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Getting Started When you are about to begin, writing a thesis seems a long, difficult task. That is because it is a long, difficult task.
Fortunately, it will seem less daunting once you have a couple of chapters done. Towards the end, you will even find yourself enjoying it — an enjoyment based on satisfaction in the achievement, pleasure in the improvement in your technical writing, and of course the approaching end.
Like many tasks, thesis writing usually seems worst before you begin, so let us look at how you should make a start.
An outline First make up a thesis outline: There is a section on chapter order and thesis structure at the end of this text. When you sit down to type, your aim is no longer a thesis — a daunting goal — but something simpler. Your new aim is just to write a paragraph or section about one of your subheadings.
It helps to start with an easy one: In an experimental thesis, the Materials and Methods chapter is often the easiest to write — just write down what you did; carefully, formally and in a logical order.
How do you make an outline of a chapter? For most of them, you might try the method that I use for writing papers, and which I learned from my thesis adviser Stjepan Marcelja: Assemble all the figures that you will use in it and put them in the order that you would use if you were going to explain to someone what they all meant.
You might as well rehearse explaining it to someone else — after all you will probably give several talks based on your thesis work. Once you have found the most logical order, note down the key words of your explanation. These key words provide a skeleton for much of your chapter outline.
Once you have an outline, discuss it with your adviser. This step is important: Organisation It is encouraging and helpful to start a filing system. Open a word-processor file for each chapter and one for the references.
You can put notes in these files, as well as text. Or you may think of something interesting or relevant for that chapter.
When you come to work on Chapter m, the more such notes you have accumulated, the easier it will be to write. Make a back-up of these files and do so every day at least depending on the reliability of your computer and the age of your disk drive. If you thesis file is not too large, a simple way of making a remote back-up is to send it as an email attachment to a consenting email correspondent; you could also send it to yourself.
Or you could use a drop-box or other more sophisticated system. You should also have a physical filing system: This will make you feel good about getting started and also help clean up your desk. Stick them in that folder. Then put all the folders in a box or a filing cabinet.
As you write bits and pieces of text, place the hard copy, the figures etc in these folders as well. Touch them and feel their thickness from time to time — ah, the thesis is taking shape.Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article: Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) Second Edition.
For some inexplicable reason, perhaps to do with Woodstock, kaftans, free love and the rest, the education department in Australia decided to abandon the teaching of grammar in the late sixties and didn’t start again, as far as I can tell, until the mid 80s.
Some sites with related material. Writing and publishing a scientific paper How to survive a thesis defence. Some relevant texts. Stevens, K. and Asmar, C () 'Doing postgraduate research in . Research & writing for assignments. University assignments are a big challenge, but we can guide you.
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