It also helped me identify a few gaps that needed to be filled back in the lab. Altogether it took about 1 year, including a couple months of maternity leave in the early stages, to write the whole thing. I decided to write my entire dissertation from scratch. I was already working on two manuscripts for journal submission, but both were collaborations, so it made more sense, and it was also easier, to tell the story of my Ph. I wrote up my scientific results in four different chapters, with additional chapters for the introduction, materials and methods, and conclusion.
For each of the results chapters, I went back to my original experiments and computational results to verify the findings and regenerated the figures and tables as required.
I made a lot of notes and flowcharts describing what should go into each chapter to guide me during the writing, which later also helped me provide a quick overview at the beginning of each chapter and crosscheck information at the end of the writing process. As I completed the whole thing, I was quite surprised at how much I had written. My thesis was nearly pages, and I almost got concerned about examiners having to read them all.
I spent about 6 months putting it all together, using the 4-year duration of my stipend as a hard deadline to push myself to finish. Heil , research associate in computational neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. My writing got squeezed into a two-and-a-half-week gap between the end of a major research project and my defense date, which had been chosen 6 months earlier. Luckily, my department allows students to use published papers as dissertation chapters and I had published regularly during my Ph.
I chose to put together a brief history of my field. This required tracking down and reading a whole bunch of historical papers. Then I jotted down every thought I had on the subject, producing a bullet list of elements I wanted to cover, logical connections between ideas, references, and even just catchy phrases.
Then I made a first attempt to compile all these thoughts into some structured text, focusing on whether I had sufficient material to support my points and how well they flowed. After that, I focused on honing the phrasing itself, using online resources such as spell checkers and grammar books as English is my second language, followed by a final overall polish.
When it comes to theses, I find that no one is as helpful as former grad students from your group. When I reached out to our lab's alumni for advice, they helped me understand the overall process of thesis writing, estimate the time it would take to complete different parts, and watch out for potential pitfalls. I also downloaded and skimmed through their theses to get a feel for what the final product was supposed to look like.
My PI had been heavily involved in writing each of the papers that went into my thesis, so the need for his input was less critical. Nonetheless, before sitting down to write, I had a conversation with him in which we figured out what the main theme of my thesis should be and which papers to use. Then when the time came to polish my thesis, many of my friends and colleagues, and my wife, who is also a biophysicist, provided invaluable advice.
I sent each chapter's methods and results to all my committee members so that we could make sure that the science was complete before I dug into the key scientific messages. My PI made sure we were in touch and made himself available for questions.
He also was an excellent and very thorough editor—having somebody who will rip your writing apart and help you trim and organize is critical.
Nearer the end, my fellow graduate students also helped me cut a lot of words. My PI got involved a couple of times: But I still felt totally lost. His adviser clarified the expectations of the graduating commission, gave us some useful suggestions, and reassured us that all would be OK. That meeting helped me feel less overwhelmed and more confident. A senior colleague of mine, who was an expert adviser for Ph. I would deal with the revisions while he was moving on to the next chapter, which made it much more manageable and saved a lot of time.
At that time, I badly needed someone to tell me that I wasn't doing something totally wrong or stupid. I sent my chapters to my PI one by one as I finished writing them. Setting deadlines for myself, and letting my PI know about them, made me more accountable and helped me stick to my schedule. When I needed concrete tips on specific aspects of the thesis and my PI was really busy, I would just stop by his office.
I also sent individual chapters to people whom I knew had an interest in my research, mainly for proofreading, and I tried to find native English speakers to help me with grammar and spelling. I notified them all ahead of time so that they would have some flexibility on when and how to give me feedback. I was lucky to have a very caring supervisor who literally always had his door open.
However, I tried to only request his input when I felt that critical decisions had to be made, for example when I had finished an outline or a chapter. He provided feedback mainly through track changes added to my drafts, which I found very convenient. When I received his input, I tried to deal with the revisions immediately, leaving the comments that required more work for later.
By tackling the quick revisions first, I felt that I was making progress, which helped me stay motivated. To focus on my writing, I had to stop most of my research, though I still performed some minor tasks that did not require significant time and concentration, such as launching computer calculations.
Regarding work-life balance, my wife and I have an informal pact that we try not to work after dinner and on weekends. Without proper rest, productivity just drops and you end up feeling miserable. I can't say that this pact was enforced during the thesis writing period, but even in the most intense times, we did get out of town at least once a week for a walk in nearby parks and nature reserves to decompress.
During the entire writing period, I kept some other work-related activities going. Especially at the beginning, I remained active as a teaching assistant. Working with students was a nice distraction from my thesis, and it was motivating to see that my work was useful and appreciated by others, especially during unrewarding writing times.
I also worked on other research projects in parallel and went to several international conferences and a summer school on citizen science. These activities not only offered a welcome break from the thesis, but also reminded me of how important and interesting my research was.
I also made sure to stay active to keep up my positive energy. Going to the gym always brought me back to writing with a clear mind and a healthier feeling.
Sometimes I would try to arrange coffee breaks with friends to reward myself with a piece of cake and good company. Other times, planning to visit a museum or try a new restaurant helped me keep going by giving me a nice event to look forward to. I stopped doing most of my fieldwork about a year and a half before my thesis was due, which was about the same time my son was born.
After my maternity leave, I spent 6 to 8 hours a day writing from home, with my baby on my lap or sleeping next to me. Once he was in day care at 7 months old, I went to coffee shops nearby so that I could pop over and nurse him at lunchtime. Several times a day, I practiced the Pomodoro Technique where I'd set the timer for 45 minutes and not do anything but write—no emails, no social media, no other tasks.
If I thought of something I needed to do, I wrote it down for later. In addition to combining writing with motherhood, other aspects of work-life balance were also extremely important to me.
I didn't work most weekends, and I made sure I got outside and exercised or had some fun every day. Letting go of guilt about not working was key. Feeling bad doesn't get you anywhere, and it just makes the experience unenjoyable for you and the people you love or live with. Early on, it really helped to take a few days away from the lab and just write. I took advantage of the fact that my parents were on holiday and spent a week in their house. I set realistic daily deadlines, and if I met those I treated myself with a little reward, like a short run through the forest or an evening picnic with an old friend.
That week proved very productive, and I came back motivated to get the rest of my writing and experiments done. After I returned, I made sure to continue doing some fun activities without necessarily having to achieve something first, as I realized that I should not be too hard on myself. Going for a run between writing spells, for example, allowed me to get some distance from my thesis and helped me to maintain perspective and generate new ideas.
While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point: Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template: When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.
A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause the opinion and a dependent clause the reasons. You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long. A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay.
This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences. Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable.
This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around. Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence.
It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think. We also have guides to help anyone make APA citations for books, websites, and other sources.
Informative and Persuasive Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.
Example of weak thesis: Example of a stronger thesis: Writing is her life. She holds a master's in literature, teaching basic writing at the college level and tutoring in writing at all levels.
She also is a literature instructor, inspiring students to love what they read so that writing about it is more fun. She enjoys cooking with her family and assisting others in achieving their dreams.
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If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements: My family is an extended family. This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft. Introduction Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of .
For my thesis, which I started writing just a couple of months ago, I have chosen the manuscript format. - Leslie Holmes, Ph.D. candidate in biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. ThesisPanda, write my thesis for me! Writing a successful thesis requires more than just the instructions. For example, for you to write a quality thesis, you need to understand the thesis instructions, choose a suitable topic, carry out thorough research in your subject area and lastly, engage in the writing process.