Mike March 19,6: Bonner March 19,9: I discovered MMM just last month and it has become part of my routine to check it out regularly.
Getting Started When you are about to begin, writing a thesis seems a long, difficult task. That is because it is a long, difficult task. Fortunately, it will seem less daunting once you have a couple of chapters done.
Towards the end, you will even find yourself enjoying it — an enjoyment based on satisfaction in the achievement, pleasure in the improvement in your technical writing, and of course the approaching end.
Like many tasks, thesis writing usually seems worst before you begin, so let us look at how you should make a start. An outline First make up a thesis outline: There is a section on chapter order and thesis structure at the end of this text.
When you sit down to type, your aim is no longer a thesis — a daunting goal — but something simpler. Your new aim is just to write a paragraph or section about one of your subheadings. It helps to start with an easy one: In an experimental thesis, the Materials and Methods chapter is often the easiest to write — just write down what you did; carefully, formally and in a logical order.
How do you make an outline of a chapter? For most of them, you might try the method that I use for writing papers, and which I learned from my thesis adviser Stjepan Marcelja: Assemble all the figures that you will use in it and put them in the order that you would use if you were going to explain to someone what they all meant.
You might as well rehearse explaining it to someone else — after all you will probably give several talks based on your thesis work. Once you have found the most logical order, note down the key words of your explanation.
These key words provide a skeleton for much of your chapter outline. Once you have an outline, discuss it with your adviser. This step is important: Organisation It is encouraging and helpful to start a filing system.
Open a word-processor file for each chapter and one for the references. You can put notes in these files, as well as text. Or you may think of something interesting or relevant for that chapter. When you come to work on Chapter m, the more such notes you have accumulated, the easier it will be to write.
Make a back-up of these files and do so every day at least depending on the reliability of your computer and the age of your disk drive. If you thesis file is not too large, a simple way of making a remote back-up is to send it as an email attachment to a consenting email correspondent; you could also send it to yourself.
Or you could use a drop-box or other more sophisticated system. You should also have a physical filing system: This will make you feel good about getting started and also help clean up your desk. Stick them in that folder.
Then put all the folders in a box or a filing cabinet. As you write bits and pieces of text, place the hard copy, the figures etc in these folders as well.
Touch them and feel their thickness from time to time — ah, the thesis is taking shape. If any of your data exist only on paper, copy them and keep the copy in a different location.
Consider making a copy of your lab book. This has another purpose beyond security: 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.
Spreadsheet and word processor files are not suitable for long term storage. Archiving data by Joseph Slater is a good guide. While you are getting organised, you should deal with any university paperwork. Examiners have to be nominated and they have to agree to serve.
Various forms are required by your department and by the university administration. Make sure that the rate limiting step is your production of the thesis, and not some minor bureaucratic problem.I recently stumbled across your bolg, as most first time commentators say, but have always been intrigued by us (humans) being creatures of habit.
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But since that’s probably not going to happen, let’s take a closer look at some strategies for overcoming procrastination. There is no single “best way” to overcome procrastination.