BusEco HDR workshop: Preparing for Completion - Ms Josephine Hook

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Part of the HDR Development Seminar Series, Ms Josephine Hook presented a workshop on the following themes: Thesis completion; The letting go/finishing off stage; Freewriting & generative writing; Living with the imperfections; Editing process; Integrating themes; Editing for structure & flow; Thesis title; Abstract – try Brown’s eight questions; Intro/first chapter/lead in chapters; Concluding sections of middle chapters; Final chapter; Knowing when you are finished; Have you made a contribution to knowledge?.

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BusEco HDR workshop: Preparing for Completion - Ms Josephine Hook

  1. 1. BusEco HDR workshop:Preparing for CompletionJosephine HookResearch & Learning CoordinatorMonash University Library, Caulfield Image source: http://freelance-writing.lovetoknow.com/Companies_Hiring_Freelance_Academic_Writers
  2. 2. Outline 1 Entering the completion phase 2 Editing process 3 Knowing when you are finished BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 2
  3. 3. 1 The letting go/finishing off stage When you have decided „enough is enough‟, ask yourself what needs to be done in order to prepare for submission…(try using this as a freewriting prompt)Some of the signs… „fear and loathing‟ fatigue BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 3
  4. 4. 1 The letting go/finishing off stage Your focus needs to shift from making the work better to making the writing better Defer new work – nothing but revising, clarifying and strengthening themes and links between chapters 3-6 month process BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 4
  5. 5. 1 The letting go/finishing off stageStrategies to get you through… concentrated writing tasks – freewriting, outlining, pacing, revising, planning „be selfish‟ well-being & balance motivation, support & feedback BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 5
  6. 6. Freewriting & generative writing Freewriting Generative writing Write for five minutes Write for five minutes Without stopping Without stopping In sentences In sentences Topic – eg., “What needs to be Useful to revisit a topic from done before completion?” freewriting Private writing – no external Let someone else read it reader No structure needed More structured DISCUSS SHARE BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 6
  7. 7. Living with the imperfections New goal: old writing – making the best case possible for your work as it stands Recognise – for better or worse – your work is now in its final configuration Resist the temptation to incorporate new material – unless you are absolutely certain your thesis is not viable without it Recognise the limitations of your research – write about this BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 7
  8. 8. 2 Editing process Getting to the first draft of your entire thesis is an important milestone Upgrading a „patchy draft‟ into a fully integrated thesis – unified by a clear intellectual direction A complete first draft signals the elements of your thesis are reasonably fixed – what is not fixed is the organisation and presentation of these elements The real work at this point is strengthening what you already think is strong enough; making explicit what you think is already explicit – drawing out the intellectual themes BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 8
  9. 9. Integrating themesSource: Dunleavy p. 200 BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 9
  10. 10. Editing for structure & flow Title Abstract Intro/first chapter/lead in chapters Concluding sections of middle chapters Final chapter BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 10
  11. 11. Thesis title Introduces the central analytical concepts/major argument themes Use of colon: to separate thematic, analytical or theoretical ambitions from empirical references or limiting features Readers will expect to see all words contained in the title „working hard‟ in the thesis Choose carefully – you will live with this title on your CV for years to come Ask the following questions of your title: Does it capture the essence of your thesis? Does it define the central research question? Does it signal themes and arguments? Activity – brainstorm at least ten alternative titles BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 11
  12. 12. Abstract – try Brown’s eight questionsWho are the intended readers? (list 3-5 names)What did I do? (50 words)Why did I do it? (50 words)What happened? (50 words)What do the results mean in theory? (50 words)What do the results mean in practice? (50 words)What is the key benefit for readers? (25 words)What remains unresolved? (no word limit)Source: http://www.literaticlub.co.uk/writing/articles/write.html BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 12
  13. 13. Intro/first chapter/lead in chapters Defines overall theoretical framework Sets out intellectual themes stemming from central research question 2-4 themes enough Guiding ideas to which you will return BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 13
  14. 14. Concluding sections of middle chapters Link substantive chapters to the themes from the opening chapters via their conclusions Role of conclusions is to pull focus away from research detail and bring out key findings of chapter in „stand-back‟ mode An opportunity to check your work is structurally sound Assign one function to each chapter BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 14
  15. 15. Final chapter Reprise themes from opening chapter – this time grounded in the experience of middle chapters Establish what you have achieved, how have you progressed professional discourse? Compare across chapters, pull together key themes Viable directions for future research BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 15
  16. 16. …a final word Redefine the thesis title and abstract in closure mode Review the opening and final chapters in an integrating way Adjust your intellectual focus squarely back on to the central thesis question BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 16
  17. 17. 3 Knowing when you are finishedRecognising when your work is „good enough‟: Your argument and conclusions are plausible Your argument is convincing and coherent You have made a recognisable contribution to knowledge You have made your contribution visible in the introduction, conclusions and abstract You have achieved some or all of the aims you set out to achieve and have reported this in your thesis Feedback from you supervisor indicates your work is adequate You have had publication/s drawn from your researchSource: Murray, p. 237 BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 17
  18. 18. Have you made a contribution toknowledge?You need to convince your supervisor – and external examiners – that your contribution really is a contribution. It is crucial to argue this at several points in your thesis.Freewrite for 5 minutes on this prompt BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 18
  19. 19. Have a look at successful theses: Hard copies in the library Online versions available through ARROW (Monash) and TROVE (NLA – all theses http://trove.nla.gov.au/) BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 19
  20. 20. References Patrick Dunleavy, Authoring a PhD: how to plan, draft, write, and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation, Palgrave Macmillan, UK, 2003 Rowena Murray, How to write a thesis, 2nd ed., Open University Press, Maidenhead, 2006 BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 20
  21. 21. Want to know more? BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 21
  22. 22. Language and Learning Online BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 22
  23. 23. Learning skillsLibrarians advisers:• search for relevant • Academic reading resources for your assignment or • Academic writing research topic • Note-taking• evaluate and • Study skills manage your • Oral communication resources • Group work skills• citing and • Exam Preparation referencing. • Citing and Referencing BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 23
  24. 24. Visit a Learning Skills AdviserWhat do we do? Drop-in sessions @ Caulfield Library• Academic language Monday - Friday• Study methods / exam tips 12 pm - 2 pm• Reading strategies Monday, Wednesday• Effective note-taking 5 pm - 7 pm• Critical thinking• Essay / report / thesis writing Email a learning skills adviser for an• Writing for research projects individual consultation• Oral presentation skills BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 24
  25. 25. COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA Copyright Regulations 1969 WARNINGThis material has been reproduced and communicated to you by or on behalf of Monash University pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction or communication of this material by you may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act. Do not remove this notice. BusEco HDR Workshops – Completion 5 October 2012 25

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