How to Write a Thesis

How to Write a Thesis

How to Write a Thesis

How to Write a Thesis


The Ulitimate Guide to Thesis Writing In How to Write a Thesis, you will find practical, easy-to-follow advice for mastering this challenge, from getting started to revising.


In 1995 I wrote a personal statement about my motivation to teach and write about thesis writing. The urge to write this book originated in my own experiences as a student in Scotland, Germany and the USA:

As a graduate of a Scottish university I made a deliberate choice to enter
a PhD programme in what is often disparagingly referred to as ‘the
American system’, as if there were only one system in the USA. As a
‘graduate student’ in the English Department of the Pennsylvania State
University I had the opportunity to take courses, and be examined, on
research methods, two foreign languages, a theory course, three years of
course work (before starting a thesis, a major piece of original research,
on a par with PhD theses in the UK system, a fact which will surprise
some academics), with teacher training for higher education, mentoring,
observations and evaluations of my own teaching …

On my return to the UK in 1984, I felt strongly that there was a need, in
the UK system, for postgraduate training of some sort. There was also
demand for such training among students; when I offered a thesis writing
course at Strathclyde University in 1985 it proved very popular … we
now have a programme of … courses for postgraduates. Some faculties
and departments now offer customised induction courses for novice
researchers … So things are improving.

Yet writing is still neglected; there is often no writing instruction, creat
ing problems for those students who have never done much writing or, if
they have, have not done so on the scale of the PhD.

(Lowe and Murray 1995: 78–9)

In addition, having read many other books on ‘writing a thesis’, it seemed to me that there was still room for a book that covered the whole writing process.

More recent motivation was provided by students in my writers’ groups who demanded that I finish this book in time for them use it. Unfortunately, that was not feasible for all of them, for which, having raised their expectations, I apologize. Fortunately, some were able to read drafts of my chapters and their comments improved this book immensely. For that I thank them sincerely. You have made this a better book.

Finally, ‘Will supervisors read this book?’ I cannot count the number of times I was asked this question by those – students and supervisors – who . . .

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