Writing The Thesis Or Dissertation
The Thinking About It Stage
The Thesis/Dissertation Defense
First make up a thesis outline: several pages containing chapter headings, sub-headings, some figure titles (to indicate which results go where) and perhaps some other notes and comments.
The process of writing the thesis is like a course in scientific writing, and in that sense each chapter is like an assignment in which you are taught, but not assessed.
Stage 2 - Preparing the Proposal
A political point: make sure that you do not omit relevant papers by researchers who are like to be your examiners, or by potential employers to whom you might be sending the thesis in the next year or two.
In other columns of the spread sheet, you can add key words (your own and theirs) and comments about its importance, relevance to you and its quality. How many papers?
Stage 4- Writing the Research Paper*
If you can keep these ideas in mind while you're thinking through yourresearch you stand an excellent chance of having your research projectturn out well.
I know it's still early in your thinking but it's never too early to create a draft of a timeline. Try using the 6 Stages (see the next item) and put a start and a finish time for each. Post your timeline in a conspicuous place (above your computer monitor?) so that it continually reminds you how you're doing. Periodically update your timeline with new dates as needed.
A 1 page summary that articulates the following:
a summary of the problem you are trying to solve and your approach.
Preparing The Proposal
describe in detail the problem you are trying to solve.
... the idea that first and foremost the whole research project shouldbe a learning experience for you.
For PhD thesis it is something like:
Although these instructions mainly talk about doing an MS thesis, most of the things are the same for a PhDthesis.
The following ideas should help you keep the meeting on your agenda.
Here's a link:
It has been useful to know these as it seems biologists and latex don't mix!I strongly recommend sitting down with the adviser and making up a timetable for writing it: a list of dates for when you will give the first and second drafts of each chapter to your adviser(s).
It alsoexplains the practicalities of surviving the ordeal.
Whenever you sit down to write, it is very important to write So write something, even if it is just a set of notes or a few paragraphs of text that you would never show to anyone else.
These key words provide a skeleton for much of your chapter outline.
In many versions, Word's equation editor can be reached via hotkey Alt-equals, and takes pseudo latex typed input (eg X_1 converts to X subscript 1) upon the next space or operator.
Or you could use a drop-box or other more sophisticated system.
Word-processors are wonderful in this regard: in the first draft you do not have to start at the beginning, you can leave gaps, you can put in little notes to yourself, and then you can clean it all up later.
Then put all the folders in a box or a filing cabinet.
Further, scientific ethics require you to keep lab books and original data for at least ten years, and a copy is more likely to be found if two copies exist.
Examiners have to be nominated and they have to agree to serve.
So take a positive attitude to all the scribbles with which your adviser decorates your text: each comment tells you a way in which you can make your thesis better.
S/he will then return it to you with suggestions and comments.
Even for native speakers of English who write very well in other styles, one notices an enormous improvement in the first drafts from the first to the last chapter written.
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