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Writing your MSc thesis (Landman and Van Arem)

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TIL/T&P Masterclass presentation by Ramon Landman and Bart van Arem on writing a PhD thesis. September 2011.

TIL/T&P Masterclass presentation by Ramon Landman and Bart van Arem on writing a PhD thesis. September 2011.

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  • 1. Writing your MSc ThesisAbout mastering your thesis andkilling your darlings9/30/11 Delft University of Technology Challenge the future
  • 2. Killing your darlings•  No  dating  and  sex  during  the  writing  process  •  Not  participating  in  the  household  during  writing  process  •  Being  rude  and  grumpy  to  your  environment  if  writing  fails  •  else...   Titel van de presentatie 2
  • 3. Killing your darlings•  To  realize  a  clear  story  line  within  your  report,  kill  everything  that   does  not  contribute  to  the  message.  •  How  do  you  kill  them??  •  When  do  you  kill  them??   Titel van de presentatie 3
  • 4. Goal MSc Thesis•  To  show  all  I  know  and  learned  •  There  is  no  real  goal  for  writing  the  thesis;  my  supervisors  already   know  what  I  am  capable  of.  •  To  answer  my  research  questions  in  a  structured  way  for  any   interested  reader  •  Else...   Titel van de presentatie 4
  • 5. Goal MSc Thesis•  Provides  insight  into  (for  different  types  of  readers)   •  What  has  been  done   •  Why  it  has  been  done   •  How  it  has  been  done   •  What  was  concluded  •  Thoroughly  master  the  content  of  your  research  subject  (after   struggle)  •  Learn  to  put  things  in  place;   •   introduction,  research  goals  and  questions,  literature,  method,  results,  discussion   and  conclusions.     Titel van de presentatie 5
  • 6. Themes•  Introduction  and  structure  •  Language  and  layout   Titel van de presentatie 6
  • 7. Introduction and structure•  Not  important;  my  supervisor  reads  everything  •  Very  important;  they  give  my  reader  a  hallstand  •  Literature  not  needed;  its  all  about  my  own  cleverness  •  Else...   Titel van de presentatie 7
  • 8. Structure•  Reading  a  report   •  Rough   •  Summary,  content,  conclusions   •  Selective   •  Content,  introduction  (Pirst  sentence)  of  sections,  headings   •  Intensive   •  Clear  structure,  not  too  much  detail   •  One  subject  (point)  per  section   Titel van de presentatie 8
  • 9. Introduction - format•  1.  Give  insight  into  background  of  the  research  •  2.  Establish  a  niche   •  Problem  statement;  However,  unforunately,  but...   •  Importance  of  solving  the  problem  •  3.  Occupy  the  niche   •  Research  question   •  Indicate  your  main  purposes  (concrete)   •  WorkPlow  (literature,  method,  test  case)  •  4.  Present  main  Pindings  •  5.  Structure  of  report   Titel van de presentatie 9
  • 10. Introduction – State of the art•  Shows  student  is  aware  of  existing  theories,  methods  and  results  •  To  rePlect  upon  own  method  and  results  in  discussion  •  Places  research  in  existing  research  Pield  (stresses  relevance  and   prevents  double  work)  •  Helps  to  distinguish  own  work  from  state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art  and  state-­‐of-­‐ practice.   Titel van de presentatie 10
  • 11. Structure of report•  Separate  results,  their  interpretation  (meaning,  consistency  and   validity)  and  the  conclusions  •  Isolate  required  background  information  for  the  reader  •  Minimize  use  appendices   •  Hardly  read  and  assessed  (why  if  information  is  not  important  enough  to  include   in  main  report)   Titel van de presentatie 11
  • 12. Language and layout•  Keep  it  vague;  if  you  can’t  convice  them,  confuse  them...  •  Subjective;  I  am  the  expert,  so  my  option  counts  most  •  Unambiguous  and  to  the  point  based  on  facts  •  else...   Titel van de presentatie 12
  • 13. Language and layout•  Based  on  facts,  unambiguous  and  to  the  point  •  Prevent  the  following   •  adjectives  and  adverbs  like  important,  large,  etc…     •  it  is  clear  that,  obvious,  evident  etc…   •  If  it  is  clear,  it  is  redundant  information!   •  If  it  is  not  clear,  am  I  stupid?   Titel van de presentatie 13
  • 14. Language and layout•  Figures   •  Increase  the  number  of  pages   •  Make  my  report  accessible  to  under  age  readers   •  Bring  some  color  and  a  moment  of  relief     •  else...   Titel van de presentatie 14
  • 15. Language and layout•  Figures   •  Support  your  message   •  Make  label  readable  (same  size  as  your  body  text)   •  You  always  guide  your  readers  through  your  Pigures  (be  polite!!)   •  Need  to  be  refered  to  (mind  the  capital  F  “in  Figure  2”)   •  Caption  makes  Pigure  stand  alone  readable   Titel van de presentatie 15

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