How do people do this?! Now is not the time for me to get burned out! What are your tricks for getting this done? Anal retentive observance of a schedule? The acquisition of a muse? I have to start by saying that I have no answers for you. But I can identify with this so much that I had to wonder for a moment how you were spying on me! This is actually really helpful!
Do it in short spurts, but make sure that you stick to whatever short spurt you have started. This was awesome advice! But I discovered that I had to do one better and head to the library. I actually got a couple of pages written. But, of course, when I was there, it was admitted students day, so there were tour groups rolling through the library every 5 minutes. I discovered working from home worked best for me, and when I got bored after a few days I would go to a coffee shop with headphones.
Ride your creative wave until it crashes then walk away for a bit and get some sunshine or get a coffee and go for a walk. I would write whenever the urged struck, even if it was 1am. Does each of these statements describe you? I am familiar with other research that has been conducted in areas related to my research project. I feel that I have the ability e.
I know that I am motivated and have the drive to get through all of the steps in the research project. Ask your adviser to see some sample exemplary proposals from students he or she has supervised in the past. Chances are your adviser has a file drawer filled with them.
How was the other proposal organized? What headings were used? Does the other proposal seem clear? Does it show that the writer knows the subject area? Make sure your proposal includes a comprehensive review of the literature. Now this idea, at first thought, may not seem to make sense. The literature review consists of two lines of argument: Why would you want to wait?
Now is the time to get informed and to learn from the scholars who preceded you! When you read something that is important to your study, photocopy the relevant article or section, or archive it in an electronic citation management system such as Refworks, Mendeley or Zotero. Keep your photocopies or archived references organized according to categories and sections.
And, most importantly, copy the complete bibliographic citation so that you can easily reference the material in your bibliography. Then, when you decide to sit down and actually write the literature review, bring out your photocopied or archived sections, put them into logical and sequential order, and begin your writing.
What is a proposal anyway? A good proposal should consist of the first chapters or sections of the thesis or dissertation. Often the plans we state in our proposal turn out different in reality. We then have to make appropriate editorial changes to move the document from proposal to dissertation.
Focus your research very specifically. You may think that a narrow focus will distort what you want to do, but a broadly defined project can be unmanageable as a research project.
When you complete your research, it is important that you have something specific and definitive to say. Otherwise, you may be left with broad, vague conclusions that provide little guidance to scholars who follow you. Include a title on your proposal. A good proposal has a good title, and it is the first thing to help the reader begin to understand the nature of your work. Work on your title early in the process and revisit it often.
When selecting those guiding questions, write them so that they frame your research and put it into perspective with the literature. Those questions establish the link between your research and the research that preceded yours. Your questions should clearly show the relationship of your work to your field of study. Be aware of ethical considerations and procedures.
Choose your methodology wisely. Methodological considerations are a core issue as you develop and refine your research topic. Consider questions such as the following: What are the most common research methods used in your discipline?
Which methods are most strongly supported within your program and by your supervisor and supervisory committee members? What are the leading methodological debates within your discipline, particularly in relation to your research topic or problem? What methodological issues have been raised in recent research literature in your area? You need to be thoroughly acquainted with effective principles and practices of choosing research methods for your thesis or dissertation.
Be sure to discuss methodological questions and issues with your supervisor and committee in the early stages of your proposal development. Select and prepare your supervisory committee carefully. Select faculty for your committee who are supportive of you and are willing to assist you in completing your research.
You want a committee that you can ask for help and know that they will provide it for you. Set up a formal meeting with your full committee to discuss your research proposal as soon as possible.
Make sure that your supervisor and committee members are fully supportive of the project before you begin. The proposal meeting should be seen as an opportunity for you and your supervisory committee to reach agreement on the fundamental goals and procedures for your research.
Provide the committee members with a well—written proposal well in advance of meetings. Check with them to see how much time they will need to read the proposal. Plan the proposal meetings well. If graphic presentations are necessary to help the committee, make sure they are clear and attractive.
A well planned meeting will help your committee understand that you are prepared to move forward with well planned research. Depending on the amount of detail you included in your proposal, you may not need or want to repeat every point. However, you should not assume all your committee members read the proposal carefully, and you should be sure to cover all important facts and issues.
