Research Methodology for Performing Arts
ISBN 9789395515870




Part 6

Structure of the Thesis

This is the most important and the end product of all the research work taken by the research scholar. From the time they are committed to its final submission, a whole course of events would have contributed and gone into the research. The final outcome is the thesis and this has a very definite structure. There are minor changes that differs from university to university regarding the number of copies to be submitted, if translations have to be made and also the number of soft copies to be produced.

Index, Page Number and Preliminary Pages

The entire thesis should begin with the title page which has a specification that needs to be adhered to. This will be specific and clear and given as a guideline by each university for the research scholar to follow. The colour of the hard bound copy is also specifically mentioned by the university.

The next page has the certificate of approval by the supervisor. The format in which it is written is also specifically given by the university that can always be referred to by the research scholar.

The next page will be the certificate by the scholar. Again, this will be specified by the university for wording and in format.

The next page will have the preface and the acknowledgements. Here, it is important for the research scholar to acknowledge all the people who have contributed to the research work, especially the University, the Head of the Department under which he or she is submitting the work, the research guide and co-guide, other luminaries who he or she has consulted, persons who have contributed towards the research work, and finally the libraries which were used for the purpose. However, the research scholar must refrain from using words of praise in the superlative and also refrain from too many words written in flowery language. The language must be simple and direct.

The next page will have a table of contents which consists of Introduction, Part Numbers where each Part will have its subdivisions and it will finish with the Conclusion. Here, it is very important to note that every university has a specific design for the page format. There are left and right margins and a header and a footer all with specific variations. Usually, the thesis will have a 1.5 inch margin on 3 sides and 2 inches on the left margin to accommodate for the binding.


A research scholar must divide the Parts into subdivisions and be clear why each bit has to go into a particular subdivision. The main topic will go under the Part heading and each of the subheadings will have the subtopics under the main heading.

Given that every thesis must have a proper body of content, the introduction and the conclusion is equally important. This introduction has certain specifications. It has to finitely outline the scope of the research, the aim of the research and the methodology used by the research scholar in the process of the research. The researcher must take care to mention the original nature of the thesis along with the special features and the limitations as well.

Usually, the research scholar has three to five Parts. However, some research even goes up to six or seven Parts. It depends upon the chosen topic. The entire thesis can be arranged in a chronological manner or in the order of importance. For e.g., the history of ritual dances in Bharatanāṭyam can start with the Sangam period to present times in a chronological manner or it can speak of Kauthuvam and Mallāri in its role in the modern day repertoire as far more important than the veriyādal of the Sangam period.

The conclusion will consist of all the findings by the research scholar, the analysis done by him or her, inferences made from the research and therefore, what is concluded. The conclusion may also have certain topics that scholars can take up for future research.

Each Part will have subdivisions. For example, in Part two, the first subdivision may be told as 2.1. And then if 2.1 goes into a next topic, it will become 2.2. However, if there is something more to be added as another division of the existing subdivision which is also a part of 2.2, then will become 2.2.1. In this manner, the subdivisions can go to 5 points, In this manner a research scholar must analyse each and everything in utmost detail.

Every Part needs to have a proper link from the previous to the next. For instance, if the topic chosen is to do with the evolution of Mohinīāṭṭam, then the history of Kerala prior to the period of Mahārāja Swāti Tirunāl may be in one Part and his contribution to Mohinīāṭṭam will automatically follow in the next Part. This will give the link and it will also allow the reader to flow from one idea to another seamlessly.

Language and Style

The first and foremost point to be observed by the research scholar is that research is not to show their prowess in the language but to state facts as it is, in a clear and a straight forward manner. Therefore, the language used must be very simple and direct. However, they cannot take liberties in addressing anyone without being formal about it.

The language used must demonstrate uniformity from beginning to end and cannot change in tense at any point of time.

The research scholar must refrain from using the word ‘I’ at any point of the thesis and substitute it with either ‘the research scholar’ or ‘the scholar’.

It is necessary to put all the facts in a clear and concise manner without being vague about any statement that is mentioned.

Every piece of information that has been gathered from an external source must be supplemented with the required footnote as their point of reference either from a primary source or from secondary source.

