Tips for Thesis Writing
In the last few months of your degree research, after years of hard study, writing up a PhD will always take place in a flurry of action. But to improve the odds of success, there are several moves that you should take.
Do not be daunted by the “writing up” job. As your PhD takes form, focus on the paper, note that all authors need writing, and support yourself to make life simpler by following these simple tips. Before you start, read what great writers say on how to write, and take their wisdom to heart. For simple, succinct work, there is no dark art; it is mostly the product of editing, and editing again. “Above all, keep in mind the advice of Elmore Leonard: “If it reads like prose… rewrite it.
For your boss, prepare the layout of your study carefully. As you go, build rough drafts so that as you get more concentrated on the write-up, you can refine them. Most of the writing involves editing, so be prepared to repeatedly rework each chapter. Even Ernest Hemingway said: “Shit is the first draft of it all.”
There does not have to be bland scholarly prose. Inject your job with a flair. “Read writing advice and remember the words of George Orwell in Why I Write: “Never use the passive where the active should be used”; and Mark Twain’s on adjectives: “When you find an adjective, ruin it.” Stephen King said, if you prefer, “The road to hell is filled with adverbs.
In chronological order, do not publish. Work on and chapter when it is fresh in your mind or important to what you are doing at that moment, but then come back to it all and build it together into a cohesive, coherent portion, if possible, reforming pieces.
Learn of the writing attentively. Write the first draft, abandon it and then, with a critical eye, come back to it. Look at the prose critically and read it carefully for style and meaning. Look out for typical mistakes such as modifiers hanging, conflict with subject-verb and inconsistencies. Then ask a friend or colleague to read it with a skeptical eye if you are too busy with the document to be able to take a look back to do this. Remember the advice of Hemingway: “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” Transparency is fundamental.
Many universities use quotations in a chosen format. Make sure that you are aware of what this is and stick to it. In scholarly literature, one of the most frequent faults is to quote articles in the document that do not appear in the bibliography afterwards. Until submission, all sources in the paper need to be cross-checked with the bibliography. During your analysis, using a database will save a lot of time in the write-up process. EndNote or Paperpile provide helpful software. Managing your bibliography from day one will appear obsessive, but by the end of the PhD process, it will save you a great deal of time and tension.
Using a theme for the home. A house style guide is used by specialist publishers including Times Higher Education to ensure spelling accuracy. For instance, do not use both -ise and -ize spellings, adhere to British spelling, and when referring to organizations or entities, be clear. Use one dictionary and adhere to it in the writing process, though dictionaries differ in their use of hyphenation. If you consult the Latest Oxford Dictionary for Authors and Editors, the exceptional number of alternate spelling terms will be noted. The chosen spellings, usage of italicisation and international phrases may also be a very helpful reference.
When quoting from other outlets, take note. Make sure you remember when the italic focus is on the initial and when you compile quotations for your thesis, take good notes. In order to ensure loyalty to your source, transcribe them correctly to save work later and preserve original spellings (even though they vary from your preferred style).
Think plagiarism. If you quote from works, correctly quote from them and paraphrase them for your statement where possible. This is where diligent note-taking and reference usage is invaluable and can protect you from plagiarising another job if accidentally.
Bear in mind that your dissertation is your ability to show your thesis in the best possible way. Consider the opening lines, entice the reader with your writing and be specific about your theory and your inference, above everything. Append content where meaning is applied, but not where the job is literally bulked out. Remember, at all moments, your reader. This is your moment to highlight your career.
Improve your thesis writing skills
It will help to build a project map if you’re grappling with how to organize your concepts, so you don’t have to think about the order of your work when you brainstorm. You should bring your thoughts into a rational order after you’ve completed your diagram.
It takes time and commitment to compose a thesis, so it’s best to stretch your work over the duration of your study degree, instead of having to cram it all at the end. Writing while you go gives you time to refine the structure and content.
You will find holes in your logic or items you need to discuss more when you continue to compose. Use this as an exercise to reflect on your emotions, because it’s easier to discover concerns sooner than later.
Try to figure out what you want to say if you’re struggling:
Explaining yourself aloud or to a counselor will help you figure out why you have issues.
Writing dot points on main ideas gives you something from which to work.
Free writing, without thinking about spelling, punctuation, full sentences or a coherent rhythm, write whatever comes into your brain.
Don’t think about your writing being perfect: you will figure out how to develop it until you have anything to work with.
Your examineers will be asking for while reviewing your thesis:
A well-written, concise case
Fair, rational relations between theoretical perspectives
A sound grasp of the principle
Job that is original, imaginative and clever
Trust in a career of your own.
Overall, your examiners will expect that your study will show:
Advanced understanding of the methodology and standards of science affecting your specialty
Job that engages with other people’s literature and work
A important and original contribution to knowledge for doctoral dissertations
Originality in the implementation of expertise for MPhil dissertations.
Related personal experience can allow you to explain what inspired you to follow a certain line of study, such as extensive experience working in a government agency or as a specialist in a profession.
While it’s okay to appeal to your own experience, note that claims are inappropriate without any supporting facts or arguments-you would need to be able to explain your experience and back up analysis with your conclusions.
You will grasp what you’re supposed to produce from reading other theses. On the Library website, you can scan for UQ Theses. Check for theses which earned commendations from their examiners for prime examples.
When evaluating the ideas of others, pay attention to:
How they incorporate and associate ideas
How their claims are formulated
How do they demonstrate their level of faith in the conclusions they draw from their evidence?
In various pages, what kind of issues they answer.
