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How to Write a Thesis [Paperback]

Rowena Murray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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How to Write a Thesis (Open Up Study Skills) How to Write a Thesis (Open Up Study Skills) 4.9 out of 5 stars (8)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2002 0335207189 978-0335207183
""How to Write a Thesis" can be read with profit by anyone who writes professionally, whether proposals, reports, monographs or a thesis. It is oriented to someone writing a PhD thesis, but has a lot to say about writing in general. It deals with the process of writing rather than detailed content, and is applicable regardless of discipline" - SRA. "This is the book that all PhD supervisors and their students have been waiting for: the first comprehensive overview of the many different writing practices, and processes, involved in the production of a doctoral thesis. Crammed full of explanations, shortcuts and tips, this book demystifies academic writing in one fell swoop. Everyone who reads it will be massively enabled as a writer." - Professor Lynne Pearce, Associate Dean for Postgraduate Teaching, University of Lancaster. "Rowena Murray's down-to-earth approach both recognises and relieves some of the agony of writing a PhD. The advice in this book is both practical and motivational; sometimes it's 'PhD-saving' too. By using Rowena Murray's techniques of regular snacking, instead of occasional bingeing, I managed to rescue my PhD from near-death at a time of work overload." Christine Sinclair, Part-time PhD student and lecturer in Educational Development, University of Paisley. This book evolved from fifteen years' experience of teaching thesis writing. The contents have been tried and tested with postgraduates and academics. Early chapters explore the ambiguities and subtleties of thesis writing in detail. Later chapters are more compact, listing steps in the writing process. All chapters provide examples to illustrate techniques and activities to progress writing. When writing a thesis, students must be ready to develop new modes of writing. The harsh reality is that those who like to work to goals are likely to have to submit to floundering around, reconstructing their well laid plans, whilst those who hate to be driven by goals, or do not see the point of them, will have to submit to deadlines and milestones that may seem like millstones. This book will help all students cope with the challenges inherent in writing a thesis.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Open University Press (1 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0335207189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0335207183
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 349,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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This is an invaluable book for both students and supervisors. It is comprehensive in its range and impressive in its awareness of the demands of different disciplines. There is no doubt that every PhD student will find something of value here, and most will find the entire book and indispensable companion, and the source of much wisdom during their long journey towards their PhD." - Linda Dryden Napier Teaching Fellows Journal 20030303

About the Author

Rowena Murray is a senior lecturer in the Centre for Academic Practice at the University of Strathclyde. She has developed a Thesis Writing course and has produced four videos: Thesis Writing, Research Supervision, The Viva and Writing for Publication. Rowena also runs consultancies on Writing for Publication for universities across the UK and overseas and for other institutions, such as healthcare trusts. She has published on aspects of academic writing.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 21 Nov 2002
If you are contemplating tackling a higher level degree that involves academic writing of some sort or are entrenched in the process already, this book is an essential must for your decision-making and/or library. Murray’s book offers practical and insightful information into the process of thesis, dissertation and academic publication writing. The layout of the manuscript is also rewarding offering hints and suggestions at the important moments of the research and writing phases as well as exercises to bust moments of anxiety, fear, writer’s block and moments of discontent and apathy. I have two suggestions though: First for the publisher and printer, offer a volume that is spiral bound so it lays flat while we are immersed in our subjects. And finally, hopefully, Dr. Murray can develop a workbook that can accompany the book itself. Perhaps in journal form.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable 8 Nov 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I discovered this book about a year before submitting my thesis from an 8-year part-time PhD. It helped enormously in getting my ideas together and making the final product useful. This was particularly the case for me as an "external" since I'd long been away from the academic style of writing and although it's clearly got a bit of a humanities bias, this didn't really disturb me as an aerospace engineer. Anybody who is doing a research degree, BUY THIS, more importantly buy it BEFORE you start work on your thesis not towards the end. It will save you enormous amounts of aggro and is a brilliantly useful volume. This will be required reading for any PhD students that I find myself supervising in the future.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for the science and engineering people. 7 Mar 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most universities will have two types of courses on thesis writing, one for the Humanities and one for the Sciences. This is because the structure of these PhDs is very different and a course that covers both types is not realistic. This book is for the humanities and only pays lip service to the scientific thesis.
For example it states that you may have a chapter titled Methods; in all practical PhD's you “will” have a Materials and Method section. The way this section is written is very different from the Introduction and Discussion, in that it is very stylised, concise, and may consist of page after page of recipes. Writing the Methods section in a concise and logical manor can also be a problem, again this was not discussed. Similarly, presenting only experimental data in the Results section requires a style of its own. The Results chapter is the main “make or break” section of a scientific thesis and so needs more than a passing comment. This section relies heavily on figures and tables neither of which gets covered at all in the book.
The book does not even mention the possibility that some one else publishes your work or the basic theory of your thesis is disproved during your PhD studies. I personal have seen this on numerous occasions. This does not kill the project but does require special consideration when writing the thesis. It may result in a different end point than originally intended or in extreme circumstances, two unrelated halves.
It also does not mention negative results; a thesis may contain a section on expressing a protein that you never managed to express. This should not be omitted from the final thesis, but included to demonstrate how you approached a difficult problem and attempted to solve it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This really is probably worth more than its weight in gold, especially because gold is quite cheap at the moment. And it doesn't weigh much. But it certainly gets you writing and just like points mean prizes, more writing means less work to do from now on. It's absolutely packed with practical tips and motivational pointers to get you going and get your project/dissertation/thesis in. Like on page 168, 'finish today's writing session by defining tomorrow's'. And the eight point worklist of a draft structure for a thesis on page 188. Great on freewriting and generative writing. Ideally I would like more on filing, document management and the mechanics of research, but I suppose I would need books on how to file, manage documents and research!
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