How to build chapters in a thesis

Posted by sazali

Salam/  a glad tidings to those who have stopped a moment in this humble blog.

One of the major problem among young researchers is how to begin writing.

Many think is better to complete their whole experiment first and then start to write.  I think it is not a wise method especially there are so many interruptions in our daily lives.  Examples of interruptions are : our research mate suddenly drop dead one fine morning in the middle of winter, second, our neighbour's dog been knocked down by an old hopeless truck directly in front of our eyes ..  When these thing came, our focus is now deviated to ambulance, all black clothes etc etc.

Here with , I would like to share few tips of writing seriously during our journey as a post graduate.  Please forgive me ..if my english is a bit rusty. Well grand parents are not British / Americans , you know?  They were just simple malays from  Kedah and Kelantan in Malaysia.  He..he..

wait plz ..  I am trying my best to put my thoughts here par with many of my friends who had just returned from London or Washington.

First step ..  you got a result ..say E1.

Put the title E1.
Describe what is it?  Try to be concise if it is involved with a set of procedures.  Try writing it out as quickly as possible.  Try to give a reason why is that used/ taken/

if it is a Ph.D work, try and admit whose idea did you get it from?  There is nothing wrong to declare .. it belongs to Brown (1990) in Michigan.

Second step ...  try and explain more about the result.  Is that what you expect in the first place?  Why?  if not ... why?  what did you expect in the first place?   is there any reason , why it is not producing the same graph like Brown (1990).  Explain more.

the descriptions on the  experiment should be  in the 3rd chapter/  the explanation why, how, when, where, what could well be in the 4th chapter with results.  Put this R1.  result.

Third step.

What is that got to do as regard to your chapter of the thesis?  Is that helpful?  yes/no.  If it is yes ..write positively else write it down was not as i had expected ..because .. (give reasons).

When you have many R's  say R1, R2, R3 ..double check are they answering your research questions.  Hope they do.  If not, discuss with your project SV.  while waiting ...

Can you write a bit about the contribution to the body of knowledge as far as your research/ writing(s) is concerned.  You better write something about this daily, weekly, monthly.  At least a paragraph/  a page/  2 pages etc etc.  Keep this contribution in a small folder.

Forth step. After i had written all the three steps .. i stop for a while. Make a hot Nescafe classic. Listen to Rod Stewart with "Sailing" and ..  I always make it a point to  kick my football to the wall a few times ..while I keep my brain seriously thinking what next my boy.

Usually, I put a target daily.  How many pages must I write today.  2 pages, 10 pages etc etc.

If you have a small better stay to it my boy ..  be quick because Malays have so many functions in the weekends.  Fruit pickings, car boot sales in Alum Rock, Saltley .
Keep to your target plz.

Surprisingly , after 1 week begin to have at least 10 pages of writings.

In 6 months, I am sure you can get about 50 pages writings.  Masters thesis is usually 80 - 100 page thick.  Ph.D may be plus minus 150 pages .. like that lah.

Step 5:  make sure , you let your supervisor read your small writings ..  let him comment .  Listen to his comment.  While your supervisor is reading his, why not let your friends in the research station read your writings too,.  Let them comment.  Look forward to their comments.  The more the comments, the chances is u r learning more.  Your brain start to think .. the day of viva.  Who knows the same question will be popped up in that room .. very scared you?

I am sure if you practice this ,   your English will improve as the semesters proceed to  semester 5, 6 .. else ..  God knows what waits you at the end of the tunnel.

Oopss remember .. that small folder?  Yes that will be useful before you put all the references in the thesis.  Just copy the contents of the small folder .. then paste it before the reference section.  This is already in the 5th chapter .  Conclusion and Recommendation.  See?

Bravo .. your thesis is about to complete with the help of E1, E2, E3 and R1, R2, and R3.  You can now smile at your accomplishment as a simple malaysian scholar trained by the British!

With that .. good luck.
I am sure you can do that. You have gone very far indeed. Just give your last shot at writing your research after all.


Sazali Khalid Ph.D (Malaysia)
MEd. CBL (England); BSc(England); GCE 'A' Levels (England)  p/s:  google sazali chapter 6 concluding chapter <enter>


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