Long, long time ago
in a galaxy far, far away I attented a thesis writing seminar. I have attended quite a few of those, actually. This particular one was in Aarhus arranged by the IC and held by Matthew Elsmore. I took a lot of notes and haven’t really looked at them in a long time. But right now, I’m turning to anything which will help me through thesis writing. I hope you’ll find his advice useful as well.
- Explain your thesis in 30 seconds to a peer. Can you do that? The more you know now, the easier you can cleanse your research.
- Your thesis is a whole thing. Think structure from the start. Structure = control. Try to remain in control over your topic = have a clear structure.
- Think about this from the start: What is my red line? What am I trying to prove here? If there isn’t a plot, a clear structure, or a main character, the reader loses interest.
- A summary can help the reader back to the main plot. Think of yourself as a narrator, summarizing what it is you are trying to do. If you are too caught up in content, you are probably not thinking about a coherent structure. Your thesis is a whole thing.
- Think about the audience. What is the audience for your paper? Your immediate audience are your supervisor and your examiner. What is your preferred audience? Know who you are writing for. Have someone in mind. An interest group. Might be a specific group, scholars, the Danish population in general etc.. Just have someone in mind. In order to communicate you need to know an audience. Who are you applying theory and analyzing results for? Think about you audience and be clever about it.
- Visualize yourself writing your thesis. Speak to people who have done it. Speak to your supervisor. He/she is not an enemy. Use your supervisor as much as you can! Really! Send him/her early material. It is a work in progress, so don’t be afraid to show him/her imperfect writings.
- Set deadlines. Realistic deadlines. Such as ‘by the end of next week’.
- Make your own abstract texts of the research articles you have read.
- Literature/bibliography: Only put stuff on you’ve read. Not 5 articles and not 150. Somewhere in between.
- EX POST: What will you do with your thesis document? It is your latest advertisement. Your thesis is a practical paper. Something you can use. Are you thinking about publishing it?
- There will be horrible days. That’s when you need to take a break. Step away, do something different.
- Be prepared for stressful periods.
At last I have this very awesome tip I got from a sweet German friend of mine: write your research question down, cut it out and glue it to your computer. Like I did:
I have less than three months of my thesis writing time left. Better get to it!