Monday, 10 July 2017

Getting on with Writing a Doctoral Thesis

Dear Colleagues,

Just a brief post to fill in the space since I last posted, and to comment briefly on the challenging, urgent process on writing a thesis ready for submission at the end of September.

I am sure the above comic strip speaks to the experience of writing for most students at any stage of learning, and possibly for anyone trying to put pen to paper. I must say though that, at the outset of starting to write-up my thesis, I hadn't realised how much of a problem it would be to (a) just simply get ideas and thoughts out of my head and (b) make them appear logical, intelligent and coherent on screen/paper.

I've spent a huge amount of time writing stuff that I then deleted, but then, as I have often told students myself, it is critically important to just get on with the act of writing, in order that that physical process is pushing the cognitive.

What I have found particularly valuable to do a little of whilst writing - and given that I am focusing on activist education - is to have be engaged in this, no matter whether on a voluntary or observer basis, as this has allowed me to 'see' what I am writing in a 'coalface' setting.

My other tips for others trying to write something like a thesis is:

(a) Always be clear about your research questions/goals.
(b) Stick to these and avoid (as I really struggled to do in my early days of writing) diversions into that which you enjoy writing about and/or know something about.
(c) Agree on notional word counts to help maintain output and keep and eye on whether your writing is focused enough.
(d) Keep reading what you are writing so that you come back to 'a' above on a periodic basis. It is so easy to forget what you are supposed to be concentrating on, especially when you have a long piece of work to research/write.

OK then, with this blog posted, I can now relax for a few more weeks, til I am back again :)

In Solidarity


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