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PhD writing tips


Thesis writing tutorial: learn to plan ahead

Much forethought is needed before the beginning stages of writing a thesis. The time you spend planning ahead is a crucial investment that will ease the writing process and improve the relevance and quality of your overall assignment. Even the planning process has a coherent order that should be followed if planning is to be done effectively. Include all of the following in your planning schedule. You’ll be amazed at how smoothly your thesis will progress if you incorporate these methods, as well as enough time into your project.

Give yourself a 2 week planning period

Look at it this way: For every hour you plan, you’re minimizing 2 hours of work later on. Instead of getting into the writing, take 2 weeks to plan your thesis thoroughly. A few hours a day will suffice. Make sure that when you start writing, you know exactly what goes where and how much work is involved. Foresee any surprises and counteract with notes and guidelines to your future self.

Use a day planner or desk calendar

Break up the sections you plan to work on based on the amount of days you have to complete your thesis. A desk calendar works well for this. The big blocks give you ample space to write the daily tasks down. Be specific when assigning tasks so that you know exactly what you should do and when. Don’t forget to accommodate off-days and social activities when doing this. Taking full days off will be important if you want to generate decent work without burning yourself out.

Preliminary research

For the first week or two before you start writing your thesis, try to incorporate your topic in a little part of every day. Even if it’s spending just one hour at the library before you visit your parents, get a little bit of a mindset started. Casual reading and conversations about your topic with others will do wonders for your frame of mind.

Fill a notebook with ideas

Writing down pages and pages of key ideas while you research won’t feel like work, but it will help you immensely when you start writing. When doing your preliminary research, always carry your notebook with you and jot down things you feel are relevant to your direction. When you’re not in study mode, ideas will still come when you least expect them, so carry your notebook around wherever you go.

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