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Thesis Writing

Thesis Writing. Dr. Tamara O’Connor Dr. Mark Matthews Student Learning Development http://student-learning.tcd.ie. Steps in Thesis Writing. Background 2. Ideas 3. Planning 4. Writing. Demystifying Dissertation Writing Peg Boyle Single. Background

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Thesis Writing

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  1. Thesis Writing Dr. Tamara O’Connor Dr. Mark Matthews Student Learning Development http://student-learning.tcd.ie

  2. Steps in Thesis Writing • Background 2. Ideas 3. Planning 4. Writing

  3. Demystifying Dissertation Writing Peg Boyle Single

  4. Background why? – preconceptions - starting

  5. Why do we write • A professional thesis writer? • Learn how to write • Learn how to think • Learn how to conduct research • Plus much more

  6. Preconceptions • It takes 6 months • You do it at the end • You can cut and paste from papers • No one will read it

  7. When do I start? Immediately – keep a journal Where do I start? Read theses Do the groundwork

  8. Ideas message – title – abstract

  9. Start with…. A focus statement…. • The essence of your research • 1-4 sentences • Get feedback on it • Discuss with supervisor

  10. Examples Why do some graduates succeed and others don’t? Is it due to the student, the department, or both? Using mixed methods, I examine how subject variables and departmental variables influence the adjustment and success of first year graduate students. The study uses data from surveys and semi-structured interviews. (PhD in Social Psychology)

  11. Focus Statement Interview Play the role of a journalist. Using the Focus Statement Sheet Interview the PhD student Take notes in pairs 5 mins

  12. The Title

  13. Then develop an abstract A tool to think about your thesis/research • 100-300 words • Structure • Precise, clear & interesting

  14. SPSE Technique • Situation: Describe the general background / setting in which your research takes place • Problem: Describe a problem that the research addresses. • Solution: What did you do or try to address this problem? • Evaluation: How did you evaluate the proposed solution and what were the results? Individually complete 5 mins

  15. 5 / Brown’s 8 Questions • Who are the intended readers? (name 3-5) • What did you do? (50 words) • Why did you do it? (50) • What happened? (50) • What do the results mean in theory? (50) • What do the results mean in practice? (50) • What is the key benefit for readers? (25) • What remains unresolved? (50) (Brown 1994/95)

  16. Planning structure – thinking vs. writing – table of contents

  17. Structure • Outline • Generic thesis structure • Allocate word count for each section • Design sub-sections • Table of contents feature • Write in layers

  18. Outlining – Level 1 Background Objectives Method Findings Conclusions

  19. Outlining – Level 2

  20. Level 3

  21. Rule of Three • Within each chapter, repeat 3 times • Intro. We will show .. • Body. Show them .. • Concl. We have shown .. • Within thesis, repeat contributions 3 times • Intro chapter • Main chapters • Conclusion chapter

  22. Writing a habit – how not to write - strategies

  23. The Habit of Writing Writing at the end of a long list of tasks – no fixed deadline “I can’t find the time for writing….” “I have no energy for writing…”

  24. Balance Where you work When you work What you do

  25. 10 ways to not write 1. Open your email at the start of the day and never quit it. 2. Keep your writing goals quite general. 3. Don’t talk about your writing-in-progress. 4. Only seek feedback when you have a full draft. 5. Don’t write unless you know exactly what you want to say. 6. Wait till you’re ready to write. 7. Don’t bother defining sub-goals – you know what you have to do. 8. Don’t bother with the 5-minute warm up for writing -- you know what to do. 9. Always write in large chunks of time. 10. Try and find more time for writing. Rowena Murray

  26. Writing Strategies • Book/journal • Warming Up • Write to prompts • Freewriting • Writing in Layers

  27. Warming Up Exercise What I want to write about today is….. (30 words) This is important because…. (30 words) Today, I will not write about…… (30 words)

  28. Writing to prompts • What writing have I done and what would I like to do? • Where do my ideas come from? • How does what I read compare with my own views? • What I want to write about next is… • What do I want to write about next?

  29. Freewriting • Writing for 5 minutes • Without stopping • In sentences • Private – no external reader • No structure needed • Topic related to your research • Like brainstorming in sentences

  30. Writing in layers • Write a list of chapter headings • Write a sentence or two on contents of each chapter • Write lists of headings for each section in each chapter • Make notes for each heading on how you will develop the section • Write an introductory paragraph for each chapter • Write the word count, draft number and date at top of first page

  31. Tools & Techniques a habit – how not to write - strategies

  32. Tools? Academic Writing: http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk What do you use?

  33. Look at the checklist in your guide Review of literature Methodology Presentation of Results Discussion and Conclusions What are examiners looking for?

  34. Tips for successful writing • Plan to write regularly • Make a time plan and stick to it • Write up section as soon as it’s ready • Stop writing at a point where you could go on – makes it easier to start next time! • Decide where and when best for you • Don’t write when exhausted • Seek support

  35. Steps in Thesis Writing • Background 2. Ideas 3. Planning 4. Writing

  36. Student Learning Development Thank you for your time Visit our website at: http://student-learning.tcd.ie

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