There are two universally accepted styles. One is called MLA Style which is Modern Language Association Style and in this, the font to be used is Times New Roman, font size number 12. The research scholar is expected to use double space and set a margin of one inch on all four sides of the page. There is one space for punctuation marks and Italics to be used for non-English words. Between the title and the first line of the text, there is always a double space and quotation marks have to be put when quoting from another person’s work. The section headings can be in bold for easy reading. The next style is an APA Style which is an American Psychological Association Style. This is the style that is used nowadays for articles and journals. The third style is called a CMS Style which is a Chicago Manual Style and both these styles, the APA and CMS use an A4 sheet of paper. They both leave one inch margin on all sides and they have a header at the top of every page. It will recommend quotations and footnotes and the font size is 12 in Times New Roman.

It is also very important for researchers to know that there is a plagiarism check for every research work that is submitted to the University. Therefore, it is highly imperative for the research scholars not to cut and paste from reference material but to understand what the reference material has explained and put the same in their own words.

In the same manner, it is important to also reiterate that the research work is an original piece of work based on references but not actually copying from them. It has to have the research scholar’s own inferences and therefore his or her own input in contributing to the chosen topic. This will give him or her credit for coming up with such a research work and therefore contributing to the society at large.

Smaller quotations or one line of a verse are included with quotation marks in the body of the text itself. Longer quotations and full verses are separated from the body of the text and they are attached either as footnotes or in the appendix and not in the bibliography.


Footnotes must be definitely added by every research scholar. It is usually to clarify or elucidate a minor point without interfering with the flow of the written material. Sometimes, it is to indicate to the reader, that it is taken from another body of work mentioning what it is and where it is sourced from. Other times, it is also written to give the original version that has been translated by you in the body of your research. The original version is mentioned in the footnote and your statement that it has been translated must also be made. Therefore, it is understood that footnote is a very useful tool for every research scholar but it only must be used where it is essentially needed. The way you write footnotes is that it must be divided into two - one is as an inference and second is for its content.

If there is a reference to some content in some other text, then it can be added as a footnote giving the page number or the book being referred. The other is when one is inferring or quoting another book or acknowledging a book which has an idea, then the name of the book and the author with the page has to be given as a footnote.

The research scholar must remember that the footnote must be as brief as possible with no unnecessary detail.

All footnotes have to be numbered and there are two methods when writing footnotes. The conventional method was to write the footnotes not at the end of the page but to just make a numbering and bring it all at the end of the Part. However, this practice has been replaced with a modern one where every footnote that is marked along the word or phrase in a page must have all the corresponding details at the bottom of the same page and is not carried over to the end of the Part.

Quoting References

This is a very important aspect to be followed by all research scholars. An example of a direct reference is this - Abhinaya Darpanam of Nandikesvara, translation by Prof. P.S.R. Appa Rao, Hyderabad, 1997. That will be written like this “Abhinaya Darpanam Appa Rao P.S.R. (1997, p13).”

If it is an indirect reference and if you are not using the person’s name, for instance, Appa Rao’s name, the research scholar must remember to put the name of the text in the footnotes itself.

In case the author does not find the name of the author, he must give the name of the title of the book or treatise and mention the page number. If there are multiple authors, all the authors must be mentioned or the first author is mentioned followed by the Latin term “et al”. This implies that there are many authors.

If there is an author of a Part to be mentioned within an edited text that should be also clearly followed where the name of the book is mentioned, the title of the article or the particular text, the author and the year must also be mentioned.

When the research scholar quotes from a person, normally they would start with the quote, leave a gap by using three dots in between and suggest in the footnote where the quote has been taken from with the name of the author. If the research scholar wants to use their own words in the quotation, that has to be done within square brackets. It is their own quote.

In case there are mistakes in the quotation by somebody else, the research scholar must not attempt to correct it but write it as they are and show the correction only within square brackets so that it is your own contribution to that particular quotation.


An abbreviation is a short way or a shortened form of a name. This could also apply for a term. There are commonly used abbreviations that enables the reader to understand easily. When the same word is repeated very often or frequently in the body of the thesis, it is easier to use these abbreviations.

Some common ones are,


Full Forms










The same


That is or in other words

















Some examples of the texts that can be abbreviated are given below.


Full Forms






Mirror of Gesture




Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report


Archaeological Survey Reports



The set of abbreviations must be a part of the preliminary pages much before the introduction is there. It will help lay the foundation for better reading and understanding.


These are short sections that feature after the body of the thesis. They are useful additional information not necessarily related to the thesis in question.

The appendix can be more than one in number but the appendix is understood as a section that is not directly connected with the body of the thesis but provides extra information.

The contents that can go into appendix are the following. They could be tables, maps, charts, photographs, the copies of questionnaires, diagrams, notations, audio and video files and any case study that has been a part of the thesis. This can include lists of non-written sources, long quotations or even copies of documents.

