Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

    • hands
    • u-h-c89e7624e2dc-jpg
    • book2


The thesis may vary slightly in format depending on the individual proclivities of the student and the research supervisor, but it must contain the following elements:


An introduction that clearly states the objectives of the project and relates them to previous work in this area. A careful summary of the literature is absolutely essential. A description of the theories necessary for an understanding of the project is also important.


An experimental section that contains sufficient detail to allow future researchers to reproduce the work. This section should contain no discussion or conclusions.


A results section that presents, often in tabular form, the results of the research. These results might be data in various forms; e.g., infrared frequencies, voltages or chemical shifts. Alternatively, the results might be descriptions of the varied attempts to prepare specific compounds that include variables (such as temperature, mole ratios, mode of addition, solvent, etc) that were changed in each attempt. Some researchers prefer to present physical properties (such as boiling point, percent carbon, etc.) that were used to characterize compounds in the results section, while others prefer to give these in the experimental section.


A discussion section that gives a carefully organized analysis of the results of the project. The results should be related to the previous work discussed in the introduction and the significance of the results should be made crystal clear. Some writers prefer to combine the results and discussion sections.

The thesis must contain a title page, an acknowledgements page, a table of contents, and a listing (the references section) of the articles referred to in the body of the thesis. Literature citations must be given with appropriate journal abbreviations and the style currently used by the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Some authors prefer to add features such as a listing of tables and illustrations, a bibliography (a listing of all literature read, as opposed to literature cited), separate discussions of particular theories, and appendices that present computer program listings, or unusual derivations. Some researchers use occasional footnotes (at the bottom of the page, not in the references [literature cited]) to add parenthetical comments. It is essential to use headings to indicate how the thesis material is organized.

The thesis should be bound in a three-ring binder with the name of the student, the thesis title, and the year given, both on the front of the binder and on the spine. Each CHM 490 student must provide one copy of his/ her thesis for inclusion in the department's archives and one copy for the thesis advisor. If the student is awarded Honors in Chemistry, a copy of the thesis must also be sent to the archivist in the College library.