How to Write a Thesis

How to Write a Thesis
اسم المؤلف
Rowena Murra
التاريخ
12 ديسمبر 2021
المشاهدات
التقييم
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How to Write a Thesis
3rd Edition
Rowena Murra
Open UP Study Skills
Develop good writing habits
Overcome writerʼs block
Understand the assessment process
Get the most from your supervisor
Contents
Preface to the third edition xiii
Acknowledgements xv
Overview xvii
Introduction: How to write 1,000 words an hour 1
The need for this book 1
What the students say: ‘How I used this book’ 3
What the students want 14
A writer’s ‘toolbox’ 16
The ‘quality question’ 17
Principles of academic writing 22
The literature on writing 22
Disciplinary differences 24
Thinking about structure 29
Prompts 29
Supervisors enabling student writing 31
Writing in a second language 32
Grammar, punctuation, spelling 34
Goal setting 35
Lifelong learning 39
Audience and purpose 40
Timetable for writing 41
Checklist: defi ning the writing task 42
Learning outcomes 42
1 Thinking about writing a thesis 43
Doctorate or masters? 43
What is a doctorate? 44
New routes to the PhD 47
Why are you doing a doctorate? 48
Internal and external drivers 49
PhD or professional doctorate? 50
Full-time or part-time? 53
What will you use writing for? 54viii CONTENTS
Regulations 55
How will it look on the page? 58
Demystifi cation: codes and guides 59
How will my thesis be assessed? 65
What are the criteria? 65
Defining ‘originality’ 70
What is the reader looking for? 72
IT processes and needs 75
Reasons for not writing 78
Peer discussion and support 79
Your fi rst meeting with your supervisor 79
Training needs analysis 81
Questions for reflection 83
Prompts for discussion 83
Writing timetable 83
Checklist: pre-planning 84
Learning outcomes 85
2 Starting to write 86
Can’t it wait till later? 87
Audiences and purposes 87
Primary audience 88
Secondary audience 89
Immediate audience 90
The role of the supervisor 91
A common language for talking about writing 96
Writing to prompts 100
Freewriting 101
Generative writing 112
Checklist: starting to write 116
Learning outcomes 116
3 Seeking structure 117
Revising your proposal 118
Outlining 119
Finding a thesis 121
Writing a literature review 122
Plagiarism 135
Designing a thesis 144
‘Writing in layers’ 146
Writing locations 148
Writing times 149CONTENTS ix
Checklist: seeking structure 150
Learning outcomes 150
4 The first milestone 151
First writing milestone 152
The first-year report 152
From notes to draft 153
Dialogue 156
Monitoring 158
Pressure 159
What is progress? 160
Looking for topics 162
Work-in-progress writing 163
A writers’ group 170
Checklist: the first milestone 177
Learning outcomes 177
5 Becoming a serial writer 178
What is a serial writer? 179
Scaffolding for an argument 180
Paragraph structure 180
Introductory paragraphs 184
Writing about the method(s) 186
Study buddy 188
Regular writing 189
Problems with writing 190
Writer’s block 191
Incremental writing 198
Writing binges 199
Developing a writing strategy 200
Checklist: becoming a serial writer 201
Learning outcomes 201
6 Creating closure 202
What is closure? 202
Interim closure 204
Don’t put it off any longer 205
Research journal 206
Writing habits 212
Halfway point 214
Brown’s eight questions 216x CONTENTS
Pulling it all together 218
A design for writing 219
Frustration 219
Writing conclusions 220
Checklist: creating closure 225
Learning outcomes 225
7 Fear and loathing: revising 226
Why ‘fear and loathing?’ 227
Repetition 227
Forecasting 229
Signalling 230
Signposting 230
Conceptualizing and reconceptualizing 231
Managing your editor 233
End of the second phase 236
Look back to the proposal 236
Checklist: revising 237
Learning outcomes 237
8 It is never too late to start 238
Step 1 Take stock 242
Step 2 Start writing 243
Step 3 Outline your thesis 245
Step 4 Make up a programme of writing 248
Step 5 Communicate with your supervisor(s) 251
Step 6 Outline each chapter 252
Step 7 Write regularly 253
Step 8 Revise 254
Step 9 Pull it all together 255
Step 10 Do final tasks 255
Does the fast-track mode work? 256
Learning outcomes 257
9 The last 385 yards 258
The marathon 259
‘Done-ness is all’ 260
Concentrated writing phase 260
Well-being 261
Peer support 263
Discussion chapter 264CONTENTS xi
New goal 265
Style tips 266
Finishing 267
Enough is enough 268
It is good enough 269
You have made a contribution 270
Convince your reader 270
‘Polish’ the text 271
Motivation 272
Presentation of final copy 273
Timetable for writing 274
Checklist: polishing 275
Learning outcomes 276
10 After the thesis examination: more writing? 277
More writing? 279
What is a viva? 279
Pre-viva 283
Defining tasks 285
Talking about your writing 287
Practice 289
Anticipate the questions 291
Mock viva 295
Fear 296
The external examiner 298
During the viva 299
Post-viva 304
Endurance 304
Revisions and corrections 304
Anti-climax 305
Is there life after a thesis? 306
Was it really worth it? 306
Recovering 306
Thesis into book 307
The end 311
