How to create a PhD thesis: Setting specific writing goals


Writing a thesis isn’t any more difficult than writing an essay of a few pages—although that might not seem to be the case when you try to do it yourself. The primary problem students who have difficulty completing a thesis run into is time management. The actual writing process, while somewhat expanded and certainly lengthier, isn’t much different than essay writing at all. To combat this, setting goals, along with a timeline, can help you to navigate this more involved writing process.

  1. Set a date for choosing a topic
  2. Before you do anything, you need to know what sort of topic you’ll be writing about. Consider the various topics you’ve covered in your course, your personal interests, and any current events that might relate. With these things in mind, brainstorm a list of topics until you come up with one that suits you and is researchable. Make sure there’s enough research material out there to form and support a thesis in regards to this topic.

  3. Plan several days to a week for determining a polished, ready to research thesis statement
  4. Now that you have a topic, you’ll need to form a complete thesis statement—i.e. something you can defend and support in your paper. Read up on the topic in question, including general information, studies that relate to it, other theses, and any vitally important literature in the field that relates to it. Form your thesis statement.

  5. Plan your research
  6. Plan how you will research, what sources you will use, and how you will organize your notes. Set a date for concluding the research process.

  7. Set a date for outlining your thesis
  8. Sit down and over the course of a few hours, create a thorough outline for the entire body of your paper. Determine how it will be divided into sections, and how they will transition, as well as which sources will apply to them.

  9. Schedule your writing in one hour sessions
  10. Once you have an outline, write the body of the thesis. Schedule writing for one hour per day, in the morning if possible, and in a location where you will have access to the necessary materials and won’t be disturbed in the process.

  11. Schedule writing the introduction and conclusion
  12. Once the body of the paper is complete, write the introduction and conclusion.

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