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Strategies for Dissertation and Thesis Writing: What to do and How to think about it as a Rite of Passage

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Academic writing for dissertations and theses are a rite of passage at many levels - this presentation discussed both the pragmatic and the human side side of these challenges and the skills and …

Academic writing for dissertations and theses are a rite of passage at many levels - this presentation discussed both the pragmatic and the human side side of these challenges and the skills and strategies needed to get through them

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  • 1. Defining Your Strategic Approach To Academic Writing For Your Dissertation or Thesis We will start in just a moment www.doctoralnet.com
  • 2. Have you ever experienced a life changing event? Something that shifted your perspective on or about life forever? 1. 2. 3. 4. If so, when? Did you see it coming? Were you prepared? In retrospect, would you do anything differently?
  • 3. Dissertation/Thesis as a Rite of Passage: Preparing for the Tour de France 1. Starts with high hopes and lots of planning. 2. Dissertations kick off in a pack 3. But quickly some are lost in the bushes 4. Others crash 5. Lots end up going it alone. 6. Some are stranded looking for help 7. The lucky ones find an extra push from a friend 8. Some soar 9. And, with the right kind of guidance all can end up on a beach at the end
  • 4. Strategy Set #1: 4 Writing Big Documents 1. Keep your perspective in two places: 1. Where you are going – the golden thread of your ideas and how they link 2. Internal consistency – finite agreement between sentences, paragraphs and headings 2. Writing pace helps a lots with this one – faster is better 3. Plan your work, work your plan 4. Outside accountability
  • 5. Strategy Set #2: The Proposal is like Packing for the Trip: NOT the Trip Itself Let’s test the analogy in chat… What do you do to prepare for an exotic trip to a far off land?
  • 6. 1. Learn about the place you are going 2. Talk to others who have been there 3. Pack for the trip 1. Your problem = the focus of your destination 2. Your literature = your clothes 3. Your methodology = your transportation (no one is taking you there you are on your own to find it) 4. Access to the population = your passport 5. Proposal/prospectus hearing = visa
  • 7. DoctoralNet Standard Advise… 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Consider writing your methodology chapter first Always have 5 or more model dissertations to work from Find award winners to use as your models Talk all the time about “how it is done” Use many mentors
  • 8. DoctoralNet Standard Advise… Specific to Proposals 1. 2. 3. Headings keep the golden thread alive – they show the reader where the methodology will surface, where the topic will etc. If you don’t understand argument – learn about it now – know what claims, evidence, warrants and data are. Know your academic writing basics: one thought to a paragraph – several paragraphs that make up a topic to a heading – several headings that lead to a logical component to your document to a chapter
  • 9. It’s the tough times THAT MAKE IT A RITE OF PASSAGE
  • 10. Mental Strategies for Finishing •Keep your focus •Don’t get distracted with others •Don’t be afraid to try •If caught in the bushes (or chasing a rabbit hole) admit it quickly and get help to move on •Be prepared mentally for crash and burn •Ask lots of different people for help – do not think fall prey to embarrassment
  • 11. Can you relate? Did any of these happen to you? What did you learn?
  • 12. Q&A 1.Has it been helpful? 2.What else do you still wonder about?
  • 13. Upcoming News/Events 1. March 1 Starts 2 months of our focus on academic writing – sign into the site for free resources + three conferences at end of month on #acwri 2. Taking names of interested parties for possible writing group with professorial help starting soon– cost $40 month if we get 5 or more signed up. One of conferences is a trial writing group for those who want to see if it would be a helpful strategy. Phase 1: Formulating the Research Questions of Your Study (IC)