The appendix must be definitely only sections that the scholar considers as very important and relevant but may not be directly connected with the body of the thesis. They should be categorized and classified and each variety must be bunched together. For example, all the photographs must be put together as one appendix, all the cased studies must be put together as the second appendix and all audio and video files must be numbered and put together as another appendix.


This is a list of all the terms that we use as part of the thesis. It may also include those words that are not part of the English language but which are important to the body of the thesis.

Some universities expect the glossary to be put before the index whereas some universities expect them to put it at the end of the thesis after the appendix.

The research scholar must identify the terms in the body of the text that need meanings to be put and which can go into the glossary. For e.g., Abhinayā. For a dance practitioner, the term abhinayā will be used repeatedly in the body of the thesis and, therefore, abhinayā as a method expressing the meaning of a song either through body, word, dress or emotion. This can be given as a meaning. Another example can be hastā. Here, the hastā can refer to the hand gesture or the movement of the hand.


This is a list of all the books, manuscripts, journals, articles and even websites that you read and use for writing your thesis. The bibliography is always divided into primary sources, secondary sources and also website information.

Primary sources are those texts or manuscripts which are original pieces of work. These can come under the primary sources, for example, Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni for which we have to give the author’s name, the date or year of the publication, the publishing company of the book and the edition of that particular book.

Secondary sources are all the books and articles that have been referred to but may not be the original text itself. Sometimes, translation of the original text itself may be a primary source because the primary source may not be available or would have been destroyed over a period of time. But it must be mentioned that it is a translation and it is the only source that is available to the research scholar.

When a website is mentioned in bibliography, the web address for the page called a URL must be mentioned. If the editor or author’s name is there, that should be mentioned or referred to along with the page.

Normally, when a bibliography is added, one must write it in a particular order. For example, in the book, Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni, one way of writing it could be:

Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni with the commentary Abhinava Bhāratī, Gaekwad Oriental Series, no. Baroda, 1934 – 64.

Another way is

Nāṭyaśāstra. Ed. by M. Ramakrishna Kavi, Gaekwad’s Oriental Series, Baroda; Volume I (1926), Volume II (1936).

When it refers to secondary source, it could be in this manner-

Music Academy Journals, Volume XXV; the Music Academy, Madras.

Another example could be

Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts by Kapila Vatsyayan, Sangeet Natak Academi, New Delhi, 1968.

It can be written as:

Vatsyayan Kapila, Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts, Sangeet Natak Academi, New Delhi, 1968.

Another example is:

Kothari C. R., Research Methodology Methods and Techniques; New Age International Publishers, New Delhi, 2007.


Kothari C. R., Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques, New Age International Publishers, New Delhi, 2007.

Primary Sources

    1. Abhinayadarpaṇam of Nandikeśvara - Text with English translation and notes by Rajendran, C. New Bharatiya Book Corporation, New Delhi, (2nd edition) 2010

    2. Abhinayadarpaṇam of Nandikeśvara - Text with English translation and notes by Appa Rao, P.S.R. New A Nāṭyamālā Publication, Hyderabad, 1997.

    3. Kurunthogai - Text with commentary by Tamilannal, published by Kovilur Madalayam, 2002

    4. Kūtanūl of Cātanār - (Tamil) - Text with notes and commentary and text ed. by Yogiar, S.D.S. Tamil Nadu Sangita Nataka Sangam, 1968

    5. Taittirīya Upaniṣad - Transliterated Sanskrit Text, Free Translation & Brief Explanation By T.N. Sethumadhavan,, published In, 2011

    6. Nṛtta Ratnāvalī, ed. by Rao, Pappu Venugopala and Thakore Yashoda - 2013

    7. Panca Marapu - Arivanaar published by V.R. Devasikhamani Gounder (Erode, Shakthi trust Publications, 1973) - 2nd edition 1975

    8. Purananooru - Text with commentary by Ilamkumaram R. published by Kovilur Madalayam, 2003

    9. Brahmānadavallī - published in “The Principal Upanishads” (6th edn.) ed. by Swami Sivananda, Divine Life Society, Uttarakhand, 2012

    10. Parata Cenapatīyam (Tamil) - Text with notes, Kalyanasundaram S., 1944

    11. Mahāpārata Cūḍāmaṇi (Tamil) - Text with notes and Commentary by Swaminathaiyer U.V. (2nd edn.). published by Swaminathaiyer Library, Chennai, 1994

    12. Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa - Dr. Priyabala Shah -Translated to English from original Sanskrit text, Parimal Publications, New Delhi - 2002

