Writing up your thesis - quick tips

You can’t start the process of writing up too early. If you've structured your work towards this ultimate goal from day one, it is a much less daunting task. Have a look at the checklist below to see how you're doing. If you can tick more than half you're well on your way. If you haven’t started yet, why not start today!

Getting started

Break your research down into manageable chunks and make a draft plan of all the sections and chapters in the thesis. Break these into sections and keep breaking it down until you are almost at the paragraph level

  • Have you checked your plan with your supervisor? Your supervisor will be your best source of support
  • You could structure your electronic and paper filing systems in the same way as your thesis by creating folders for each chapter 
  • Have you checked your institution's requirements for length and style etc? 
  • Remember to back up your work regularly

If you want some ideas on thesis style and structure why not

  • Visit your university library to find other theses in your subject area
  • Find theses online, for example at the British Library’s Electronic Theses Online Service (EThOS)
  • Ask your supervisor and other academics what they look for when they are examining PhD theses 
  • Ask your colleagues, especially those who have recently completed a doctorate, to review your thesis or a chapter for content, and ask other friends to proof-read 
  • Follow or join Twitter conversations on #acwri #phdadvice
  • Listen to the Vitae podcast: Turbocharge your writing and increase your research output

When reviewing your drafts ask yourself the following

  • Does the content match the title?
  • Are important points emphasised enough? 
  • Is the content within each section appropriate? 
  • Is there a logical sequence? 
  • Are information sources acknowledged? 
  • Do the conclusions relate to the objectives? 
  • Is the meaning of each sentence clear - or open to interpretation?
  • Can long sentences be broken down?