There is a glut of writing advice that is available for scholars, particularly that is related to thesis writing. The internet is flooded with books, blogs and articles that are getting circulated with writing advice and tips to allow them to handle the writing task easily. However, most of the available advice is repetitive and does not come of much help to the writer.
Some of the most common tips you would find available for your phd thesis writing:
1. You must write every day, right from the beginning of your PhD
2. Do not overthink while writing as this may come in the flow of your writing
3. Believe in doing work rather than doing perfect work, as improvisations can be done at a later stage
4. Take rewriting as an integral part of writing and not as a separate pressure or load.
You must surely not be oblivious to these tips being a PhD scholar but despite that all scholars, sometime or the other time, do encounter stressed phases in the process of thesis writing. The tips above are common and applicable to all but may not be effective for all, every time.
Writing is not a straight path. It is a process involving a lot of complexity and narrowing the thoughts down to a single statement advice is actual oversimplification of the complexity of the ordeal of writing.
Just trying to follow these tips blindly, I think would not work for the main reason that before following advice, you need to incorporate the skill for being able to apply these tips in a customised manner that could benefit you.You need to leave the simplification of the advice and the subtlety behind to be able to make it useful for you.
You would surely be reading advice from many corners and would come across theoretical models that claim to bring skill development, end of they though, it is your expertise that will determine the amount of efforts taken by you. As an amateur, a lot of concentration is wanted in all aspects related to writing but to a seasoned writer, the flow of writing comes more as a spontaneous action rather than a conscious effort.
Practice as a means to perfection isn’t just applicable to sports coaching but the flow is equally well in creative activities too because to come in the flow of doing things effortlessly, you must have high level of expertise. However, you being good at something doesn’t necessarily makes you a good advisor too. It is ultimately the writer who has to polish and surface out those skills to be able to adopt and adhere to the tips given by the advisors.
The literature existing for a specific topic can be summarized in either a systematic review or literature review. So, both these topics are easily confused, until one delves into the dynamics of both these systems. Even though they are used to fulfil a similar requirement, a literature review is significantly different from a systematic review.
A literature review involves the qualitative summarization of a topic, typically using informal or subjective methods to collate and interpret data. On the other hand, a systematic review involves high-level study of the primary research using a focused approach toward identification, selection, synthesis, and appraisal of all relevant questions involved in the research. From the definition itself, it is evident that the latter review format is more comprehensive as compared to the former.
Both these review systems are inherently different and require specific requirements for their appropriate use. Inappropriate use of either of them can defeat the purpose of the review system.
A systematic review system is appropriate in cases when a focused question requires a pertinent answer. This system is primarily used to remove any bias from the review. Such a review system can be used to answer a clearly defined clinical question. The components of a systematic review include a pre-specified eligibility criterion, systematic search strategy, assessment of the findings’ validity, interpretation and presentation of the results, and a reference list. The number of authors needs to be three or more. An average time required to complete a systematic review is 18 months, on average. The timeline usually goes into months and sometimes, into years. From the above, it is understandable that a thorough knowledge of the topic is required, and a comprehensive statistical analysis of the resources is needed to be done. Such a review system supports the techniques of evidence-based practice.
On the other hand, a literature review is fairly basic in comparison to a systematic review. It is basically a qualitative summary of evidences on a particular topic using informal/subjective methods of collation of data. It can be used to provide a summary or overview of a particular topic; the topic can be generic in nature or a specific query. The principal components of this review system are introduction, methods, discussion, conclusion, and bibliography. The number of authors can be one, or even more. Since it is not comprehensive in nature as compared to a systematic review, the timeline required to finish this review ranges in weeks to months. A comprehensive understanding of the topic under review is not required.
There are various writing styles that apply to writing a thesis. The writing style is dictated not by the writer but by the university. One of the very well known thesis writing styles is the American Psychological Association style, also known as the APA style.
Yet another accepted style is the Chicago Manual of Style, also known as the Turabian style. The third well accepted style is the Modern Language Association style or MLA style. The Chicago Manual of Style is used by students to present reports related to doctorate of humanities.
It ( the Turabian style ) has many factors in common with the APA and MLA. Students knowing the APA and MLA styles can pick up the Turabian style very easily and adopt it while writing a thesis. The guide of the Turabian style explains in details various rules and regulations of formatting and grammar that need to be applied while writing the thesis.
The borders, font size and font kind are similar in all these three styles of writing. The font kind that needs to be followed is ‘Times New Roman,’ the font size ‘12’ and the borders ‘one inch.’ Each of these styles holds its own methods of presenting the list of books, references and extracts. The way the heading of the page is used also differs greatly in each of these three styles.