    13. Cilappatikāram text - Ilango Adigal with commentary of Arumpatauraiacariyar and Adiyarkkunallar - compiled by U V Swaminathaiyer - 10th edition - published by Swaminathaiyer Library, Chennai, 2001

    14. Śrīmad Bhagavadgītā with Gītārthasaṅgraha of Abhinavagupta - edited by Dr. S. Sankaranarayanan published by Sri. Venkateswara University, Tirupati, 1985

    15. Saṅgīta Ratnākara of Śāraṅgadeva - Sanskrit text and English translation with comments and notes - Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2007

    16. Saṅgīta Sārāmṛta of King Tulaja of Tanjore, ed S. Subrahmanya Sastri, The Music Academy, Madras, 1942

Secondary Books

    1. Achari, Rama Ramanuja, 2015, Hindu Iconology: The study of the symbolism and meaning of icons, Simha Publications

    2. Bhagyalekshmy S. Approach to Bharathanatyam - 2nd edition -CBH Publications, 1998

    3. Bose Mandakranta, Movement And Mimesis - The Idea Of Dance In The Sanskritic Tradition, DK Print World (p) Ltd. 2007

    4. Burrow T. and Emeneau MB. 1984, (2nd edn.), A Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, University of Madras

    5. Carroll Cain and Carroll Revital, 2013, Mudras of India, Singing Dragon, London, UK.

    6. Desikachar T. K. V., The Heart of Yoga (Inner Traditions of India), U.S.A, 1995

    7. Gaston Ann Marie, 1996, Bharatanāṭyam - From Temple to Theatre - Manohar,

    8. Ghosh Manmohan, The Natyasastra - revised third edition 1995

    9. Kalarani R. 2004, Bharatanāṭyam in Tamil Nadu after A.D. 1200 - J.J. Publications,

    10. Tamil Lexicon Vol. II Part 1, University of Madras, 1962

    11. Naidu B.V. Narayanaswami, Naidu P. Srinivasulu, Pantalu O.V. Rangayya; Tandava Lakshanam or the fundamentals of ancient Hindu Dancing - (3rd edition) Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 1980

    12. Nair, C. Venugopalan, 2011, Mudras in Bharatanāṭyam, New Bharatiya Book Corporation, New Delhi.

    13. Nair, S. Guptan, 1997, Keraḷa Bhāshā Nighaṇṭu - The State Institute of Language, Kerala, Tiruvananthapuram

    14. Namboodiri M.V. Vishnu, Folklore Nikhantu - 2nd Edition - 2000

    15. Raghuraman S., Natana Kalaichol Kalanjiyam - Sri. Mudhraalaya, 2008

    16. Oppert Gustav, Jetley J. The Dravidians - For Asian Educational Services, 1998

    17. Raghuraman S., History of Tamizh’s Dance - Sri Mudhraalaya 2014

    18. Raghuraman S., Tamizhar Natana Varalaru - Sri Mudhraalaya 2014

    19. Ramaswamy Lakshmi, Shall We Know Natya - Sri Mudhraalaya 2012

    20. Sachs Curt, World History of the Dance - W.W. Norton and Company Inc., 1963

    21. Seetha S. Tanjore as a Seat of Music - University of Madras Publication - 2001

    22. Sharma Krishna, 1987, Bhakti and the Bhakti Movement - A New Perspective: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi.

    23. Shukla H.L. - Semiotica Indica - Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 1994

    24. Subrahmanyam Padma, 1979, Bharata’s Art, Then and Now - Bhulabhai Memorial Institute, Bombay

    25. Subrahmanyam Padma, 2003 (1st Ed.) Karanas: Common Dance Codes of India and Indonesia, Nrithyodaya

    26. Sabdataravali - Malayalam Dictionary - 18th edition - 1998

    27. Tolkāppiyam in English - translation with Tamil text and transliteration in the Roman script Dr.V. Murugan Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai, 2000

    28. Vatsyayan Kapila, 1977, 2nd edition, Classical Indian Dance in Literature and The Arts - Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi

    29. Viswanathan Lakshmi, 1984, Bharatanāṭyam - The Tamil Heritage, Sri Kala Chakra Trust


    1. “Bharata Natyam” by Raghavan V. Journal of the Madras Music Academy, Vol XLV.

    2. Dances of India by - Vivekananda Kendra Patrika - Vol X no 2 1981, p.xv

    3. Ramachandran M., Methodology of Res. in Philosophy, Madras Univ., 1984, p.5