How to write a thesis Rowena Murray Chapter 1: Thinking about writing a thesis
How to write a thesis
Chapter 1: Thinking about writing a thesis
What is the reader looking for?
For your thesis, the fact that there is no definition for that
for the students with more than 1 advisor, it is likely that both advisor will not have the same view of everything.
In term of writing, they are looking for appropriate style, corectly used and strong argument.
Remembering that all reader require assistance to understand the work.
They appreciate well-written, interesting and logic argument
It does not means you have to treat them as newbie reader but look at yoursefl as assisting reader.
Examiners may attribute the weakness of writing to weaknesses of research
The anwser for the question 'what are reader looking for?' should therefore be 'whatever you told them to look for'
What you can do is providing them a clear path through your thesis
Someone argues that if the work is the first class, then it does not matter how badly the thesis is written
However, there are those who argue that there is often a relationship between the quality of presentation and quality of scientific result.
Question for reflection
To lead to fruitful and interesting discussion at the start of your programme:
What is the purpose of the thesis?
What are my supervisor 's roles?
When do I expect to complete my research?
What is my research topic (or area)?
How to define an effective student-supervisor relationship?
Writing time table
Without a timetable for writing, you will feed out of control of project and your confidence may suffer.
Writing a topic with codes and guideline as they apply to your project
Without deadline, the task may be dropped. Tasks with deadline will get done before tasks with no deadline
Creating hard deadlines which are fixed and soft deadlines which are flexible
Setting yourself 3 hard deadlines next week and 3 soft deadlines next year.
What is doctorate?
Old or New:
In UK, that is 3 years of independent research
In US, there are some variations. that may have 4 years with 1 or 2 years of course work.
Pros and Cons: which one suit to you? Do you know exactly what you want to do?
The needs of course work (1 year training):
the Truth that, it allows you to have more experience in more than 1 lab and provide more part of various experiment. With other Phd, they would say: "this is my research topic" and get stuck with 3 years later.
But it not work for all, who know exactly what they want to do and want to finish it as soon as possible.
On the other hand, an over-stretched student may be no longer simply expected to carry the research but also teaching as a requirement. it is a good opportunity to develop both skill and knowledge but also raise a issue: there will be less time for research.
Gillon referred raises a questiong of whether there is a different form or a "new route"
we demand too much from the traditional Phd, a Phd should prepare a person for one career, not all possible career- Gillon (1998)
What are the criteria??
It is important since many students are unaware of the criteria that will be used in exam?
there are a such of lists question will be decribed in chapter 10
Students should aware that there are many variation in viva. because the commitee see each thesis are unique with own set of unique parameter and criteria.
However, they are relevant to your thesis, and you can start thinking about the question in first step and how the question should be answered.
The text should be clear and "tell a story"
The submission should be 'user-friendly'
The submission should be no longer than necessary.
Your first meeting with your supervisor
This is to prepare yourself for the first meeting with your advisor (may be a formal meeting)
Once you have aware of the formal requirement and begun to define your goal, you may create a list of question that you need to discuss ASAP with your advisor.
The purpose is to agree the nature of project in general term. you may sound them from your view:
Begin to work out wht you need to learn
Consider what training you need
Leave yourself time to think of some points through
Arrange follow-up discussion
Plan to discuss as a whole
Set yourself writing task and target
Tell supervisor your deadline
Discuss your motivation, writing practice, your understanding of research and writing, role of student, supervisor 's role.
you will be guided by supervisor, but you should have understanding of why you have a particular task with particular deadline
Why are you doing a doctorate?
have you ever answer this question
what is your personal motivation
are you interested in learning subject or extend your knowledge?
these questions are relevant to your thesis since your sense of why your research topic is important should appear in some form in your introduction.
Demystification: codes and guides
Codes and guides is useful in that they define research process and requirement for thesis
Any code and guide must be central to your research and your writing
there are a number of different code and guides. Then the key question is, which one is operating in your institution.
The code may represent real contract between you and the institution.
Doctorate or Master
Before writing: you should think about what you wanna write, if you wanna have a particular method, you may use it for master thesis
Then do more independent form more doctoral,
Arguments for writing throughout the thesis are proposed:
The aim is to take reader and writer through a progression of skill since it assumes that the process research include writing development
This thing will help a new student find their way in the program that they have chosen
and help the prospective doctoral student choose the program that suits their best.
Phd or profestional doctorate
is 3 or 4 years of independent research
is an introduction into an academic career
aim to make contribution to knowledge
Once you have one or more paper published, you may be attracted by the Ph.D. option - the straightforward transfer from professional doctorate to PhD
includes course work and research training along with shorter research project.
emphasizes personal and professional development
is focused on improving practice within the profession
if you desire to make a contribution to the body of knowledge of practice rather than fill a gap in the literature. Then the professional doctorate will be the more suitable option.
there are many issues to consider to make your choice: time, curriculum, supervision, flexibility and so on.
However, the final choice may also be influenced by the state of your finance or how much you want to invest for your education
New Route for Phd
Why a new route Phd
new route aims to complete with the US PhD
offering a new system compared with the diverse US system
offering the nearest thing to it in UK, it may attract more international student, thus creating more cosmopolitan peer group
the traditional Phd is being chanlenged by the grrowing diversity of types of doctoral degree.
For invidual doctoral student, the question of whether or not follow this route may be decided by the simple fact that whether or not it is offered in their subject area or in the university they want to attent.
Full-time or Part-time
Full-time mean you have to pay 3 or more years for the research with no guarantee that you will get a job after that.
Part-time is a different challenge that you will give a part of your life for research. It is tempting but not helpful.
People ussualy have no chance to choose between full or part-time
This is a key word for doctoral and some master level.
A thesis has to show that the work is in some way of originality
what can i write about orinality:
this word is original in sentence that ...
this work is not original in sentence that ...
write for 5 minutes
What will you use writing for?
To explore your research topic
is your writing to learn. Learning what, what you know, what you not know.
do you believe that we learn what we think when we put idea down in writing.
do you want to learn from the feedback you get from writing.
to document process, assuming that reader either know your purpose and/or that you have specified it in your writing.
are the most important thing for thesis writing
are provided by the university, although some departments may have their codes
what is your responsibility? your advisor's responsibility? who do you meet if you have a problem (other than advisor)
keep frequent contact with your advisor?
it is common for both student and advisor have different definition in mind
What is required layout for thesis?
Promt for discussion
The purpose is to test your understanding of what is involved
The outcome might be "there is more to this than I thought"
There is no reason why you can not move to "I know what is expected of me"
How will my thesis be assembled?
While supervisors provide feedback through the research. the final assessment is known as an oral examination (or viva, viva voce, oral defence)
the conduct of examination and place of thesis writing are covered in chapter 10.
Peer discusion and support
All ideas, tips, hints are the subject that you should discuss with your advisor. anyone who can help you to develop your understanding (even your peer)
remembering that you can learn a lot from each other.
IT processes and needs
helping to control your writing, the most 3 well-known tools are: ProCIte, Reference Manager and Endnode.
Back up your data:
Making sure that you do not lose your data if your computer is crashed
It is heard ridiculous but a building can burn down, even your university building.
Reason for not writing
There are a lot of things between writing and not writing: cups of coffe, reading a newspaper, and other activities
or just simply: taking a break
how will it look on the page?
it is not early to think about.
if you do not start it right, you have to waste your time later.
it is important since your thesis will be presented in the library and accessed by other researchers.
Internal and External drivers
It is important to have an internal and external driver, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. hopefully it was revealed in previous chapter