The first milestone
First writing milestone • The first-year report • From notes to draft
• Dialogue • Monitoring • Pressure • What is progress? • Work-in-progress
writing • A writers’ group • Checklist: the first milestone
This chapter encourages the thesis writer to move from writer-based to readerbased thinking, from thinking about what he or she wants to say to focusing on the reader’s criteria. The end of the first phase, after the first year, usually brings some form of assessment. For both part-time and full-time students this is usually about one year after registration. When and how progress is assessed will vary from institution to institution. The first-year report is one example.
This shift means that the thesis writer has to finalize something in the first stage of the doctorate. It is a process that requires regular discussion of writing with supervisors and peers. What Boice (1990) calls ‘exteriorizing’ is an important part of writing at this point.
From this point on there is a focus on the writing of chapters. The interaction between writing for development and writing for a chapter continues.
The key point, at the end of the first stage, is to enable thesis writers to engage with the tasks of sketching structures and writing chapters or miniarguments or stages in an argument. Since this is often the first watershed, there will be discussion of emotional processes in this chapter.