Thesis organization

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Thesis organization

Postby SayamolPan » 30 Aug 2018 21:28

I'm currently having trouble planning and organizing my thesis chapters. Any ideas for how to produce effective, reader-friendly chapters?
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Re: Thesis organization

Postby stevelouw » 03 Sep 2018 14:25

One consideration is what aspects of the research go into which chapters to help the reader follow your argument. What I did was to write all the elements of my research onto post its. I had a whole bunch of them once I'd done it. Then I arranged and rearranged them into groups until I had a flow that worked. So for example, I had a whole bunch of data on expectations: the question was to create a chapter for this, or to mix it all into the other chapters. By shuffling the post-its around I could create different possible ways of designing the final thesis until I found one that seemed to fit best. Whether or not I got it right, I don't know, but once you have a structure that feels comfortable it helps you write with a little more confidence.
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Re: Thesis organization

Postby punjaporn » 05 Sep 2018 10:03

P’Steve’s post-it idea is interesting. Since it is too late to do anything with my thesis, his technique would work well when I prepare my powerpoint presentation too.

Well, I may not be the right person to comment on this post. I guess my readers would rate mine very low on the friendliness scale. By the way, what I did was to begin with structure of a typical research (Introduction-Methods-Results-Discussion) as I think anyone would be familiar with it (and my readers too). Then, I restructured the I-M-R-D to I-(M-R)-(M-R)-D to make the flow of the thesis better. The first (M-R) was for the first 2 research questions which were preliminary and the second was for the main research question. Actually, this is not only about the flow, but also the balance of the number of pages in each chapter. If it was I-M-R-D, the M and the R would be too long. So, I think how you restructure it depends on the nature of your research.
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Re: Thesis organization

Postby jonathan.hcu » 06 Sep 2018 12:00

Hi Everyone.
Thanks Aum for the invite.
This was also my problem when I was writing my thesis. I had three tedious (at first) yet useful steps (at least for me). I used both (Steve and Aum's ideas), plus another one.

STEP 1: Steve's
I used Steve's idea when I was identifying salient points/gist of a section/chapter or even a paragraph of my thesis. I did not only used Post-it notes. I had spreads of different sizes manila paper throughout my room from the floor to the walls. (Sorry, I couldn't and still can't reach the ceiling :). I am a visual person, so doing this, I can easily number the pieces of paper, arrange/re-arrange/joggle the ideas/concepts and 'navigate' through as if I were in a storybook and gave me a 'feel' of a reader.

STEP 2: Aum's
Then I employed Aum's suggestion of IMRaD when I wrote my 'pre-arranged'/'organised' ideas. Please note that not all ideas/results/facts follow IMRaD.

STEP 3: General Audience Feedback
Most importantly, I asked several colleagues who know nothing (or have limited knowledge) about my research to read some parts or sections or even
an entire chapter and seek their feedback on my writing. I learned a lot from their feedback. I was lucky that time to have colleagues who were interested in my research but had limited knowledge about it.

I was influenced (heavily/partially) by the following reading materials and many more I can no longer remember:

1. Hyland, K. (2007). Genre pedagogy: Language, literacy and L2 writing instruction. Journal
of second language writing, 16(3), 148-164.
2. Hyland, K. (2012). Disciplinary identities: Individuality and community in academic
discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
3. Kanoksilapatham, B. (2007). Writing scientific research articles in Thai and English:
Similarities and differences. Silpakorn University International Journal, 7, 172-203.
4. Swales, J. (1981). Aspects of articles introductions. Birmingham: Aston University.
5. Swales, J. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
6. Swales, J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2004). Academic writing for graduate students: Essential
tasks and skills (Vol. 1). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
7. Swales, J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2009). Abstracts and the writing of abstracts (Vol. 2). Ann
Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press

Jonathan
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