. Every subchapter’s numbering starts on the page where the previous level’s title starts. All headings in the contents are included exactly as they are in the text. It is recommended to create the table of contents automatically and thus ensure that the headings match the ones in the text. The font size for the titles in the contents is 12 pt. The last items in the table are REFERENCES and APPENDICES, these two are listed without chapter numbering. When using the ready-made Word template all settings are correct.


The introduction is the author’s own introduction to the topic and the contents of the thesis. In the introduction the author introduces the background and the objectives for the thesis report, limits the research, defines the research problem(s) or introduces the development task(s), and presents the main contents of the thesis. In the introduction the author presents his/ her own aims and objectives. Research questions can be presented in the form of questions.

The introduction presents the main source literature used in the report and clarifies the main concepts concisely. The scope of the introduction in a 50-page thesis report is 1.5-3 pages.

The first version of the introduction is often drawn up with the research plan, but usually the final version is completed only when the thesis report is otherwise ready.

When using the ready-made Word template all settings are correct.

The results of the thesis are examined comparing to the research problem(s), the theoretical framework used and the research methods. When needed, the results can be visualized using figures or tables. Pictures, figures and tables must always be explained also in writing so that the main results and conclusions are explained to the reader.

When writing the conclusions and discussion, the author first repeats the aim or aims for the research, the methods and the results. The author also assesses their own work and the methods used. In this chapter, the author should examine all the research problems set in the beginning, even if all questions possibly have not been answered.

In the conclusions and discussion, the author gives the commissioner of the research practical advice and well-argued development ideas for the future. The author should also state if the objectives set by the commissioner were met. The conclusions and discussion also present what the author learnt from the process, so that future researchers can use this. This is also the chapter for the author to critically assess his/ her own written production.

The list of references is placed last, before possible appendices. The heading is REFERENCES written in capital letters. All the sources of information that have been used in the text are listed here, also all sources for quoted figures and tables must be listed. In-text references are included in the chapters every time when some text written by someone else is used, and based on the information in the in-text references, the reader must be able to find the used materials in the list of references.

There is more information on in-text referencing in chapter 6 and on how to compile a list of references with examples in chapter 7.

Appendices consist of e.g. manuals, questionnaires, tables and graphs, and other such materials that do not necessarily need to be included in the actual thesis report. Appendices are placed last in the thesis.

Appendices have no page numbering. Instead they are numbered separately: APPENDIX 1, APPENDIX 2 etc. in the top right-hand corner. If an appendix consists of three pages, for example, they are marked: APPENDIX 2/1, APPENDIX 2/2, APPENDIX 2/3.  

When referring to appendices in the text, the page number of the appendix is not mentioned, only the number of the appendix (eg. APPENDIX 1). If referring to a figure in an appendix, mention only the appendix and its number, not the figure. For example: In recent years the number of international students in Finland has grown rapidly (APPENDIX 1).