The major myth in writing a dissertation is that you start writing at Chapter One and write straight through. This is seldom the case. The most productive approach in writing the dissertation is often to begin writing those parts of the dissertation with which you are most comfortable. I intended it as a big outline but I ended up breaking each chapter down to an almost paragraph-by-paragraph outline with notecards as I worked. It took probably days out of the month just to write the notecards out, but oh my goodness they were so helpful.
There was just something soothing about firing off cards for an hour or so, spending three hours stretching them out across my living room floor, shuffling and reorganizing them to see if another idea worked better, and then during writing just picking up a card out of the pile, knowing I needed to write about the history of the germ theory for paragraphs, throwing everything I knew at it, and then moving the card to the back of the stack when finished.
It helped me visualize how much I had left to write, which was also a huge motivator. I also brainstormed on whiteboards, scrap paper, the notes feature on my phone, anything to get away from the computer.
Go for a walk? Every paragraph inevitably began with "So Well, I guess the first thing is that The trick was to keep my eyes closed, or fixed on something besides the screen; watching what I wrote triggered my editing skills, which destroyed the content-generating momentum. Do not sit in one place every day. I was dragging books to the library every single day just so I would not be at home, because my patterns at home had fallen into a rut.
If I sat down at my desk at home I triggered the "waste time" part of my brain, and it was a lot easier to actively cut off that process at the library. I worked for 18 hours every day at one desk in the library for a couple days, and then when that stopped helping I packed up and moved to a different part of the library. Always start with the easiest task. The easiest task is the one your brain is ready to work on, and helps you generate momentum.
I had a hard time writing my introduction because I had no idea how to organize it, so I opened up the book that I thought had the clearest introduction and studied how the author organized it into sections.
Then I checked another book, and a third -- they all had similar organizational structures, so I followed that. Your school almost certainly has a counseling center, and do not be afraid to walk in and say you need to talk to someone. Stress from school is one of the reasons your counseling center exists, so it is a very legitimate problem for which to ask for help and one that your counselors are very experienced in handling.
This type of stress is incredibly hard to deal with, and I wish I had been a lot better about pro-actively managing it. It might involve being entirely miserable, not sleeping for days on end, and pulling all-nighters in the library, but there is an end in just 2 months. It feels never-ending now, but this feeling that you have right now is part of the writing process; it too will pass and be replaced with more confidence once you clear this hurdle.
The next 2 months will not always feel as bad as this. Try the writing center at your school? They always help me take my jumbled ideas that I can talk about and make some sort of outline out of them. They do the dirty work of listening that a friend may not want to do.
Also, I sometimes voice record myself talking about my topic, then transcribe that recording onto paper, and then I have something to work with. Have you tried any CBT to get past whatever is making you panic and freeze?
Sometimes just doing one worksheet can work wonders for my writing anxiety. You are physically capable of sitting down and making yourself write, no matter how uncomfortable it is.
It can also help to just try to write a really bad version. It always ends up being decent. My situation was different than yours because I was working full time while writing my thesis. First, I put it off for four years there was no deadline. I was doing it for other reasons but somehow it helped me feel accountable to someone for my thesis.
The big "carrot" for getting it done was to simply never have to think about it again. This was a biggie. I finally realized that I was never going to fit thesis writing around the rest of my life. I had to make some changes and sacrifices for a few months while I knocked out the thesis.
I started getting up at 5am and writing for two hours a day before work. The pages kept adding up until finally I had a draft. And yes, it will probably suck, because no coffee, and no cigarette. Then just repeat it the next day. Once you have something down on the page, it will be easier to start to think about accumulating words more earnestly. This condition is so familiar to me. None of the usual tricks helped me at all. When I had my bout of whatever this is, I found that while I was incapable of making any progress writing anything in say, Word or emacs, I could still write emails.
The only thing standing between you and finishing your thesis is your self-confidence. That’s right: it’s not time or your thesis supervisor or your thesis committee. When you have self-confidence and know beyond the shadow of any doubt that you have what it takes to finish your thesis, you can leap over any obstacle.
I should be writing my thesis, like right now, but something in me just can't. I was supposed to get 30 pages to my advisor a week ago, but I only have 10 of this chapter, 20 of the overall thing (70 ish pages total is the goal).
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