Reviews

Writing your thesis

So you need to write a thesis and want some succinct, practical guidance. You don’t want to plough through hundreds of pages or follow up a list of references to other material. Both of these activities use up your precious study time and divert your attention from the subject material of the thesis.

Under such circumstances, this book has a great deal to recommend it. In particular, it succeeds in delivering a helpful mixture, being both theoretical and practical, comprehensive and concise.

The writing style is straightforward, easy to understand and authoratative, instilling a sense of trust that the author is experienced in supervising students and examining theses. However, the real success of the book comes from the primary consideration that has been given to its structure, and here it usefully serves as a template for many others.

The text is divided into two almost equal parts. Part 1 assumes very little previous instruction and moves from the basics of academic writing, referencing styles etc. through to skills that include organising oneself, making key decisions about layout, writing style and content, using supervision effectively, managing study time and writing opportunities.

Part 2 covers the writing of the thesis, essentially, the construction and particular

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Under such circumstances, this book has a great deal to recommend it. In particular, it succeeds in delivering a helpful mixture, being both theoretical and practical, comprehensive and concise.

The writing style is straightforward, easy to understand and authoratative, instilling a sense of trust that the author is experienced in supervising students and examining theses. However, the real success of the book comes from the primary consideration that has been given to its structure, and here it usefully serves as a template for many others.

The text is divided into two almost equal parts. Part 1 assumes very little previous instruction and moves from the basics of academic writing, referencing styles etc. through to skills that include organising oneself, making key decisions about layout, writing style and content, using supervision effectively, managing study time and writing opportunities.

Part 2 covers the writing of the thesis, essentially, the construction and particular requirements of each successive chapter. Within each chapter the altered emphases of fundamentally different research styles are incorporated. A consideration of the ‘aftermath’ – the verbal defence, or possible publication of articles – is included. The chapters contain many boxes that offer either a bulleted summary of the preceding section, a worked example or ‘signposts to success’. These give valuable advice about techniques or considerations related to features in a good thesis that an examiner might be looking for at different points when reading your thesis.

Obviously, it is sensible to be guided by the specific instructions and regulation of one’s own institution, but the advice in this text is flexible enough to accommodate this. One can ignore conflicting or irrelevant parts while noting others that provide options for overcoming uncertainty.

I think it would be especially useful when a student is feeling isolated, confused or inadequately guided or supervised. Alternatively, it would be a considerable asset when guidance is forthcoming, but leaves one seeking another perspective for different reasons. The material is very accessible and it is surely one of the best of the genre. The only drawback is that, unfortunately, the text does not assure success or include a money-back guarantee!

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