Create rough drafts as you go so that you can refine them as you become more focused on the write-up. Look objectively at the writing and read it closely for style and sense. It allows you to make checklists too so you know that all of your important stuff is listed and to-hand, meaning you can focus on one thing at a time. Therefore, I could just do it when I was bored or during free moments in between lab experiments.
However, with careful planning, this brain-switching transition process can be smooth, enabling efficient write-up process. I wrote more than half of my thesis contents in just three weeks. Share your advice in the comments below. Work on each chapter while it is fresh in your mind or pertinent to what you are doing at that moment, but come back to it all later and work it up into a consistent, coherent piece, restructuring sections where necessary.
Take care when quoting from other sources. Append material where it adds value but not where it merely bulks out your work. Secondly, it gives you a legitimate excuse to get away from your desk. Create rough drafts as you go so that you can refine them as you become more focused on the write-up.
Transcribe them accurately to save work later and keep original spellings even if they differ from your chosen style to ensure fidelity to your source. The best chance to do this is when you report to your supervisor s. Professional publications such as Times Higher Education use a house style guide to ensure consistency in spelling. Even Ernest Hemingway said: This is your chance to showcase your work.
It can also be a very useful guide to preferred spellings, use of italicisation and foreign phrases. Join the higher education network for more comment, analysis and job opportunitiesdirect to your inbox. Plus, even if your assessors find a couple of typos in your thesis, you can always correct those after the viva.
Get writing Once I finished making the figures, I stopped working in the lab because I wanted to focus entirely on writing. If you manage to write words a day, then a thesis will finish comfortably in four months, while you enjoy your weekend. Once I finished writing the figure legends, I integrated 1 homework answers wrote a paragraph or two describing each figure, which nearly completed the result chapters.
Most universities use a preferred style of references. Read what great writers say about how to write before you start, and take their advice to heart. Nothing more self-crippling than perfectionism. Plan to spread the workload over a long time rather than cram everything into those last months before the deadline. Write your first draft, leave it and then come back to it with a critical eye.
A typical thesis contains approximately 50, words, and mine was much shorter. Turning years of research into a single, coherent piece of work can be tough, so we asked for tips from supervisors and recent PhD graduates. Ensure you note whether the italic emphasis is in the original and take careful notes when you are collecting quotes for your thesis.
One of the most common errors in academic writing is to cite papers in the text that do not then appear in the bibliography. By Ingrid Curl Writing up a PhD can often take place in a frenzy of activity in the last few months of your degree study, after years of hard work.
- A typical thesis contains approximately 50, words, and mine was much shorter.
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- Tip to PhD students:
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This is where careful note-taking and use of references is invaluable and will help you to avoid even inadvertently plagiarising another work. One trick I used that I recommend everyone writing a PhD thesis is to never to read your sentences as you write.
From previous experiences, I knew that the brain switch to the writing mode comes after a great struggle and ample hours of procrastination and unproductiveness.
Look objectively at the writing and read it closely for style and sense. But there are some steps that you can take to increase your chances of success. Firstly, it takes your work off the screen and onto paper, which is usually easier to proof. Remember that your thesis is your chance to present case study belinda work in the best possible light.
Your peers are unlikely to read your thesis and judge you on it. Repeatedly reprinting and editing draft thesis chapters has two very helpful functions. If you are quoting from works, quote from them accurately and paraphrase where necessary for your argument. What I found constructive was paying attention to the work of novelists I enjoy reading.
Work on the text as your PhD takes shape, remember that all writers need editing, and help yourself by using these basic tips to make life easier.
If you stick to these simple rules, your writing will be clear and jargon-free. If you are too involved with the text to be able to take a step back and do this, then ask a friend or colleague to read it with a critical eye. I began by working on possibly the hardest and the biggest part of my thesis: Planning is probably the most important step when it comes to a thesis.
Getting rid of 40, extra words with two weeks to go is not recommended. There is no dark art to clear, concise work; it is mostly a result of editing, and editing again. It took a lot of planning and hard work. Think carefully about your writing.
10 tips for writing a PhD thesis
Use a house style. Consider your reader at all times. I submitted a v3 of my thesis after incorporating the changes suggested by my two supervisors. Share with them your milestones and goals, and agree to be accountable to them. If you consult the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, you will note the extraordinary number of words with alternative spellings.
For example, do not use both -ise spellings and -ize spellings, stick to British spelling and be consistent when referring to organisations or bodies. Consider your opening paragraphs, entice your reader with your writing and above all be clear about your hypothesis and your conclusion.
They are more likely to read any papers articles, chapters, books that result from it.
But your most important work will come later. Using a database during your research can save a great deal of time in the writing-up process. Much of writing comprises rewriting so be prepared to rework each chapter many times.
Think of your PhD as an apprenticeship. The only thing left to do was to write a discussion on the chapters, which were about 1, — 2, words in my case and took me a couple of days. Optimistically, even for the one that required more data. All references in your thesis need to be cross-checked with the bibliography before submission. Inject some flair into your work.
Look out for common errors such as dangling modifiers, subject-verb disagreement and inconsistency. This way I could write an entire result chapter in days depending on how productive I was being. On the contrary, actively draw attention to them; identify them in your conclusion as areas for further investigation.
A year before the deadline, I exactly knew what my chapters were going to be, and I had almost all data for two of the three result chapters.
Have your say
Getting started After outlining chapters and their subsections, it was time to start filling in the thesis. Work outside if you can. Make sure you know what this is and stick to it. Thesis is not only about writing; data analysis, figures and references also constitute a large portion of the thesis. Think about plagiarism. We were inundated with tweets and emails — and AcademiaObscura helpfully created a Storify of the tweets.
10 tips for writing a PhD thesis | Times Higher Education (THE)
Tip to PhD students: The aim was to make roughly one figure for each subheading in the chapter. Throughout my PhD, I was told by almost everyone that had a PhD that writing up period is like walking through an endless tunnel of torture.
Spending endless hours writing up the PhD drives students to survive on junk food, give up personal hygiene, and cause extreme anxiety and insomnia.