Getting Over the Thesis Barrier by Clive Landis - Read Online
Getting Over the Thesis Barrier
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Don’t end up among the 50% of all PhD students who never graduate. This essential thesis writing guide will teach you the tricks of the trade to conquer writer’s block and sail through the thesis writing process. First advice: do NOT start at the beginning! Learn the easiest order of writing, how to create a thesis framework, how to pass the “weight test” and, finally, to conquer the viva voce.

Published: Clive Landis on
ISBN: 9781301011827
List price: $5.99
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Getting Over the Thesis Barrier - Clive Landis

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Chapter 1: Who Are You Writing This For? Not the World

Before you can write your thesis you need to know who your readership is, so you can tailor your thesis to please them.

You will come to realize that the sum total of readers for this, your magnum opus, is probably less than five and of those only one actually matters.

So the thesis is a surprisingly intimate document, as you keep this one person in mind at all times when writing.

1.1 Who am I writing this for?

1.1.1 Only one person matters

Let’s face it, you can count the number of people who will ever read your thesis on the fingers of one hand: 1.) You, 2.) Your supervisor, 3.) Your thesis examiner(s). Nobody else is going to read your thesis, unless you turn out to be some latter-day Einstein or a notorious evil mastermind like the Unabomber (what does a serial killer write for his thesis?). If you whittle that list down further, you will quickly realize that 1.) and 2.) don’t really matter when it comes to passing your thesis. In truth and in fact, you are writing this thesis for just one person: your thesis examiner.

1.1.2 Red rag to a bull

You will hopefully know your thesis examiner(s) personally and you should make every effort to be intimately familiar with their research, to know their areas of strengths and weaknesses, and what their pet peeves are. Read their books and papers, go to their lectures, and talk with departmental colleagues or students to find out what makes them tick, and what gets them ticked off. You do not want to gloss-over or try to bluff on a topic during your viva on which your examiner is a world’s leading expert. Nor do you want to wave a red rag to a bull and challenge a cherished tenet of your examiner’s life work with an off-hand comment in your thesis.

1. 2 Making your examiner’s life easy

1.2.1 A logical flow of thought

Your examiner will be almost as daunted by having to read your thesis as you were having to write it, so it is critically important you chose the correct writing style to make your examiner’s life easy.

Some examiners will read every single word of your thesis diligently: I have witnessed one examiner who inserted a blizzard of post-it notes on practically every page and who took about 5 hours in the viva to resolve each flagged typo or query. But for the most part, your examiner will zero in on one chapter: the