Checklist: before and after the examination 311
Learning outcomes 312
Bibliography 313
Index 323
Index
abstracts, 183, 224
see also Brown’s eight questions
anxiety, 159–60
assessment, 65, 70
annual report, 57
criteria, 66, 68–9, 72, 281
first year report or ‘synoptic
paper’, 152–3
what readers look for, 72–5
see also viva and quality
audience and purpose, 40–1, 55,
87–90
immediate audience, 90
primary audience, 88–9
secondary audience, 89
binges, 189, 199–200, 244
Brown’s eight questions, 216–18
chapters, 145–8
conclusions, 143, 220–5
discussion, 264–5
methods, 186–8
outlining, 252–3
pre-drafts, 185
closure, 202–25
definition, 202
interim, 204–5
pulling it all together, 218–19
codes of practice, 59–65
conventions of academic writing,
22
design for writing, 219
dialogue, 156–8
creative dialogizing, 157
see also prompts for writing
‘directed questions’, 212
disciplinary differences, 24–9
discussion chapter, 264–5
doctorates, 44–6
full-time/part-time, 53–4
new route, 47–8
professional doctorate, 50–2
exegesis, 27
external examiner, 70, 72–5, 298–9
‘fast track’, 238–41
communicate with supervisor(s),
251–2
final tasks, 255–6
make up a writing programme,
248–51
outline each chapter, 252–3
outline your thesis, 245–8
pull it all together, 255
quantify what you have to do,
242–3
revise, 254–5
start writing, 243–5
write regularly, 253–4
fear, 296–8
and loathing, 226–7
feedback, 97–100, 233–6, 254–5
final tasks, 255–6, 273–4fi
nishing, 267
concentrated writing phase, 260–1
‘done-ness is all’, 260
enough is enough, 268–9
marathon, 259
see also layout
freewriting, 101–12
discussion chapter, 264–5
‘fast track’, 245
literature review, 128
momentum, 253
moving to formal writing, 155324 INDEX
on viva, 282
publications, 161
revising proposal, 118–19
warm up, 153–4
frustration, 219–20
generative writing, 112–15
goal-setting, 35–9
defining, 119
end of the second phase, 236
fast track, 241
final phase, 263fi
rst writing milestone, 152
good and bad writing goals, 38
viva, 286
guilt, 193–4, 242
halfway point, 214–15
incremental writing, 198–9
IT (information technology), 75–8
introductions, 184–5
iteration, 227–9
see also revising
journal, 206–12
layout, 57–58
see also finishing
literature review, 122–35, 143
location, 148–9
mechanics
grammar, punctuation, spelling,
34–5
rules, 181
monitoring, 158–9
see also progress
motivation, 272
internal and external drivers, 49
personal, 48–9
problems, 190–1
notes to drafts, 153–6, 185
one-minute paper, 244
originality, 70–1
contribution 220–5, 270
outlining, 119, 147, 245–8
see also Brown’s eight questions
panic, 242
paragraphing, 180–5
introductory paragraphs, 184
links, 182–3
outlining, 184
structure, 180–2
topic sentence, 182
peers
discussion, 79
study buddy,188–9
support, 263–4
see also writers’ group
plagiarism, 135–44
poster presentation, 165–9
pressure, 159–60
principles of academic writing, 22
problems with writing, 190–1
bad writing, 196
prevention, 196
solutions, 195
‘spring cleaning’, 196
see also writer’s block, frustration
and procrastination
process of writing, 179
procrastination, 78–9, 87, 205–6
progress
defining, 160–9
work-in-progress, 163
see also monitoring
prompts for writing, 67–8, 71, 74,
100–1
chapters, 142–3
closure, 203
defining, 29–31
dialogue, 157
engage with key concepts, 74
explore ground rules, 59
explore options, 67
final, 273–4fi
nd focus, 109
formal and informal, 124
generate text and reflection, 100–1
outlining, 119–21
regular writing, 190
sections, 185
start writing, 185
take stock, 97
theme, 156
whole thesis, 120INDEX 325
writing about the literature, 123–4
see also journal
proposal revising, 118–19, 236–7
publishing, 160–3, 307–10
PhD by publication, 64, 65
see also Brown’s eight questions
quality
defining, 17, 19–20, 30, 74
good enough, 269–70
see also assessment
recovering, 306–7
referencing, 135–44
see also plagiarism
regular writing, 212–14, 243–5, 253–4
regulations, 55–8
research on writing, 22–4
revising, 226–37
conceptualizing and
reconceptualizing, 231–3
forecasting, 229
‘polishing’ the text, 271–2
post-viva, 304–5
signalling, 230
signposting, 230–1
supervisor’s feedback into
revisions, 252
types, 235
see also iteration and proposal
revising
structure, 28–9, 144–6, 224–5, 245–8
students
humanities, 26
needs, 14–15
overseas, 32–3
science and engineering, 28
visual arts, 27
style tips, 266–7
supervisors
as audience, 90
as editor, 233–6
assessing, 63
common language for talking
about writing, 96–100
enabling student writing, 31–2
first meeting, 79–81
role, 91–6
talking points, 25, 38, 74, 77–8, 83,
251–2
views on writing, 239–40
template for thesis, 28, 144–5,
246–7
timetable for writing, 41, 274–5
Training Needs Analysis, 81–2
viva,
definition, 65, 279, 285–7
mini-viva, 57
mock, 295–6
notetaking, 300
practice, 289–91
preparation, 283–5
purpose, 280
questions, 67–8, 291–5
talking about writing, 287–9, 293,
301–4
see also assessment
well-being, 261–3
writer’s block, 191–8
writers’ group, 170–6
writing manager, 240–1
‘writing sandwich’, 114

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