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Clever way to write a thesis

  1. Oct 12, 2005 #1
    Hi everyone. Could you share your ideas on how to write a thesis in the most clever way. Does it first make sense to present your results, then discuss them writing theory at the same time or it´s better to write an introduction and literature review at first? Who has got what experience on how to write most efficiently?
     
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  3. Oct 12, 2005 #2

    Moonbear

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    People have different approaches to this. Some will suggest starting off with the literature review, but personally, I find that to be inefficient, especially since you can be writing other sections in between reading the literature you need to review.

    My preference has always been to start with a basic outline. Use the outline to determine what order will the chapters follow (this often is not the actual order the experiments were done in, but an order that makes for good logical flow from one idea to the next), what the main content of each chapter will be, bullet points of your major results and what you will discuss/conclude relative to those results.

    Then, I write the methods. Knowing the order you're going to discuss things helps get that section organized quickly, and it's the easiest thing to write since you already know what methods you used. Once you have the methods, you can then write your results. After the methods and results are written and organized, follow the same structure for writing your discussion. After the methods, results and discussion is all written, then it's much easier to go back and write an introduction that properly sets up the chapter with the information needed to follow the discussion.

    After all of the chapters are written, then it will be so much easier to write the overall lit review/thesis introduction. You'll have had to read all the literature to prepare the individual chapters, and now you can organize is logically to address what you finally decided to include in your thesis.

    The more time you spend thinking about the organization and preparing a good outline before beginning, the less time you'll need to spend rearranging and rewriting chapters and sections.

    Keep in active communication with your mentor during the writing process. Don't write everything and then hand them 300 pages to read all at once. Give them a chapter or section at a time to get feedback before you move on. Definitely discuss the outline with them before you start writing. This will save you a lot of time if what you have in mind is entirely different from how your mentor envisioned you should organize it.
     
  4. Oct 12, 2005 #3
    most people I have encountered tend to have an abstract of the paper, then they do an introduction for a while, then they discuss all the previous research, then go into their research, then their Bib and then they have appendices with all supporting information, perhaps an Index, etc.
     
  5. Oct 12, 2005 #4

    ZapperZ

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    WARNING!

    WARNING!

    WARNING!

    This is something you SHOULD and MUST discuss with your adviser! Unless your adviser doesn't care, he or she will have a lot to say in how you should write your thesis.

    Look at the thesis of your adviser's previous students. Chances are, you will be following the same pattern.

    Zz.
     
  6. Oct 12, 2005 #5

    Dr Transport

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    I have tended to write up a thesis after I worked out the theory and either done the experiment and or computer code. This method helps to clear up loose ends or other things to look at. If you have done the proper pick and shovel work to get up to speed to do the research, the literature survey will almost write itself. I have found that writing as you go doesn't work very well, you tend to overlook points to expound on later. Also as Zz has said, don't go off in a direction without your advisors consent, you'll only end up doing twice the work.

    Write an outline of the proposed research, then as you complete major headings start writing what you did in outline form. Use these bullets to expand out to get a thesis. Work out with your advisor a methodology for him/her to check it, chapter by chapter or the whole thing at once etc.... Mine would only take a chapter at a time, we would go thru it with a fine tooth comb looking for points to more fully explain, plots to be made etc.....after about 2 iterations it would be done and he would take the next chapter, same process all over again. For me, start to finish it took about 2 months of haggling to get it done fro my disseration, but it went from 100 pages to about 150 and looking back at it to comapre, the finished product was orders of magnitude better, tigher and more readable.
     
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