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PhD Discussion Forum

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This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > Writing up / Vivas


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Writing up


User: strawberrygirl - 21 January 2016 23:28

I'm starting a new thread as most of the writing up ones I found were very old.

I wanted to ask for some advice or support on the writing up process. Due to two major changes of direction during my humanities PhD I now have only four months to go before submission but still have a lot of the thesis to write. My thesis has five chapters including the introduction. I've almost finished a draft of one chapter and have a reasonable draft of another. Of the remaining two 'results' chapters I have only a very rough draft of one and no draft of the other although I do have bits of writing I can pull from now defunct chapter drafts. I also have a partial draft of the introduction.

I recently returned from an interruption - health related - and so need to work reasonable hours so as not to burn out.

Does this seem feasible or is it unrealistic to write up the remaining thesis in this time? I really want to avoid seeking an extension but also don't want to burn out and I know I only have so many good hours of writing in me each day.

Is anyone else writing up? How are you finding it?

User: monkey84 - 22 January 2016 05:18

Hey!

Although I'm in my second year and don't have any first hand experience two of my close friends who finished in winter 2015 both gave themselves 3 months for writing up, they've both now passed and general just worked 9-5 during the week days, that being said when they were in and writing they were very focused.

I think if you set yourself some small milestones and really dedicate a set amount of time each day there's absolutely no reason why you can't. Break your chapters into smaller pieces and set some fortnightly goals, this seems to work well for me in most cases.

Good luck!

User: chickpea - 22 January 2016 09:23

Hi Strawberrygirl

I'm not officially 'writing up' as I still have some data collection to do, but I am hoping to be more or less finished by autumn this year and so I am trying to get into a 'writing up' frame of mind with the things I can write at this stage. I've been chewing through some of Rowena Murray's book, 'How to Write a Thesis', and she has some interesting tips about doing mixes of freewriting and structured writing, and writing in both 'snacks' and 'binges' to take advantage of different lengths of time and achieve different types of task. I think that if you break your writing down into smaller goals as Monkey84 said, it makes it all less overwhelming - it's actually surprising how small the chunks are when you do that.

If you'd like to use this thread for setting some goals and reporting back, I'm more than happy to do that!

User: Hugh - 22 January 2016 17:53

Hi! I am writing up too! :)

I'm joining this thread, and I hope to keep you company (I just created another thread on 3rd years before I saw this)

Honestly, I think it'll be difficult but it is do-able. My question is really, when do your supervisors see it? Do they need to see individual chapters or the whole draft? I need to give my supervisor at least 2 weeks to check a chapter, so for me that short time frame would probably not work.

I am currently completing the methodology chapter and another data chapter. I've still got another 5 chapters to write! And some data analysis too!

User: Hugh - 22 January 2016 17:55

Quote From monkey84:
Hey!

two of my close friends who finished in winter 2015 both gave themselves 3 months for writing up, they've both now passed and general just worked 9-5 during the week days!

Hi! Your friends that took 3 months to write up, did they write individual chapters and sent it to their supervisor or did they just send the whole 1st draft at the end of the 3 months?

User: monkey84 - 22 January 2016 20:36

Quote From Hugh:
Quote From monkey84:
Hey!

two of my close friends who finished in winter 2015 both gave themselves 3 months for writing up, they've both now passed and general just worked 9-5 during the week days!

Hi! Your friends that took 3 months to write up, did they write individual chapters and sent it to their supervisor or did they just send the whole 1st draft at the end of the 3 months?

They sent individual chapters, that's also my plan too. I find it much easier to do in smaller chunks, I also know my supervisor will be less thorough if he has to read all of it in one go, whereas if he has a small bit at a time it's much easier to discuss and be critical of. Do what works best for you though

User: Hugh - 22 January 2016 22:54

Quote From monkey84:
Quote From Hugh:
Quote From monkey84:
Hey!

two of my close friends who finished in winter 2015 both gave themselves 3 months for writing up, they've both now passed and general just worked 9-5 during the week days!

Hi! Your friends that took 3 months to write up, did they write individual chapters and sent it to their supervisor or did they just send the whole 1st draft at the end of the 3 months?

They sent individual chapters, that's also my plan too. I find it much easier to do in smaller chunks, I also know my supervisor will be less thorough if he has to read all of it in one go, whereas if he has a small bit at a time it's much easier to discuss and be critical of. Do what works best for you though

How soon do you expect your supervisors to read through and check one chapter? My supervisor reads about 3 pages and tells me it needs loads of work, go back and re-do loads.

User: Zutterfly - 22 January 2016 23:19

I am writing up also :) Thank you for starting this thread.

I cannot really answer your question as it depends on how fast your supervisor is and how fast you are at writing and editing. I have 6 chapters and two more to go as well as a conclusion. my funding runs out in October and I, like you, cannot push myself as I was unwell in hospital a couple of months ago.

Are you solely just writing the thesis or do you work too? I finished up my teaching responsibilities in December and I managed to get a chapter finished this month with just having the thesis to focus on. My best advice would be to make yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals to help you be as productive and focused as you can be.

User: strawberrygirl - 27 January 2016 12:01

Thanks for your messages of support, It's encouraging to know that others think it is feasible, even if difficult. I still feel uncertain but am going to keep going and see how it goes. I'm already behind on my first main chapter deadline.

I completely agree about breaking things into small chunks with manageable deadlines. One of the most difficult things I find is working out how long it will take to write certain sections. Chickpea - thanks for the mention of the book - I may give that a look.

I agree about getting supervisors to read chapters as you go along or there may not be time at the end to make all their suggested changes. Fortunately my supervisor is happy to read chapters as I go along. Monkey84 - I hadn't thought of it before but what you say,about supervisors being likely to pay more attention if they read chapter by chapter makes sense. I think you're right.

I'd definitely like to use this thread for writing up motivation and support if others are happy to do it! I've noticed that there is another one called final year support so maybe that one is better?

User: monkey84 - 30 January 2016 09:56

Quote From strawberrygirl:
Thanks for your messages of support, It's encouraging to know that others think it is feasible, even if difficult. I still feel uncertain but am going to keep going and see how it goes. I'm already behind on my first main chapter deadline.

I completely agree about breaking things into small chunks with manageable deadlines. One of the most difficult things I find is working out how long it will take to write certain sections. Chickpea - thanks for the mention of the book - I may give that a look.

I agree about getting supervisors to read chapters as you go along or there may not be time at the end to make all their suggested changes. Fortunately my supervisor is happy to read chapters as I go along. Monkey84 - I hadn't thought of it before but what you say,about supervisors being likely to pay more attention if they read chapter by chapter makes sense. I think you're right.

I'd definitely like to use this thread for writing up motivation and support if others are happy to do it! I've noticed that there is another one called final year support so maybe that one is better?


Go for it! Keep us updated on how you are getting on! Try not to get too stressed about it and just do small chunks at a time, it will all come together, you'll see :)

Good luck!



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