So, you have decided to pursue your doctoral degree or are planning to do so, and now you are confused about how to start your Ph.D. Thesis writing journey.
I have received many questions asking me about What is the first step of writing a PhD Thesis or any other research document for that matter. That is why I thought of publishing this blog and answering one of the basic yet most annoying parts of writing a thesis.
What Do You Need First?
The first step of writing a PhD thesis comes way before the actual process of writing as you must know the direction in which you are moving forward. To write a thesis, you must plan your thesis.
Questions You Need To Ask Yourself:
Why am I pursuing a doctoral degree?
If you are pursuing the doctoral degree just for the sake of it, then believe me you will be regretting it midway. A doctoral degree is not just another step in your academic career but it is an ongoing test to check your knowledge, progress, and contribution in the concerned subject domain as well as the society. Therefore, make sure that you are willing to make an exceptional contribution.
Where does my interest lie?
Once you have decided to pursue a PhD program, look for the area of your interest. The research work for a PhD Thesis is already tedious and thus, having a topic you like to work on can provide a huge relief. Working on an area you like and working on an area you have no interest in can deliver two very opposite results.
Who will be my mentor?
Based on the availability and university guidelines, you will be assigned a mentor, guide, or supervisor who will be able to provide you insights every now and then on the research topic to help you have a better understanding of your PhD thesis writing as well as the accepted condition of the university. Getting a good supervisor can make your research hardships easier.
The Planning Process For Writing Your PhD Thesis
Once you have decided upon the basics, it’s time to start working on the initial stage. The initial stage includes:
Start the research process
Go through the initial research and reviewing process in the area of interest you selected for your thesis development. Check the trends and other specifics to narrow down your focus area.
Select a topic
Selecting a topic for research is the second step as it is based on the interest area as well as the readers’ quotient. It is important to conduct research which has value to the readers as well as the research committee.
Identify a research gap
Once you have narrowed down an area for your PhD thesis development and selected a topic, identify research gaps which can make significant contributions in the current state of knowledge. Based on the research gap, the objectives, research questions and research objectives will be defined.
Prepare a project plan
Starting the dissertation writing process before having a plan can lead to errors or a disorder in the writing flow. Therefore, this thesis coach of yours suggests that you have a project plan. Create a timeline for each chapter, and set research objectives, aims, questions, hypothesis, and research methodology. Having a plan provides a control over your PhD thesis development.
Begin writing the PhD thesis proposal
Consult your guide in regards to your topic and research plan so that they can provide you suggestions in case you have missed to include something. Once approved, you can begin with the PhD thesis proposal writing to put forward your argument in support of your research topic.
Bonus Tips : Know How To Write A PhD Dissertation/Thesis
Now, you know where and how to start your PhD Thesis Writing process but to keep this blog mindful for you, here are a few tips which you can look upto while writing your PhD Thesis.
Build A Structure First
Create a rough structure of chapters, sections, and ideas you need to include in the thesis writing and get it approved by your supervisor or guide. It’s like a skeleton around which you need to put the mass. It helps in knowing what to add and in which quantity (length in the case of PhD thesis).
Do Not Go For Perfection In The First Go
Never expect your first draft or paragraph to be perfect as writing develops itself with the process of writing up. Therefore, to keep the writing process less daunting, fit the idea of writing a draft in your mind first. Keep some spared time to edit the write-up later on instead of getting stuck at the start.
Keep Your Writing Lively And Active
The academic writing for PhD thesis is not supposed to be boring or monotonous. It is important to keep your writing lively by making it interactive. Leave questions for readers and answer them later at a later stage. Also, try to keep the sentences in active form wherever possible rather than sticking to the passive tone. Make no or less use of adjectives, adverbs, and other unnecessary words to increase the length of your PhD thesis.
There Is No Chronological Order
Do not expect the PhD research writing to be a straight path. There are times where you will need to write going out of the chronological order of the chapters. Write what is fresh in your mind even if it is just one paragraph. Go forth and back whenever necessary and polish the writing later on when you come to the chapter.
The Writing Style Needs To Be Consistent
One of the most discussed PhD writing tips is to stay consistent. Stay consistent with your writing style especially when it comes to the UK and the US spellings. Do not keep switching from -ize to -ise (and vice versa). However, remember that this consistency does not apply on the topics and titles of references used. In that case, it is suggested to stick to the original spellings.
Recheck The References
Have you written your PhD Thesis? Why not take a final glance at the alignment of your in-text citations and work cited in the references at the end. Make sure they are numbered accordingly and that there are no missing citations. To make sure that this is not tedious work, note down the resources along with their mentions instead of leaving them for the last.
Come Back And Edit
Take a final critical view of your PhD Thesis. No matter how well you write or feel confident about your thesis writing process, get your research document edited. Either do it yourself with an objective eye or let the experts do it. A PhD thesis can be the face of your success and thus, it’s better to be double sure than to regret.
I hope you found the answers to your questions regarding the PhD thesis writing process. However, there is another important element that I saved for a different read; that is, Plagiarism. If you want your research document to be plagiarism free, then know the different types of plagiarism and the ways to get rid of them.