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A finance thesis is a lengthy written document submitted by a student on a financial course as part of his assessment. In some courses, this will be the sole method of assessment and will reflect the student's research during the duration of his course. In other courses, a finance thesis will accompany other forms of assessment, such as examination.
There are two main types of finance thesis. One is along the lines of a traditional academic thesis and is based largely on financial theory. The other is a more practical thesis and is based more on facts and evidence from a real-world business situation. These two types will often require different organization and writing techniques. For example, the former may need to compare different theories in previously published research, while the latter will need to identify trends in the real-world data along with possible factors that could distort the data.
In most cases, a student writing a financial thesis will have a wide range of acceptable topics and approaches that he can cover. Which is best depends on the type of course and the outcome the student hopes to achieve, beyond simply passing the course. For example, a student hoping for employment in a particular field of finance may wish to pick a thesis topic related to that field. It can also be useful to pick a topic that allows the student to demonstrate his understanding that finance can be as much about the effects on people and their decisions as it can be about raw numbers on a page.
As with any thesis, it is important to follow the academic institution's preferred style. The most common are those produced by the American Psychological Association and the Modern Language Association, known as APA and MLA style respectively, as well as the Chicago Manual of Style. These do not cover the type of language used, but rather the presentation. Points covered by these styles include the way headings and subheadings are presented and the format used for referencing books, articles, and websites.
The language and tone used is also important. The writing of a thesis should be sophisticated and formal enough to show an advanced understanding of the topic. However, it should not be unnecessarily complex or long-winded. The writing should be as clear as possible without sacrificing accuracy or precision.
The writer of a finance thesis will often have to engage in a process known as a thesis defense. This will involve a presentation relating to the contents of the thesis, followed by a series of questions from academics about the thesis. In some cases the thesis defense will form the final element of assessment on the course.
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