How to Write the Definition of Terms in Chapter 1 of a Thesis?

Definition of Terms
Even though it may look that the “definition of terms” is the easiest one to write, it also needs some attention. Here are some general guidelines in writing the definition of terms:
  • Not every single word should be added. It should be terms, words or even phrases which have special or unique meanings in the study.
  • We also have this “operational definition” and terms should be defined on that way. Defining them “operationally” means defining them on how they are used in the study.
  • You may develop your own definition from the characteristics of the term defined. For example, “house of light materials” may be defined as one made with bamboo posts; nipa walls and roof and split bamboo floor. Does it sounds like an operational definition too?
  • You can take your definitions from books like encyclopedias, magazines and newspaper articles, dictionaries (of course) and other publication that provide your needed meaning. Definitions like this are called conceptual or theoretical definitions. Lastly, be sure to acknowledge your sources!
  • As possible, your definitions should be brief, clear and unequivocal.
  • Fully spell out all acronyms if it is not commonly known or if it used for the first time.
Some school requires writing both the operational and conceptual definition of each term. Better ask your thesis adviser about this matter.


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