Do you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of writing your thesis? Are you concerned that your PhD will take over your life?
This much-needed text will help you to develop the writing skills you need to succeed at every stage of your research. It covers core topics such as:
developing a research topic through writing
exploring key concepts through writing
building a structured chapter framework
completing a first draft
writing clearly, coherently and in an appropriate academic style.
Each chapter features insights from researchers along with tasks and self-evaluation exercises to help you develop your own strategies for success. Invaluable to thesis writers from a range of disciplines, The PhD Writing Handbook will help you to think more clearly and communicate more effectively with your readers.
Desmond Thomas is a lecturer at the University of Essex, UK, where he currently teaches a PhD Thesis Writing course. He has over 10 years’ experience of designing and teaching writing skills courses for PhD researchers.
List of Illustrative Materials
1 The Stages of PhD Thesis Writing
The traditional model of the PhD
Alternative models of the PhD
Making a start
2 Developing a Research Topic through Writing
Choosing a topic
Finding and developing a topic that is feasible
Finding and developing a topic that is specific and significant
Developing an updated rationale for the research
3 Managing Research Reading
Problem areas associated with reading
Notetaking: From reading into writing
4 Producing a Literature Review
The literature review as a process and a product
The purposes of a literature review
Alternative approaches to the literature review as product
Literature review problem areas
5 Exploring Key Concepts
The importance of concept development within a research project
The starting point for concept exploration
The process of concept exploration: the next steps
Other ways of exploring concepts through lateral thinking
Exploring concepts in writing
6 Building a Structured Chapter Framework
Producing an overall framework
Types of chapters within the structural framework
Chapter introductions and conclusions
7 Establishing Productive Writing Routines
Goals, schedules and routines
When will you write? How will you allocate time?
Setting goals and targets
Where and how will you write?
Feedback on writing
8 Writing Clearly, Concisely and Coherently
Clarity and coherence
The nature of coherence
Coherence at chapter level
9 Developing Academic Style
Expectations of academic style
Expectations of difficulty
Classifying ‘difficult texts’
10 Completing a First Draft
The basic writing cycle
Managing reader expectations
Drafting and redrafting
Writing and editing
11 Motivating Yourself to Write
Writing is more than just a technical exercise
The nature of writer’s block
In which situations does writer’s block occur?
What are the causes of writer’s block?
What kind of strategies or solutions can we use for writer’s block?
Coping with rejection
12 Reporting and Analysing Research Findings
Structuring your data report
Reporting quantitative data
Reporting qualitative data
13 Completing your PhD Thesis
Writing the final version
Oral presentations and writing
14 Writing throughout an Academic Career
Appendix 1: Useful Websites
Appendix 2: Suggested Answers for Task 2.1
Appendix 3: Research Rationale Template