Building up a list of basic sentences for your writing may be useful, such as:
“these results suggest that”
“a second approach to addressing the problem of X is to do Y”
Ensure that in your writing there is a rational flow of thoughts and that your conclusions are clear.
You can: To help you verify your logic,
Either when you are first organizing or when you have finished structuring your ideas, create an overview.
In a coherent set of questions that need to be answered, plan your paragraphs
To see how they link together, create a flow map of your key concepts.
In order to look for a coherent flow, you may even ask others to read your analysis and to ensure that you simply clarify your study.
Feedback on their writing will help both authors. Ask your counselor relevant questions to get helpful input on your thesis, such as:
If you think the structure’s all right?
Was my reasons definite?
Is this section’s claim compelling enough?
Do you think that in this segment I need more supporting data?
Make sure that as you go through your study, you explain any suggestions you do not understand and continue to ask for feedback.
To look for spelling and grammatical mistakes, you should always proofread your work. Near, diligent reading requires proofreading.
To help you proofread your thesis thoroughly:
It would be better to spot mistakes this way from a paper copy instead of on a tablet.
Reading your work aloud-reading aloud makes you concentrate on each phrase
Look out for words that sound unusual, incomplete or difficult to utter, which may help detect grammatical issues.
After other structural improvements have been made, you can still read the work second, because you have not lost time proofreading parts that could be deleted later.
Developing A thesis
Think about yourself, listening to a lawyer who makes an opening statement, like a member of a jury. Very quickly, you may like to see whether the prosecutor thinks the accused is guilty or not, and if the lawyer is going to reassure you. Academic essay readers are like members of the jury: they want to hear what the essay proposes before they have read too much, as well as how the writer plans to make the point. The reader might think after reading your thesis statement, “This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I’m not convinced yet, but I’m interested to see how I might be.”
It is not possible to answer a successful thesis with a clear “yes” or “no.” A thesis is not a subject; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. The subject is “Reasons for the fall of communism” A reality recognised by educated people is “Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe” It is a view that “The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe” (Superlatives like “the best” almost always lead to problems. Any “thing” that has ever existed in Europe is difficult to weigh. And what about Hitler’s fall? Couldn’t that be “the best thing”?)
There are two sections of a strong study. It should tell what you are planning to contend, and it should “telegraph” how you plan to argue, that is, where in your article, what basic support for your argument goes.
Analyze the main sources first. Look for strain, desire, uncertainty, conflict, and/or difficulty. Is the writer contradicting himself or herself? Is an argument taken and overturned later on? What are the deeper ramifications of the claim presented by the author? Figuring out why you would be set on the road to creating a working thesis for one or more of these questions, or similar questions. (Without why, you’ve probably just come up with an observation-that in such-and-such a poem, for example, there are several different metaphors, which is not a thesis.)
Write it down until you have had a working thesis. For a thesis, there is nothing as disappointing as hitting on a brilliant idea, then forgetting it when you lose attention. And you would be compelled to think about it simply, objectively, and concisely by writing down your thesis. The first time you apply, you will not be able to write out a full draft version of your paper, so by writing down what you have, you can get yourself on the right track.
In your introduction, keep your study popular. At the end of an introductory paragraph, particularly in shorter (5-15 page) essays, is a fine, standard place for your thesis argument. Readers are accustomed to seeing patterns there, but when they read the last line of the introduction, they immediately pay more attention. In all scholarly essays, while this is not required, it is a reasonable rule of thumb.
The counterarguments, predict. You should think about what could be said against it if you have a working thesis. This will help you refine your paper, and it will also make you aware of the points in your article that you will need to contradict later. (There’s a counterargument to any point. If yours isn’t, it’s not an argument, it might be a fact or a belief, but it’s not an argument.)
Michael Dukakis lost the presidential race in 1988 because, following the Democratic National Convention, he refused to campaign aggressively.
This declaration is on the road to becoming a study. It is too simplistic to consider potential counterarguments, though. For example, a political analyst might assume that because he suffered from a “soft-on-crime” profile, Dukakis lost. If, by predicting the counterargument, you confuse your thesis, you will reinforce your point, as seen in the sentence below.
A dissertation is never an issue. Academic essay readers hope to have questions discussed, investigated, or even answered. A question (“Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?”) is not an answer and a thesis is dead in the water without an argument.
A dissertation is never a list. “For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe” does a decent job of “telegraphing” the reader what to expect in the essay: a section on political reasons, a section on economic reasons, a section on social reasons, and a section on cultural reasons. Political, economic, social and cultural factors, however, are almost entirely the only potential reasons why communism could crumble. It lacks suspense in this sentence and does not forward a point. Everybody knows that it is critical for politics, economics, and culture.
A research should never be confrontational, combative or ambiguous. An unsuccessful thesis would be, “Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil.” This is difficult to justify (evil from whose perspective? What does evil mean?) and rather than logical and comprehensive, it is likely to mark you as moralistic and judgmental. It can also spark a defensive response from readers who sympathize with communism. They can stop reading if readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat.
There is a definable, arguable argument to a successful thesis. “While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline” is an efficient analytical term that “telegraphs,” such that the reader expects the article to include a section on cultural forces and another section on economic disintegration. This study presents a simple, arguable claim: that in defeating communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played a more significant role than cultural powers. “Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim.”Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how this claim is explained by the author.
As transparent and precise as practicable, a thesis should be. Stop general concepts and abstractions that are overused. For instance, “Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because of the ruling elite’s inability to address the economic concerns of the people” is more strong than “Communism collapsed due to societal discontent.”